Secular Spirituality

For all things philosophical.

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Dubious
Posts: 1523
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 7:40 am

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by Dubious » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:12 am

Greta wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:12 am
Dubious wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:09 pm
Greta wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:14 am

Yes, but the process from then to now is worth thinking about. He (actually Sagan) was trying to put across the degree of our integration with the rest of nature, a seemingly obvious notion often not appreciated by those influenced by the religious notions of human divinity embedded in many cultures.
There are those who feel spiritual about the universe. It's a feeling not unknown to me even though it has almost evaporated. Spirituality re the universe is a purely human sentiment with nothing more to it...a phenomena of time, space and process, impersonal in every sense. What we qualify as deep mystery, surrounding such with a halo of spirituality, only amounts to our lack of comprehension. Gaps, especially those that seem impervious to solution, are the catalysts to these mystical feelings. We must have these yearnings to "secularize" these mysteries with each new solution or viable theory though some will likely remain grounded in the human brain failing to achieve escape velocity. To that extent, these astral feelings may persist.

Being neither distinctly secular or theistic, spirituality is an instinct which leads, guides and resolves in all kinds of directions. Put analogically in the context of biology, if it weren't for sex hormones forcing the impulse, humans would never be in danger of over-producing.
Yes, love is just a sentiment. I am enchanted (at a safe distance) by the Earth, geology, biology, evolution, space, stars, black holes, time, energy, galaxies and the fascinating fractal relationships and dynamics that keep occurring at various scales. For me, these things are beautiful, interesting, uplifting, inspiring and challenging. Some might say that's not spirituality, but all things have a particular way of being, and that way of being can be thought of as its character or nature or, more poetically, it can be thought of as its spirit.
It's not uncommon being human to think poetically of nature but it's only that, our poetic reaction which invests it with spiritual significance. Nature itself doesn't have any and, more to the point, can also appear as a truly malevolent demiurge whose means of inflicting total misery on its creatures are hardly uplifting, beautiful or inspiring while still remaining interesting, challenging and totally shocking. Within "the pleroma of time", Nature "levels" with its indifference the highs & lows of which we are cognizant. It doesn't and shouldn't preempt the feelings you describe while realizing these are only and nothing but our feelings on reflection.

BTW, I didn't say that love is just a sentiment. If it were then empathy would also have to be one, an assumption that leads to an oxymoron since empathy ranges in power and effect far beyond any mere sentiment one could have.

marjoram_blues
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by marjoram_blues » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:03 pm

It could be argued that Nature does have a spirit, and spiritual significance, if humans are a part of Nature and within us is felt an inner life and connection to the world. Some e.g. those of the Gaia movement and deep ecology might see this as a harmony - the natural world as a balance of interdependent relationships. This involves ethics about treating the natural world as holistic - separate parts including humans functioning as a whole.

Of interest to some might be 'spiritual ecology', or is this a step too far ?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_ecology

Belinda
Posts: 1663
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by Belinda » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:00 pm

Marjoram Blues wrote:
Introverts could also disagree with you, no ?
Yes. What I meant about "extroverts may well disagree" was that I imagine that extroverts are joiners-in so that religious get -togethers may appeal more to them.
I agree that 'spiritual' and 'spirituality' mean different things to different people. I was trying to define 'spirituality' as a category that I view as pertaining to people who are too independent or too intraverted to march to the same tune as others around them, especially when those others are bossy priests.

marjoram_blues
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by marjoram_blues » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:52 pm

