Spirituality? What is it?



:cool: I define spirituality as an awareness of some other more immense consciousness outside of us or an intuition of a will/volition that works for our benefit akin to Dr. Dwyer’s ‘Source’. :!!) :wink:
Spirituallity, to me, is the awareness, experience, perception and consciousness of a consciousness that is greater than our own and yet of which we are part and it is part of us. There is no outside. There is no other (other than a way of speaking or writing). There is only one and all that is, is one.
I used to think of "spirituality" as sort of a term that gives an name to an impression of something but if we were to actually to look past the word and try to define it we would find it really isn't saying anything at all. Now I look at it this way. In the past, someone could see life and it would be reasonable to assume that there was some animating principle in living things. Then, a spirt was the notion of an animating principle. As we know more and more about what brings things to life, the notion seems to shrink into to distinctions between mind and body. As it tends to look less and less like there is a "ghost in the machine," spiritual as shrunk to "consciousness" which is still mysterious to us. I still can't shake the feeling that things that aren't understood are labeled with words like "spirit" as an excuse to make unwarranted conclusions
Antony Flew's "A Dictionary of Philosophy: Revised Second Edition" (and this is very interesting, as the meaning of spirituality is easily extracted from it; wait til the end...), talks about "spirit" as:
A word commonly used to translate the Hegelian term gGeist (also translated as mind). According to Hegel, spirit differs from Nature in that it is an 'I'; in Hegel's language, spirit has being 'for itself' (Encyclopaedia, par. 381, Addition). Hegel recognizes three types of spirit: subjective, objective, and absolute. The philosophy of subjective spirit studies the individual in abstraction from his social reactions, and discusses such topics as consciousness, memory, thought, and will--topics that are covered by what is commonly called 'the philosophy of mind'. The philosophy of objective spirit deals with a man's relations to his fellow men; the fundamental concept here is that of 'right' (Recht), a term having both a legal and a moral sense. This part of Hegel's philosophy includes his ethics and his political theory. The highest stage of spirit is absolute spirit, whose three parts are art, religion, and philosophy. According to Hegel, the study of absolute spirit has to do with spirit as 'infinite', by which he means, not spirit as something boundless, but as having returned to itself from self-estrangement. This is to say that, at this stage of thought, one recognizes that subjective and objective are one; in other words, one has grasped a basic principle of Hegel's idealism.
this last part is very interesting, in that is eludes, directly, to the meaning of "spirituality", i think.
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I have to agree with much that you wrote. However, if we look at the term 'spirit' as in ghost or Holy Spirit, we can say that it is a consciousness, an identity or entity that is not physical and has no physical body.

This is reducing the term as far as we can and getting rid of any connotations, religion, myth or emotions that are usually engendered when we think or speak of it.

In the simplest terms "spirituality" is just the belief or recognition that such an entity(s) exists.
'Spirituality' as the term is typically used is a disguised attempt to blur the distinction between the conscious state of life and the unconscious state of death. This bodes well for the latter state and against the former.
Some Help

Analyzing the notion of spirituality in terms of death and consciousness simply pushes the ambiguous notion of spirituality onto other ambiguous notions, though the former two notions are more scientific. This goes to the heart of the mind-body problem.

My philosophy is that what we term as spirituality is wholly related to what we term as mind. Mind is both separate and yet a process in the brain, akin to the operating system of my computer. The operating system exists apart from the processes in my computer, yet the operating system is a process in the computer circuits. I can destroy my computer, but I cannot destroy the operating system as a concept, or even the concept of my specific customization of the operating system. In fact much akin to spirituality, I can "resurrect" the operating system on another computer. I can destroy the hardware on which these concepts interact with nature yet it still exists. So we run into another philosophical problem: being.

What type of being can I confer onto the concept of operating system, or in our case what type of "being" can we confer onto the concept of mind? Even if mind is simply a process in our brains, the concept of mind is apart from this process, much like the concept of the process of 1+2 is apart from actual process of 1+2. Now its getting really metaphysical and I don't have any real well thought answers.


I found an audio series on the exploration of philosophy and religion. The presentation is clear and concise with no awkward use of language that many philosophers like to use. Plus you can listen to it while going to work or solving hardcore physics problems. He might be able to address the spirituality issue.

Download it http://fsc729.t35.com/FaithReason.htm" [Broken]

Here is a brief summary:

Faith and Reason: The Philosophy of Religion

Through the ages, mankind has pursued questions of faith in something beyond the world of ordinary experience. Is there a God? How can we explain the presence of evil? Do humans, or human souls, live on after death? Is there a hell? The following lectures examine these eternal questions and present the most compelling arguments for and against God’s existence, the seeming conflicts between religion and science, and the different truth-claims of the world’s most popular religions. By delving into the major characteristics of world religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, mankind’s association with the many different varieties of religious practice is brought to light. Above all, Faith and Reason: The Philosophy of Religion lays the groundwork for a rational approach to pursuing questions of faith—and at the same time provides a better understanding of religion’s ongoing importance in the realm of human experience.

Peter Kreeft

Boston College

Courses: Ethics: A History of Moral Thought, Faith and Reason: The Philosophy of Religion


Peter Kreeft is a professor of philosophy at Boston University. He has written over 40 books including Fundamentals of the Faith, The Best Things in Life, Back to Virtue, and The Unaborted Socrates. Besides writing, Kreeft contributes to Christian publications and speaks at numerous conferences. He received his bachelor’s degree from Calvin College and his Ph.D. from Fordham University. Before teaching at Boston University, he taught at Villanova University for three years. Kreeft has been at Boston University for 38 years.

John G.
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This is good. I especially like the post by Sameandnot but FSC729 has given a somewhat parrallel argument. IMO, these two posts are on the right track. I do differentiate between 'Spirit' as a source of life/animating force and 'Spiritual' as a mode of perception.
Amp1 said:
:cool: I define spirituality as an awareness of some other more immense consciousness outside of us or an intuition of a will/volition that works for our benefit akin to Dr. Dwyer’s ‘Source’. :!!) :wink:
Some astronauts have claimed to have had spiritual experiences when viewing the earth from the moon or in orbit. Sometimes it takes a different perspective to become aware of the miracle of consciousness.

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