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Author Topic: Spirituality as meaning-making  (Read 343 times)

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Offline GrainneTopic starter

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Spirituality as meaning-making
« on: January 24, 2013, 12:37:03 PM »
Hello all. Yes, I realize that I used to have a thread which might look similar to this, but I can't find it, and I sort of wanted to tweak the conversation starter in another direction. First of all, please, let's all be civil. That falls within the boundaries of the mods' rules, so let's try to stick with rational/logical discussion, and not veer off into heated debates, please? Secondly, I will start this thread, and I will post to respond to keep it active, but I don't see myself as a moderator. Just someone who's interested in a subject she's passionate about. :) Thank you! Okay, and with that..

I wanted to have this thread because of a thought that crossed my mind recently. It seems to me, that in society today, though we talk about rationality (even I just did) and desire to have "the facts," that there is still a deep, existential need for meaning-making. Even science seems to be used in that vein. I.e., you have the facts in front of you, there they are, and yet..they fulfill a meaning. They give a person something to point to when big questions come up. This is what religion (all religion) has been doing for millenia. So, to that end, here is my starter question..

Where do you find meaning in your life? What satisfies your questions? Or, can you live with mystery? (okay, three questions) :)

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Spirituality as meaning-making
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2013, 05:01:43 PM »
There is a theory by George Ritzer that he talks about in his book Enchanting a Disenchanted World.  Laid out in his theory is the proposition that through science, technology, exploration and discovery that human beings are unraveling the mysteries of the world.  Granted for any in the science community there are plenty enough questions, but for the common person the enchantment of mystery is fading.  People know why the sun rises, they know the origin of mankind and they understand the mechanics of creating life.  There is little mystery to some very fundamental principles.  The dark jungles of the Amazon have largely been explored, the depths of the ocean seen for what most people care about and even space is being glimpsed in new, boring ways.  So the luster of exploration is dying.  The theory puts forward that people want some enchantment and mystery, so we are attempting to reintroduce that wonder in various ways.

Many of the examples given in the book revolve around the way in which special effects in Hollywood quite literally recreate magic in a modern world.  The way in which stories from books and video games craft these intense mystical storylines that tickle the imagination.  So that book might be a good place for you to start with looking into this question.  I have not read the book in sometime and so any touching of spirituality eludes me if he discusses such things in the book.  Though I am certain the notion of the spiritual does apply to the notion of enchanting the world.  Popularity of shows such as Ghost Hunters can be examples of that along with people’s fascination over mediums, modern day witchcraft and Big Foot. 

As for myself and my meaning, I find that through my work.  Before I did what I do now, I was for the most part apathetic about the nature of God.  I had taken my philosophy courses, thought about the greater mysteries of life and sort of decided to leave the subject alone.  Dealing with death so frequently sent me into a panic.  While I do not consider myself a person of devout religion and one of shaky faith, I do find some comfort in the notion of God.  There is meaning there and through that meaning I can continue to do what I love to do.  Sorry if that seems vague.

Offline Caela

Re: Spirituality as meaning-making
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2013, 08:45:02 PM »
1)Where do you find meaning in your life? I don't actually need spirituality to find meaning in my life. Not to say I don't crave that touch of the Divine in my life, but that doesn't give my life meaning. A job I love, friends and family, my beautiful daughter, these things give my life meaning. 

2)What satisfies your questions? Some of the questions I have, I don't think will ever be satisfied. "What's the meaning of one life in the Grand Scheme of things?" "IS there a Grand Scheme?" sort of questions I don't think will ever be answered, and I think I would be disappointed if they were. They're the sort of questions that make a person think and ponder and shouldn't, in my opinion, have concrete answers. They're questions for poets and philosophers and to inspire the imagination and fire the heart.

3)Or, can you live with mystery? I think my answer to the second question makes it pretty clear that I like the mystery. :)

Science is a wonderful thing and it answers so many of our questions but I like that even when it answers one question, it tends to lead to discoveries that just bring up 10 more.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 08:46:06 PM by Caela »

Offline Skynet

Re: Spirituality as meaning-making
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2013, 02:15:33 AM »
I tend to think that the meaning in your life is what you make of it.  My primary goals are to create good literature through the exploration of life's events, and maintain the strong bonds I have with friends and family.

Offline Barbarian

Re: Spirituality as meaning-making
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2013, 08:40:08 AM »
Hello everyone,

I've just registered yesterday and while looking around, saw this part. I'm sorry if this is an intimate conversation about you long-time members but I just felt like having a few words on subject.

First of all, I'll advise two books which you may have heard and read before, but still, I'll tell them because they're the ones which shaped my life philosophy. First one is Alamut, by Vladimir Bartol. It tells the historical story of the Persian Assasins and their leader, Hasan Sabbah. Sabbah, in his Alamut castle, builds a fake heaven with beatiful gardens and lustful girls. He drugs his best soldiers and for one night, takes them to these gardens. In the mornings, the soldiers think Hasan has shown them the heaven and he holds the power to let people in. So they become assasins for him, believing they will enter the heaven if they die for him.

The second book is, well it's the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The world is intanstly destroyed by an alien government because that it stands on a galactic route that is to be constructed, and it had not been removed into a new location at given time. A lone survivor from earth, travels the galaxy and meets lots of events full of comedy.

To be fair, I do think that both philosophies may be correct. The world can be destoroyed by aliens in a moment, just as a man squeezes a bug while he walks. We are just a small portion of the universe, there may be other universes that we don't know about. Our great galaxy may even be just a very little point in another space. And about the Sabbah's thoughts, well, people believe the dogmas and what they're told. They usually don't do research, look at the scientific odds. They just believe what they're told and live that way. I do think however that somewhere, some universal power (maybe something very similar to the "Force" in Star Wars universe) may be looking for something, shaping lives in some way. But today, science doesn't tell us enough, so a real scientist should learn to live with the big mystery.

Offline vtboy

Re: Spirituality as meaning-making
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2013, 10:43:54 AM »
But today, science doesn't tell us enough, so a real scientist should learn to live with the big mystery.

Or without it.