Spirituality in the Modern World: Within Religious Tradition and Beyond 4 volume set by Paul Heelas (Critical Concepts in Religious Studies: Routledge) It would not be an exaggeration to say that during the last century, most especially during and since the 1960s, the language of spirituality has become one of the most significant ways in which the sacred has come to be understood and judged in the West, and, increasingly, elsewhere. Whether it is true that ‘spirituality’ has eclipsed ‘religion’ in Western settings remains debatable. What is incontestable is that the language of spirituality, together with practices (most noticeably spiritual, complementary, and alternative medicine), has become a major feature of the sacred dimensions of contemporary modernity. Equally incontestably, spirituality is a growing force in all those developing countries where its presence is increasingly felt among the cosmopolitan elite, and where spiritual forms of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine are thriving.
This new four-volume, 1,856 page, Spirituality in the Modern World: Within Religious Tradition and Beyond collection from Routledge provides a coherent compilation of landmark texts which cannot be ignored by those intent on making sense of what is happening to the sacred as spirituality—more exactly what is taken to be spirituality—develops as an increasingly important lingua franca, series of practices, and as a humanistic ethicality.
Excerpt: Spirituality, value-politics/politics of value/s and religion: CROCUS — the acronym for the modestly entitled Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (of the Department of Sociology of Erasmus University Rotterdam) — is a good place; to be. Dick Houtman orchestrates activities of the team in ways which can only be described as exemplary. Approaching twenty chapters of the volumes have been written by members of the team, including five which have been specifically composed for inclusion. Given that one of the aims of CROCUS is to demonstrate that spirituality deserves sustained scholarly attention, not least because it frequently contributes to the cultivation of human-kindness, a public presence is vital. Marjolein Kooistra of the University does a first rate job in this regard.
CROCUS is a contemporary manifestation of that great — I would argue greatest — tradition of cultural studies: critical cultural studies of ways of life. Critical in two senses of the word: critical by attending to what matters for various populations of various ways of life; and critical in the sense of 'laying out' ways of life to illuminate their possibilities and defects: their evaluation in so far as that is deemed desirable. Taking the title 'Erasmus University Rotterdam' as a cue, the tradition can be conveniently dated back to Erasmus: for him, a way of life which incorporates folly, in particular as a strategic tool to advance liberal religious humanism by combating the 'real' follies of cultures, religions, individuals, cliques of pomp and vanity. Through the Romantics, with Coleridge (diversity in unity), Shelley (elemental passions), and Schiller (enchantment as a response to the de-divinization of the world) coming immediately to mind; then Nietzsche, Burckhardt; then Durkheim, James, Simmel, Weber; more recently, the great Frankfurt School, then Abrams, Bellah, Berlin, Maclntyre, Mosse, Nussbaum, (Charles) Taylor, (Mark C.) Taylor: the tradition is splendid. It is extraordinarily helpful in making sense of spirituality, the sacred, the secular; the perfect and the imperfect.
Nietzsche wrote with passion of what lies beyond both the sacred of traditional religion (which he loathed) and the secular (which he loathed even more). A particular rendering of 'the golden triangle' is in evidence: the apexes of the sacred of theistic tradition, the secular, and (for Nietzsche) the apex
occupied by the uber mensch. The particular 'third way' of the uber mensch aside, the general, albeit absolutely critical, idea of the golden triangle has been invaluable in organizing the four volumes: spirituality within religious tradition (ultimately grounded in the sacred-as-perfect); spirituality within the secular (the imperfect); and spirituality within the third 'force' of the transformative zone (critically grounded in the sacred-as-perfect, without theism). In a nutshell, spirituality within religious tradition and, in two different regards, beyond.
Differences there are in the tradition of critical cultural studies of ways of life. The degree of attention focused on spirituality and/or religion varies considerably. So does degree of faith, and in what. Overall, though, this is the tradition which explores loci of authority; ethicalities of everyday life; meaningful realities which sustain, enhance, belief in the worthwhile, purpose in life, or which fail — and why; and which explores all those other avenues of 'tactical' inquiry which serve to illuminate what it is to live within sacred, secular, sacred/secular frames of reference or sense. And above all, this is the tradition which explores a great tension: albeit a highly creative one. On the one hand there is 'form and order', exemplified by legalistic morality, the regulation-cum-manipulation of feeling, much traditional religion. On the other, there is 'life and the existential', the vital-ity of life enhanced, for many, by awareness of human finitude: the sense that life, which ultimately is the person, has to be lived to the full, made the most of; experienced as being 'alive% lived out. Desires, impulses, feelings, conflicting ideals, values, resistance to culturally proclaimed emotions ensure that 'life' is antinomian. To live life 'out' requires freedom. Conflict with 'form and order' is inevitable. Unless chaos is to ensue, form and order have to invade the existential. And this is the tension frequently addressed by spirituality. In disorganized mode, free living 'out' can all-too-readily damage others. Life has to be of the 'right' kind. Spirituality can — and does — serve this purpose, cultivating the experience of spontaneous virtue. In all likelihood more significantly still, the great theme which runs through virtually all modes of spirituality — 'only connect' — serves the enrichment of life. The curses of alienation, boredom, indifference, agitation, disengagement, tactical manipulation, dislocation, are tackled. When experienced as working, spirituality sources engagement, the sense of belonging to life in the round, the interpersonal, the intrapersonal of the relationality of movement between people with the 'we' of the shared 'into' the dissolution of feeling detached from what so much of the world has to offer; the expanded life, expanded by being bound up with, absorbed by quality within and without; the reality of feelings, sentiments.
Utopian? Even heaven on earth? Well, this is what the
Romantics elegized, Nietzsche in many passages, certainly
James and most certainly Simmel; not to speak of Abrams,
Charles Taylor and Mark Taylor; and not to speak of
countless teachers beyond the Occident. Ontologically valid
or not, the cultural-cum-experiential reality of
spirituality, across the globe, is not exactly bad news:
that is when spirituality is of, for, what it is to be
Coming down to earth, to the chapters which follow, with well over half the world's population belonging to Christian or Islamic traditions of religion and/or spirituality, the volumes tend to be orientated accordingly. Acknowledgements are due to all those, too numerous to name, who have provided advice on what could be included. Debt is owed to all the contributors whose work is included. Apologies are due to all those whose work — however excellent — has had to be put to one side for the moment, simply for reasons of space and coverage. Of contributors, I would like to thank Stef Aupers of CROCUS for alerting me to key points; Steve Bruce and Dick Houtman for brimming with bright ideas; and Steven Tipton — in my estimation the most outstanding of all interpretative scholars of spirituality since the days of the grand masters — for having kindly read through the contents, and for having drawn my attention to a significant omission: Robert Bellah's 'New Religious Consciousness and the Crisis in Modernity'. (Readers who might want to consult this essay can find it in Robert Bellah and Charles Glock (eds), The New Religious Consciousness. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 333-52, reprinted, with a new post-scripted final note, in The Robert Bellah Reader 2006, pp. 265-84.)
Gratitude is also owed to my anthropology teachers of old, the research group developed around E. E. Evans-Pritchard, for pressing the significance of comparison through time and across culture. The predictable answer to a favoured exam question of the period, 'Social Anthropology: Comparative or Nothing', was 'comparative'. To explore spirituality — not least its relation-ship with the secular world of the imperfect, the finite — the 'nuanced', alone, is not enough. The 'voice' of the nuanced is not 'loud' enough.
Acknowledging the work of contributors, most are akin to
trees: most especially, that great tree of the Romantics,
the oak. Rather unfortunately, a. degree of personal
experience tells me, many an oak-person, today, grows in
rather barren surroundings. Contributor-oaks tend to 'grow'
alone: one in one university department; a solitary in
another, a couple (perhaps) in yet an. other. Around the
globe, the absence of surrounding 'trees', in immediate
vicinity, means that work in that most creative of ways —
face-to-face, mood-by-mood, inspiration-countering-sag — is
sadly rather rare. As the study of spintuality comes of age,
it has to be argued that more woods are more than welcome.
Volumes like Mark Cobb, Bruce Rumbold and Christina
Puchalski's (eds) Spirituality in Healthcare (Oxford
University Press, 2012),
An advert running today cleverly affirms, 'The cleaner you are, the dirtier you get'. That Jewish refugee from eastern Europe, the magisterial Isaiah Berlin, would certainly agree. The sting in the tail of spirituality, which might be helpful to bear in mind whilst perusing the chapters which follow, is that the search for the perfect, the self-acknowledged experience of the perfect itself, is not without danger. (The notion of 'the pure' springs to mind.) But: as long as the perfect is 'taken' to incorporate the values (sentiments, dispositions) of humanism, to become 'cleaner', to experience the 'clean' is to become 'truly' human. But I speak as someone with a Quaker upbringing, albeit with no utterly veridical experience . . . What I do know, though, and on the basis of pretty comprehensive evidence, is that 'spirituality' frequently provides a wonderfully meaningful stand against stupidities of institutionalized or ego-dominated power: those forces exercised to combat personal/ relational-life freedoms of being, feeling, becoming. Among many other factors, the electronic revolution, and reforms in the 'name' of enforced equality in many a country (including India), the 'form and order' of the contemporary world is extending its control of 'life'. Spirituality, in many of its modes, is a major vehicle of resistance. The human versus the count; the human with feelings, not the law with its own accountable definitions of what count as 'feelings' — like 'unpleasant' experiences meaning 'harassment'. Life, with all it's vicissitudes, eruptions of personal-expressive reality, versus the legislated life which allows no interruption. Rarely kept private, personal spirituality 'moves'. It need not even be believed in to be effective. Presence in literature, for instance, can serve to cue movement: say for those who read the Romantics or about them (Wordsworth's 'hippy', highly transgressive, commune at Dove Cottage), or, much more especially, those who read the spiritual, yet ethical antinomians, of the Orient. With appreciation; with secular chimes: like arresting peals of church bells for those who don't really believe.
Readers, hopefully around the globe: above all, the volumes are intended to serve horizons. Believe in spirituality or not, it commonly serves to reflect: maybe as a mirror to reflect on what is wrong with the world; maybe to act — paradigmatically, at the time of writing, by way of that Mandela of Burma. Auug San Suu Kyi and her radical 2011 Reith Lecture Series: the reality of the spiritual humanism, social justice, incorporating rights, civil liberties; the continued mobilization of the monk-hood in spirit: and more.
The preparation of these volumes took me through a time of some horror, then, increasingly, of excitement. The horror dawned when I realized that 'making some sense of spirituality' inevitably required making as much sense as possible of certain recondite, deeply puzzling themes and processes, not least those pertaining to the sacred, the secular, and magic. Themes and processes like these might have had tortuous histories in scholarship. Nevertheless, they have to be clarified to make sense of spirituality as personal, social and cultural. What, if anything, is secular spirituality, for instance?
Excitement took over when I realized — or at least thought of myself as appreciating — that progress from the tortuous to the simple was being made: and this on a global compass. Whether right or wrong about my emotional undercurrent, I hope that what follows engages the reader as much as it exhilarated me during the process of unfolding the convoluted. The first three chapters of this volume should be more controversial than a bland introduction. Incorporation of contemporary theologies in the volumes has proved profoundly illuminating, contributing to controversy. It is a sign of the impoverishment of the secular that the theological 'imagination' has so much to say in connection with the state of life today. Faith in religion is not required to explore those ultimate issues best raised by theologians (and their critics). Neither, of course, is faith required to explore what spirituality has to offer value-politics/politics of value — that is, how the sacred, as meaningful, and so motivational, reality, of a spiritual variety, might con-tribute to the trans-valuation of values to bring about a better world.
On running riot
Spirituality has run riot, on a nigh global compass. This
is most visible
The significance acquired by spirituality would appear to be incontestable. Thinking of the USA, Michele Schlehofer and co-authors (2008) refer to a survey which finds that almost 80 per cent of the general American public describe themselves as spiritual, a percentage higher than the 64 per cent who describe themselves as religious (p. 413). Michael Hout and Claude Fischer (2002) draw on another USA survey to report, 'Most adults —with or without a religious preference — responded to trouble by thinking of themselves as part of a larger spiritual force' (p. 175). This kind of thing could not have existed half a century ago. Even among the counterculturalists of the 'sixties', the terms spiritual and spirituality were not common currency.
Language use has certainly changed. With those great categories of the past, 'the mystic' and 'mystical experience', fading from use, a relatively recent, rapid and comprehensive shift from 'mysticism' to 'spirituality' has occurred in many a country. More recently still, 'religious' experience is giving way to 'spiritual' experience. Marking the transition from the language of religion to the language of spirituality, publications increasingly favour formulations like 'religious and spiritual experience' or 'religious/spiritual experience' over the old favourite, 'religious experience'. Today, some titles simply refer to 'spirituality' in connection with religious tradition. A relatively recent publication by Peter Paris, entitled The Spirituality of African Peoples (1995), contains a chapter called 'Ancestral Life'. Fifty years ago, this would have been called 'Ancestor Worship', and would not have appeared under the designator spirituality.
With an especial eye on the USA, Brian Zinnbauer, Kenneth Pargament and Allie Scott (1999) report the growth of 'popular interest and psychological research into spirituality as a distinctive construct' (p. 900) which has occurred since the 1950s. Almost certainly taking their cue from developments in popular culture, psychologists, and those from many other disciplines of inquiry, have so-to-speak taken spirituality to heart. Whether it is management or business, education, social work, psychiatry, psychotherapy, counselling or some other speciality, sectors of the academy have responded to changes within everyday life and activities. Volume after volume, article after article, web-contribution after web-contribution: titles like 'Spirituality and Psychiatry', 'Spirituality and Social Work', 'Spirituality and Wellbeing', `Spirituality and Gardening' (or 'Golf ') amount to a torrent. In the northern Europe of some two hundred years ago, Christian tradition was alive and well within the commercial workplace. Today, spirituality is making inroads. In the northern Europe of the past, mainstream healthcare developed out of the Christian tradition. Today, spirituality is well in evidence. Much the same applies to education. It is no wonder that the academy has responded accordingly, the academy — especially in more vocational mode — contributing to the changes attended to.
In 1911, Kandinsky and Franz Marc wrote, 'A great era has begun: the spiritual "awakening"' (Vol. I, Ch. 26). Other than the more bohemian capitals of Europe, few of the time would have agreed. Even around thirty years ago, when John Naisbett (1982) claimed that spirituality was a growing `megatrend', most would have taken this as an ill-founded exaggeration. Across the globe, few among cosmopolitan upper middle or professional ranks would now dismiss contentions of this kind so lightly. Whether within many a religious tradition, as an 'alternative' beyond tradition, even within the secular itself, it looks as though spirituality has come into its own.
Perhaps because of the riot, perhaps because of the sheer amount of apparently variegated developments, the academy has got into something of a tizzy. Time and time again, scholars struggle to characterize spirituality. Printer ink flows. Debate — if that is what it is — appears to be interminable. Perplexity appears to be the order of the day. Words like 'muddled', 'vague' and 'fuzzy' are used by scholars. To make matters worse, whether or not the more general populace would agree scholars tend to think that those familiar with the language of spirituality are equally unclear, confused or perplexed. No one, it appears, 'quite' knows what spirituality is; what the apparent shift to 'spirituality' is all about.
On 'ultimate spirituality'
I do not think for one moment that what is taking place
is elusive, fuzzy or chaotically `buzzy'. To make sense of
spirituality, or rather spiritualities, I begin with a
particular characterization. Ultimate spirituality, as I
think it best designated, is the most elemental of all
spiritualities. It is elemental in that it provides the
ingredients which appear — however modified or diluted —in a
very great deal of how people, across the globe, use the
On the lighthouse
So what is ultimate spirituality? Rather than merely being an ideal type, it is demonstrably apparent across cultures, and, fortunately, in a manner easy to grasp. Ontology is of the sacred. Epistemology is of experience. With the sacred 'taken' to come into evidence, the relationship with the sacred involves a profoundly experiential way of 'knowing'. Whatever the form of the sacred Which is held to generate experience, those who make contact take experience,
itself, as the transformative. For those in contact, a great deal comes to light: the different to make the difference; the release of power to vitalize; the presence which motivates; the gnosis (as it might be called) which transforms worldviews, judgements; the awareness of energy flows within the body; contact with the flows to 'work' on them; feelings, to feel differently about the world. So it is held.
On the sacred
The sacred and the academy: hotly contested; sometimes rejected; even more frequently employed; yet more frequently used casually, leaving it up to the reader to make sense of what the term means. Given the amount of contro-versy and lack of clarity surrounding the notion, it might be thought that to refer to the sacred as the ground of ultimate spirituality is to jump from the frying pan of 'spirituality' into the fire of the 'sacred% from a quagmire right into a black bog. Fortunately, it is easy to characterize the sacred of ultimate spirituality. Simply it is the perfect, utopia itself. Being perfect, the sacred spells the death of ideals. Ideals do not belong to utopia (although they can be motivated by experience of it). When nothing is less than 'ideal', ideals cannot exist. For believers, to 'know' the sacred is not to experience the ideal of true love. It is to experience 'true' love itself; 'true' vitality, 'true' health, 'true' freedom or equality; 'true' bliss. For believers, perfect health is beyond healing. It is to 'know' that which cannot be bettered on any human scale of things. Easy to characterize; only 'known', though, by way of experience: which means that is best to turn elsewhere for further comprehension.
Comparison with 'the secular' assists elucidation.
Everyone is familiar enough with it. Virtually everyone,
whether spiritual, religious, or neither, spends the great
bulk of their time within the secular. That is to say, time
is con-sumed within the zone of the imperfect. Thinking of a
school of thought going back to Kant, then, through a long
chain of thought, to Ecclesiastes, Isaiah Berlin (1991)
provides the convincing argument that value clash is
inevitable. More precisely, and this is what he means when
he refers to 'the crooked timber of humanity', to put
together sufficient values to inform a way of life, any way
of life, any culture, inevitably means value-conflict.