Belinda wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:00 pm
Marjoram Blues wrote:
Introverts could also disagree with you, no ?
Yes. What I meant about "extroverts may well disagree" was that I imagine that extroverts are joiners-in so that religious get -togethers may appeal more to them.
I agree that 'spiritual' and 'spirituality' mean different things to different people. I was trying to define 'spirituality' as a category that I view as pertaining to people who are too independent or too intraverted to march to the same tune as others around them, especially when those others are bossy priests.
Ah, OK. Thanks for further clarification. I think that if you look at an average congregation, there will be a mix of all types of personality. In the case of spirituality, likewise.
I suspect it will be an even broader church. It is not a rare condition, limited to a few. It could be argued that, if seen as 'naturalized' ( as per Solomon), it is more inclusive and, like philosophy, is attractive to thinking individuals who have the greater social dimension in mind. The social conversation linked to realizing potential in ourselves and others. What is the best way to live in this world, right now.
Indeed, some may find that they are more 'spiritual' than they think; spirituality in life having many aspects. Worth considering anyway...

Dubious
Posts: 1523
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 7:40 am

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by Dubious » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:03 am

marjoram_blues wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:03 pm
It could be argued that Nature does have a spirit, and spiritual significance, if humans are a part of Nature and within us is felt an inner life and connection to the world. Some e.g. those of the Gaia movement and deep ecology might see this as a harmony - the natural world as a balance of interdependent relationships. This involves ethics about treating the natural world as holistic - separate parts including humans functioning as a whole.

Of interest to some might be 'spiritual ecology', or is this a step too far ?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_ecology
If it could be argued that nature does have spirit then why isn't it? Whenever it's attempted it invariably devolves to our feelings on the subject. The vey interesting article you posted also makes that clear.

Nature is a process both sublime and disgusting; we are aware of the differences but nature is not. A process whether cosmic or microscopic isn't suborned to know any such differences. All it needs to do is to proceed along its morphological paradigms. It is we who have created spirit and surrounded nature with it as if it were endowed with some glorious halo of its own.

Nature does what it does without the least regard to what you think, feel, or make assumptions about. It is what it is not unlike the meaning by which the OT God denotes himself, I AM THAT I AM.

It enhances the human spirit to think that nature has one, an accord not to be trivialized but better understood as a powerful operating metaphor of historical significance.

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 2987
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by Greta » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:27 am

Dubious wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:12 am
Greta wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:12 am
Dubious wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:09 pm
There are those who feel spiritual about the universe. It's a feeling not unknown to me even though it has almost evaporated. Spirituality re the universe is a purely human sentiment with nothing more to it...a phenomena of time, space and process, impersonal in every sense. What we qualify as deep mystery, surrounding such with a halo of spirituality, only amounts to our lack of comprehension. Gaps, especially those that seem impervious to solution, are the catalysts to these mystical feelings. We must have these yearnings to "secularize" these mysteries with each new solution or viable theory though some will likely remain grounded in the human brain failing to achieve escape velocity. To that extent, these astral feelings may persist.

Being neither distinctly secular or theistic, spirituality is an instinct which leads, guides and resolves in all kinds of directions. Put analogically in the context of biology, if it weren't for sex hormones forcing the impulse, humans would never be in danger of over-producing.
Yes, love is just a sentiment. I am enchanted (at a safe distance) by the Earth, geology, biology, evolution, space, stars, black holes, time, energy, galaxies and the fascinating fractal relationships and dynamics that keep occurring at various scales. For me, these things are beautiful, interesting, uplifting, inspiring and challenging. Some might say that's not spirituality, but all things have a particular way of being, and that way of being can be thought of as its character or nature or, more poetically, it can be thought of as its spirit.
It's not uncommon being human to think poetically of nature but it's only that, our poetic reaction which invests it with spiritual significance. Nature itself doesn't have any and, more to the point, can also appear as a truly malevolent demiurge whose means of inflicting total misery on its creatures are hardly uplifting, beautiful or inspiring while still remaining interesting, challenging and totally shocking. Within "the pleroma of time", Nature "levels" with its indifference the highs & lows of which we are cognizant. It doesn't and shouldn't preempt the feelings you describe while realizing these are only and nothing but our feelings on reflection.

