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Naturalism and spirituality

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  • michaelthepipel
    Hey, I m a relatively long time reader of some of the literature posted at the naturalism.org website and always wanted to get involved in some of the
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 9, 2010
      Hey,

      I'm a relatively long time reader of some of the literature posted at the naturalism.org website and always wanted to get involved in some of the discussion about the philosophy. (For the record, I agree with it strongly, esspecially with respect to contra-casual free-will)

      Anyway, I wanted to post on an issue with respect to spirituality. One of the most common arguements I come into contact with other individuals with respect to the existance of the common Western interpretation of 'God' is that she or he simply must exist because they can 'feel him' or 'talk to her', etc. I also frequently hear an arguement that without God there can be no such thing as 'spirituality' which is exactly what I wanted to refute in this post to get some feed-back.

      I feel this discussion is of the utmost importance because 1) the human experience of 'spirituality' can be explained through scientific inquiry and 2) such an explanation is of the utmost importance for people to grasp in order to live more fulfilling lives as well as bridge several cultural gaps that have been created through religious dogma and cultural mores.

      One of the most influential perspectives I have for this idea is the work of Polish psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Csikszentmihalyi proposed a mental state known as 'Flow' which stipulates that the more fully immersed in an activity an individual becomes the more fulfillment the individual will feel as a result due to the absence of anxiety and depression. In fact it is impossible for the individual to feel anxiety or depression due to how immersed her mind is in the activity. The forumla for flow comes down to ensuring difficulty is on par with ability. A mismatch with excessive ability results in boredom whereas a mismatch with excessive difficulty results in frustration.

      Although I don't think that Dr. Csikszentmihalyi necessarily meant for his work to apply to sprituality but the potential applications become extremelly self-evident (look at the Lord's prayer and the Catholic Church's addition in requesting the Lord to keep chruch attendants free from anxiety).

      I don't want to be too loquacious with this, so I would sum up that I believe the biological basis for spirituality comes from the fact that when one feels it it is impossible for the individual to feel anxiety, depression, and pain.
    • Steve L
      Csikszentmihalyi is talking about being fully immersed in an activity where there is a reduction or removal of anxiety, depression, and pain. That state is
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 19, 2010
        Csikszentmihalyi is talking about being fully immersed in an activity where there is a reduction or removal of anxiety, depression, and pain. That state is probably familiar to everyone. Any really engrossing activity will do that, but I suspect it is really just a shift of attention away from conscious mental activity. I wouldn't call it spiritual necessarily.

        Spirituality is a word with a large range of meaning. There is a state well known to serious practioners of meditation where one feels calm and peaceful and part of the whole universe. (Not a perfect description...). That I would call a spiritual experience and it does not require any strange beliefs or particularly outlandish rituals.

        It is also possible to maintain that perspective during the ordinary activity of life, again without any particular beliefs. It does require that one treats one's own experience far more seriously than we normally do and it leads to a radical change in one's view of reality. You may not be prepared for that, however.

        Steve

        --- In naturalismphilosophyforum@yahoogroups.com, "michaelthepipel" <fred_plustax@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hey,
        >
        > I'm a relatively long time reader of some of the literature posted at the naturalism.org website and always wanted to get involved in some of the discussion about the philosophy. (For the record, I agree with it strongly, esspecially with respect to contra-casual free-will)
        >
        > Anyway, I wanted to post on an issue with respect to spirituality. One of the most common arguements I come into contact with other individuals with respect to the existance of the common Western interpretation of 'God' is that she or he simply must exist because they can 'feel him' or 'talk to her', etc. I also frequently hear an arguement that without God there can be no such thing as 'spirituality' which is exactly what I wanted to refute in this post to get some feed-back.
        >
        > I feel this discussion is of the utmost importance because 1) the human experience of 'spirituality' can be explained through scientific inquiry and 2) such an explanation is of the utmost importance for people to grasp in order to live more fulfilling lives as well as bridge several cultural gaps that have been created through religious dogma and cultural mores.
        >
        > One of the most influential perspectives I have for this idea is the work of Polish psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Csikszentmihalyi proposed a mental state known as 'Flow' which stipulates that the more fully immersed in an activity an individual becomes the more fulfillment the individual will feel as a result due to the absence of anxiety and depression. In fact it is impossible for the individual to feel anxiety or depression due to how immersed her mind is in the activity. The forumla for flow comes down to ensuring difficulty is on par with ability. A mismatch with excessive ability results in boredom whereas a mismatch with excessive difficulty results in frustration.
        >
        > Although I don't think that Dr. Csikszentmihalyi necessarily meant for his work to apply to sprituality but the potential applications become extremelly self-evident (look at the Lord's prayer and the Catholic Church's addition in requesting the Lord to keep chruch attendants free from anxiety).
        >
        > I don't want to be too loquacious with this, so I would sum up that I believe the biological basis for spirituality comes from the fact that when one feels it it is impossible for the individual to feel anxiety, depression, and pain.
        >
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