The world soul (Greek: ψυχή κόσμου, Latin: Anima mundi) is, according to several systems of thought, an intrinsic connection between all living things on the planet, which relates to our world in much the same way as the soul is connected to the human body. The idea originated with Plato and was an important component of most Neoplatonic systems:
Therefore, we may consequently state that: this world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence … a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related.
The Stoics believed it to be the only vital force in the universe. Similar concepts also hold in systems of eastern philosophy in the Brahman-Atman of Hinduism, the Buddha-Nature in Mahayana Buddhism, and in the School of Yin-Yang, Taoism, and Neo-Confucianism as qi.
Other resemblances can be found in the thoughts of hermetic philosophers like Paracelsus, and by Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz, Friedrich Schelling and in Hegel’s Geist (“Spirit”/”Mind”). There are also similarities with ideas developed since the 1960s by Gaia theorists such as James Lovelock.