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    Index001 Why be interested in spirituality today →
    What is spirituality

    The entry “Spirituality” on Wikipedia gives first information about what spirituality is; however, either this item or the definitions that can be found in vocabularies and encyclopedias do nothing but refer to the meaning of “spirit”, avoiding the controversy about the existence of the supernatural. In this starting page of the website we give to the term an initial meaning for a first field clearance from misunderstandings and confusions; subsequent research, carried out in the blog, will make possible to gradually appreciate clarities, complexities and fascination of what spirituality is able to be and mean. The general meaning we give to the term to make possible a start of the research is as follows: spirituality is any inner experience. “Inner” means that reaches our brain, possibly also without awareness. This is clearly a very broad meaning, but we intend to limit it to the world of what is open to criticism; we can do then a further narrowing of the field of attention by inquiring about what inner experiences further research will be profitable.

    This website

    This, as far as I know, is the only website in the world, entirely dedicated to spirituality, aimed to be impartial and independent from any religion or belief. It provides, as a thinking aloud, a path of human spirituality, lived as experience and a critical research. Critical research is conducted with humanistic, scientific, and philosophical criterion.

    Applying a humanistic criterion means studying spirituality with the same responsibility with which, for example, literature, psychology, history, sociology, that is the so-called “humanities”, are studied in schools and research institutes; they differ from science as such because they are not limited to what is strictly measurable and provable; for example, to study the style of a poet, humanities not only use structural analysis, which would be often eccesively complex and extensive in order to allow us to finish them, but also rely on sensitivity of experts about criticism in that field. This does not mean that literary critics are allowed to say any statement without having to prove it, but that they use the data from experience in more global, comprehensive, synthetic ways, rather than in a purely analytical and detailed way, as it is done, for example, in physics, mathematics, chemistry. Besides this, the specification “human”, is meant also in opposition to “universal”: it results to be an advantage for resarch to distinguish a spirituality widespread all over universe from another one that instead we find specifically within us.

    Using a scientific criterion means to strive to narrow the search field to what is documented, demonstrable, explainable, repeatable. It follows that fields usually referred to spirituality, such as paranormal, esoteric, supernatural stuff, here are simply appreciated as manifestations of human behavior. In our research we are interested in a spirituality that even a scientist, a materialist or an atheist must be able to follow.

    Keeping a confrontation with philosophy, in favor of research seriousness, essentially means giving importance to criticism and self-criticism, especially regarding the relativistic criticism of metaphysics. An example of this type of criticism is the “weak thought” of Gianni Vattimo, but we can also think to Heidegger or what is called “postmodern”. Who wants to believe in the existence of “spirits”, as such non-material, but belonging to other dimensions, is free to do so, this is not relevant for the purposes of research that here is meant to pursue; what matters is that everything will be discussed here, whether material or immaterial, will anyway be interpreted in a manner incompatible with any notion of truth as objective, real, something to which, according to some, we all should adapt “because it is so”, “because it is true”. From this point of view it is not uncommon that even atheists are actually very dogmatic. Spirituality meant here is rather relativist, critic and self-critic on everything, always becoming, ready to doubt everything, including itself. For a better understanding of the philosophy that underlies this view, I recommend reading my book Walking, available for free in this website.

    Spirituality today is subject to distortions due to the lack of critical sense in those who deal with it. In the search engine results you can see that religions and gullible have appropriated the concept, emptying it of value and bending its meaning towards the idea of supernatural worlds, ghosts, spirits, mysterious and esoteric forces; these conceptions carry contradiction, hypocrisy, slavery: by escaping the control of critical reason and then to the power of its demolitions, they give to naive people the feeling of a minimum of comprehension, which is ultimately a feeling of control and power, exercised on the meaning of the term, of themselves and of others.

    The critical path that philosophy has covered in the world now enables a work of rescuing the human heritage of experience, indicated by the word “spirituality”, to seriousness; there is no one to blame for what has been said above, it is a matter of proceeding with a historical mindset, that actually allows us to appreciate the progress made, but freeing its interpretation from metaphysical presuppositions. An efficient portait of the new efforts in the present situation is in Jacob Waschenfelder (2011), The World Suffices: Spiritualities without the Supernatural, Journal for the Study of Spirituality 1:2, 171-186.
    This website is online since 1st May 2016. The logo ɣ is the greek letter “gamma”, here considered as stylization of two hands that, in the human walking, held one another. Spirituality is for me the result of walking, especially when different paths meet. ​​​​​

    Transcription of the video Show

    Hello everybody, this video is connected to the website, that stands for “Human spirituality”. Just starting this explanation I apologise for the bad quality of my English language, so if you have comments to make, you can make them as well for my English language because I know I need to improve it, so, feel free to make suggestions to me, so I can improve the quality of my English language.