BTW, I didn't say that love is just a sentiment. If it were then empathy would also have to be one, an assumption that leads to an oxymoron since empathy ranges in power and effect far beyond any mere sentiment one could have.
Point taken re: love not being just a sentiment. Ditto love of nature, which also tends to have many practical implications. The trick with nature is to appreciate that entropy is an ever-present factor that allows for renewal and reduces stagnation, while at the same time staying as far from said entropy as possible :)

As far as I can tell, spirituality - secular or mythology-based - is about not taking things for granted, paying attention to so-called "unimportant" things and being grateful for any luck/respite noticed in your investigations. Science and philosophy too are about paying attention to things that are usually glossed over.

The difference between spirituality and the other fields is emotion. In fact, it would be fair to say that emotion powers spirituality in a way similar to how curiosity fuels science; it's essential. Each of my peak experiences was preceded by an unusual sense of wellbeing; I simply felt perfect on each occasion, without the slightest physical or mental niggle, and then seemed to "fall down a rabbit hole". The sensibilities that stemmed from those experiences changed my life for the better, and certainly left me more optimistic.

Note that at the time I could have, like a dog, simply felt terrific without the additional cognitive feedback (loop) that seemingly makes peak experiences possible. The human capacity to observe emotions acts like a informational lever that can significantly amplify or dampen emotions.

Dubious
Posts: 1523
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 7:40 am

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by Dubious » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:03 am

Greta wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:27 am

The difference between spirituality and the other fields is emotion. In fact, it would be fair to say that emotion powers spirituality in a way similar to how curiosity fuels science; it's essential.
Good analogy since spirituality and curiosity are close cousins fueled by emotion binding both to make sense of the world and in that respect "essential" being the striving agents that move us forward...at least in theory!
Last edited by Dubious on Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 2987
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by Greta » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:51 am

Dubious wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:03 am
Greta wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:27 am

The difference between spirituality and the other fields is emotion. In fact, it would be fair to say that emotion powers spirituality in a way similar to how curiosity fuels science; it's essential.
Good analogy since spirituality and curiosity are close cousins fueled by emotion binding both to make sense of sense of the world and in that respect "essential" being the striving agents that move us forward...at least in theory!
Makes sense to me. We have a general desire to explore, be it internally, externally and/or the confluence of the two, ie. connections.

User avatar
Conde Lucanor
Posts: 657
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:59 am

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by Conde Lucanor » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:32 am

marjoram_blues wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:26 am
My ears are in disagreement with yours. The tone of the article is in keeping with wiki's writing guidelines: formal, impersonal and dispassionate.
That will be the style, not the tone.
marjoram_blues wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:26 am
The leader of the article includes 3 paragraphs which might be considered enough for those who wish a brief summary of the topic and a lead-in to the sources available. Indeed, on my first read, it was here with Solomon's suggestion ( see OP ) that I stopped dead and wanted to discover more.
Since then, I have read it 3 times and find nothing aggressive in its stance towards materialistic views. It is more about taking the concept back from institutionalized religion.
Not aggressive, more like dismissive.
marjoram_blues wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:26 am
I would argue that 'going beyond' means over and above - it is not negating or attacking materialism, rather bringing both aspects together in a holistic view of the human experience.
Whenever I find someone saying or implying that materialism is not enough, that there may be something beyond it, I think that's suspicious of idealism.
marjoram_blues wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:26 am
What is the point of your final sentence ?
Meditation and yoga: typical stuff of Eastern religions and the New Age appropriation of it. I really like the Dalai Lama, though.

