Is spirituality minus the spirit still spiritual?

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This topic contains 82 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  jakelafort 7 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #42265

    Unseen
    Participant

    “Spiritual atheism,” for me seems to be a classic oxymoron. An atheist can’t be spiritual. It’s like throwing out the bath water but keeping the baby, making it a kind of nostalgia. Nostalgia one has for the time one did believe in a grand nonphysical reality, a spiritual world where the spirits we call God, the saints, and the angels once abided. Only now, the land is still there, just without the spiritual occupants.

    #42267

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Agreed. The word is pre-loaded and problematic. There is a difference between being a theist/deist and simply experiencing awe, meditation, sacredness, mystery, connections, etc. ad nauseum.

    #42270

    Unseen
    Participant

    @ Robert

    Agreed. Now let’s see who drops by to defend spirituality.

    #42273

    I don’t think you will be waiting for me to defend it or define it 🙂

    #42277

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I think spirituality is about maximising personal well being in a cooperative way.  The reason for the cooperative part is that one of its meanings is to be part of something greater than oneself.

    So, it means things like achieving and maintaining inner peace and happiness; and self-actualising: achieving personal potentials.

    President Putin may be said to be trying to maximise his personal well being, and he is part of something greater than himself, or thinks he is: Russia.  I think this shows that nationalism can be a form of spirituality for some people.  But the Ukrainians do not find him very “spiritual”.

    #42279

    Unseen
    Participant

    @simon

    Being part of something greater thane oneself is almost the opposite of an oxymoron, something almost too obvious and mundane to be stated. I’m part of the United States, the solar system, the universe. Duh!

    If “it (spirituality) means things like achieving and maintaining inner peace and happiness; and self-actualising: achieving personal potentials,” I don’t see how any of those things follow from feeling one is just a small part of an unimaginably large something bigger.

    An explanation would be appreciated, Simon.

    #42283

    Davis
    Moderator

    I am with Unseen on this Simon. I know you have been struggling for some time to come up with a meaningful definition of spiritual in a secular sense (as have many people including Sam Harris). I am yet to really hear a coherent definition that makes it worth holding onto all the baggage of spiritual when alternatives are far better (even the already vague yet less vague: mindfulness, wellness) or simply not using any term at all and let “spiritual” die in peace.

    As unseen has pointed out “being part of something greater” can describe many things we do every day including work, online discussions, playing volleyball, joining a knitting circle, campaigning for civil rights…none of which need be called, nor ought to be called: spiritual.

    When a potential dating prospect says:  “I am not religious…but I am spiritual” some alarm bells still go off in my head. I mean…that doesn’t mean run (even religious doesn’t necessarily mean run) but caution is advised!

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by  Davis.
    #42285

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Simon, I would agree that Putin’s self-actualization is the result of spiritualism and nuclear fission working in universal cooperative synchronicity with DJ Trump’s boundless self-worth.

     

    #42286

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    If “it (spirituality) means things like achieving and maintaining inner peace and happiness; and self-actualising: achieving personal potentials,” I don’t see how any of those things follow from feeling one is just a small part of an unimaginably large something bigger.

    They don’t follow from it, they’re just part of the portmanteau of phenomena that make up what we mean when we say “spiritual” (without religion).

    I’m part of the United States, the solar system, the universe. Duh!

    I’m talking about being an active functioning member of an interdependent cooperative group or team of some kind, whose members are all working towards the same goal.  If my goals are identified with those of my group, then it makes me feel better in all kinds of ways.

    I do think that psychologically, although I’m not sure of Freud’s or Jung’s terms for it, there is some kind of “spirit” in people that has a state of wellness or disorder.  I don’t mean something supernatural that lives on after we die, although I do believe in this.  It’s a perfectly normal everyday psychological aspect of human beings.  We say about people, they have spirit (they are courageous or defiant, etc.) or their spirit is broken, or things like that.

     

    #42287

    Unseen
    Participant

    @simon

    I now have a clearer meaning of what YOU mean by spiritual. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I don’t think it’s what almost everybody who uses the term “spiritual” means by it.

    #42288

    Davis
    Moderator

    I’m talking about being an active functioning member of an interdependent cooperative group or team of some kind, whose members are all working towards the same goal.  If my goals are identified with those of my group, then it makes me feel better in all kinds of ways.

    How is that different than a volleyball team, a knitting group making a big blanket or a small regional group fighting for separation from a mean big government? Those easily fit under your definition of spiritual. I think most of them would disagree that what they are doing is spiritual, even though what they do could improve their well being, their mental state, (with knitting inner peace), better their lives or even [I cannot believe I am saying this] flourish. Would they be wrong?

    What is the added value of calling this “spiritual” with all its historical and religious baggage than just calling it say: social-self-development-cooperation?

    #42289

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Spiritual is a word that belongs in a dust pan on its way to the garbage can. We ought to simply say what we mean instead of use that word. It is so amorphous, idiosyncratic and loaded with religious connotations that it is better avoided. Certainly effective communication is served in avoiding its usage.

    Another word that bugs me is frankly. What a worthless word. Ya gotta dig deep or at least i do to find proper occasions to insert frank. I am usually full of shit but on this occasion frankly i got something truthful to relate…

    #42293

    Unseen
    Participant

    Spiritual is a word that belongs in a dust pan on its way to the garbage can. We ought to simply say what we mean instead of use that word. It is so amorphous, idiosyncratic and loaded with religious connotations that it is better avoided. Certainly effective communication is served in avoiding its usage. Another word that bugs me is frankly. What a worthless word. Ya gotta dig deep or at least i do to find proper occasions to insert frank. I am usually full of shit but on this occasion frankly i got something truthful to relate…

    “Frankly” may be like other words people use to take up time while they think of something meaningful to say. Words such as “well,” “you know,” and the almost ubiquitous “like,” as used by young people: “Like, I was going to go to the mall, but, like, then I thought that going with, like, Benny to the beach sounded more super awesome.” I have a nephew who quite literally talks that way. I want to tell him, “Like, stop with all the likes. I’d really like appreciate it.”

    #42294

    jakelafort
    Participant

    I have taken the liberty to defenestrate spiritual and frankly. I am on the fence as to freethinker. On the one hand when we hold ourselves out as freethinkers we probably have conveyed something of the following: We’re not dogmatic. Our views are subject to modification and we go where the evidence leads us. We’re not ideologues. We’re not easily led. Other similar ideas as well..

    On the other hand i wonder whether the concept of freethinker is negated by the absence of free will. Can ya have the former without the latter? Don’t think so but i suppose there is value in that word in terms of how we perceive ourselves and how we wish others to see us…

    #42295

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Yeah Unseen it may be as you say. I also think we humans are fancy apes who are prone to unconsciously and consciously adopt behaviors, mannerisms and language of our contemporaries. Have you seen how NBA players have expressed their individuality by adopting the same awful hairstyles? One after another.. Back when i was watching MSNBC and CNN it seemed that speaker after speaker utilized frankly ad nauseum. It seems to have died down a bit. Another pet linguistic peeve of mine is under the bus. The originator gets props. It is not a wildly creative metaphor but if it were composed extemporaneously and suited the context…then ya, pretty good. But jesus stop throwing others under the bus!

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