Inevitably, cultures (political, economic, ethnic, etc.) are
tension laden, some sectors (groups, individuals)
emphasizing certain constitutive values at the expense of
others' values, other sectors countering this with the
emphases they favour. Well-known 'cultural contradictions of
capitalism' are not just of capitalism; they are legion,
universal. Cultures are not coherent. One does not have to
believe in Freud to know that the interior life is prone to
thoughts; internal conversations which are not really conversations at all; a mind of the jarring of distraction; the half-remembered; the unclear; on occasion, the agitation of the information flow swamp; the mind having a mind of its own. Selves are not coherent. One does not have to be a Nietzsche (2003) to know how easy it is to discredit the exercise of the noblest of virtues by drawing attention to the multi-motivational nature of human action to expose the covert operation of the less-than-noble. Ethicality is not coherent.
One does not have to be one of the greatest scientists of the latter half of the last century, Richard Feynman, to know that science itself is necessarily imperfect. Feynman (2007) emphasizes 'the uncertainty of science'. (Faster than the speed of light?) When science ceases to be uncertain, it comes to a close. Patently, this has not happened. Scientific truths from the past might continue. However, as with Newtonian physics, which continues to serve as a plane of knowledge, truths are qualified by being contextualized. To be other than metaphysical, science — not least medical — has to be fallible. The laws of nature might be ultimate or 'perfect' (although Stephen Hawkin is not averse to stating that 'instability', 'imperfection' is required for the existence of life). Scientific knowledge about laws is not. In future vein, one does not have to be a genius to recognize that if scientific advance means that sensible limitations of the secular are transgressed time and time again, the secular will expand to, and strive to go beyond, its limit: with life as we know it ceasing to exist at some point along the line.
Perhaps most appositely of all, one does not have to be one of the most free-ranging neo-Marxist thinkers of the French intellectual caldera of recent times, the brilliant, when unleashed, Jean Baudrillard (1994), to agree with his Nietzschian-inspired lines,
. . . when we speak of the 'end of history', the 'end of
the political', the 'end of the social', the 'end of
ideologies', none of this is true. The worst of it all is
precisely that there will be no end of anything, and all
these things will continue to unfold slowly, tediously,
recurrently, in that hysteresis of everything which, like
nails and hair, continues to grow after death.
Nietzsche's eternal return was (sometimes) taken by
Nietzsche himself as the litmus test of the very best: the
person who welcomed, with open arms, the prospect of living
again. For Baudrillard, the pit of the desolation row of
human finitude entails recurrence past—present—future. Human
genius, it appears, is called for to break the cycle.
Pessimists like Baudrillard retort that vanity — to think of
that which is so excoriated in Ecclesiastes — has
From the perspective of those who believe in the sacred, and from the perspective of a great many thinkers of secular persuasion, the secular is the realm of the irredeemably flawed. Here, the believer and the non-believer join hands. They might well agree, too, over one of the great themes of the Book of Genesis, that the afflictions of the secular are essential for the development of what it is to be human. Disruption is required for virtues like courage, compassion or forgiveness to mean anything, to be there to be cultivated. The vain is required for the virtues of the humble to develop. Believers and non-believers are also likely to agree that the secular is incom-patible with the sacred condition. As the secularist Emile Durkheim (1953) states, do not know what an ideal and absolute perfection is' (p. 73). If it is to exist as the perfect (ultimate, absolute, pure, eternal, infinite), the sacred has to be other than the dystopic. For the believer, it has to exist as a 'realm' sui generis (V ol. I, Ch. 16). As the Latin absolutus signifies, ab- means 'away from', solvere, 'to loose'. 'To loose' the contingent, the finite, of the secular, the perfect has to be 'away from' it.
From the secular perspective, the sacred is the realm of the irredeemably impossible. Georg Simmel, the main scholarly inspiration behind the notion of ultimate spirituality (see especially 1971: 378-393), commences one of his brilliant essays with Nicolaus Cusanus. Introducing Cusanus as 'the most searching philosopher of the fifteenth century', Simmel provides his definition of God: Coincidentia oppositorum — the coincidence of opposites, the uni-fication of that which has been torn asunder' (1997: 39 [orig. 1904]). From the secular perspective, it is simply impossible to unite the unique, individuals, as the unitary, whilst retaining the unique qua unique. It contravenes logic. For the believer, the sacred is (so-to-speak does) the logically contradictory. Again from the secular perspective, 'the crooked timber of humanity' is part and parcel of human life. The sacred of perfectly 'straight' humankind is beyond the furthest reaches of the imagination. Now from the perspective of the sacred, for those who have experienced what they 'take' to be the sacred, the finitude, the limitations, the very impossibilities which the secular condition inevitably reveals, are highlighted.
Contact with the sacred, as meaningful reality, is a matter of the 'knowing', the gnosis of experience. The sacred is 'known' by virtue of sheer conscious-ness, awareness, sensation, feeling, apprehension ('grasping' by way of sensing), intuition, sometimes inner 'seeing' or 'hearing% more cognitively, by virtue of the experientially-orientated noesis. From the perspective of ultimate spirituality, the impossibility of the sacred from the perspective of secular comprehension, imagination, means that it can only be truly known in terms of its own experience. Geared up as it is for attending to the secular realm, human language and reasoning is as imperfect as the realm attended to.
The epistemology is a form of radical empiricism: experience, evidence,
experiment. Strict non-believers would call it preposterous. The way of 'knowing' is via experientially irrefutable, first-hand, unmediated, absolutely direct 'personal' experience. In a manner of speaking, the experience of the believer becomes one and the same as the experience 'taken' to emanate as the sacred. Experience takes pride of place over all other epistemologies. Other ways of knowing the sacred — the intermediaries provided by believing in the propositional beliefs of tradition, attending to sacred texts, heeding the words of prophets or messiahs, reading the poetry of the mystics of old — are sensed, adjudicated 'second hand'. They derive from sources other than one's own contact. Per se, they cannot be trusted. With the passing of time, sacred texts might have been distorted by changes in the meanings of words, especially if translation is involved. Texts might have been edited, perhaps to promote particular, ideological, political, etc., causes. Unless proved true by the 'experimental' test of personal experience of the sacred, the epistemologies typical of so much religious tradition and certain spiritual teachings cannot be accepted on trust. Underpinning all this, words, lan-guages, thought processes are primarily (many 'experts' of the sacred would say entirely) calibrated in terms of the meaningful reality of the secular, suffering accordingly.
As for transmission to others, those who have experienced ultimate spir-ituality teach by way of 'traditions' of practice. What they have experienced is too impossible to be reliably transmitted by way of traditions of statement: belief, doctrine, and so on. Transmission by way of the evocation of experience is what matters: through the practice of yoga, for example; or by experientially-informed action, expression, expressive arts of the sacred serving to 'point', to evoke. Anyone who has been captivated 'with' from-the-heart Sufi music—dance—poetry will appreciate how powerful this kind of evocation can be.
All those psychologists, philosophers, theologians, sociologists, anthropologists who argue, on socio-cultural constructivist grounds, that direct unmediated experience of any meaningful kind is impossible, are actually proving a point: the sacred, specifically how it expresses itself as meaningful experience, is impossible for the secular aspect of `experiencers'.
On zoning spiritualities
Fully-fledged ultimate spirituality of the sacred, looked at in general terms, is one thing. Moving towards the particular, consideration has to be paid to a degree of complexity: variants on the theme of fully-fledged ultimate spirituality; approximations to the elemental of the fully-fledged; and spiritualities which have nothing to do with the sacred. A good way of finding rhyme and reason, hopefully to avoid collapse into the allegedly blooming confusion of disjointed particularity, is to think of spiritualities in terms of
three main zones. Each zone provides a relatively distinctive context, a 'home' which helps make sense of the spiritualities associated with it. Here, the three zones are primarily distinguished by how the sacred/ultimate spirituality is 'taken'.
One zone, of the theistic, primarily revolves around the sacred as transcendent. In so far as spirituality is concerned, the polar (if you like the cultural-cum experiential extremity (Heelas, 2001)) is provided by theistic ultimate spirituality. Variants and approximations to ultimate spirituality are present.
The second zone, of the transformative, primarily revolves around the sacred as indwelling. In so far as spirituality is concerned, the polar is provided by inner-life ultimate spirituality. Variations and approximations to ultimate spirituality are present.
The third zone, of the secular is epitomized by the die-hard atheist. In so far as spirituality is concerned, secular spirituality is in evidence; any form of spirituality to do with sacred, qua sacred, is absent, ignored, rejected. The polar does not lie with ultimate spirituality.
The three zones are best conceived as located on the apexes of a triangle, not along some sort of spectrum which locates theistic tradition at one end, the secular at the other, with the transformative in the middle. The spectrum-like conceptualization suffers from creating the misleading impression that people might have to pass through the transformative zone if, for example, they give up on the theistic to become secular. The triangular conceptualization caters for the fact that, empirically, people move between all zones, in all six directions (from the secular to the theistic and vice-versa, for example). As hopefully will become apparent, the 'golden triangle' is truly golden: for the study of spirituality/religion today.
On the zone of theism
Here, the ultimate locus, the polar, of the sacred lies beyond the world or the cosmos as a whole; anything which the world or the cosmos is capable of achieving. Frequently, the radical transcendence of the sacred is emphasized; the dualistic, 'wholly other' of theologians like Karl Barth. (See Mark C. Taylor, 2007, for a concise summary.) The majority of theistic traditions, however, also teach that what exists beyond, as transcendent, also lies within, as immanent. Whether it is the belief that the world/ cosmos has been created by the sacred, thereby containing elements of the creator, or the belief that the sacred enters this world as, say, the Holy Spirit, the immanent is generally taken to be ultimately dependent on the transcendent. The zone as a whole contains a great deal more than spirituality. Components of theistic tradition — like moral injunctions of sacred texts — need not be associated with that defining mark of spirituality, the experiential.
On the transformative zone
Here, the ultimate ontology of the sacred primarily lies within the world or the cosmos as a whole. The sacred is not necessarily dependent on anything beyond the within of the here and now. In the occident, the zone really sprang to life with Romanticism. The Romantic trajectory, the 'classical' period of the later eighteenth well into the nineteenth century, through to the 'new' Romanticism of today, pulsates as the very heart of the zone. Romantics like Shelley or the early Schleiermacher equate the sacred with what lies within. The perfect might dwell within the person, relationships (emphasized by Georg Simmel's student and colleague, Martin Buber), nature, the cosmos (Einstein with his 'cosmic religion'), or some combination of these sources. The zone as a whole contains more than spirituality. Components of the zone — most especially to do with the imperfect — are not associated with the defining mark of spirituality of the sacred, the perfect. In this broader context, the polar of ultimate spirituality lies with experiencing the perfect of the sacred of the indwelling. 'Life', 'life itself', is the most frequently encountered source. In association with what has been called 'inner-life spirituality', or `spiritualities of life', the language of the sacred typically includes reference to 'energy', 'life-force', 'power', 'passion' or similar agency.
On the secular zone
Here, ultimate ontology lies with what is known of the world or the cosmos as a whole, when what is known is imperfect. Exemplified by the die-hard atheist, the zone extends further to include — for example — those who suspect that there is something beyond the imperfect. In all instances, though, commitment remains with what is available within the secular condition. By definition, the fact that the secular is the realm of the imperfect means that ultimate spirituality, or anything akin to it which involves the sacred, is absent. In the context of the secular, when the language of spirituality is used — most especially the terms 'spirit' and 'spiritual' — it has to be taken to refer to states of affairs which do not transgress the secular frame of reference. Secular spirituality is in evidence, when, for example, the term 'spiritual' is taken to be emblematic of what is best in human and/or natural nature.
On comparing polarities
From the perspective of the polar theist — the believer in God-on-High — the inner-life spirituality of the transformative zone is transgressive. With its god' within, inner-life spirituality breaks with the transcendental theistic God-on-High, existing over-and-above anything within this world (or any other world); anything which this world is capable of. And the greater the extent to which inner-life spirituality is detraditionalized, the greater the extent to which it lies beyond to transgress theistic tradition. Also from the perspective of the polar theist, the secular transgresses the perfect of the sacred simply by virtue of being imperfect. The sacred and the secular are incompatible.
From the perspective of the polar of the transformative zone, theistic tradition transgresses (for example) key values of inner-life spirituality — most especially autonomy — by functioning in terms of the authority of Godon-High. Again, transgression is in evidence when tradition teaches that experience has to be mediated by beliefs or that experience is not essential. The necessity of direct experience of the sacred is undermined. As for the secular, the imperfect, per se, can only exclude the perfect.
From the vantage point of the 'exemplary' secularist, the atheist, the scientist qua scientist, the polarities of the other two zones transgress the secular. They are perfectly impossible. If ultimate spirituality should 'somehow' exist as the sacred, it is way beyond the grasp of secular modes of thought, including science, in tow. Secularists in general can never know what it is for secular love to be transformed, as sacred, to be the experience of perfect love. Secularists of the die-hard atheist variety typically judge that the sacred can only serve to obscure, mask the realities of life as secular; can only serve to provide distracting, perhaps demeaning, illusions.
An important point to draw from the comparison is that the polarities are mutually incompatible. Co-existence is impossible — unless, that is, contradiction is permitted. To say that poles are incompatible is one thing. To say that the same applies to zones as a whole is another matter. To keep things as straightforward as possible, consideration of the last is left until later.
On the universality of the zones
Although it might appear somewhat counter-intuitive to apply the three zones to, say, 'medieval' areas of South Asia as they exist past and present, they are in fact of widespread applicability. Thinking of the zone of the secular, apart from a very few radical world rejecters, virtually everyone, everywhere, spends virtually all their waking hours (even when listening to sermons or preaching) engaging with the less-then-prefect world of the secular. It is most unlikely that even people like the Dalai Lama are somehow able to avoid the imperfect, its consequences; are able to ensure that when they have to be driven, for example, irritation does not erupt when the car fails on a crucial journey. In many traditional cultures, the secular zone might not be known as `secular'; but in some way or another it will be cognized as the zone where things go wrong; and, if all goes right, will not become perfect. So long as the sacred-as-perfect is present in the 'higher' or 'deeper' culture of religion/spirituality, it cannot be otherwise. Second, it is perfectly apparent that the sacred of religion generally takes theistic or polytheistic forma across cultures. And third, the transformative zone — perhaps dominated
by sacro-magical practices that are not tethered to theistic/polytheistic orthodoxy, perhaps dominated by spirit possession 'cults' which, again, deviate from orthodoxy, perhaps dominated by other non- or counter-unorthodox modes of spirituality — is equally widespread around the globe.
At the level of cultural structure, the extensiveness of the zones under consideration cannot be underestimated. In many a culture, zones are basically the same. Differences, when they are in evidence, owe a fair amount to differences at the level of language, vocabulary. Without extensive examination of virtually countless ethnographies of small-scale societies, regional counter-renderings of dominant cultures, and so on, it would be foolhardy to claim that the three zones are comprehensively universal. This notwithstanding, they serve as a solid basis for comparative, interpretative inquiry: with particular reference to modes of spirituality.
On fleshing out the zones
It is time to turn to the more concrete.
On spiritualities of, and 'within, theistic tradition
Although theistic (or polytheistic) religion is found the world over, granted the aim, here, of being as succinct as possible, attention is focused on the world's largest religion, Christianity. It also happens to provide the most detailed information on matters to hand.
A 1997 USA survey by Zinnbauer and associates (1999) found that just 2.6 per cent of respondents indicated that 'religiousness and spirituality are the same concept' (p. 906). At the same time, 74 per cent identified themselves as both spiritual and religious. It logically follows that virtually all those who consider themselves to be both spiritual and religious nevertheless make some sort of distinction between the two. It is also reasonable to infer that 'spirituality' complements 'religion' (in the sense of being good for each other) or co-exists with 'religion' without strife. Drawing on another study reported by Zinnbauer and associates (1999), 'religiousness' (that is religious tradition) is widely perceived to be 'a system of organized beliefs and worship which a person practices' (p. 901). Spirituality, on the other hand, is widely perceived to involve 'a personal life principle which animates a transcendent quality of relationship with God' (p. 901). More generally, religious tradition provides What Georg Simmel (1971 [orig. 1918]; Vol. IV, Ch. 82) called 'form', with its content' (pp. 24-5); what William James (1974 [orig. 1902]), at much the same time, called the 'institutional' (p. 48). Religious tradition is typified by organization, structure, establishments, doctrines, sacred texts, propositional beliefs. Significantly, typifications of this variety do not refer to 'experience'.
Strictly speaking, the most clear-cut home for experiential spirituality within' theistic tradition lies beyond tradition itself. What can be thought of as 'direct Godhead spirituality' is precisely that: unmediated experience. Those spiritual virtuosi — the mystics, antinomian adherents of ecstatic cults, and the like of yore — have tended to bypass religious tradition; or have had a decidedly uneasy relationship with it; have tended to reject pre-ordained beliefs of tradition in favour of expressing their own experiences of the sacred. Today, 'mysticism' has spread beyond ecstatic cults or other virtuosi. Christian `spiritual seekers' constitute a growing constituency. Popular 'mysticism' is abroad. Here, ultimate spirituality, or at least the aspiration for it, is in evidence: perhaps directly focused on God-on-High; more probably focused on the 'presence' of the sacred, emanating from God-on-High, within the person. Akin to many forms of Buddhism, Tibetan comes to mind, the greater the contact with 'true' experience, the greater the extent to which the belief-sustained (in Tibetan Buddhism the 'deities') is sloughed off.