    Despite this, I thought that it was quite a good thing to share reflections that I already wrote in the website So, this is the reason of this video: to be a supplement to what is already written in the website Another reason could be because video is, in some ways, more human, rather than just written words. So, since spirituality is something human, specifically human, so video could be helping to understand what it is.

    Spirituality is something similar to another thing that is called “philosophical counselling” with some difference. Philosophical counselling is totally based on philosophy, spirituality is the based on the whole life. When we think of spirituality within of religions so that is actually a good connection with religions, although religion is not the essence of spirituality. The essence of spirituality is our humanity, our inner life. Another difference might be that philosophical counselling is aimed to give help for problems that people might feel in the existence. Spirituality does not need to address problems, because we all have spirituality, so we don't need to have problems to be interested in clearing up what is our spirituality. You know, if you look at websites, Google, anyway, if you search, if you look for spirituality, at 99% you will have an idea of something that is supernatural, spirit, the world of invisible things. So, many people think of it as energies, something like a new age or we can say magics, that is again connected to religion, but actually the more genuine meaning of spirituality is not this one, is not connected to energies or banalities of these things. No banality, spirituality can be very serious, very well grounded, discipline. I am not referring only to disciplines like Yoga or Buddhism and so on. Even a person who follows no religions, no Yoga, but just lives, can have a serious and good practice of spirituality. So, what we need is having a good an correct idea of what spirituality is.

    The word “spirituality” actually was born in Catholicism, in the Catholic, or we can say, in a wider horizon, in the Christian environment, Christian horizons of research. So, spirituality was in its origins the life connected to the Holy Spirit, but now spirituality has a much wider meaning. In the website I wrote a specific article that is dedicated to the history of the word “spirituality”, so you can see some deep research in that article, in that message. Anyway, the root, the being rooted in Catholicism, created a physiognomy, a shape of spirituality, so that we cannot ignore its origin. Until today, this background shapes what we have in mind when we say “spirituality”, even if we are not totally conscious, aware of this phenomenon. So we, cannot ignore the Christian origins of the word “spirituality”. All the work, all the search that was done inside the Christian tradition about spirituality created a real language, not only made of words, but a language of ideas, a way of proceeding. So when we think of going on, covering a course about spirituality, actually we are still connected to its origins, to how Christians shaped the word and the concept of spirituality. Now, today, in a more general way, spirituality can connect, we can say, all the aspects of human life, so, correctly, it can be defined, as already many vocabularies let we understand, spirituality can be defined correctly as “inner life”: this is the best starting point for a good and serious search about spirituality: “inner life”. In this website, what I propose is not only explanation, like study of what spirituality is. It is actually a course, that everybody can engage himself to cover, to go on along it. So, there is, for example, a very important and serious and well done work and website about spirituality, that is the British Association for the Study of Spirituality, BASS, but what I consider specific in this website, in, is that it proposes actually what can be a personal course, a course that you can make yours everyday, a practice. But it’s up to determine in which details it will be made real, concrete

    Why should we be interested in spirituality? I think because it’s enrichment. When I make something clear, some ideas clear about spirituality, my inner life, not only inner, but my whole life becomes richer. So I really think that it's worthy the the effort to deepen the study of spirituality, because our life becomes richer, more complete in all its aspects. I'm not talking about happiness. I didn’t say “We will become happy”: that one would be another question that would be studied, that needs to be deepened. I’m talking about richness, completeness, that is different. In many websites you will see something talking about enlightenment, being aware, awareness. This is a problem. I prefer to talk about richness, enriching what we live, conscious or unconscious, in our consciousness or not. So, this is just an introduction to gave you an idea of what I want to share, to explain in these videos and that is already explained in the website. We could say that spirituality is beyond words, so we cannot enclose it in words and I agree with this, but, nonetheless, we have words, so why not to exploit them, why not to use them, to try to share what we have inside. So, even if we are aware of the limits of words, nonetheless we can use them, to try to share our lives.

    Concluding this video, I invite you to see the website, that is a forum, so you can make an account and become part of the forum and say your ideas, share your criticism, your suggestions and contribute to enrich not only the forum, not only me, but I think the entire world of humans. So, see you in the next video and have a good life. Goodbye.

