Soul, psyche, life force... Whether or not these are merely human constructs, I can at least understand why people would think that they exist.
Sitting in QV the other morning, a sparrow flew right up to me, brave and timid and inquisitive all at once. While watching it, it struck me just how full of life it seemed. I could easily believe that there was something, some force lending to this creature such animation...
...Perhaps a little spark of life within, or marionette strings in constant motion, controlled by a puppeteer of the universe. If this is the case, then death would be the snuffing out of this spark, or the severing of these strings. Certainly, death is as sudden and absolute as either of these motions.
I see this 'animation' now all the time... when I watch my cats, or birds outside, or even children running down the street. Perhaps this liveliness and animation has something to do with self-consciousness, or the lack thereof. I rarely see this spark of life in adults. Perhaps we have become too accustomed to the world. The only time I really see it is when people laugh. It is known to some as the language of the soul, after all.