Another manner in which ultimate spirituality operates 'within', but not always so clearly 'in the way of ' tradition, concerns the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirituality, as it might be called, can provide a direct, unmediated relationship with the sacred. When the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within the person, experiences of the Sacred-on-High per se tend to fade in favour of experiences of the Holy Spirit; of the Holy Spirit dwelling within one's life. To the extent to which the Holy Spirit moves away from the beliefs and doctrines of tradition, that is to say, to the extent it is detraditionalized, then to that extent it moves towards becoming an 'autonomous' agency, serving as the source of direct, immediate, ultimate spirituality (Vol. II, Chs 29-34). The epistemology is very much the experiential. In the USA, approaching 30 per cent of the population have had 'born-again experience' (Smith, 2006: 293). Other evidence suggests that a significant percentage of this figure engage with ultimate Holy Spirituality.
At least in the Occident, it is not simply a matter of emphasis on experience of the Holy Spirit being associated — in measure — with commensurate decline in emphasis on beliefs and other features of tradition. More fundamentally, an ontological shift is indicated: in the case of the Holy Spirit, from being an emanation of God-on-High to being a (relatively) autonomous 'God' within. This shift of 'ownership' (among other things) is part and parcel of the more general process of Immanentization': the basic process at work re the popularity of 'spirituality' within 'religion' in many an Occidental quarter, and elsewhere too. Often traced back to the profoundly Romantic-influenced 'early' Schleiermacher (1958 [orig. 1799] ), and first systematically studied by Simmel (1997), the tendency within Occidental Christianity has been for the immanent to progressively come into greater focus, at the expense of the traditional balance of the Godhead being at one and the same time transcendent and immanent. As indicated by the popularity, gauged by those ticking the box of a questionnaire which provided an 'I believe that God is something within each person, rather than something out there option, in Catholic countries like Portugal (Vol. I, Ch. 23), the immanent not infrequently takes precedence over the transcendent, the latter slipping towards the horizon, even dipping over it. The 'ground' is set for experiencing the 'presence' of the sacred: maybe less the 'presence' generated when the lamp (God-on-High) reflects on the person as a mirror, but a presence beneath any mirror which might still be there.
Albeit to varying degrees and ways, features of theistic traditionalism are dropped. Sometimes, the fabric of tradition becomes thin indeed. Sometimes tradition is drawn on as a resource, tested by experience, to serve 'God within'. However, in practice some form or degree of tradition generally enters the picture. A great many Occidental Christians — even more so among the considerable numbers of believers within traditions like Islam — continue to belief in beliefs, other features of tradition. Traditionally, the very point of tradition has been to mediate between God-on-High and people of this world. Traditionally, God-on-High has been considered to be too 'other' for direct spiritual experience of the sacred — as Godhead — to be available for anyone other than virtuosi (or renegades). Tradition is required to sustain revelations of the theistic Godhead, in this world, when they have happened in the past.
For whatever reasons, beliefs remain important (and, of course, are thriving in those parts of the world where conservative religion is waxing). This raises the question: are beliefs, more generally the 'apparatus' of tradition as a whole, compatible with spirituality? Simmel, and to a lesser extent James, answered in the negative. Beliefs of a propositional kind, that is beliefs about the nature of the sacred, are too determinate, too restrictive, too finite, too influenced by the secular, to cater for the 'formlessness' of spirituality: a formlessness, a living current which calls for unmediated expression (Vol. IV, Ch. 82). From the perspective of ultimate spirituality, belief-mediated spirituality could very well, perhaps certainly, suffer from being indirect. From this perspective, they are, at best, approximations to the ultimate variety. Nevertheless, belief-mediated spirituality is widespread. 'Religion' and 'spirituality' here work in tandem. 'Experiential belief', as it has aptly been designated (Vol. II, Ch. 32): in a sense the 'imaginary' of experiences called into play, beliefs informing the believer about the perfections of the sacred; believers in beliefs experiencing what beliefs mean: for example the realm of the perfect known as heaven, or the qualities of Holy Spirituality. To emphasize the counterpoint, though, believers in ultimate spirituality object that what is experienced, via beliefs, can only be akin to the perfect; that beliefs inevitably involve the imperfections of human cognition, etc.; and, most importantly of all, by specifying the unspecifiable, are like to mislead in favour of secular expectations. (Virgins in heaven . . . )
When the otherness of the Godhead is emphasized, when, correspondingly, believers focus on religious tradition, in particular ethicality, spirituality tends not to thrive. For those who do not fully understand the language of tradition, inadequately, not at all when it comes to intricacies, or who are bored by it, the experiential dimension is unlikely to be called into play. When beliefs are just 'held' out of habit, by way of rote (including the roles of ritual), the same applies.
Finally, there are those believers who think of themselves as spiritual (and religious) whilst not being concerned with the spirituality of the Holy Spirit or any other mode of sacred theism. It is likely that people of this bent use the language of spirituality to incorporate experiences of nature, personal relationships, beauty, and the like. Among liberal Christians or Sufic Muslims the language of spirituality can be deployed to affirm humanistic values; to articulate a sense of being a good person, with depth of integrity; and so on: arguably more a spirituality of humanism, of caring for others than anything else. However, so long as humanistic liberals retain some degree of faith in the sacred of the transcendent, and link their values accordingly, they are best considered as engaging with the theistic zone.
On spiritualities of the transformative zone
Here lies the predominant thrust of the teachings of people like the
Dalai Lama, Tagore,
Whether oriental or occidental, the transformative zone largely lies beyond theistic tradition: the sacred of that 'personal', transcendent God which typifies theism and/or the tradition associated with it. Of the 95 per cent of Americans who believe in God, writes Wade Clark Roof (1999), one-third believe in 'a nonpersonal God, something akin to "spirit", "ultimate spirit", "God presence", or some other such notion' (p. 136). As for how the zone lies beyond the secular, it will be recalled that the sacred-as-perfect is simply impossible from this perspective.
Taken as a whole, the zone is `transformative' in the sense that it incorporates gates — say some sort of spirit or life force, inner-life spirituality, `nature', 'vitality', a non-theistic Higher Power — which can be resourced by way of the very considerable number of activities found within the zone (most especially alternative forms of healing, and meditation) to flow, typically holistically, to and for the end of metamorphosis (altering, changing, `morphia;', developing or actualizing the self). What lies within the zone provides opportunities for people to explore their sense that 'the sacred must surely/definitely exist'. The zone provides opportunities for going deeper to experience what (minimally) approaching ultimacy has to offer. The zone provides opportunities for enlarging, or adding to, human capacities by engaging in sacred — perfect — 'magic'. As studies of CAM have demonstrated time and time again, 'knowing' that spirituality is at work is intimately bound up with experienced transformation of the quality of suffering. As testified by participants of prosperity spirituality, 'knowing' that spirituality is at work makes a difference to self-enlargement by way of 'material' acquisition. Matthew Arnold's (1883) rendering of metanoia, characterized as 'an immense new inward movement for obtaining one's rule of life', referring to 'a change of the inner man', and aiming at 'restoring the intuition' (p. 178), provides a useful way of capturing the feel of what much of the transformative zone is about. However verbose it might be considered, so does Henri Bergson's work on élan vital.
True, theistic tradition, especially of a more person-focused variety, often involves the transformative, metanoia. So ideally a more distinctive term is required to typify what I'm calling the transformative zone. Unable to think of one, transformative will have to do for now. At least it directs attention to a theme running right through the zone.'
Whether transformative sources are taken to lie within the natural order as a whole, experientially within the person, less frequently beyond the human as with non-theistic 'Higher Power', the more dedicated of believers hold they are on the path to transforming what it is to be alive. Their `aspirational', `inspirational' being is beyond the secular without the theistic. A famous sentence of Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra (2003 [orig. 1883-85]) has Zarathustra enjoining, 'Become what you are!' (p. 252). When this is read as an injunction to 'will' the ubermensch (`overman') into actuality, inner latent powers are called up to expand the very value, scope, of what it is to be alive; to move towards the infinite (Simmel, 1971: 379-380). In the spirit of less elitist, individualistic, humanism, to 'know' that one is a spiritual being, to 'know' that all others are equally sacred, to 'know' that the natural order as a whole belongs to the same dynamic, is to transform what it is to live with, for and through others: as natural.
In northern Europe, it looks as though something in the order of half the adult population is active — in some way or another, to some extent or another — within the transformative zone. Currently, we simply do not know percentages for elsewhere in the world, with any clarity whatsoever for the USA. What we do know, though, is that the Orient, specifically South Asia, provides outstanding illustrations of the zone as sacred; or underpinned/ Implicating it. Countless examples could be provided of teachings, teachers, paths, which break with theistic tradition (Hindu, Islamic, weakly, even non-traditionalized Buddhism, etc.), not infrequently with venom. In relatively moderate tone, an impoverished Baul seeker sings,
Temples and mosques obstruct thy path,
and I fail to hear thy call or to move,
when the teachers and priest angrily crowd around me.
The 'patron saint' of Bangladesh, who epitomizes the liberal ethicality which permeates the Islam (and the more humanistic NGO parallel government) of the nation as a whole, is Rabindranath Tagore. His The Religion of Man (1961; orig. 1931) would no doubt be called The Spirituality of Humanity today. In the volume he cites the above extract from a Baul song with great enthusiasm (p. 69). Numerous Sufi 'ways' have little truck with religious tradition, with theistic sacrality not infrequently more or less disappearing as well — at times entirely. The spiritual humanism of Gandhi, and, today, the Dali Lama only on occasion incorporate a measure of the theistic. Among the more general population, anthropological research, in particular, has highlighted the significance of TCAM (traditional complementary and alternative medicine) in South Asia; of powers emanating from the sacred; of powers which are primarily sourced by what lies within nature (especially plants/herbs/earth, and the like) or by the sacred shrines of those who have realized their spirituality.
In the South Asian sub-continent, truly vast numbers, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jain, etc., move beyond, more arguably — in cultural context — transgress their poly/theistic commitments when necessary. Some gather around gurus (like the hugely popular and influential, late, Sai Baba); some around shrines (including those of Sufi saints) serving as conduits of healing (etc.) power from within. One estimate is that two or three million participated in a Sufi gathering in the Sind a few years ago. Although adequate statistics are unavailable, it is clear that the transformative zone, in sacred mode, is flourishing in South Asia: and, no doubt, in many a similar region of the Orient. Some reject the sacred of theistic tradition to go within. Many more temporarily 'leave' the theistic as required. All regard the secular as too limited, too inadequate, too imperfect to serve all that is called for. If the secular (and the 'orthodox') was adequate enough, people would not flock to shrines, etc.) (Vol. I, Ch. 16).
Returning to the Occident, it is doubtful that all that many make contact with the sacred in the spirit of a Tagore or, going back in time to the Romantics of the Lake District of England, a Wordsworth. The most popular figure, of the most popular activities of the transformative zone — those clustering under the rubric CAM — is Deepak Chopra (2004): 'The one reality is spirit'; `Every cell in your body agrees to work for the welfare of the whole' (pp. 3, 8). (Oprah Winfrey is vastly more popular, but has more general concerns.) Many other teachers or practitioners, too, emphasize the sacred. More generally, though, experience of the sacred of CAM is relatively subdued, muted, muffled; or attenuated. Penultimate-sacrality (or the partially so) is in evidence, perhaps associated with a tentative, hesitant approach held back by scepticism. It is also clear that many are more attentive to experienced consequences than on what has given rise to the experiences. The slogan of pragmatic CAM is that 'what works, works'. When the language of spirituality is present (as with 'mind—body—spirit'), reference to the sacred is often dim. With the mark of ultimate spirituality being experience of the sacred, it approximates to the ultimate; or, one might say, it is practically sacred.'
What of pragmatic CAM when practices are 'simply' practised for outcomes, with the sacred not being experientially apparent, with no allusion to the perfect? Does apparently popular usage of CAM in this (predominantly) non-sacred mode belong to the transformative zone? Up, to now I have been working with the idea that the transformative zone goes beyond the secular in that the sacred — as impossible — is in evidence. When the sacred is not experientially apparent, perhaps because of attention being focused on concrete results, another criterion can be applied to decide whether pragmatic CAM of the kind under consideration belongs to the transformative zone; whether the secular is transgressed. By definitional fiat, the meaningful nature of CAM of this variety entails that neither verification nor falsification is possible. Phenomena of this variety 'evade science', are 'supra-experimental', `surpass the limits of our knowledge' to bring Durkheim's formulations to bear (1971: 24). The cause and effect of the secular is not at work. The energy flow of predominantly non-sacred CAM is 'protected' from falsification (or verification) by science: simply by maintaining that what works, works. When it works, that is; and when it does not, one simply moves on.'
The transformative zone also contains numerous, pretty clear-cut, ontologies of the less-than-perfect, the imperfect, the non-perfect; phenomena which do not draw on the sacred; have nothing to do with ultimate spirituality. So far as I am aware, no one has ever claimed that paranormal entities, like ghosts, are perfect. It is difficult to see how someone who says 'there could very well be "something there", but for the life of me I don't know what it is' is referring to the sacred. Jinns, the spirits, usually harmful, which live between the orthodoxy of Islam and the secular of a great deal of, say, northern/north-eastern Africa, fall well short of the perfect (Vol. IV, Ch. 87). Going back in time, so are the deities of classical Greece: those gods' which Martin Nilsson (1964) sees as 'stronger, wiser, more powerful than men', continuing, tut this is a mere question of degree' (p. 156). The extra-human (in the sense of above or beyond the human), the extra-ordinary (above or beyond the ordinary), are widespread: not secular; probably not aspiring to, probably not entailing the sacred. To distinguish states of affairs or processes of this variety from the secular, the criteria of verification and/or falsification are to hand. When neither can be applied, science — better, the secular — is evaded. Whether they exist or not, jinns lie beyond the grasp of by so does the idea that the spirituality of spirit possession is sourced by jinn-ontology.
It should be emphasized, though, that a great deal of what can be placed under the rubric 'magic' — in the hands of experts of divination or the paranormal, in a great deal of CAM — is transgressive in the fundamental sense of having to do with the perfect. As with a typically bureaucratic consultation with with an astrologer, with tomes, in India, the underlying assumption, the unwritten premise, the working propositional belief, is that the laws operating at the heart of magic are the perfect incarnate. Pure magic, automatic magic, is widespread. Here, effect or prediction is believed to follow the cause or the predictive in ways determined by, flowing from the 'natural' order of things. It is not that science can deem the magic unworkable. It is that a perfect order is involved, one deemed to be beyond scientific knowledge by the very procedures of science itself. The 'knowing' of the perfect is not the knowing of science or anything else that is secular. Neither is the knowing of science involved when believers explain why magic does not work. The exercise of inner-life sacred agency — to heal terminal disease, for example — goes way beyond what the secularist is able to determine (for the sacred is taken to be at work); and goes beyond what the secularist can test (failure to heal, for example, being attributed to the person losing their faith in the sacred).
Spiritualities within-of the secular zone
In The Next American Spirituality (2000), George Gallup and Timothy Jones write, 'amazingly, almost a third of those in our survey defined spirituality with no reference to God or a higher authority' (p. 49). Explications, by respondents, of what spirituality refers to include:
Then there are all those expressions used during the course of everyday life. In ascending order of frequency, probably from 'spirit', to 'spiritual' to the more experientially substantive `spirituality'; expressions like 'She is in high spirits', 'He is a really spiritual person', 'the spirituality I felt at the event was overwhelming', 'she really does believe in her true self'. The language of the sacred, too, is not infrequently encountered during the everyday. To provide an illustration close to my own heart, 'The books in my study are absolutely sacrosanct'.
Oft employed in apparently secular contexts, with a decidedly secular feel to most of the formulations, it is not surprising that it is becoming fashionable for academics to write of 'secular spirituality', with volumes appearing with titles like Spirituality for the Sceptic. However, the formulations under consideration thus far most definitely need not entail secular spirituality. Some or many of those who formulate spirituality as 'a calmness in my life', for example, could be among the many millions of the USA who practise yoga and feel calm, including those who experience calmness whilst on their way to the sacred. Gallup and Jones' respondents might make `no reference to God or a higher authority'. However, that could include those who are autonomous, who reject the term God on the grounds of being 'a higher authority', whilst nevertheless believing in inner-spirituality. When someone says 'I feel spiritual', she could really be meaning it, referring to the ultimate spirituality of the theistic zone, for example. The affirmation, 'I'm spiritual not religious', which has become something of a cultural cliché, could refer to secular spirituality, perhaps to affirm 'living the life I feel is really gratifying'. Alternatively, it could be used by someone active within the transformative zone, perhaps to affirm opposition to religion. Taken at face value, Kenneth Pargament's point that 'the term spiritual is increasingly reserved for the loftier/functional side of life' (see Vol. I, Ch.10), or Brian Zinnbauer and co-author's (1999) point that 'In effect, spirituality is credited with embodying the loftier side of life and the highest in human potential' (p. 902; emphases provided), might not have anything to do with ultimate spirituality: relatively strictly speaking, the ultimate — as perfect — is not about the loftier, the potential of the 'highest' . Alternatively, people on the path to the ultimate could be involved.
Although secular spirituality cannot simply be 'read off' from expressions like 'He is a really spiritual person' or words like 'loftier', it surely must be easy to find confirmatory evidence of secular usage. One can find out whether people use expressions of the kind under consideration to refer to secular states of affairs; one can ascertain whether people who say they are spiritual people are in fact secular. One can ascertain whether 'true self' means being `true' as perfect (and therefore sacred) or whether it refers to the integrity, the depth of conscience, which has been acquired from, and cultivated within the secular condition. One can tease out whether someone who says somebody else is 'spiritual' serves as a way of emphasizing that the other is 'deep', centred', 'profound'; living her life in line with her innermost values.