    For those who want to experience this course

    The essential core of this site is the succession of the blog articles, which form a real path of spirituality, a reference bible that can be followed, even repeatedly, for one’s own formation. For the sake of completeness, anyone wishing to do this can read before my book Walking, available for free in this website and then see the three videos that precede the beginning of the blog (currently only the first one is available, works are in progress):

    Towards spirituality - 1 Critique of the concept of truth

    Transcription of the video Show

    Hello everybody. This video is part of a series of three videos, as an introduction to the blog Human Spirituality. This one is about truth and I will try to show you that when we talk about radical questions, essential topics, then we can say that truth does not necessarily exist or, just directly, it doesn’t exist. How can we say this. Let’s make a simple example. If I try to look at the sky, I will see it and I will say “The sky is blue”. Who tells me that the sky is blue? We can answer “My eyes” and the message that enters in my eyes is interpreted by my brain and lets me make a statement and I say “The sky is blue”. In this sense, truth was traditionally defined as matching, correspondence between the thing, that is the sky, and the intellect, that is my mind, what I say. If they match, this is truth. So, if the sky is blue and I say that it is blue, this is truth. But, as I said, this actually arises a lot of problems. For example, I could doubt about my eyes, perhaps my eyes are defective, they don't let me see colours as they really are. So, I can ask friends, to my friends “How is the sky, what’s the colour of the sky? They can comfort me and they can tell me “It’s blue”. So, I could say “Okay, so it's really blue”. But we know that even friends can all make mistakes, can all make errors; but the problem is even more radical. The problem is that the message from my eyes or the message that arrives to me from the answer of my friends, anyway is interpreted by my brain. This is the problem and whatever way I will try to check what my brain is saying to me, finally, the last word is again from my brain. So, instead of asking my friends, I can use instruments, electronic instruments, microscopes. We know, technology offers us a lot of instruments, but who tells me the reading of the instruments? If I look at a ruler, who tells me what the ruler is showing? If I look at a microscope, who tells me what the microscope is showing me? The brain, my brain. So, this is the problem: the last word is always given me by my brain. How can I control what my brain says to me? Again, by using my brain, because whatever I put between me and my brain, the last word will be again by my brain. So, in this sense, there is a situation that we cannot escape from. The situation is that what is controlled and who the controller is are the same. What is controlled is my brain; who will control my brain? My brain again, because I cannot escape from having last word from my brain. In this sense, what I'm saying is similar to the experiment that you can find by looking on Internet of the brain in a vat, a brain enclosed in a vat and what he thinks to be the external reality is actually given him by some impulses. But this is not just an experiment. We can realise that it's our condition, it’s our situation because the vat is our brain itself. We cannot exit, we cannot go out of our brain. There can be alternatives. We can talk about similarities probabilities. But we cannot actually talk about truth, “This is the truth”: this is just what my brain tells me. We can talk about truth, because we need this word, especially in everyday life, so I'm not saying that the word “truth” must not be used, but we need awareness that we can use the word “truth” only in everyday life, practical problems. But, if we want to talk, for example, about the meaning of our life: who are we in the universe? What’s the sense of our being? Who am I? So, if we want to be radical, if we want to deal with essential questions about life, existence, the world, I mean, the essential questions of philosophy, we cannot rely on the word “truth”. We can even say that we don't know its meaning. It’s like an illusion. At this point we can feel confused because our mind tells us “Of, from here there are a lot of consequences, a lot of things that we need to think and rethink starting from this point. What I'm trying to do is not just create confusion, but giving some guide, giving some help to move in this forest, among the trees of this forest. So, we don't need to say “Okay, the result, the final result is just confusion, lack of any reference, lack of any orientation”. I think the situation is different, so don’t rush to say “Okay, everything is confused”. This is a just a too rushed conclusion. So, I will just invite you to appreciate this work of studying in depth the questions of our life, the deep questions. Don’t be too in a rush to make conclusions. Just have patience to cover this way, that actually is an enthusiastic way. This is the aim of the blog of Human Spirituality: just trying to see where we can go and what is the pleasure of covering this distance of going on this walking. So, I would like the you, rather than feeling confused, would feel interested in going on, in the interesting ways of our spirituality. So see you in next episode, next video. Goodbye.

    You can then continue with the blog, with the post 001 Why be interested in spirituality today.

    For an overview, you can view the list of all Blog posts.
    Last edited by Angelo Cannata; 18.01.2021, 21:36.

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