It will have to transcend a personal god
and avoid dogma and theology.
Encompassing both the natural and the spiritual,
it will have to be based on a sense of intelligence
arising from the spirit of all things,
natural and spiritual,
considered as a meaningful unity."
What has been cut from him is Nature
itself, more specifically, and consequently, his own spiritual
nature: his connection with his inner animal - awe and creature -
astonishment that has the potential to transcend itself and achieve
the numinous, the kind of overwhelming interconnected feeling that
can be felt balls to bones, ovaries to marrow, and has the potential
to make god-animals/animal-gods of us all.
Dogmatic religion is a direct result of this phenomenon.
Hegel's "silent weaving of the spirit"
has unraveled into discordant knots of anxiety and neurosis. It is
time to counteract dysfunctional religiosity and its dogmatic
ideals and antiquated values with an updated spirituality that heals
the dissociative split between Cosmos and Psyche, between Nature and
the human soul.
Nietzsche once declared,
But it wasn't enough.
It sent shockwaves of change in patterns
of thought, at least for those who actually think, but it was met
with a religious cognitive dissonance that absorbed it and continued
Now we are ready.
So can we still call it "God?" Sure, why not?
But now we'll finally be able to stare into the vast awe-inspiring cosmos and state, with self-evident and interdependent truth, the following words once spoken by Meister Eckhart,
What is the hidden function of dogmatic
religion? It is the presentation of the inexplicable by the
impossible in order to steal the minds of the unthinking.
This leads to woeful ignorance and willful myopia. This makes the devotees all too easy to manipulate and control, whether it's to the extreme extent of slavery or the covert extent of debt-slavery, people become easily convinced and overly fearful of authority.
How else does one explain how Christianity and Islam, two religions originally based on loving tolerance, are now tyrannically intolerant?
Alas, they began as spiritual practice, but dissolved into dogmatic religiosity.
As Carl Jung intuited,
But, as James Joyce stated,
So all is not lost if you've found yourself spiritually bamboozled. Which most of us have.
We are all born with the faculty of wonder; it is the duty of the individual not to lose it, or to be distracted by the 'monkey-holiness' (Campbell) of the slothful who lean on spoon-fed, hand-me-down religions.
But it is not easy.
Religious indoctrination, like cultural conditioning, is difficult to overcome. Cognitive dissonance is a psychological hang-up that even the most intelligent of us can easily get hung-up on.
But, as P.C. Hodgell said,
Religion is tempting because we think it fulfills a purpose.
And it means well, but inevitably falls
short due to its own shortsightedness. It provides a crutch for the
spiritually perplexed, for lost spirits and broken souls. But
religion is to a broken soul as a crutch is to a broken leg; whereas
spirituality is to healing a soul as science is to mending a broken
Religion has faith in blindfolds and tells you what to see; spirituality removes the blindfold and teaches you how to see. But what you see can often be terrifying. Religion wants to keep you small, meek, fearful and adaptable to authority.
Spirituality wakes you up to how big your smallness really is, which can give you the kind of power that gets power over power itself.
It was Rumi who said,
Indeed, religion keeps you small and
indifferent to the universe; spirituality helps you understand that
you are the cosmos and the cosmos is you.
After all, he has almost all of the cognitive biases and logical fallacies inherent within the human condition working against him.
As Oscar Wilde famously said,
But on the other side of the coin there's reason screaming at us.
As Carl Sagan succinctly stated,
Instead they say,
The evolution of man itself advances depending upon how often he can exchange outdated, parochial methods of achieving enlightenment with new, more holistic methods.
Leaving dogmatic religion behind and evolving toward an adaptable spirituality is precisely such a sacred exchange. But it comes down to a critical choice, and one only the individual can make for herself.
As Bill Hicks said,
If, as Voltaire claimed,
The conman is then forced to reconcile his guilt, or not.
Here's the thing: we need to drop the idea that religion and spirituality are one thing. They are enemies.
It is religion that destroys all possibilities:
They are not one and the same; they are
two separate concepts, and antagonistic to each other.
But spirituality is moral, despite what man-made laws or indoctrinated laws are considered to be gospel.
As H.L. Mencken surmised,
As such, the spiritual person is not averse to becoming amoral if need be.
As Arthur C. Clark observed,
But the spiritually robust individual,
adaptive and self-overcoming, hijacks morality right back from the
steely jaws of religion and brings it back into alignment with a
healthy/unhealthy mythology, despite parochial notions of good and
It teaches spiritual humility, human compassion, and eco-centric and egalitarian, as opposed to egocentric and sexist, values. This moral flexibility all at once subsumes all religions under a giant umbrella of spirituality.
The spiritually self-actualized
individual is thus free to pick and choose the healthy and
good from all religions, while discarding what is
unhealthy and immoral.
For as Mark Twain pinpointed,
Whether we call it spirituality or not,
any basket that we are tempted to put all our eggs into must be held
suspect and handled with circumspection.
A spiritual person becomes then in art, literature, and religion the extinguisher of death anxiety and the sacred overpass toward a new way to triumph over it.
She subsumes the sacred. She frees the
human animal to become individuated in ego and self-actualized in
soul, despite the petty fears of afterlife pedaled by those still
locked within a dogmatic and religious construct.