Monday, January 22, 2018

QUORA: Is spirituality for losers?

Quora is a social media website founded by two former Facebook employees. According to Wikipedia:

Quora is a question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. The company was founded in June 2009, and the website was made available to the public on June 21, 2010.[3] Quora aggregates questions and answers to topics. Users can collaborate by editing questions and suggesting edits to other users' answers.[4]

You can also reply to other users’ answers.

A recent QUORA submission asked, Is spirituality for losers?

I left this answer:

Is spirituality for losers? Only for those who want to deny their own humanity.

The human spirit is the non-material part of a person. It is your consciousness; your capacity to observe and understand the world, direct your actions through choice of values and rational thought, experience emotions, develop moral character, form evaluations of others (admiration, disappointment, etc.), store and retrieve memories, and so on. Spirituality is the act of using one’s non-material capacities in service to one’s life.

The problem is that religion has hijacked the concept of spirituality, redefining it as some kind of alien body-snatcher that descends from another allegedly supernatural dimension to take over an otherwise soulless body—to return to that other world after death. Consequently, religionists have convinced us of the myth that spirituality equates to religiosity, and is somehow separate from the real world. I think this concept of spirituality is what the questioner has in mind.

I reject that otherworldly concept of spirituality. Your spirit is not an alien invader. Spirituality is an integral part of your humanity—as indispensable and real to your life as your body. You may use your spirit to its fullest, or not. But to live, you must use it—be spiritual—to some extent. Though non-material in nature, spirituality is as real as your bodily organs, including the physical senses that transmit perceptual material to your brain, which then through logic and reason integrates the data into knowledge. Human life is an integration of body and spirit—of the material and the spiritual. There is no dichotomy there. Transforming an idea into an invention is an integration of the spiritual and the material. Applying your knowledge and skills into a paying job is that. Transforming the desire for companionship into a romantic relationship or friendship is that. Transforming an answer to this question into the written word is that. Adopting a philosophy—religious or secular, supernaturalist or real world-based—and applying its principles to the governance of one's life, is that. Both spirit and body come into existence together; develop together, largely according to our own choices; and go out of existence together at death.

Spirituality, properly understood as the full use of one’s mind in service to one’s life, is not for losers. It is essential to making one’s life—as far as we know, the only life any of us will ever have—the best and most flourishing it can be.

Related Reading:

Consciousness—Ayn Rand Lexicon

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