This is a pretty cool question, it’s sort of a matter of philosophy. We know monsters are made of elements/molecules shaped and controlled by magic, they don’t have cells or brains, as we can see from monsters that have body parts that move or don’t collapse despite not being connected to the rest of the body, like Undyne when cut in half or Papyrus when he is beheaded. They don’t follow the same rules as organisms.
It brings up the point: what separates animals from humans in the Undertale Universe? It’s hard to determine what animals are monsters in the form of animals, and what are actual animals. Some snails in the game are obviously monsters. However, the snails that Toriel eats and bakes into pies are real animals, their shells are left behind when she eats them, they don’t turn to dust. Plus, the queen of monsters eating her own subjects seems a tad cruel. However, Toriel doesn’t absorb the souls of the snails, you don’t see 1000 little souls around her monster soul. She doesn’t have the power to pass through the barrier, so apparently even thousands of snails souls are not equal to one human soul in power… snails do not have souls.
What do you need to have in order to have a soul? Do you need sentience? Self awareness? The ability to feel empathy, compassion, attraction, love, happiness, or some other feeling? What makes determination in a human different from the basic urge and drive to survive? Free will? There are quite a few species of animals that possess these emotional and cognitive and psychological traits we once believed were purely human. We have artificial intelligence on the verge of reaching the definition of some of these traits. We have mapped the neural network and cells and genome and nervous system of the nematode C. elegans, and can simulate it and run it on a computer. Does this program, run on a computer, have the same value, the same life, the same soul as a live nematode? What about in the future when we do this with a fruit fly? A zebra fish? A rat, capable of empathy and fear and stress and problem solving and pain? A primate, capable of being self aware, complex emotions, love, determination?
What about the day in the future, with an extremely powerful super computer, in which we are able to model and run the brain of a human being, scanned to such detail of cellular organelles and charges that the “mind” and memories and “soul” are identical to the dead human whose brain was used?
This is the point of this blog. We started with a topic of an indie game made mostly by a young adult who likely never once though about any of this, and it’s lead to this big picture with a topic with real importance, a philosophical question and realization that makes you think. I took you to the future of science and the human race and educated you while giving you an opportunity to consider something that may alter your view of life, souls, brains, animals, memories, computers, technology, death, and the emotions and mechanisms of our brains that determines what life is for us.