Dubious
Posts: 1523
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 7:40 am

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by Dubious » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:12 am

Greta wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:51 am
Dubious wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:03 am
Greta wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:27 am

The difference between spirituality and the other fields is emotion. In fact, it would be fair to say that emotion powers spirituality in a way similar to how curiosity fuels science; it's essential.
Good analogy since spirituality and curiosity are close cousins fueled by emotion binding both to make sense of sense of the world and in that respect "essential" being the striving agents that move us forward...at least in theory!
Makes sense to me. We have a general desire to explore, be it internally, externally and/or the confluence of the two, ie. connections.
Didn't mean to "make sense" twice!

marjoram_blues
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by marjoram_blues » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:42 am

Conde Lucanor wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:32 am
marjoram_blues wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:26 am
My ears are in disagreement with yours. The tone of the article is in keeping with wiki's writing guidelines: formal, impersonal and dispassionate.
That will be the style, not the tone.
marjoram_blues wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:26 am
The leader of the article includes 3 paragraphs which might be considered enough for those who wish a brief summary of the topic and a lead-in to the sources available. Indeed, on my first read, it was here with Solomon's suggestion ( see OP ) that I stopped dead and wanted to discover more.
Since then, I have read it 3 times and find nothing aggressive in its stance towards materialistic views. It is more about taking the concept back from institutionalized religion.
Not aggressive, more like dismissive.
marjoram_blues wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:26 am
I would argue that 'going beyond' means over and above - it is not negating or attacking materialism, rather bringing both aspects together in a holistic view of the human experience.
Whenever I find someone saying or implying that materialism is not enough, that there may be something beyond it, I think that's suspicious of idealism.
marjoram_blues wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:26 am
What is the point of your final sentence ?
Meditation and yoga: typical stuff of Eastern religions and the New Age appropriation of it. I really like the Dalai Lama, though.
I think you could be right. I might look into this further to try and improve my own writing. All the better to relay information and relate to others. At times, to be concise it may sound abrupt. At others, it could reflect emotional state !

However, it is tone according to wiki.
'Two styles, closely related and not mutually exclusive, tend to be used for Wikipedia articles.
The tone, however, should always remain formal, impersonal, and dispassionate...'

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikiped ... r_articles
Sounds like they could do with your help to improve that entry.

Either way, it seems we differ in subjective appreciation of the article. I guess we sometimes pick out bits we find important to ourselves and disregard the rest. The same with writers of an article.
The good thing about wiki is its collaborative spirit, if there is a problem with content, style or tone then it can be corrected.

I guess I took your tone to be dismissive of the article and the topic as a whole. Something I wanted to correct. Again, the final sentence containing subjective view rather than giving more context as per article.

Interesting to consider the spirit with which we both take to and from any text.
Thanks for making me think further about this.

marjoram_blues
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by marjoram_blues » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:50 am

Dubious wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:03 am
marjoram_blues wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:03 pm
It could be argued that Nature does have a spirit, and spiritual significance, if humans are a part of Nature and within us is felt an inner life and connection to the world. Some e.g. those of the Gaia movement and deep ecology might see this as a harmony - the natural world as a balance of interdependent relationships. This involves ethics about treating the natural world as holistic - separate parts including humans functioning as a whole.

Of interest to some might be 'spiritual ecology', or is this a step too far ?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_ecology
If it could be argued that nature does have spirit then why isn't it? Whenever it's attempted it invariably devolves to our feelings on the subject. The vey interesting article you posted also makes that clear.

Nature is a process both sublime and disgusting; we are aware of the differences but nature is not. A process whether cosmic or microscopic isn't suborned to know any such differences. All it needs to do is to proceed along its morphological paradigms. It is we who have created spirit and surrounded nature with it as if it were endowed with some glorious halo of its own.

Nature does what it does without the least regard to what you think, feel, or make assumptions about. It is what it is not unlike the meaning by which the OT God denotes himself, I AM THAT I AM.

