Sunday, July 17, 2011


I'm not sure why, but carelessness seems to be woven into human DNA ... mine in particular. I don't mean to criticize carelessness, but since carelessness leads to regret, I think it's probably worth a little attention, a little care.

The immediate example that crossed my mind this morning was the use of the word "spiritual" as in "spiritual endeavor," "spiritual effort," or "spiritual life." What, for heaven's sake, does "spiritual" mean?

In asking this rhetorical question, I do not mean to launch into some orotund critique of the carelessness of others. The only carelessness I can do anything about is my own.

A quickie internet dictionary definition of "spiritual" reads:

-- related to your spirit instead of the physical world
-- religious, or related to religious issues
That definition begs the question since it fails to define what "spirit" might be.

The same dictionary takes a swing at "spirit" in part with:

-- your attitude to life or to other people
-- the attitude of people in a group
-- your mood, or your attitude
-- an enthusiastic or determined attitude
-- the general or real meaning of something
-- the part of a person that many people believe continues to exist after death

I could probably write about my own "spiritual" carelessness all day long and have plenty left over. About the only conclusion I can come to is old (but compelling) hat indeed: Language is forever an approximation of some reality. It is useful to know that approximations cannot replace or limit or even define very well the realities to which they refer. It's not so important to critique the approximations that fill our communication, but it is probably worth the price of admission to know what you're talking about. Not "know the meaning" -- just know the facts ... facts which, when written about, are nothing but a well-meaning carelessness of approximation.

The airy-fairy land in which all of this exists takes on an in-your-face concreteness when the regrets inspired by carelessness come calling. Approximations are OK ... but they do point out the value of finding the realities of which they are approximations.

Everyone may agree in one form or another to the importance of what cannot be seen or touched or smelled or thought. There is 'something' and that 'something' is sometimes called spiritual. But the agreement of others, while warming, cannot still the cold night of regret. It's no good being careless about this.

This is a boring blog entry. I will try to come up with something with more sex appeal in future.

Maybe I'll be more careful in future. Notice, please, I did say "maybe" ... I am, after all, hard-wired for carelessness.

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