the world soul (latin: anima mundi) is, according to some systems of thought, an intrinsic connection between all living things, which relate to our world or the cosmos in much the same ways as individual souls are perceived to relate to human bodies. such ideas were presented by plato and were important components of most neoplatonic systems of philosophy. 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. similar notions can be found in the ideas of hermetic philosophers like paracelsus, and those developed by baruch spinoza, gottfried leibniz, friedrich schelling, in hegel's geist ("spirit"/"mind"), and those of gaia theorists such as james lovelock.