But is it so easy? Consider, for example, people who have deep, powerful, moving, heartfelt, out-of-the-ordinary experiences — aesthetic, feeling-full, loving, of the soul — which are associated with `spirituality'; those who talk of the must of 'going deeper' to find . . . ; or of 'doing my very best to align myself with my true self'. Then see what happens when one attempts elucidation by way of discussion. Relatively ad hoc inquiry, carried out by myself, research students and many others, over the years, comes up with the same kind of responses time and time again. The responses show that many simply don't know if their experiences are `really' spiritual, could be spiritual, or 'really' refer to something secular. Although I don't know of anything like systematic research on the matter, the same would almost certainly apply if one were to talk with people about what they mean by expressions like 'bringing out the very best in human nature' (with its Rousseauian undertones, a favourite among certain educationalists), 'true self', or 'natural healing'.
Not surprisingly, most people do not attempt the kind of analytic determination which those studying spirituality might be looking for. Many simply don't know, exactly or less-than-exactly, what they have in mind when they use the language of spirituality. It could very well involve unexamined feeling. Those who speak of 'natural healing' might very well simply find it irrelevant to pore over what 'natural' means: natural, as in the way the body operates to heal surface wounds, natural in the sense of a 'subtle energy' which heals; or both. Those who have experiences of the kind reported by David Hay (Vol. I, Ch. 22), calling them spiritual or religious, might very well think it rather silly, beside the point to think through whether this is a way of emphasizing the quality of the experience, perhaps its unusual or 'out-standing' nature, or a way of expressing a glimpse of the perfect, the ultimate.' The anti-life sentiment of Wordsworth's famous lines come to mind:
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings; Our meddling intellect
Misshapes the beauteous forms of things:- We murder to dissect.
None of these considerations rule out the identification of relatively clear cut cases of secular spirituality in toto. The litmus test for distinguishing secular spirituality from sacred modes, namely that the former has to entail, affirm or strongly imply the less-than-perfect (like 'best'), can sometimes work wonders. The person who says, `I'm a spiritual person', I'm a really good person', 'like everyone else, I'm imperfect', and who flatly denies that she believes in spirituality, provides a relatively clear cut example. (`Relatively' because inconsistency could be at work.) Robert Solomon, insightful philosopher of emotions, relationality and life-values, and author of Spirituality for the Sceptic (2002), considers spirituality as 'the thoughtful love of life', the 'grand' passions and thoughts involved being of a secular order (p. 6). Even here, though, the tone of the book makes you wonder whether it is as secular as might have been intended. In the years prior to his much-to-be lamented death, I think it is fair to say that Solomon was passionately, albeit `sceptically' reflecting on what lies beyond the secular pure and simple.
Contrary to what some have argued, differences of language use, and context, of terms like 'spirituality' and 'sacred' cannot be more or less ignored.
Unless the perfect is experienced, sensed, `inkled' during a football match — a degree or quality of experience being a favoured instance of alleged implicit religion or spirituality — it is 'merely' a sacred event, or a magical moment of time, in some secular sense or another; maybe pointing to the sacred for those so inclined; maybe even being the perfect of a match for those who can 'see' this within the failures of any game itself. The great team, the great footballer as the perfect incarnate: then the foul.
On continua and continuities
After all this talk of zones, it might be concluded that nothing extends partially, or entirely, across the board: from the sacred of the theist to the secular. And certainly from the perspectives of ultimate theistic spirituality (most obviously of God-on-High), ultimate non-theistic spirituality (most obviously of inner-life spirituality), and the secular (arguably the die-hard atheist; maybe more generally) there are three distinct poles. Hence disputes between them: currently being most prominently generated by the new atheists.
Would that things were as simple! There is more to the matter of making sense of spirituality than three mutually exclusive, differentiated poles. For although the polar of each zone 'stands alone', other incumbents ensure that determinate lines of demarcation are/can be de-differentiated. Most clearly, although the transformative and theistic poles are mutually exclusive, the two zones also flow into one another; merge; overlap.
There are a couple of ways of exploring the above. One concerns the notion of the continuum; the other, the 'perennial' of the continuity.
For the sake of clarity, a dictionary definition of 'continuum' runs, 'A continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from one another, although the extremes are quite distinct'. (The notion of `spectrum' is much the same, as when a rainbow is referred to as 'a continuum of colour'.) Consider this in connection with what happens between the two poles of the transformative and the theistic. A 'continuous sequence' runs between the two. Since 'adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from one another', there is no single point of differentiation, indeed, no determinate point at all. The two poles remain mutually exclusive; a continuum (more precisely, various continua) stretches rather like a complex bridge, grounded at each end in the clearly mutually exclusive, meeting in the middle in various ways.
To complement/adjust the language/conceptualization of zones with continua is not to do away with zones. Rather like two sides of a bridge, each grounded in opposite sides of the bank, zones exist. At the same time, the adjacent elements (`bricks') which move out from each polar side (`banks') meet in the middle in various ways: to flow into one another (if 'cement' is used), to merge (if 'cables' are wrapped together) or to overlap (with 'logs' placed accordingly). Continua are composed of incumbents of zones, run through the zones, and, around the peripheries of zones, erode determinate boundaries between sides.
Continua are made up of what can be thought of as 'items'. Items include what people maintain to be the case (`beliefs that', 'beliefs in' apprehensions, senses, notions, etc.), the degree of certitude people hold things to be the case (certainty, likelihood, probability, etc.), what people experience to be the case (experience of something out there, in here, nowhere in particular). Together with items 'within' consciousness, items also include all that is formulated within culture: in books, sacred texts, music, in the media, and so on. Then there are items found within congregations (an emphasis on God as transcendent, or on God as immanent) or activities (contemplating nature to experience the sacred within, channelling, to find a 'higher' spirit guide, etc.). Items are rarely found in already organized continua (like, for example, initiatory stages in Scientology). Nevertheless, continua are not difficult to find. It is relatively easy for the scholar to organize items found scattered through culture into continua: say of books ranging from God-on-High to books ranging from `God'-within, and all that is sequentially in-between. In everyday life, it is also pretty clear that people, intent on change, progressively work out progressive continua. Consider the Christian who gradually moves from items emphasizing God-on-High, to items drawing attention to the value of emphasizing the immanence of the God-on-High, to items facilitating this emphasis, to items signposting the value of dropping the God-on-High in favour of what can really emphasize the within: yoga. When continua operate like this, one item signalling another, they can be thought of as fairly embedded in the culture, as routes or avenues. Probably more frequently, though, those who work out progressively unfolding continua, for the sake of relatively gradual change, do so fairly individualistically.
Whatever, the important thing is that the greater the extent to which continua are followed through, from any one pole, the greater the likelihood of some kind of amalgamation with whatever other pole is in sight. In the Occident, the impetus in favour of the immanent within religious tradition means that numerous 'Christians' have moved a long way towards the polar of the inner-life spirituality of the transformative zone. A broad continuum runs from the theistic of the transcendent, to the theistic of the more immanent, to the more immanentized within 'Christianity', to the pantheistic (God-is/ in-all), to the depths of the self beyond the 'ego' or 'lower self'; ultimately, perhaps, to the monistic, where everything 'real' is taken to be sacred. Having come to thinking of themselves as spiritual seekers, Catholics, who might well have stopped taking Mass, take up tai chi or eastern-grounded meditation emphasizing God-in/as-Creation.
With the next chapter in mind, the operation of continua has two main consequences. First, at some point along continua operating 'out of the poles of, say, the theistic and transformative zones, differences become a matter of degree; of emphasis; evaporating when the two orientations of continua merge. This means that it is not possible to arrive at a determinate count of zones. And second, continua can make it relatively easy for people intent on change. Whether drawing on relatively well-established routes, or finding their own, or both, people are able to draw on pretty well-established (cultural, etc.) resources. They do not have to make things up on the hoof. It is not so difficult to cross the zonal 'bridge'. There are plenty of resources, within religion tradition, to shift to the more immanentized of the Godhead of tradition; to the more detraditionalized of the traditional. Just change congregations. There are plenty of resources to move on to that sacrality of the transformative zone which leaves tradition behind. Take up tai chi (as well). In the process, God shifts towards that `god'-human equality, identification, of inner-life spirituality; the location of `god'-as-the person then completes the shift by ruling out 'God-person' inequality. From the other direction, that is from the main polarity of the transformative zone, inner-life spirituality believers decide to incorporate 'external' spirit authorities to assist them, moving on to a personal, 'theistic' God as friend, partner, assistant, then, perhaps, to more fully-fledged incorporation of the theistic. Again, the 'bridge' is crossed. For those who want to move, in either direction, there are plenty of things ahead of them, many quite long-established; most with cultural credibility, legitimacy. Prompted by occasion, desire to explore, experiment, people can readily move 'forward' or backward. People can readily hold similar-but-different 'positions' at the same time. (The implications for counting are considerable: there is no one 'position' to count.)
Overall, re the above, a true continuum is at work. The extremes are quite distinct. The God-on-High of strong tradition is not the same as the 'god' within of the transformative zone. Die-hard theists draw a strict boundary between their tradition and what lies beyond it. The keynote is separation. At the same time, there is a sequence running between, linking up, the two distinctive poles. Gradual gradation: change is more imperceptible than perceptible. Unless imposed arbitrarily, a determinate boundary between the poles cannot be drawn. The continua exist within each of the two zones. Continua run from each pole, to merge into one another; to really cross the `bridge' with regard to their respective directions. What makes continua yet more substantial, it is worth noting, is that something akin to Wittgenstein's notion of 'family resemblances' is in evidence. For instance, people drop the values of being obedient to, and dependent on, God-on-High, retaining faith in the transcendent-cum-immanent and the duty of being kind to others; then the transcendent fades in significance, the immanent waxes, and the value of being kind to others undergoes transformational shift to become yet more inner-directed. As people move with the passage of time, overlaps so-to-speak overlap over/with overlaps.
It is one thing to talk about continua between the sacred and the sacred. It is quite another when what I'll call the great divide is at issue. This is the divide between the secular and the sacred; the either-or, the incompatibility of the imperfect and the perfect. When the secular comes to an end, for the perfect to commence, it looks as though continua, too, come to a close. It looks as though conversion is required to 'jump over' the barrier between the secular and the transformative or the theistic.
One argument is that continua continue, albeit in what can be considered as the transgressive mode of the by-pass. Whereas there is a certain rationality, rhyme and reason, about continua (and therefore movement) between the theistic and transformative zones, the same does not apply here. In connection with the former, the sacred intersects with the sacred; theistic sacrality includes the rhyme and reason factor, re continua with the transformative zone, of being immanent as well as transcendent.
With the either-or in mind, for some people reason is circumvented, circled around. To consider this in connection with continua (and associated people flow) from the secular 'into' the transformative zone, relative to the small number of die-hard secularists, in many an Occidental nation, many more are 'optimistic agnostics' (or that way inclined, with a let us wait and see' attitude); and some are moved to become 'exploratory agnostics'. Transgressing the canons of the polar secularist, optimistic/exploratory so-called 'agnostics' include those who exemplify this outlook: those who yearn for 'something more'. This is not necessarily sacred in self-understanding. It could be something `above', 'deeper than', or the 'MORE' than, as William James (1974 [orig. 1902]) put it, than the limitations — that is finitude — of the secular condition. These are those who cannot leave their secularity behind, whose yearning, imagination, inchoate 'faith in' nevertheless impels, moves, an aspect of their being into the transformative zone; or, probably less frequently, the theistic.
For some people, by-passes circumvent reason; provide continua in face of the either-or logic. The yearn highlights the matter. From within the secular frame of reference, yearning for the beyond, the other than the finite, can be all-consuming. It can consume the significance of a great deal of what one is as a secular being. By 'using up' the significance of a great deal of the secular, it diminishes the value of the secular: thereby fuelling itself. From the frame of reference of what is being yearned for, the yearn can be equally all-consuming. One can become absorbed by the effort of arriving at that which one is intent on being consumed by — perhaps the perfect. And on occasion, the yearn 'works': either partially or entirely, it propels the person to convincing, or partially convincing experiences, awareness of `the other side'.
It might be said that the humanities, the arts, the literature, the poetry, the music way back into the nineteenth-century owe a considerable amount of urgency, inspiration to the theme of 'the yearn'. Wittgenstein wrote, 'The description of a wish is, eo ipso, the description of its fulfilment' (cited by Arrington and Addis, 2001: 17). Although Wittgenstein seems to accord considerable capacity, significance, to the powers of the imagination, fuelled as the expression of the wish, transportative efficacy is in evidence. By way of representation' of the wish, to draw on another term used by Wittgenstein in this context of use, the wish 'takes' those with intense desire into 'new' territory. ('New' has to be in quotation marks because those concerned might well have already been there) A more illuminating illustration, almost certainly, is provided by the great North American poet Wallace Stevens. Unable to fully believe in the sacred, whilst irresistibly impelled towards it, Stevens created the sacred within the imaginative power, the creative and, more significantly, absorption force of 'his' poetry. Classical Romanticism might have been integral to Stevens' being, fuelling the impulsion. When shifting `out' of his career (running a top echelon financial service), 'spirituality-as imagination-or more' tended to soar, sometimes taking a `proto', 'as if' mode. In his outstanding works, Stevens draws strongly on the capacity of the sheer power of the poetic imagination: to effect what a Romantic precursor, Coleridge, drew on to actualize the 'willing' suspension of `dis'-belief, to move 'on' to what he 'believed' in, but could not 'truly' experience.
The wish, hope, yearning, 'faith' for and of the imagination is in something (see Taylor, 2002: 26). The transportative modes of going beyond explored by Theodore Ziolkowski in his Modes of Faith (2007): the 'in' of art, journeys to the Occident; the 'in' seen in the powerful mythopoesis, mytho-narrative trends of the last centuries, rejecting that secular history which is 'hostile and dangerous for life' (Ziolkowski, p. 147, citing Nietzsche); and, among other things, utopian idealization. Regarding a recent publication about Le Corbusier, the author, Flora Samuel (2010), dwells on Corbusier's effort to design 'architectural promenades', relatively encapsulated journeys serving as initiatory routes into the power of harmonious unity. Another 'believer' in unable to 'truly' actualize: among countless others of the cultural ilk.
It is easy to think that the history of the yearn is tantamount to the history of cultural elites: those sophisticates who have lost faith in religious tradition, in what the finitudes of the secular have to offer, who have the skills, time, money, to reflect on, and get tormented by, the purpose of life. I am far from convinced that this is entirely the case. It is quite apparent that we do not know how many today, within the populace at large, believe in the yearn, are consumed by the yearn (with the secular being consumed in commensurate manner), and with sacred spirituality (or something akin to it) being consumed in the manner of 'taking over'. We do not know the extent to which yearning — intense desire, urgently justified expectation, powerful perhaps need — moves far enough beyond to partially, or more comprehensively, transgress the secular. It would be rash to deny, though, that during periods, or occasions, of life, yearning is activated, perhaps fulfilled. filled. We certainly know that existential issues, most obviously raised by serious longer-term illness, tend to generate reflection on the 'more' of life and the yearning for fulfilment. We know that hallucinogens and the like, during the 'sixties', frequently served to encapsulate the 'promised' within
the contents of a capsule (sometimes, 'cocoon' is a better descriptor). The vehicle of the trip could certainly transport people into other realms. That the transportative was encapsulated — as 'the trip' — meant that the threat of critical reality was diminished. The trip could plough on. We also know that numerous vehicles are operative within the popular culture of the Occident today. The `make'-believe 'in', or the 'creative'-believe 'in' of the momentum of the yearning of the half-plus-believer: maybe the computer `cyberian', who strives to realize belief in 'the more', the perfect, by way of acts of creation, inspiration, extension, 'othering' (to use an ugly word) — the 'make this happen', the happening; the enclosure of the imagination-as-reality.
Aims, imagined realities, obviously integral to yearns, are at work. So are experiences. Often, continua from the secular to the beyond involve existentially driven 'states of mind', music, mind-altering substances, the work of spiritual healers (say in hospices), film, walking in glorious circumstances, and so on. And continua of this variety, encapsulating the person from the critical voice of 'you are secular', meet their 'end point' with the veracity of experience. What might have begun as moving to the reality of the 'as if' becomes the reality of whatever experience of the beyond has to 'say'. In the instance of Bertrand Russell (1975), who is returned to in the next chapter, the utterly convincing experience of what lies within 'the union of love' (p. 9) — the spiritual experience of today. In the case of other mortals, the encapsulated 'opens out', dissolves, when the experience of (say) `the music' moves beyond secular significance; comes to 'the end' in this regard. Experiences taken to be of beauty: powerful; any sort of critical voice replaced with the 'cultural value' of beauty; beauty on a continuum to 'the beyond'. High percentages of people, in many countries of the Occident, have had the experience (or experiences): maybe not taken to be of permanent `ultimate' significance afterwards, but likely to be reactivated when existential loss (for example) comes into evidence. Clear-cut lines of demarcation are eroded. The boundary between the secular and the beyond is dissolved by what transgresses the former.
Similar encapsulations, cocoons, internally-`referential' paths, are, of course, used across the world: albeit not so much to move from the secular to the beyond as to enhance the significance of the beyond. For the highly influential anthropologist, Clifford Geertz (1996), who draws on those rites de passage which move participants out of the secular, rituals isolates the beyond from the ordinary (the secular), encapsulating the beyond to affirm it. Geertz wrote before the language of spirituality became popular within the academy. The modes of experience elucidated by many a ritual would be spiritual in today's parlance.
