Thursday, June 13, 2013

"spiritual" adventures

Does anyone besides me find the word "spiritual" a little weird? From where I sit, "spiritual" seems to be a bit like "love:" Everyone uses the word with an assurance that might do the pope proud and yet when
called on to define it, every person wants to splice in a "yes but," some footnote to indicate that the word has meaning beyond the definition given. "We" speak the word as if we all agree and yet the bald fact is, well, we only sort-of agree ... each with his or her personal yes-but to tack on.

An Internet dictionary describes the adjective "spiritual" as meaning:
related to your spirit instead of the physical world
religious, or related to religious issues
Let's give "spirit" a pass for the moment and pretend we all know what that means.

But still, using the dictionary definition, where is the line between anyone's uhhhh spirit "instead of the physical world?"

Spiritual stuff is sort of invisible, I guess, and it's usually big ... bigger than a breadbox ... big, as in god-big.

It seems to be imbued with something benevolent, but you can never quite be sure when it might come around and bite you on the ass.

Separation from the physical world may be OK for a definition of "spiritual," but when you try applying that separation, when trying to say for sure what is and is not "spiritual," things seem to fall into disarray.

"Spiritual" has a presumptive truth (why else use the word?) and yet what, precisely, is presumed seems to live in a land of wubba-wubba.

Even dissecting the word "spiritual" can seem to be bad manners -- it's taken that seriously.

Taken seriously enough to use without a backward glance and a sometimes-oozing insistence and yet not seriously enough for anyone to know what they're talking about.

It's weird.

Or maybe it's just me.


  1. Spiritual always struck me as a magical attempt to win at life by someone too cool to be seen in the religion box. They're marching to their own drum, making it up as they go along, or sniffing out their own truth. That's all well and good, but in spite of our infinite variety of personalities, objecting to categorization and clinging to mystical solutions strikes me as still pretty much being in lala land. And i'm way to kewl for that.

  2. What else would an intelligent being do except "sniffing out their own truth"?