It enhances the human spirit to think that nature has one, an accord not to be trivialized but better understood as a powerful operating metaphor of historical significance.
Yes, interesting to consider spiritual significance to humans.
And perhaps time to discuss, define, interpret and contrast what 'spirit' is...in its various realms.
Given it is the root...

marjoram_blues
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by marjoram_blues » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:13 am

Greta wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:27 am
Dubious wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:12 am
Greta wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:12 am

Yes, love is just a sentiment. I am enchanted (at a safe distance) by the Earth, geology, biology, evolution, space, stars, black holes, time, energy, galaxies and the fascinating fractal relationships and dynamics that keep occurring at various scales. For me, these things are beautiful, interesting, uplifting, inspiring and challenging. Some might say that's not spirituality, but all things have a particular way of being, and that way of being can be thought of as its character or nature or, more poetically, it can be thought of as its spirit.
It's not uncommon being human to think poetically of nature but it's only that, our poetic reaction which invests it with spiritual significance. Nature itself doesn't have any and, more to the point, can also appear as a truly malevolent demiurge whose means of inflicting total misery on its creatures are hardly uplifting, beautiful or inspiring while still remaining interesting, challenging and totally shocking. Within "the pleroma of time", Nature "levels" with its indifference the highs & lows of which we are cognizant. It doesn't and shouldn't preempt the feelings you describe while realizing these are only and nothing but our feelings on reflection.

BTW, I didn't say that love is just a sentiment. If it were then empathy would also have to be one, an assumption that leads to an oxymoron since empathy ranges in power and effect far beyond any mere sentiment one could have.
Point taken re: love not being just a sentiment. Ditto love of nature, which also tends to have many practical implications. The trick with nature is to appreciate that entropy is an ever-present factor that allows for renewal and reduces stagnation, while at the same time staying as far from said entropy as possible :)

As far as I can tell, spirituality - secular or mythology-based - is about not taking things for granted, paying attention to so-called "unimportant" things and being grateful for any luck/respite noticed in your investigations. Science and philosophy too are about paying attention to things that are usually glossed over.

The difference between spirituality and the other fields is emotion. In fact, it would be fair to say that emotion powers spirituality in a way similar to how curiosity fuels science; it's essential. Each of my peak experiences was preceded by an unusual sense of wellbeing; I simply felt perfect on each occasion, without the slightest physical or mental niggle, and then seemed to "fall down a rabbit hole". The sensibilities that stemmed from those experiences changed my life for the better, and certainly left me more optimistic.

Note that at the time I could have, like a dog, simply felt terrific without the additional cognitive feedback (loop) that seemingly makes peak experiences possible. The human capacity to observe emotions acts like a informational lever that can significantly amplify or dampen emotions.
I am so enjoying this listening to this conversation between you and Dubious. It seems you have a spiritual connection!

Fascinating to hear about how you were feeling ( an unusual sense of well-being) before a peak spiritual experience. I wonder what it was that fuelled this. Because it seems to me that that in itself is a feeling of spirituality. I begin to think that spirituality is a process of thinking and all types of thinking involve a movement, including motivation - emotion being the root of all.
Your 'cognitive feedback' would seem to tie in with Solomon's 'hallmark card phrase' in the title of his book:
' Spirituality for the Skeptic: the Thoughtful Love of Life'.

The Thoughtful Love of Life.

marjoram_blues
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by marjoram_blues » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:51 am

The spirit of Bernini in marble.

Last night I watched BBC2 'Rome Unpacked', Series 1, Episode 2.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09l64hd

It is about the spirit and history of Rome, specializing in off the track food and art.
The enthusiasm of the presenters can be a bit overwhelming at times - but the things you learn and see not available to the usual tourist, amazing.

How can anyone find spirit in marble ?

Just look at Bernini's self portrait in sculpture - it is of a tortured soul screaming out.
And the opposite mirror -
The story behind it. The passionate love, betrayal and revenge.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gian_Lorenzo_Bernini
Scroll down to the gallery. Damned Soul v Blessed Soul.
But you need to see them placed in context. If you can, watch the programme.
Last edited by marjoram_blues on Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

Reflex
Posts: 571
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:09 pm

Re: Secular Spirituality

Post by Reflex » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:52 am

"Secular spirituality." :lol: Gawd, I love oxymorons. :lol: Don't people use dictionaries anymore?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Greta, LAA, Nick_A and 2 guests