Continua-cum-experiences of the kind under discussion can readily be dismissed by so-called masters of suspicion. The likes of Freud take the easy path of pointing to psychologically-driven illusion, mere fulfilment of the wish. The 'as if' as the 'if only'. Given the existential pressure frequently in evidence, a facile dismissal, one which ignores the value of what is sought, accomplished to some degree or another.
A rather different way of moving from the secular to the beyond involves what boils down to the continua (and continuities) of socialization. A great, albeit sadly neglected volume of Hans Vaihinger's is titled The Philosophy of As If' (1925). The volume is a paean for the sheer significance of the `as if'. The 'as if'; the yearn as 'if only' to begin with. However, the volume also instances the 'as if' as true; that is, as reality. Here, Vaihinger provides examples which undermine his own title. Rather than people living their lives `as if' they were free, for instance, they simply, that is quite contentedly, without question, live 'free': and this in face of whatever knowledge they might hold pertaining to life-as-determined. Extrapolating to spirituality, the argument is that many of those in the Occident, today, have been socialized into thinking of themselves as spiritual. Among the young, of many a primary school of Britain, experiential 'tasting' of wonder, harmony with nature, reflection on 'depth', including the significance of spiritual values, provides a background. Youth culture can provide a 'sort of'-confirmatory of the more extraordinary, tinged with the 'as if' of youth scepticism. Whatever the exact form of socialization, the possibility, the likelihood, for some the certainty of the 'beyond' enters the normal fabric of life (Heelas and Seel, 2003). This is rather like acquiring belief in freedom, what serves as the ground of freedom, 'mind' or a close cognate: as part of the culture; simply accepted. This probably contrasts with the older, too old to have experienced the kind of socialization which has just been sketched, of the age when it is more likely that spirituality is 'realized', by way of experience, when cultural and personal circumstances, 'call' for it, than it is for spirituality to have been primed by the cultural earlier on in life: (see Vol. I, Ch. 22, on the extent of self-attested spiritual/religious experiences).
Overall, among those of the Occident who consider themselves to be spiritual, there are those who have by-passed the either-or of the secular-sacred by way of a supra-rational 'capsule' and associated experiences. There are those who have been socialized into spirituality from an earlier age, perhaps going through an 'as if' phase of unthinking acceptance. And there are those who 'realize' spirituality, perhaps under existential stress, probably in connection with experience, when older. In the USA, where socialization at an earlier age by way of religion is more significant than in most of the Occident, continua are present incorporating the subjectivized, the therapeutic for many teenagers (Heelas, 2007: 71-72; Smith, 2005; Smith and Snell, 2009).
To add to the case against the comprehensiveness, 'finitude', of the boundary between the secular and sacred, the 'degrees of certitude factor' deserves emphasis. From the secular, the gradual gradation towards sacred spirituality: from not very likely', to `so long as it means something', to 'that experience has virtually convinced me', through to certitude. There are the countless testimonies of people oscillating around the secular-cum-sacred-cum-secular, moving from the former to the latter when occasions like 'feeling alone' demand, or vice versa when occasions of the 'feeling fulfilled with the everyday' variety are dominant. Here lies convincing evidence of `certitude-mobility'; of movement back and forth along the continuum of non-belief — belief in the beyond, quite possibly the spiritual of the perfect. The finitude of the boundary is also undermined by virtue of the fact that many believers in the sacred acknowledge doubt, sometimes acclaim it as a crucial constitutive of true belief. Doubt is doubt, across much of the board. Intersecting with this, a continuum linked with science is increasingly widespread: the continuum from science as the known, to how little is known even about what science `knows', the 'my goodness, last week science said don't eat that, this week .. . to the (Einsteinian) 'the more science knows, the more clear the extent of the unknown', to the (even more Einsteinian), wonder . . . (Thinking of the continuum linked with schools, it would be valuable to learn more about the extent of 'wonder-teaching' across the globe.)
On continuities underpinning the continua
The relatively uninterrupted is enhanced by virtue of continuities. A dictionary definition of continuity runs, 'an uninterrupted succession or flow'. Underpinning continua, as the lowest — most fundamental — common denominator, there are major continuities; culturally powerful modes which, if not quite of 'the same' are similar enough to help sustain the relatively uninterrupted. Running through a great deal of what is going on in the zones, convincing evidence of continuity is provided by the fact that a/the basic dynamic of spirituality, sacred or not, is much the same right around the triangle of the three zones. Whether theistic, inner-life or secular, spirituality involves moving beyond the less-than-perfect to experiencing the more profound, the more significant, the soul music. The going within to come out, the going higher to come out: ontology, ontological geography aside, the same imperatives are at work. Go closer. Make contact. Furthermore, pretty well all modes of spirituality, including much of the secular, share the theme of subjecting the secular to critique. This is clear enough with regard to the theistic and the transformation. The point almost certainly applies to secular spirituality: as when calling someone a spiritual person marks her out as exemplary, thereby (in)-directly drawing attention to the failures of others.
Another pronounced characteristic which runs across a great deal of the triangular board concerns inclusivization: noticeably `world'-incorporating humanism. This typifies more liberal forms of theism. This is widespread within spiritualities of life, including a great deal of CAM. This is apparent within the secular zone, most especially among those who use the language of spirituality to refer to the highest of the values of the (humanistic) human. Another continuity of note involves that running between the 'natural' of the laws of nature of the secular and the 'natural' of the laws of nature posited by a great deal of the theistic and transformative. Bearing in mind that the uncertainty (or revocability) of science entails that investigation can never conclusively demonstrate that laws of nature are perfect in and of themselves, the fact remains that most secularists, perhaps if prompted a wee bit, would probably concur that the laws of nature are somehow perfect, ultimate. Secularists thereby join hands with theistic or transformative naturalism. Albeit limited to what runs through the theistic zone and much of the transformative, additional evidence of continuity is provided by the fact that the sacred itself, over-and-above differences, is held in common: as the truly worthwhile; as the ultimate of what 'spirituality' is 'really' about.
Right across the triangular board, the elementary notion of the truly worthwhile as the perfect is normally present. This is obvious enough with regard to much of the transformative and theistic. As for the secular, it very much looks as though the language of secular spirituality is most frequently deployed in connection with high quality, culturally and individually valued, virtues and commensurate experiences — concerning humans, nature and the extra-ordinary — with intimations of the perfect; maybe the longing, the yearn. Again right across the triangular board, there is the elemental factor of 'experience'. What has come to be known as the experience economy, epitomized by the purchase of experiences within consumer culture, goes together with the 'new' experiential empiricism: the test of experience to ascertain what is right or wrong, whether the commodity, the relationship, the truth. There is the quality control of the secular consumer by way of the significance of the purchased experience; the significance of experience, the test of experience by the 'researcher' of the transformative; the more-orless identical within the ranks of the internalized religionist, etc.
In a passage which, I think, best captures what expressivism is basically about, Edward Shils (1981) writes of the belief, corresponding to a feeling, that within each human being there is an individuality, lying in potentiality, which seeks an occasion for realization but is held in the toils of the rules, beliefs, and roles which society imposes. . . . [Writers] suggest that the real state of the self is very different from the acquired baggage which institutions like families, schools and universities impose. To be "true to oneself", means, they imply, discovering what is contained in the uncontaminated self, the self which has been freed from the encumbrance of accumulated knowledge, norms, and ideals handed down by previous generations. (pp. 10-11; my emphases)
Does this characterization of the expressivist mode or aspect of self-understanding refer to the secular, the sacred, both, or neither in particular? It certainly appears that reference to 'the uncontaminated self' implies the purity of the perfect; the sacred; a Rousseauian pre-social self of 'the natural goodness of man' (Melzer, 1990). If this interpretation is correct, then great swathes of the populace at large — up to fifty per cent of the populace of certain western countries according to surveys — count as belonging to the transformative zone. However, many expressivistically-inclined, perhaps the majority, do not appear to think of themselves as sacred beings. Does this mean that they are secularists? I am doubtful. The most likely explanation is that a great many simply don't know, don't care to reflect upon, don't feel able to make any progress in determining, the ontological nature of this `uncontaminated, true self' of theirs. Probably owing a great deal to the sheer mysteriousness of the matter, they don't determine whether it is something to do with the best of human 'nature', whether it is the best of the cultural, whether it is some kind of proto-sacrality, or whether it is (somehow) sacred. Ontology, ontological foundations or sources, is shrouded beyond determinate thought. To the extent this applies, expressivism is non-ontological. Bearing in mind that the secular-sacred distinction is ultimately of an ontological nature, many an expressivist neither belongs to the secular, per se, nor the sacred per se. In effect the great divide is bypassed; ignored.
On the one hand expressivism resonates powerfully with secular spirituality, indeed, could be a manifestation of that secular spirituality which emphasizes the very best. On the other hand, expressivism resonates powerfully with sacred spirituality, again, could be a manifestation of that sacred spirituality which involves experiences of the perfect. A continuum can run between the more secularly-orientated and the more sacrally-inclined modes of expressivism. However, teasing out the continuum is far from easy; systematic determination impossible. This is not simply a matter of indeterminancy. Arguably more fundamentally, it is also due to the fact that expressivism, of all shades of orientation, is underpinned by the same continuities. The same basic, 'perennial' experiential assumptions or dynamics, including 'the deeper the better', 'expressivity matters', 'connect through the deeper as/and the expressive'; and the fundamental Rousseauian assumption of human nature as fundamentally good, with 'latent' potential to be unlocked; with capacities and capabilities to be 'cultivated' (the term implying that there is something already there to cultivate). Overall, the presence of continua and the continuities contribute to circumventing the 'great divide' separating the beyond from the secular. A roundabout.
Overall, the zoning-with-continua-with-continuities scheme I'm working with certainly includes breaks, namely those between the secular and the sacred, those between the distinctive, mutually exclusive polar amplifications of the zones: the die-hard atheist, the ultimate spiritualities of the transformative and the theistic. At the same time, continua, underpinned as they are by deeper 'perennial' continuities, can provide the relatively seamless: without clear-cut lines of demarcation. It is easy enough, for example, for people to draw upon, overlap, the 'planks' of 'theistic-akin' and the 'inner-life-akin' to address life. What really matters is that zones are most certainly not watertight, self-contained entities. Having draw out certain rhyme and reason, most especially in terms of continua, things can be brought to bear on change; and the matter of numerical significance.
On generators of change In an illuminating passage, of 1917, Simmel wrote,
In our present context the essential fact is the existence of large social groups who, in pursuit of their religious needs, are turning away from Christianity. . . . the widespread rejection of any fixed form of religious life is in keeping with our general cultural situation. Thus supra-denominational mysticism has far the strongest appeal to these groups. For the religious soul hopes to find here direct spontaneous fulfilment, whether in standing naked and alone, as it were, before its God, without the mediation of dogma in any shape or form, or in rejecting the very idea of God as a petrifaction and an obstacle, and in feeling that the true religion of the soul can only be its own inmost metaphysical life not moulded by any forms of faith whatever. (1976: 258-259 [orig. 1917])
As well as showing a major continuum at work, involving the sacred of theism and autonomous spirituality, the passage indicates that movement from Occidental theism to the transformative is nothing new. Credence is lent to this point by another of the great scholars of the early twentieth century, William James. He would probably have called his Varieties of Religious Experience (1974 [orig. 1902]) the Varieties of Spiritual Experience if he were alive today. It provides a wealth of material demonstrating the extent to which spirituality was in evidence during the nineteenth century, for example, including what was in effect beyond religious tradition.
The points made by Simmel, James and many others writing at much the same time, including Durkheim, are hardly unexpected: not, that is, when one bears in mind that a great deal of the transformative zone cum immanentization within Christianity was set in motion by the Romantic movement of its 'classical' spell during the later eighteenth century well into the nineteenth. Comprehensive explanations of change in the Occident have to attend to what has taken place over time, minimally back to Romanticism. This is not all. Comprehensive explanations would also have to take into account the much longer standing of the transformative zone elsewhere in the world. Culturally speaking, the transformative zone of South Asia is ancient: poly/ theistic religion, the imperfections of the secular, with the impoverished and others turning to transformative resources of many modes of Sufism, magic, etc., as and when occasion demands. It goes without saying that the structural conditions, the socio-economic environment of pre-modern South Asia, differ widely from the industrializing modernity facing the classical Romantics and their successors. To provide a really comprehensive explanation, differences of this kind would have to be taken into account.
On Bertrand Russell's momentum to break through to the other side
Needless to say, change requires momentum, motivation. Desire: the role played by `macro'-factors like economic suffering included, nothing much happens unless passion is operative. An illustration is provided by a testimony of Bertrand Russell's. The author of Why I Am Not a Christian (1957), an alleged maestro of the atheist stance, Russell came to realize experience of the beyond. Impelled by the failures of religious tradition and the limitations of the secular, Russell's longstanding yearn moves into the 'believing in' of what we now know as spirituality: 'the union of love', a union taken to be of an ethical, experiential significance pointing towards, existing as, a union beyond love in secular mode. Russell the spiritual humanist, which, probably, was an undercurrent for most of his life: one which emerged from his positivistic period (anything worth knowing is scientifically, quantifiably, logically the case) to yearning, to where yearns led him: not just hesitantly into the transformative zone, but, it appears, to become of it. As the 'Prologue, - 'What I have Lived for' — of his autobiography indicates, without passion', the finitude, imperfection of the secular would not have been surmounted; the barrier raised by being secular would not have dissolved.
Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.
I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy — ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness — that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it, finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I have sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what — at last — I have found.
Having written of his mystical quest for knowledge — 'I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which numbers hold sway above the flux' — and of his passion to alleviate the poverty, pain, loneliness which makes 'a mockery of what human life should be' — Russell concludes with the lines, This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me. (p. 9)
Maybe not eternal recurrence, but Nietzsche's great test to identify those who found a true point to life is in evidence: recurrence. It is justified to refer to Russell's non-secular, non-theistic experience of redemption. His yearning long pointed to this; ultimately, though, experience 'strikes', strikes through the critical secular mind to transform what his life has meant to him. Hyperbole? Doubtful.
On the 'afflictions of the worthwhile' thesis
Motivating factors of the kind referred to by Russell are legion. There is only opportunity, here, to say something about what is probably the 'grand' explanatory approach. It is what I will call the afflictions of the worthwhile thesis. The basic idea is straightforward. The highly plausible assumption is that people, across cultures, seek to live a worthwhile life. Life with a point to it certainly need not involve the 'worthy' life, the life of moral substance, pride, the righteous of the just. More broadly and significantly, the worthwhile is the vital life, the life of being alive with fulfilment. Another equally highly plausible assumption is that afflictions, impoverishment of the worthwhile, normally generate, motivate responses: change, anything from taking up substance 'abuse' to religious conversion. It is also highly plausible to hold that the worthwhile is bound up with the perfect. Maybe 'the perfect' means things like a worthwhile, 'perfect' game of tennis: competition is required; distressful states of mind too. From the perspective of the sacred, this is not `truly' perfect. More fundamentally than this kind of 'best of all possible worlds' scenario, it is most unlikely that the inhabitants of any culture fail to think of the perfect as tantamount to the truly worthwhile. After all, the sacred-as-perfect is universally abroad to guide the human imagination (if that is what it is).
Of the changes which the afflictions of the, worthwhile thesis can help elucidate, I now dwell on the popularity of the transformative zone in the Occident, specifically the growth of spiritualities of life and the closely allied development of immanentized theism.' I am convinced, however, that the thesis is applicable elsewhere, not least South Asia. The thesis is composed of variants.
The afflictions of the worthwhile thesis has three variants. One, the cultural failure thesis, applies to those who judge, or find, religion to be a failure. Whether it is God-on-High theistic sacrality, the beliefs, certain key values and dynamics of being dependent on the High of theism, or the institutional arrangements of tradition, religion does not work. At the same time, the thesis applies to those (including people who know religion to have failed) who judge much of the secular to have failed (as well). Imperfections can be felt acutely. The limitations of the secular, in particular the inability of the secular to provide 'the perfect', the 'truly' worthwhile, to realize many of its own ideals, mean that whilst the zone might be relatively satisfactory for the necessities of everyday life, it invariably fails to provide anything of ultimate significance; and, for many, probably the majority, is not `up' to all that much.
Most radically, and almost certainly bearing on relatively few, cultural failure takes the form of systemic cultural collapse: the second variant of the thesis. As anyone who has taken the works of Camus to heart will appreciate, perhaps despairingly, volumes like The Myth of Sisyphus (1955) convince that it is far from easy to live with what, for Camus, is 'the absurdity of existence'; that absurdity revealed after twofold experience of failure. Camus (himself), one of the greatest of all positive-Stoics of belief in the 'I will', adopted a far-from-despairing philosophy of life: Pindar's 'O my soul, do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits of the possible'.)
The failure/collapse of motivations are not limited to those afflictions of the worthwhile generated when something which is worthwhile is undermined or disintegrates. Afflictions-cum-motivations can also be generated by the worthwhile itself: for example, when what is already worthwhile generates desire for something more worthwhile still, ad infinitum, basically a dynamic of high expectations; expectations which are never met; expectations which generate afflictions, like thwarted desire or envy; expectations which generate action. The third point, to reactivate something from the previous essay, is that motivations can be enabled. To varying degrees and in various ways, continua and contiguities can serve to facilitate motivation. The Romantics faced the challenging, difficult task of carving out their own routes, their own third ways, to serve 'against the current' of Enlightenment dominated modernity (Berlin, 1997), and, by and large, 'against' Occidental religious tradition. Today, life for most of those moving into the transformative zone is significantly easier. In considerable measure due to momentum generated by the classical Romantics (sometimes assisted by knowledge of the Orient), their `installations', works of poetry-cum-art-cum-philosophy of life, signposts, stepping stones, the zone is now available. Continua developed in the spirit of Romanticism enable people today to 'flow' relatively easily. The person moving from Christian tradition towards inner-life spirituality has plenty of established activities to move through progressively (if that is what they want): activities, like those provided by 'Catholic' monasteries and nunneries, converted from their traditional roles to become meditation, contemplative spiritual 'orders' within.
