Thursday, August 16, 2007

Spirituality Schmirituality

The idea of synchronicity has always interested me. Not in the sense that I have anything interesting to say about it now but more that I am rather happy to have a chance to use it here as a nice little segue into the subject of this blog, which is actually spirituality. Or perhaps ‘spirituality’.

The justification for the segue is that I have been thinking about the concept of 'spirituality' today since I heard a bint in the coffee shop descripe herself as 'spiritual' while I was waiting for my mocha and wondering what the chances were that the incompetent boob behind the counter would remember to use the soy milk and not to add the marshmallows. Then, while taking an extremely well earned break at work I read Charlie Brooker’s rant about more or less the same subject (and I’ll get to that in a minute).

I dislike it when I hear people describe themselves as ‘spiritual’ and this is probably because I don’t know what it means. Or, rather, I know what it means and I think it’s either a complete cop-out or one of the early warning signs of brain damage.

Technically to be 'spiritual' is to be concerned with the idea of the spirit. Practically it seems to refer to a desire to believe in some higher power without needing to narrow down your options, go to church on a Sunday or risk angering one of a dozen potential deities.


If you want to believe in religion then believe in a religion. Personally I’m not a fan but then I could well be looking at 10 to eternity in the fiery pits of hell for that belief, or lack thereof. If you want to dope yourself up on the opium of the people (if I'm wrong then Orwell may well be cursing my name from Heaven or Hell for my poor paraphrasing right there) then pick a religion, any religion. You have plenty to choose from and a couple of them even have some pretty nifty ideas.

Just do me a favour. Don’t buy healing crystals, or at least don’t refer to them as such around me. Read horoscopes if you like (I have been known to dabble) but don’t believe them. Don’t try to convince me to go in for alternative treatments for any of my many problems because they’re so much better than all those “harsh drugs” the doctor keeps trying to ram down my throat and please, please, please don’t tell me about your friend’s husband’s dog’s uncle who was once cured by the power of thought.

'Spirituality' to me is the opposite of rational thought, reason and logic. Strange things do happen, I concede, but the universe is a strange place. Open a physics textbook instead of consulting your mood stone and you might get a little bit closer to understanding something. Take off your ridiculous hemp pants and introduce yourself to Mr Intellect and Mrs Common Sense and maybe we can start improving things around here.

It falls to Brooker to present my closing argument:
“’Spirituality’ is what cretins have in place of imagination. If you've
ever described yourself as ‘quite spiritual’, do civilisation a favour and punch
yourself in the throat until you're incapable of speaking aloud ever again. Why
should your outmoded codswallop be treated with anything other than the
contemptuous mockery it deserves? Maybe you've put your faith in spiritual
claptrap because our random, narrative-free universe terrifies you. But that's
no solution. If you want comforting, suck your thumb. Buy a pillow. Don't make
up a load of floaty blah about energy or destiny. This is the real world,
stupid. We should be solving problems, not sticking our fingers in our ears and
singing about fairies.”


Anonymous said...

I agree 100% Kate...that might be a first (he types with a cheeky smile)

my name is kate said...

Thanks Anonymous Friend (Spiteri? If so your party was fab)