[pchealth] Fwd: RedWolfe's Wisdom: A Rationale for Spirituality
venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Sun Dec 2 20:30:41 EST 2012
RedWolfe's Wisdom <http://redwolfewisdom.blogspot.com/>
Various comments from 58+ years of experience.
Saturday, December 1, 2012
A Rationale for Spirituality
Religions pretend to care for the spiritual needs of the human family.
What they really do is channel and control the energy and actions of
their adherents for the accumulation of power over them, and usually to
the aggrandizement of some ulterior motive of the institutionalized
church. This is effected through the manipulation of the myths and
superstitions of the culture by claiming to speak for “god” in all
matters of spiritual endeavor. The rational mind is naturally suspicious
of this effort and often finds an atheist position that rejects
spirituality and religious talk.
My problem with the “hard core” atheist position is that it often
rejects the notion of spirituality as part of the human experience,
replacing it with a notion of neurobiology and mental discipline. I
contend that there is a “spiritual” dimension to the human experience,
and its care should be part of the rational life.
So, what is this “spirituality” of which I speak? The best definition I
can come up with is that it is the sense of the numinous. I don't mean
only some mystical sort of “divine presence” or “wonder and awe” that
are the stock in trade of many spiritual hucksters, but a sensible human
perception of an inherent “rightness” of some situations and events. The
sense of the numinous includes, but is not limited to, these “divine
presences” and wonderful times, and also the sense of beauty and
rightness that we feel on seeing scenes and situations that make us
aware of our connectedness to each other and the universe.
There are clear scientific studies
that show that humans are equipped to have this sense. Trans-cranial
Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) can induce the sensation in experimental
situations. Certain drugs are also known to induce the sensation as part
of their effects. History records many disciplines and methods that may
induce it. There is a vast body of art and history that speaks to a
universal sense of beauty and wonderment. And I hope that most readers
here will have a knowledge of the sensation of rightness that is the
surest guide to maximal happiness for the greatest number of people – a
principle that is nearly universally recognized as the basis of morals
The neurobiological model of the brain minimizes the concept of mind and
focuses instead on the nerves and chemical signals, explaining this
sense as a merely physical reaction to stimulus and neurochemical
release in the flesh. I wonder, however, why these circuits and
reactions evolved and remain part of the human body. The science is
clear, the sensation and brain circuitry arose via the evolutionary
mechanisms of random mutation and genetic serendipity. But what life
advantage do they give so that the process of natural selection keeps it
in the mix?
We need to examine what happens if this mechanism is eliminated. There
are not any studies I am aware of that specifically call out this sense,
but I would expect that its lack leads to a severe anti-social
personality (because there is no sense of connectedness to other humans)
that doesn't reproduce effectively. The genetics of socio-pathology are
being studied, and I am willing to predict that some of the causes to be
found will include loss of the sense of the numinous.
Given, now, that we have a sense to guide and evaluate “spiritual”
situations, what do we do with this knowledge? I, and many of the folks
that I feel spiritually kindred to, actively use this sense in our
everyday lives to inform and guide our behavior and plans. Some seek the
spiritual within the structures of traditional religions and seek to
reform religion to be more compassionate and supportive. Others seek
practices and solace in non-religious manners, picking and choosing from
a wide variety of cultures and traditions. Still others choose to label
it as something other than spiritual and construct a lifestyle that
affords them a satisfying experience.
I would like to see all good folk recognize this sense and accept the
“numinous” label as something distinct from “religious” or “spiritual.”
This would allow everyone, religious, spiritual and atheist, to see the
basic rightness of the results of this sense and apply this sense in the
living of their lives.
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