On cultural failure/collapse in action
As Charles Taylor makes abundantly clear, most especially in A Secular Age (2007), the classical Romantic Movement primarily developed out of the sense of twofold failure/collapse and the imperative that then had to be addressed. Largely not concerned about attempting to restore religion as a viable source of the worthwhile, unable to do anything about the progressive destruction of the (in any case inevitably limited) worthwhile of the secular by mechanization, urbanization, massification and the like, the Romantics circumvented failures, dialectically, by finding and securing a third path. Many of the Romantics themselves, then those who were influenced by them, found the worthwhile, the inspirational, the 'point' of life through the sacrality (much of today's 'spirituality') of and in nature, within the person, within the relationship, flowing out as the 'third force' (as strong river currents are called in the north of England) of creative agency.
No one has formulated the cultural failure account better than that cultural historian, socio-cultural critic, existential philosopher, Romantic-leaning (and counter-leaning) Nietzsche. Thus Spoke Zarathustra (2003 [orig. 1883-85]) is the great condemnation of both religion and the secular. Nietzsche is far better on condemnation than one of his two main rivals - all three keeping an eye on one another - within the cultural climate of the time, Tolstoy, whom Nietzsche read, and who was probably equally tortured by failures of the worthwhile. (The other outstanding rival was Dostoevsky, who probed the emotionalities of varieties of religion rather than condemning more fulsomely.) Tolstoy tended to dwell on the inadequacies and harmful effects of certain religious tradition; Nietzsche attacked the secular even more fiercely than Christianity. (Nietzsche's nigh desperate striving for the perfect, his `religious' yearning, which is bound up with the elitist strand of his thought, is seen in the fact that his own words of wisdom, in Thus Spoke, are uttered by Zarathustra.) Nietzsche and Tolstoy entered the transformative zone: the former with the Ubermensch (the `overman'), the latter, at least for periods of his life, with a 'mystical', oft-profoundly internalized, 'Christianity' merged with love of the simplicity of the land and those who cultivate themselveswith-the-soil to bring everything fully to life; in harmony. Moving on in time, Simmel counts as one of all those, including Thomas Mann, Hardy, and Simmel's close friend Max Weber, deeply influenced by Nietzsche. Simmel's solution to the afflictions of the secular and religious tradition was a mode of immanentized 'Christianity', merging with 'the truth' of relationships between beings, the truth itself lying with life itself. His 'solution' belongs to the flow from the theistic tradition to the transformative zone. Max Weber's solution? Stoicism, qualified by yearning, and not infrequently associated with mental distress.
What Charles Taylor (1991) graphically calls 'the massive subjective turn of modern culture' is integral to the cultural failures account (p. 26). The turn is driven by the sense - experienced by many but not everybody - that cultural-cum-institutional arrangements of established orders are alienating, estranging, divorced, hollow-yet-repressive; generate a sense of anomie - that is, of worthlessness, if not worse - which combines with a sense of being subjected by the counter-productive, stupid, anti-life'. Depending on their gravity, and other factors, afflictions like these 'drive' people to `go within': to seek out what more or less has to be taken to be as the source of the best possible worthwhile of life: developing, expanding, enhancing the quality of their states of being, perhaps incorporating the depths of nature and the cosmic as well; then creating their own meaningful realities through acts of expression - within relationships, 'ways' of life, music, creative reinterpretation of literature, vocations (like working with emotionally agitated children) which permit at least a degree of creative expression. In face of twofold failure, where else is there to go other than 'within', then `without'?
To avoid going over the top with this argument, it is important to note that the massive turn need not drive people to plumb their depths 'beyond', or their relational depths, for significance. Considerable numbers, probably, do not go this far. For them, subjectivized ingredients of a basically secular form, say, the notions of 'growing at work', 'the learning organization', or the `becoming (myself)' by way of subjective wellbeing cultural provisions like the aesthetic commercial provisions of music or arts festivals, etc., seem to cater for the turn within: without necessarily going all that far in that direction.
The subjectivization-cum-humanization thesis is also integral to the cultural failures thesis. This is the idea that if people are to be engaged with anything to do with the sacred, however tenuously, they are much more likely to engage with modes which, being of the inner, are perfectly 'positioned', capacitated, for catering for the cultivation and expression of that subjective-life which the 'massive turn' has brought into some value/value-potential prominence. This is the thesis that if people are to be engaged with anything to do with the sacred, they are much more likely to engage with modes which, being of the inner, are perfectly positioned for catering for the humanism of so much of the 'massive turn' itself: the values of life, freedom and equality. In support of this thesis, an ever-mounting body of evidence demonstrates that few of those 'leading' the turn or carried along with it — the expressivists of Occidental culture and elsewhere — are attracted by anything of significance, especially of more ultimate significance, which attempts to regulate, discipline, direct, subjective-life: management by people, by religious tradition, by the theistic God Head of Authority.
On the 'action' of the `sixties'
The Frankfurt School, together with more recent incarnations like Foucault, lives on.
The complex of processes under consideration is perfectly exemplified by the counter-cultural `sixties'-cum-earlier seventies (which, of course, people like Foucault were privy to): an excellent example of explanatory processes at work. Peter Berger and his co-authors of The Homeless Mind (1974) provide a useful, albeit derivative, application of the cultural collapse thesis to explain the eruption of the transformative zone of the time. On the one hand, massive perceived failures of 'straight' society, including oppression (`the policeman in my head'; Vietnam); on the other, the failure of religion (discrimination, out of touch). The outcome: existential homelessness. The response: the third way of 'going within'. The significance: a sense of purpose, most obviously when what lies within 'comes out' as 'politics of (cultural) experience'; as action.
`Fuck the system'; 'fuck religion'; 'go for' the inner experience of music, intimate relationality, drugs of the kind that that great muse of the sixties, Aldous Huxley, with his 'foresight' took during his life and when he was dying. The yearn, for as the music of the sixties (in a broad sense of the term) so effectively expresses, the counter-culture, like that of Romanticism, was dominated by intense desire for the perfect within experience. Songs of Jackson Browne, like 'Late for the Sky', the 'taking it to the limit' were powerful.
More ultimately, to 'take it': to see what happens when inner-life moves on, beyond life in the here-and-now: in continuity, with so-called death. For a few, 'till death do us part' to 'death we unify'. Regarding the role of a related, albeit oft-neglected factor, one which certainly contributed to the upsurge of the transformative zone of the sixties, the zone was one of a profound, deeply felt humanism. The humanism was embedded in the subjective turn. The more intimately the values, sentiments, dispositions and so on of the humanism were experienced as bound up with oneself, within oneself, within others (as far away as North Vietnam), the more the humanism was experienced as resonating with the sacred, the greater the extent to which it rebelled against, countered hierarchical, anti-democratic, 'top-down' inequality of the kind generated, for example, by God-on-High. With force, perhaps to liberate for…
Where I disagree with the 'homeless mind' account of Berger and his co-authors is that the humanism of the period — and other factors, including the exploration of consciousness by way of games, fun, travel, play, relationality, all the activities of the cultic milieu so well encapsulated by a ground-breaking essay of Colin Campbell's (1972), the active search for the perfect — meant that the period was not as 'formless' as all that.' Whatever generated the twofold cultural collapse, it was virtually instantaneous. Relatively formless, whilst dynamic, 'form' nevertheless rapidly became widespread: the form of constant sex (or looking for it); of being stoned (sometimes a rolling one); repeatedly using tarot; regularly drawing on the litany of the transformative zone, found in room after room, of Carlos Castaneda, `popular' works on the Sufi way, and so on. Existentialists like Camus were on the cultural reading list, more to reflect on what had been avoided — the pits — than to serve to express the homeless condition. As the top priority, purpose of life issues mattered; hedonists included. Life-wrenching, stretching, idealism was bound up with 'serious' experiential experimentation. No wonder that spirituality began to riot. No wonder that Talcott Parsons (1978) — not a man to be carried away with things — wrote of 'the expressive revolution'; wrote of 'its exclusive emphasis on pure expressiveness and pure love' (p. 320; emphases provided).
On 'action' within Christianity
The collapse thesis helps explain why fewer than expected (relatively) disillusioned Christians jump straight from tradition into the secular. Towards the beginning of the last century, Simmel frequently explored ways in which great swathes of Christian tradition were becoming internalized. In effect, was drawing attention to the reversal of the dynamic which his neo-Romantic predecessor, Ludwig Feuerbach, so emphasized: not Feuerbach's construction of religious tradition by way of the externalization, or projection, of psychological states of being, but the reverse process of introjection, subjectivization of tradition.'
Today, liberal Christians — in particular — often stop attending church precisely because their autonomy is threatened by what are perceived to be restrictive or harmful features of what is left of tradition (for example values which run counter to egalitarian principles to do with the position of women). Perhaps in tandem with this, people stop attending church because they realize that what is 'symbolized', like 'depths of consciousness', is best catered for elsewhere. With so many liberal forms of Christianity perceived as not being up to the job of facilitating encounter with the 'depths' within, activities are sought which are better suited to the task. Attendees are primed to leave to take up Orient-based practices, for example.
Whether generated by the secular turn among Christians, serving to reveal the implausibility of beliefs, whether generated by reaction to discriminatory, freedom-sapping hierarchy and intolerable moralizing, cultural failure within tradition takes place. For those who want to remain with the theistic, but who have lost faith in, become disillusioned by, much of tradition, (relatively) immanentized modes of the sacred are to hand. Detraditionalization of the theistic Godhead, devaluation of religion within religion, means that 'religion' beyond religion is in evidence. To varying degrees, and in various ways, authority is internalized: becomes that 'spirituality', as it is quite likely called, left when religion has been (relatively) comprehensively left behind; has undergone internal collapse. The subjectivization thesis at work within tradition.
The combination of sustained belief in the sacred and rejection of a great deal of tradition, together with laid down, etc., continua and continuities with the transformative zone (the sacred, the humanism, the experiential, relative absence of propositional beliefs), goes a very long way in explaining why the transformative zone attracts many: not the secular. The zone is there; it 'beckons'. Within liberal forms of the Christianity of the Occident, within many a congregation, where the shift is from propositional beliefs grounded in theistic tradition to symbols expressing what lies within, spiritual humanism could well be in evidence. The beckon: those 'Christians' committed to the sacred, committed to the values of humanism, including the freedom and equality components of their liberal ethicality which can urge them out of, say, their congregation. Disillusioned with much of tradition, there are also those Christians who continue to believe in God-on-High but can adopt non-theistic belief in 'a Higher Power'. Whatever the specifics, the secular is clearly not for those intent on sustaining the sacred, spirituality, sacred humanism: all the more so in that their faith in the perfect of the sacred continues to serve to highlight the imperfections of the secular. The catch phrase, to characterize many, is, `driven out of religion, with the sacred'. With no other realistic options open to them, progression towards, into the transformative zone is perfectly natural.
On 'the erosion of the personal worthwhile' thesis
The third variant of the afflictions of the worthwhile thesis has to do with erosion of personal culture. Rather than attention being focused on failure/ collapse of the two major public cultures of the worthwhile, religious tradition and the secular, attention is focused on afflictions pertaining to the cultures people acquire, develop, construct at work, at home, among friends and relatives, among others during leisure activities, and so on; the most personal of personal cultures, one's 'own' culture of the self, the culture of health and fitness; personal hygiene, habits, wellbeing routines, and the like. The worthwhile can be found in any of these aspects of personal culture; and in many more. Fragility comes into evidence when the worthwhile is undermined by episodes like illness. To the extent to which people are unable to find the worthwhile within their personal lives, the worthwhile shifts towards the worthless. It has to be stressed that afflictions of the worthwhile within personal culture might be generated by the vicissitudes of personal culture itself; or by these in tandem with broader cultural (and social) afflictions/ exemplifications. The latter can intensify the former, and vice versa.
On critical reflection
Generally speaking, it is not at all easy to criticize the cultural failure/ collapse/erosion theses. Unusually, in the social sciences, they are almost certainly true. Among numerous considerations, their credibility is enhanced by the fact that there is no need to call in ideas of the 'spiritual vacuum waiting to be filled', 'spiritual needs' (implying the existence of some kind of spirituality hungry for fulfilment), 'basic anthropological, human condition, requirements' variety to explain why some, probably many, cannot at all easily live with a sense of twofold failure. In the Occident (and, naturally, elsewhere) everybody from a very early age knows about heaven or its equivalent. It belongs to the culture. Experienced failure/collapse/erosion of the secular and religious tradition; plus heaven as a constant reminder of the perfect helping throw the imperfections of the secular into stark relief; plus that supposed secular heaven, namely consumer culture in its more flamboyant guise, constantly proclaiming perfection or the perfect itself: small wonder that the promises of the transformative exercise appeal.
Really interesting matters are raised by relationships between, on the one hand, culture failure/collapse, and, on the other, erosion of personal culture. On the first hand, it is highly likely that (relative) loss of faith in the secular and failure of religious tradition has a considerable amount to do with the popularity of the transformative. It is highly plausible, that the extra- ordinary growth of CAM of the Occident (Vol. III, Ch. 61) owes a great deal to loss of faith in Christianity and its healing facilities, conterminously faith in the ability of mainstream medicine to heal in a 'whole person', wholesome 'way'. Or consider the growth of transformative zone activities within the world of mainstream business. At least in countries like the UK and Holland, Christianity as a source of the worthwhile at work more or less disappeared from the workplace over one hundred years ago. As famously portrayed by Weber (1985; orig. 1904-5), the 'iron cage' of the workplace was emerging in its raw, dispiriting, horror most especially during that great epoch of rationalized regulation, in many a country of the Occident, the nineteenth-century. On this account, the worthwhile at work has long been eroded. During and since the 1960s transformative zone activities have entered, or complemented, the workplace with the aim of countering anti-humanism; restoring a sense of the worthwhile, the purposive. Or consider humanism. Frequently embedded in workplace spiritualities, almost invariably embedded in CAM, those spiritualities found in educational contexts and elsewhere, the values, sentiments, dispositions of spiritual humanism have come to serve as a 'grounded canopy' within the transformative zone. With many having lost faith in those more liberal forms of Christianity which humanism grew up with in Occidental settings, and with many not exactly enraptured by what they experience as the aridly legalistic, the oppressiveness of enforced human rights, etc. of the secular zone, spiritual humanism appeals. Transposed from the legalistic, and from moralistic theistic settings, the appeal is that the values, sentiments and dispositions of the ethicality are experienced as coming from within; as authentic expressions of, say, being considerate with (not so much Tor') those less fortunate than oneself. The obligatory is in effect transformed into the desirable. Free expression takes the place of the erosion of freedom. Ideally.
On the second hand, it is also highly likely that erosion of personal culture has a considerable amount to do with the popularity of the transformative. The person who engages with CAM, today, is not likely to be Nietzschian. The back ache is much more likely to play a motivational role than existential concerns about loss of purpose in life.
The strategic advantages of focusing on grand cultural themes to do with the worthwhile, and the strategic advantages of focusing on the worthwhile in connection with personal culture, have to be combined. In any case, existential themes, typically generated by the grand (or not so grand!), enter into personal culture. Those engaged with holistic (mind-body-spirit) practices of northern Europe (in particular) have normally experienced a certain loss, cultural failure of the worthwhile for a fairly long time. Predominantly, these are people who have lost faith in religion (if they ever had it) as the source of the worthwhile, and are disillusioned with the nature and scope of the secular. A fair amount of evidence supports these components of the failure thesis. Of particular note, it is highly likely that the majority are expressivists: which means that they have been, and continue to be, dissatisfied with what they consider to be the 'raw' secularity of the mainstream. And, of course, the very fact that they frequently have turned to ,alternative' spiritual practices indicates that they have been looking for something over-and-above that which they do not have (much/enough) faith in. At the same time, and this is a critical point, factors belonging to their personal cultures are almost certainly at work: precipitating action. Feeling below spirits' by virtue of the illness of a close friend, for instance.
On afflictions in action: holistic practices and the totum pro parte fallacy
Experiences of cultural failure, collapse, erosion are widespread. Expressivists are numerically significant, but only a relatively small number of people engage with transformative zone practices of an inner-life variety. It is virtually certain that large numbers live with afflictions of the worthwhile, without engaging with the practices of the transformative. To counter the totum pro parte fallacy — that the general (here a large number of people) cannot itself adequately describe or explain the specific (here far fewer people) — it is necessary to spell out the conditions (or factors) that apply to the specific (the smallish number engaged with practices); not to the general as a whole. The general might provide the necessary conditions; the requirement is for the necessary and sufficient. Put somewhat differently, it is necessary to explain why not all those encompassed by the general enter the specific. The critical thing is to cut the number of those affected by afflictions of the worthwhile down to size to explain a particular: to ascertain what it is about them, and not others; what it is that distinguishes them from others who do not engage with holistic practices. Then, and only then, is it possible to arrive at a clear idea of the bearing of what they are, their motivations, re their engagement. This is a formidable undertaking, one which might never arrive at determinate conclusion: not just because of complexity, but also, it can be mentioned, by virtue of the fact that this is not the kind of thing which social science can do.
