Epistemic status: fiction
Most people believe that the soul is the essence of a person. These people are wrong. The essence of a person is their consciousness, and consciousness is merely a complex and intricate set of computations occurring in the brain. The reason so many believe this myth regarding souls arises from the consequences of removing one.
The exact results vary from procedure to procedure, but what they all have in common is the destruction of the patient’s consciousness. In some cases the patient simply dies. In others they enter a permanent coma-like state. And for some procedures, the results are… best left unsaid.
The issue that all of these procedures encounter is related to the soul’s dependence on a person’s consciousness. Without a consciousness to shape it, a soul would merely be a small and unremarkable reservoir of magical energy. However, magical energy shaped directly by consciousness becomes incredibly useful.
The reason souls are so valuable is that they can be used as oracle machines, which can perform feats that should be computationally impossible. Many of the most powerful spells and rituals are dependent on the ability to solve impossible computations, and thus require the use of a soul in order to be completed.
One such spell is the Explorable Prophecy. This spell operates by simulating the counterfactual universe in which it has no effect, and then allowing the caster to explore this simulation as they please. Needless to say, this requires an incredible amount of computational power, assuming it is even computable at all. Without the existence of souls, casting a spell like this one would be entirely infeasible. With souls, this task becomes possible, albeit incredibly difficult.
Unfortunately, the utility of souls comes at a cost. The consciousness that shapes the soul does so in order to make use of its computational abilities. This was driven by evolution, but evolution is not intelligent, and so the brain does not use the soul anywhere near as effectively as it could. In fact, it does not even use it for anything it can’t do itself. But it does use the soul enough to become dependent on it. And so, if the soul is removed, the consciousness ceases to exist.
Except there was a case where this didn’t happen. I cannot divulge the specifics, but I can say that it inspired me to develop a new technique for removing souls. The key to this technique is to slowly disrupt the brain’s connection with the soul over a long period of time. The brain has enough plasticity to learn that it can no longer depend on the soul and eventually will fully take over. At this point, the soul can be removed without causing any harm to the patient.
Going into further detail about the procedure would unfortunately require me to reveal proprietary information. However, I believe what I have divulged should be a satisfactory explanation of how my product can be ethically sourced.