• darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    It is quite common to hear scientists, particularly scientists actively involved in vitriolic social movements against religion, exclaim that the lack of a deity or any objective meaning doesn't require the absence of spirituality. The "I am just a tiny speck, on a speck, in a vast universe" is an example of the tired cliches.

    However, there are others advocating the position that science ultimately destroys spirituality. From Thomas Ligotti comes this quote:

    “One cringes to hear scientists cooing over the universe or any part thereof like schoolgirls over-heated by their first crush. From the studies of Krafft-Ebbing onward, we know that it is possible to become excited about anything—from shins to shoehorns. But it would be nice if just one of these gushing eggheads would step back and, as a concession to objectivity, speak the truth: THERE IS NOTHING INNATELY IMPRESSIVE ABOUT THE UNIVERSE OR ANYTHING IN IT.”

    I think the only way to save spirituality when faced with an unsavory picture of reality is to re-define spirituality. I don't really know how, though.

    Discuss.
  • Baden
    7.9k
    Why should science stop us cooing over the beauty of the universe? As far as I'm concerned, spirituality is a term that refers to a state that is as open to anyone of any belief system as awe and wonder are - and is closely related to both. So, it wouldn't matter if scientists came out and shouted from the rooftops "THERE IS NOTHING INNATELY IMPRESSIVE ABOUT THE UNIVERSE OR ANYTHING IN IT". Not to them and not to us. Nor should it. The emotional predisposition towards wonder and the sublime is not a slave to the rational mind or anything in it. (Do I need to put that in caps?)
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    425
    I think the only way to save spirituality when faced with an unsavory picture of reality is to re-define spiritualitydarthbarracuda

    Perhaps here's a more fair gambit?

    Can you provide a definition of what is "spirituality" or what is "spiritual", then we can make a case if that is worth saving in the first place?

    I have to be careful here, as I personally lack all qualities of "spirituality" or what is "spiritual" by all common definitions. Beyond a placebo effect of 'self-assumed well being and self-assumed self-importance' I fail to see what these two bring forth that is indeed productive beyond there means of deceptions and distraction.

    At the moment, I really fail in being able to come up with a case where "spirituality" or "spiritual" are worth saving, bit maybe you can do better.

    In terms of 'impressive'...

    ... indeed the universe itself has nothing impressive unless we happen to be impressed by it and express that this is the case for us.

    After all, we are the agents who place such a value forth known as 'impressive'. I somehow fail to see that anything is in and of itself innately 'impressive', but it does nothing to prevent me from being impressed from time to time.

    Until then, a bit of irony, as I find this woman to be very 'impressive' in that she is not 'impressed much':



    Meow!

    GREG

    btw... Psychotick once said something along the lines of "science works from the bottom up and spirituality works from the top down" when it comes to investigating things (I didn't really agree fully with the perspective that science does this exclusively, but anyway...)... it was meant as a defense of the positions and perspective of the spiritual minded, which seemed rather flimsy too me, but anyway... maybe this sort of difference needs to be taken into account?

    I did invite Psychotick to join us... (might have been difficult for many to believe that I did that, but one needs other perspectives to consider; thus refining one's own perspective... anyway.)
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    All life is impressionable, and all life is part of the universe/nature, therefore Nature is in part impressionable. Nature changes and with the coming of man, an infinitesimal part of Nature becomes self-aware.

    What does it mean to be a man, to be self-aware? I think it means that something has arisen from matter, which depends intrinsically on matter, is enchained to matter, yet rises beyond matter. How can anything anything rise from matter? How do we connect with matter, where is that connection. Science chases after this connection, we live it, but we don't live it alone, it is always with other men, who we rely on, love, hate, play...

    We are always with others, the majority of what we know is based on what others have learn't and taught us. I think spirit is in connection with others, from our emphatic relationship with others, without which there is no 'we'.
  • Wosret
    3.2k
    Spirituality, to me, at base, is about soul maintenance. It's about keeping in healthy spirits. Art, and things that focus on the qualitative, rather than the quantitative are simply superior disciplines towards these ends.

    When scientists go on about the awe of being insignificant, this is just a counter-cultural move against religions, and their often stated opinions that religious views and people like to place themselves and humans as the center of the universe, and importance. It is a one upping ethical move, combined with a misunderstanding of impersonal directed focus as a sort of quasi-spiritual selflessness. Or confusing lack of concern, and energy spent focused on the self, as being a humble, enlightened behavior in itself.

    There's no incompatibility between taking care of your soul, and practicing, or being interested in science.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    822
    I don't know what "innately impressive" means, not even when it is capitalized, nor do I know why it matters whether or not the universe has this characteristic. So, Ligotti may sodomize himself in an innately impressive manner as possible as far as I'm concerned.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    "Spirituality" is not a problem if one is conventionally religious. Maybe a billion of us are not conventionally religious, or are not religious at all, and for us "spirituality" may have no ready-made clear meaning. (Actually, it can be a source of confusion for the religious as well.)

    "There is nothing innately impressive about the universe or anything in it" is merely the desiccated diarrhea of the dreariest shriveled up materialist. Sad.

    We can claim to have "spirit" and "spirituality" without invoking God or the numinous. Spirituality is both an emotional and intellectual experience: we feel (love, pain, exaltation, humiliation, etc.) and we make and apprehend meaning. Our thoughts and emotions are intimately linked, and therein is the source of secular spirituality.

    We may all have "spirit" but not all of us are "spiritual". One can close off ones self from unwanted feelings and thoughts, and the most severely shriveled personalities may not be able to tolerate even hear numinous terms bandied about.
    What is a spirit? Leaving out deities and distillates we have these:

    • an animating or vital principle... (like "life")
    • temper or disposition of mind or outlook especially when vigorous or animated... ("enthused" from Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein, to be inspired by a god, filled with the breath of a god)
    • the immaterial intelligent or sentient part of a person
    • the activating or essential principle influencing a person
    • an inclination, impulse, or tendency of a specified kind; a mood
    • a special attitude or frame of mind
    • the feeling, quality, or disposition characterizing something
    • a lively or brisk quality in a person or a person's actions
    • a person having a character or disposition of a specified nature
    • a mental disposition characterized by firmness or assertiveness
    • prevailing tone or tendency
    • general intent or real meaning
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