Thinking of the specifications (conditions, factors) which have been suggested, and thinking of other, including new, possibilities, it is easy to arrive at a large number: say around 30, many more if combinations of conditions are added. (I am including religion, spirituality and expressivism here because they bear on the general 'afflictions' thesis: by cutting its applicability down to more appropriate size; etc.) Some of the most obvious possibilities include:
With so many ideas abroad, it is dead easy to speculate; to come up with apparently convincing arguments based on notions which one happens to favour. Unfortunately, virtually all of the attempts thus far, to explain, for example, the so-called 'gender puzzle' (why more women than men apparently enter into holistic practices, and what it is that distinguishes the women who engage in them from all those who do not) are akin to what that most distinguished of all British anthropologists, E. E. Evans-Pritchard, liked to call 'just so stories'. Sadly, the arguments which have been put forward to explain the so-designated 'puzzle' (and I include some of my own in this category) have transpired to be premature. Although the situation is now beginning to change, the evidence to base, falsify or confirm explanations to simply not been to hand.
To illustrate, the most obvious way of cutting the afflictions of the worthwhile thesis down to size, to acquire purchase on the more specific (and to test the thesis itself), is to see if those suffering from particular afflictions are more likely to engage with holistic activities than others. I am convinced that there is some truth to this (see below on the Kendal Project), but not exactly on the most solid of grounds. Another obvious way is to argue that expressivists among the general population - those who value developing and living out of their profoundest values, sentiments, dispositions, intentions, desires, intimations, and so on - are more likely to enter into healing or growth mind-body-spirituality holistic practices than others. And that expressivists engaging with practices have no faith in religion and relatively little in the secular mainstream (especially 'iron cage' phenomena). And that more women engage because women tend to be more expressivistic than men in the population at large. And that women tend to experience afflictions of the worthwhile more than men. Although there is a fair amount of relatively ad hoc, circumstantial evidence to support these lines of argumentation, along with certain broad statistics, it is not certain that more women than men are expressivists; it is not even certain that a disproportionate number of the more expressivistic populate the practices of the inner-life spirituality territory of the transformative zone, including CAM.
Another way of narrowing down the afflictions thesis is to argue that particular spiritual or religious outlooks, apprehensions, feelings prompt people to turn to transformative practices. Unfortunately, the information is not to hand to establish, with any certitude, whether this is the case; or what the relationship might be between spiritual or religious outlooks, or none, and senses of the worthwhile. Neither do we know, with any certitude whatsoever, whether religious-cum-spiritual outlooks are gendered; and if so, in what proportion. Neither do we have a clear picture of how many of those entering practices are Christians, or ex-Christians seeking to cultivate that immanentized sacrality which they have retained in face of loss of faith in tradition. Nor, for that matter, do we have a clear idea of the extent of transformative zone-like tendencies within theistic territory (Vol. I, Chs 23, 24 5i-25iii). To briefly mention another way of cutting the afflictions thesis down to size, the argument could be that there is a connection between utilitarian individualists of a certain kind - perhaps those who are desperate for self-promotion via material acquisition, whose sense of the worthwhile is never satisfied - and those pursuing prosperity spirituality. The requisite information is not to hand, though.
The gender puzzle' is important. If it is indeed the case that more women than men are active within the holistic practices of the transformative, to tackle this is to tackle the fact that the popularity of the transformative of the Occident (although not the Orient) is gendered in favour of women. But it is not altogether clear that the puzzle is really so much of a puzzle. Research to date has tended to focus on self-designated, holistic, mind-body-spirit practices, run by spiritual practitioners in distinct settings like holistic centres. Here, there is something like an 80:20 ratio in favour of women. On a broader compass, though, it is highly likely that this ratio becomes more even. CAM research, which includes less obviously spiritual practices, indicates a more evenly distributed ratio. This is probably the case in that growth 'arena' of the Occident, hospices. Management and business trainings, which incorporate spiritual practices, typically attract more men than women. Sportspeople and fire fighters, for instance, practice acupuncture or yoga. Few fire fighters are women.
Defined pretty strictly (run by explicitly spiritual practitioners, etc.), the 80:20 ratio might stand. The price to pay is the neglect of what lies beyond the definitional line. True, 'spirituality' might be less obvious; for some - even many - more or less absent beyond the line. Nevertheless, spirituality lying beyond the line cannot be ignored. Body focused, whilst holistic forms of CAM, with CAM research indicating that men are much more in evidence here, are typically spiritual in that the perfect of the life-force is drawn upon: `non'-experiential sacrality, with the working assumption, sometimes the `believe in', that 'the true' of nature comes to work. The puzzle could be, probably is, something of an artefact of an artificial definition. Attempts to explain the so-called 'gender puzzle' might very well have to be seriously qualified, could even be vitiated, by the paucity of the evidence; most especially to do with whether there is a significant puzzle to explain in the first place.
The challenge of applying the afflictions of the worthwhile thesis to explain specifics (let alone exploring the role of complementary or alternative explanations), exacerbated by the fact that everyone is multi-motivational, by there being so many conditions or specifications to consider, means that progress is going to be exceedingly challenging. The most significant attempts to date involve CAM research. It is not without relevance that the research has got bogged down in complexity, inconsistent, sometimes contradictory, findings. As Karl Popper argued all those years ago in The Poverty of Historicism (1962 [orig. 1957] ), with his critique of totalitarian social determinism/ engineering, and as Peter Winch (1963) has argued in his cogent critique of explanatory (as opposed to interpretative) social science in general, social science has its limitations. Determinate, especially generalizable, explanations are unlikely; the indicative possible.
Having scoured all the material obtained from the various research strategies of the Kendal Project - including brief open-ended questionnaire responses -a considerable number of times, and having taken cognate material into account (including replications/partial replications), my own indicative interpretation is that the growth of more explicitly spiritual transformative practices is largely in the hands of expressivistically inclined women, likely to have been spiritual before active involvement; women with a profound sense of relationality as the, or a primary worthwhile of life; who appreciate the sheer value of living out of themselves with, for, and through others 'for' themselves as much as others; women whose relationality is most in play when wellbeing, including relatively serious health problems, is at issue - the wellbeing of elderly parents, their children, themselves, and, perhaps less obviously, all that surrounds them. Above all, it seems, women believe in the humanism of humanity, with their 'own' being 'depending' on this for themselves and all that matters 'around'. (See Google, Kendal Project, details.)
It is virtually inconceivable that the cultural collapse thesis applies. Those engaged with holistic practices in Kendal and environs are not Nietzsche-akin; not counter-cultural hippies; not suffering from the worthlessness of anomie/alienation.
However, the very fact that participants are probably largely of expressivistic orientation suggests their discontent with much of the secular, and few have religion to turn to. Erosion of the worthwhile is in evidence, most clearly with their personal culture. For once (!) there is pretty good evidence: these are people who are concerned about the corrosive effects of ageing (grandparents and the like) on the worthwhile of family life; the corrosive effects of illness, more generally, and on highly valued relationships, including husbands or wives. My very strong impression is that these are predominantly those who are seeking to buttress, enhance their great worthwhile, the expressive humanism of their lives, as much as possible in the face of threats or dire circumstances: including 'personal collapse' when a husband dies; including the corrosive effect that caring too much or too little for others (and, in measure, oneself) can have on close relationships. My very strong impression - informed by pretty good evidence - is that much engagement with holistic activities is bound up with those personal circumstances, such as ageing or caring inadequately or in the 'wrong' kind of way, which heighten a sense that life is not as worthwhile as it could (more psychologically) or should (perhaps more politically) be.
This is one rather tentative interpretation of basically one project, though. What makes the indicative somewhat more conclusive concerns all the various forms of evidence showing that certain dynamics are not, or rarely, at work. The generalization mounted that `women's issues' (like being childless, pregnancy, giving birth, menopause) are an important factor is unlikely to apply to more than a few in the Occident; although are hugely more important in the territory of TCAM. The idea put forward that some kind of second wave feminism is at feminism is at work, practices serving to deal with, even compensate for abuse' by male others and the like, is simply not borne out as any sort of general claim. Neither is the related idea that female `identity' is at issue: a rather extraordinary explanatory idea in that the whole point of most spiritual activities (including many in the theistic zone) is to liberate selves front the identity formations integral to those orders of things which do not work; which generate disease': the sociocultural order of rules, presentation
of self, the restrictive of 'The Identity' and all the self-esteemed egoism which goes with it, worse, the calculative, tactical manipulation of `I-dentities'. Whether female or male, spiritual practitioners would in the main concur with Isaiah Berlin: due to value conflict, identities at the public level are fragile enough; `deeper', which is what spiritual practitioners encourage, putative identities collapse into a Heraclitus-akin flux of incessant flow, hopefully homing in on the relational.
The fall of the public person; public ascription.
Equally, and in intimate tandem, those largely cultural 'artefacts' or constructions, known as 'emotions' in the Occident, are frequently regulatory routines or scripts, bound up with, serving, the delimited identities of productive, especially consumptive capitalism — the acquisitive individualism of this particular mode. Small wonder that spiritual practitioners of the transformative zone, and of internalized modes of spirituality within tradition, tend to allocate such 'emotions' to the lower self, as something to be liberated from.'
I like to think that the kind of research carried out during the Kendal Project shows that progress can be made, and to put it mildly, it is rather significant that best possible efforts are made to make sense of what is happening in the Occident; much more importantly among the more cosmopolitan opinion formers, decision makers, cultural creatives, educationalists, etc., of places like Istanbul or Islamabad. It would be good to explore the theme, across cultures, of transformative zone practices and knowings' combining `the best' of the theistic zone, namely the sacred, and 'the best' of the secular, namely humanism: a powerful package of the worthwhile. To learn more about how this 'best of both worlds' ensemble works, whether it is growing, and how growth could be stimulated, could/would/should be valuable re global concerns.
As hopefully apparent, the 'afflictions of the worthwhile' approach is credible, and is of wide applicability. The yearn: that response to the rhetorical question, 'Is this it?', namely 'This cannot be it, there must be something more'. If the secular was as worthwhile as some of the thinkers of the Enlightenment supposed, it is doubtful that so many 'great minds', including Einstein's and Bertrand Russell's, would have yearned as they did; let alone many a 'lesser mind'. Teased out or amended in various ways, to attend to particular instances of change, the afflictions approach has very consider: able explanatory power. However, and thinking of Stephen Hawkin's 'vain claim — in dual sense — to have found a general theory of everything, it would be equally silly to assume that cultural collapse/failure/erosion is all there is to the matter of change.
This is not the place to explore other factors, possibilities. One, though, cannot be ignored in toto — the immunity thesis. The appeal of detraditionalized, internalized 'theism', the appeal of the spirituality of the transformative zone, ,Wes a considerable amount to being 'protected' from the rational, the scientistic. Immunity: from the shrill criticisms of the new atheists; from those, more generally, who attempt to invalidate what is dawning/developing, to be 'believed in'.
It is perfectly clear that the new atheists and others have had a field day ridiculing those propositional beliefs so abundant in strongly traditionalized religion. The beliefs can be shown to fail the test of reason (that is to be incoherent); when they pertain to earthly matters, they can allegedly be demonstrated to fail the test of science, to be demonstrated false. Richard Dawkins (2006) feels able to write,
The dictionary supplied by Microsoft Word defines a delusion as `a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence, especially as a symptom of psychiatric disorder'. The first part of this captures religious faith perfectly. (p. 28; emphases added)
The field of the day disappears, though, when there are few if any propositional beliefs in evidence, those which might be present being relatively non-essential. If the sacred ontology of ultimate spirituality (or anything akin to it) exists, as of course believers believe, it is entirely beyond the rational comprehension or knowledge of anyone, let alone the new atheists. Furthermore, the recurrent theme that the sacred, or anything approaching it, can only be 'finally known', is by far the best 'known', by way of experience, serves as an immunizing injection. Experience of this kind is not open to public inspection, the kind of inspection required by science or more commonplace knowledge (confirmation/falsification). Wittgenstein-arguments in favour of 'the public' of experience for experience to be experience notwithstanding, most people feel that their experiences are inner, 'theirs and theirs alone' to be with: and so immune from impervious with regard to, what others might think they are feeling.
Herder's famous 'I am not here to think, but to be, feel, live!' (Berlin, 1980) is safe. So too are those whose 'savage religion', as Oxford anthropologist Robert Marett (1929) puts it, 'is something not so much thought out as danced out' (p.xxxi): an appreciation which applies with arguably more significance to many many Occidental spiritual practices today, in particular the pragmatic `what works, works' through action (sometimes dancing) variety. Here, with the non-ontological in any ultimate sense more-or-less absent, the 'great divide' is not present. If anything, the psychology of desire is itself ontological.
Furthermore, the thrust frequently lies with accepting, as experienced, the outcomes: believing in them without explicit ontology. Here lies much of magic, those fairly instrumentalized practices which William James (1974) called 'the supernatural', aiming to make a difference to the world and which would therefore appear to be open to verification or falsification. Ample immunological devices are present, though, of the kind, 'Your prosperity spirituality has failed you; the reason is that you were not properly in touch with your true self'. All very similar to Evans-Prichard's (1937) influential account of the immunology of Azande magic.
In connection with immanentized 'Christianity' and transformative inner-life spirituality in particular, the (relative) absence of propositional beliefs of a 'hard-to believe in'-'easy-to-criticize' variety, the sense that 'true' experience belongs to a different plane than critical reason, the sense of plausibility which — in large measure — comes from the convincing (even partially convincing) 'reality' of experience, the continua and continuities which exist with the more familiar of the secular, and so on: it is relatively easy to be some sort of a believer today. Even those embedded in the secular, yearning for the beyond, can be assisted: cushioned from their own 'critical, rational, secular voice' by the (relatively) 'encapsulated'; the absorptive force of the yearn, the if only, the only if. Overall, it would be very hard to deny that the immunological helps explain the popularity of spirituality. The experiential of spirituality, which means that the secular has nothing hard to 'bite' into, to gobble up, is rather a significant factor.'
On change of fashion
I began the first chapter, 'On making some sense of spirituality', with observations suggesting that spirituality has run riot; that the shift from religion to spirituality is widespread. It has been widely canvassed that the transformative zone has grown in numerical significance. Claims of this kind now have to be scrutinized, not least because of their bearing on matters of explanation; more exactly, on what has to be explained. For there is a radical objection to the very idea of rioting. There has not been a 'real' shift to spirituality at all. What has been under way is merely a shift of language use. More bluntly still, fashion has changed. The language of religion has become unfashionable; that of spirituality popular. Underneath, everything is much the same. The rather remarkable longitudinal changes in connection with experience, reported by David Hay (Vol. I, Ch. 22), is largely due to it having become a 'done thing' to use the language of spirituality, not least in the contexts referred to by Hay. If the radical objection is valid to any significant extent, explanations of change will have to shift their focus, minimally to incorporate cultural-linguistic explanations of changes of fashion.
Those involved with religious organizations, including small groups, make use of what the language of spirituality has to offer: the fresh, hopefully unencumbered with the trappings of the past including out-of-date or implausible beliefs. The language of spirituality — most especially all those references or allusions so frequently made to the perennialist theme of the sole spirituality at the heart of all traditions — is drawn upon to serve ecumenical purposes. Educational circles in many a country (including those like Pakistan) draw on the language to avoid giving offence in multicultural schools, and those which are 'mono', aiming to incorporate the 'multi'. In subjective wellbeing culture, promotional material for spas, health and beauty products capitalize on the popularity of the language to attract customers. The language of spirituality has flowed through culture to signal promise, hope, expectation, vitality, the new, being harmoniously at home with oneself. It takes its place alongside, often within, all those adverts which promise , the perfect': even when 'the perfect' is not on any plausible agenda whatsoever. From the perspective of the believer, 'casual' spirituality, of a secular nature, titillates. Naturally enough, just to refer to, or imply, that a wellbeing product is spiritual need not entail that that is how it is experienced. But the growth of subjective wellbeing culture, by way of mind-body-spirit spas for example, helps explain the popularity of the term. So too does the fact that 'spirituality', unlike 'mysticism', is non-elitist. The language of spirituality is suited for populism. In addition, it is reasonable to argue that the language has become more popular within religion because it serves to express complementary experiential alternatives to strong tradition (Vol. I, Ch. 13); or to indicate a measure of opposition.
Reflecting on that immortal question, 'What is in a name?', it would be rash in the extreme to deny that fashion has played a role in the riot; to deny that much of the riot is 'really' just a re-labelling of much the same. At the same time, it would be equally unwise to reduce all the rioting to the world of fashion. A critical consideration, with an eye on the Occident, is that it is virtually certain that more people have moved beyond theistic Christianity than have joined the ranks of the secularists. It follows that the transformative zone, where spirituality probably has its main home in most countries of the Occident, has grown in numerical significance (Heelas, 2002). However, this does not rule out the possibility of casual, basically secular language use among those who apparently draw on the zone. It is necessary to show that something additional is meant by the language: namely that it is used in connection with spiritual experience; ultimately, of the perfect itself.
As things stand, the relative crudity and incontestable limitations of questionnaire surveys means that it is impossible to rule out findings being contaminated' by participant responses motivated by fashion. However, even as things stand today sophisticated analysis of the most informative can do a considerable amount to minimize contamination.
Minimally, aim is to show that use of the language of spirituality in questionnaire returns, attested, for example, the ticking the box 'I think of myself as a spiritual person', is associated with one ticks, say 'I believe in the God within' and `I believe in my true self'. Established, clusters of the 'spiritual person plus God within plus true self' variety are pretty convincingly indicative of inner-life spirituality. Add I to this evidence that those concerned use the language of the perfect, and in connection with practices like yoga, it is fair to say that the presence of heart-felt 'believe in' inner-life spirituality is virtually incontestable.
Looking to the future, the drawbacks of questionnaires can be alleviated, at least somewhat, with more sophisticated questionnaire design and analysis. Combined with more sophisticated locality study research (for example visiting all relevant practices in a determinate area, including those taking place in hospices, schools and the like) and other research methods (like street or park surveys), it is pretty certain that a much clearer picture of what lies beyond 'mere' language use of fashion will emerge. Already, there is enough evidence, from a variety of sources, to conclude that 'real change' has taken place: most especially during and since the countercultural sixties. That there are now far more 'stand alone' practices like tai chi than there were in, say, 1970, is fairly indicative in itself. At least in northern Europe, it is now apparent that the great majority of those participating in mindbody-spirit activities, run by spiritual practitioners, believe in 'energy or life force which flows through all that lives'; a force which, minimally, approximates to the perfect of the sacred. Finally, to address the really tricky question, `Are more people having spiritual experiences than, say, in 1970?', it has to acknowledged that the question does not permit conclusive answer. Spiritual experiences, their presence or absence as experiences, is not open to academic inquiry. What can be said, though, is that the indicative — an increase in the number of those who apparently believe in experiences taken to be fairly, highly, or ultimately significant, worthwhile — points to real change. (Vol. I, Ch. 22)
Discussion so far has tended to remain at the cultural level. Little has been said about the numbers of those adhering, or otherwise engaged with, whatever it is that has appealed to or struck them. It is high time to turn to the matter of the numerical significance of various modes of spirituality. This is far easier said than done. To move through everyday life is to encounter any number of possibilities. So much is aspectual: for example, the theme of spiritual humanism being an aspect of the theme of healing CAM/TCAM. So much is a matter of degree: for example of epistemologies, from the inkling to the firm propositional belief; or again, degrees with regard to certitude, from the 'possibly, but very unlikely' through to the definitely. So much is qualitative, like the difference between 'true', sacred-laden, love and secular love. So much is indeterminate: for example with regard to ontological geography. So much changes with personal circumstances: people talking about, say, the value of theistic prayer on one occasion, inner-focused meditation on another. (Tolstoy was probably the classic longer-term oscillator of the Occident; many today, I am convinced, oscillate whilst completing questionnaires or being interviewed.) So much is incoherent or contradictory: from the perspective of human knowledge, and from the perspective of those who experience 'it', conceptualization of the sacred is always incoherent, contradictory. So much is some combination or another of all of the proceeding; and more.
It is not just that there is a lot which could be counted. It is not just that the above raises obvious challenges, like counting qualities. In addition (and perhaps not surprisingly), numerical evidence is relatively scant; not infrequently absent; and, when present, inconclusive, open to conflicting interpretations, or actually contradictory. In the Occident, tools of inquiry —most obviously general population survey questionnaires — have lagged behind the times. By and large, questionnaires remain fixated on religion. Spirituality focused questions have become more evident during the last couple of decades, but in general remain the back seat partner. To ask an obvious question, to what extent is theistic spirituality associated with the oft-reported finding that significant numbers believe in a 'Higher Power'? As indicated by claims made in a recent article by Michele Schlehofer and co-authors (2008), the answer is that we do not really know. On the one hand, the authors report that 'Higher Power' takes its place alongside 'God, Christ, Holy, Holy Ghost, Divine, the Church' to 'explicitly' refer to 'theistic concept[s] of the sacred' (p. 415). On the other, 'High Power' takes its place alongside 'transcendental reality, ground of being, nature, inner-self, emotions' to be counted as spirituality of a 'non-theistic' variety (pp. 415, 411). To ask another obvious question, how many of those within the orbit of immanentized Christianity, or other theistic traditions, have internalized the sacred to the extent of developing the transformative zone 'within' the Church (etc.) itself? (Vol. I, Chs 23, 24, 25i-25iii). Again, the answer is that we still don't really know. To ask yet another obvious question, and one of great significance, how many people have some sort of inner-life, natural 'holistic revelation', during their life-span (including periods of terminal illness)? A rather considerable number: but this really is a guess-estimate.
The major challenge for 'the counter' is raised by the existence of
continua (and underpinning continuities). Thinking of the broad
continuum from emphasizing God-on-High to the 'god' within, where,
exactly, does one draw the line in order to count believers belonging to
the theistic zone and believers within the transformative? In his attack
on positivistic social science, that is the kind of social science which
apes the physical sciences, the great Weberian, Wittgensteinian
philosopher of the study of culture, Peter Winch (163) argues the case
against single points of demarcation. One of his key examples is much
more mundane than the afore-mentioned continuum. It concerns making
By how many degrees does one need to reduce the temperature of a bucket of water for it to freeze? — The answer to that has to be settled experimentally. How many grains of wheat does one have to add together before one has a heap? — This cannot be settled by experiment because the criteria by which we distinguish a heap from a non-heap are vague in comparison with those by which we distinguish water from ice: there is no sharp dividing line. (p. 73; emphases provided)
His second example, designed to illustrate a related point, concerns life and non-life. The extract which follows continues directly from the extract above.
Neither, as Acton [the author of The Illusion of an Epoch (1955)] mentions, is there any sharp dividing line between what is and what is not alive: but that does not make the difference between life and non-life 'merely one of degree'. Acton says that 'the point at which we draw the line is one that we have to choose, not one that the facts press upon us in unmistakable fashion'. [As the paragraph continues, `But though there may be a choice in borderline cases, there is not in others: it is not for me or anyone else to decide whether I, as I write these words, am alive or not'.] (ibid; emphases provided)
Although Winch's arguments, separated out above, differ in significant regards, components can be combined. Making a heap provides the way in. Assuming that one's aim is to understand what counts as 'heaps' in terms of cultural meaning and use — which is certainly the case for the Weberian/ Wittgensteinian Winch — one has to respect the assessments of those who use the language of heaps. Assessments are relative to cultural, personal, mood, etc., context. They are a matter of perspective. Given Winch's point that 'the criteria by which we distinguish a heap from a non-heap are vague', it is virtually inconceivable that assessments — even by one person — will result in some sort of single, definitive answer. Unless, that is, 'choice' is brought to bear from the outside. This is where the second half of the extract from Winch, above, comes into play. We can indeed 'choose' — that is determine — what counts as a heap, a big heap, a small heap, etc.: when `heaping' is mechanized, for instance. But — and this is the crucial point — this determination is not based on what 'the facts press upon us in unmistakable fashion'. The process of ascertaining the size of heaps according to (say) cross-cultural criteria, is overridden by objective measures of the (say, agri-business) expert.
Applying the argument to the continuum from emphasizing God-on-High, to the immanent within religious tradition, to the 'god' within, how many grains' of the immanent with religious tradition (for example) have to be 'piled up' before a person should/can/must be 'counted' to count as belonging to the inner-life spirituality of the transformative zone? Who is to say — participants? Or those 'experts' known as social scientists? Putative 'borderline' cases, that is, everyday folk, are unlikely to have attended to the matter, at least in ways which could help the social scientist. Many would object to pigeon-holing. More fundamentally, the continuum is a matter of degree. Two believers on similar places of the continuum, the meaningful reality of one veering towards the theistic, the meaningful reality of the other veering towards the inner-life: other than the expert imposing a point of demarcation, which would render the similarity apart, who can possibly adjudicate that a line allocates one believer as theistic, not the other? There is no one point. And if points in the plural are taken into account by the counter, points become too countless to count. In addition, other believers, like religious traditionalists, will certainly have their points of view. To count?
Again, where are determinate lines to be drawn between God-on-High as the 'lamp', with the self as the 'mirror' illuminated by the presence of the `light' of the theistic Godhead; the 'lamp's' presence entering more deeply into the soul of the recipient; the 'lamp' fuelling what lies deep inside, bursting into flame as an autonomous 'light within' in the mode of inner-life spirituality? Who is to make the decision? How can objective grounds for line-demarcation/counting-allocation exist when all is a matter of 'degree', `extent to which', 'amount of emphasis', 'the relatively', perhaps the '50/50'? How on earth does 'the counter' justify applying lines of demarcation to count? With no 'facts [that] press upon us in unmistakable fashion', there is no one single, reliable, point of demarcation; or any number of points. With no neutral stance — like counting church attendance, when all counters should agree on the number of bodies within the service — to permit common ground, agreement, judgements are perspectival, relative to points of view: arbitrary, misleading, colonizing if imposed by the outside expert.
Three more illustrations, with cognate points, really ram home the Winchian argument. Commencing with Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God is Within You (2006), what lies within appears to receive considerably more attention than the theistic. If it can be argued that the theistic is of 'passing' reference, perhaps included for political or security reasons, the Tolstoy of this volume is probably best thought of as entering the transformative zone. However, to argue this is very much a matter of interpretation. Bearing in mind how often Tolstoy oscillated from one life philosophy to another to another, the most careful historical investigation cannot settle the matter. To draw a line `in' The Kingdom of God, to pigeon-hole the Tolstoy of this volume, is not only silly; it is to mislead. To allocate Tolstoy to the transformative zone, for example, does not do justice to other aspects, sometimes contradictory features, of his incoherent life-philosophy. Or again, does it make sense to decide on the degree to which the younger people studied by Christian Smith (2005) have to have adopted ideas of God as a 'cosmic therapist' before they II can be counted as belonging to the transformative zone? Not only is this probably practically impossible. With no neutral stance to make a decision, any decision has to be a matter of perspective. Worse, it is unnatural to allocate one younger person to one side of the line, another to the other, when they only differ very slightly. Much the same applies to 'the yearner', a figure introduced in the previous essay. The stronger the yearning, the more likely it is that those who yearn 'out of the secular', but cannot leave it, are of 'two halves'. They are as secular as non-secular/beyond the secular. It is highly likely that at some time or another of anybody's life yearning is pressing. The high percentages in northern Europe and elsewhere, who are recorded as believing that 'there must be something there', or questionnaire formulations to this effect, surely include many who treat 'must' as the cry of their wish: with all that that entails. To allocate those of two halves, two orientations, on an either-or basis, would be to ignore one half or the other. To try to get round the 'neither one zone nor the other but both' by establishing which way people are predominately orientated: the research mind of the counter presumably boggles.
Difficulties with counting are raised by the shift from belief in propositional beliefs to faith in experience; what Robert Wuthnow (2008) refers to as 'from creeds to experience' (p. 367); what, a longish time ago, Evelyn Underhill (1995; orig. 1926) referred to in connection with 'all whose religious interests [which] have passed from the sphere of notion to the sphere of experience' (p. 7). By virtue of their determinate nature (I believe that x is the case, for example that Jesus is the Son of God'), propositional beliefs would seem to be relatively easy to count. (`Relatively' is the name of the game, though: try establishing the number of 'real', 'believe in' believers, whatever this means.) If believed propositional beliefs can be ascertained, to specify that x refers to y, they can be used to count different kinds of ontology: say the belief that God is on High. Believed to be the Word of God (or equivalent), propositional beliefs — in faith — are taken to achieve the miraculous. The incomprehensibility, ineffability of the sacred-as-perfect, in a manner of speaking, is dealt with. The more pronounced the shift to experience, the less pronounced the miracle of the propositional. In tune with traditional mystics, it is highly likely that many contemporary spiritual believers 'realize', to some extent or another, that the imperfect — namely human language geared up for tackling the secular — cannot comprehend the perfect; at least not in any reliable manner.
Frequently, the turn to experience is the turn to the `vague'; the turn away from those 'facts [that] press upon us in unmistakable fashion'. Spiritual believers who 'know' that the sacred exists; who are uncertain about where it exists; who change their 'beliefs' (better, gnosis, interpretations, thoughts, notions) from time-to-time; who provide those incompatible responses which questionnaire returns and interview material attest. Spiritual seekers, practicing on the way to the sacred, who have not yet had more than an experiential glimpse, are likely to be more uncertain about where the sacred exists and its qualities. Then there are those whose experiences are epistemologically :weak', the 'as if' quality of experience generated, say, by ethereal music, which does not enable 'the experiencer' to 'know' what experience is 'actually' about. There are also those who are simply not concerned about the location of the source, or sources, of their experiences. What matters for them is the outpouring of experience itself, not where it comes from; experience as the consequences for their lives and those around them. Geographical matters are irrelevant. In the spirit of Wittgenstein, who focused so much of his attention on practices, forms or ways of life as part of his endeavours to recast inner states as public events, those whose spirituality is of pragmatic mode dwell on practices, the experiences they are taken to 'reveal', the experienced consequences. With ultimate ontology, in the sense of where the experiences come from, being more or less irrelevant, the mode of spirituality under consideration is non-ontological. To draw an analogy, it is not necessary to know the geographical source (or sources) of the Nile to benefit from the water — by way of practising irrigation — when one lives downstream. Pragmatic spirituality and the energy flow of CAM: how is it possible to allocate CAM activities to either the transformative zone, or the theistic, when participants do not care about the location of the source of the flow?
Ontological indeterminacy, even the self-confirmed non-ontological, does not discredit the very idea of zoning (the heartland of God without versus the heartland of `God'-within, for instance). There are more than enough people who believe in, hold beliefs about, have determinate experiences of, the theistic Godhead, or who believe in, and have determinate experiences of, inner-life spirituality, to ensure that this is not the case. And it is clear that enough believe that the secular is all that there is for this zone to stand secure. This said, ontological indeterminacy/self-avowed non-ontology almost certainly undermines determinate counting. Is the 'flicker' experience, rather inchoately expressed to the researcher, sufficiently theistic to be allocated, counted, accordingly? (Perhaps another zone is required, the indeterminate.)
Overall, it is transparent that difficulties with counting are legion, to the extent that provision of 'exact' counts is to mislead. Exact counts require exact line drawing; the bottom line, so often, is that this cannot be done without murdering to dissect. To apply a little 'hard' science to those prestigious journals which aim for hard science (spirituality included), quantitative assessment demonstrates contradictory results. Publications (and I probably have to include myself in this category) attest to lack of consensus over drawing/attributing/imposing, interpreting lines of demarcation. The more hard and fast the more artificial ...
It is important to have at least some idea of the extent to which theistic spirituality (for instance) has grown (or not) in, say, the Occident. Although so much is uncountable to varying degrees, this should not mean that the researcher is unaccountable: content to relinquish responsibility. Public policy requires data, in connection with things like education, CAM, (TCAM elsewhere), palliative and terminal health care. The academy requires data if explanations of change (for instance) are to be tested. For these and other reasons, it is surely not a good idea to roll over in face of postmodernistic anti-counters. We can only do what we can do, with the most helpful will in the world.'
Drawing to a close, I most certainly do not want to leave the impression, any impression whatsoever, that the transformative zone of the Occident is replete with people continually beavering away at the transformative. It would be singularly unwise to assert that large numbers of people demonstrably adhere to particular spiritualities, to be counted accordingly. We simply do not know how many people engage with different things at once. We do not have anything bar 'individual case' material — and not all that much of that — to determine (oft-variegated) engagement over the life-long. Based on varieties of evidence, it is highly probable that systematic study of the life-long would show that a considerable number of people turn to transformative spiritualities at those fairly sporadic occasions when life-is-at-demand; when the worthwhile of life is under particular threat: when the family home empties out; sometimes, when in a hospice. However, more systematic evidence is awaited. So, too, is evidence regarding the closely related point, extent of engagement. 'The deeper the better': maybe — but how deep does a person actually have to go into spiritual astrology to be counted as engaging with some kind of ultimate spirituality? How 'significantly' does a person have to apply prosperity spirituality to count? Currently, it would be really unwise to treat spiritualities of the transformative zone, in any widespread sense, as actually serving the process of life transformation: rather than being more akin to possibilities (or entertainments, life style options, etc.), to be tasted, tested, and tentatively explored. The secular weighs heavily on many, holding them back: voicing suspicion, reservation, distraction — especially in connection with the discipline, dedication, normally required to practise for the sacred.
Simmel (1997 [orig. 1911]) writes, 'as far as modern man is concerned, the concept of God has passed through so much heterogeneous historical content and so many possibilities of interpretation that all that remains is a feeling that cannot be fixed in any precise form' (p. 45; emphases provided). For those who yearn, momentum can be instilled by their sense that 'the more must surely exist. There are those whose wish-instilled yearning translates into actually believing without beliefs, characterized, by Simmel (1997), as `the person' who 'simply believes, so to speak' (p. 45), the person engaging in 'the odd illogic of asserting the existence of a thing while at the same time not being at all capable of stating what it actually is' (ibid). Then one can think of Robert Musil's The Man Without Qualities (1997): that co-existence of believing and not-believing so characteristic of `yearners'; that co-existence which nevertheless goes further than the 'the different must surely exist'; that believing in' without ontology. The yearner cannot be demarcated 'secular'. The yearner could equally be `spiritual'; more so or less so.
Spiritual sources as resources: the very term 'resources', in the plural, alone suffices to indicate the number of options for `resourcers'; the number of combinations with other resources; the number of co-existences; the sheer variegation of what counters are faced with counting.
The basic scheme of the volumes is provided by the thyme of spirituality within and beyond poly/theistic tradition. Owing to the practicalities of organizing entries for four separate volumes, the 'set' is more zoned than I would like. Allocations of entries to volumes, most especially the second and third, can readily give the impression of pigeon-holing; what the leading British social anthropologist Edmund Leach used to call butterfly collecting. Certain allocations can appear rather arbitrary. Why should a particular entry, say on Sufi spirituality, appear in the second volume, when another, not all that dissimilar, appears in the third? I can only plead that the four volume format has not provided the scope to do justice to the argument that (relatively) across-the-board continua and continuities have to be taken seriously.
The first sub-section of the first volume, 'Perennial spirituality within and beyond religious tradition', draws attention to a radial rendering of the theme of continuity. Insofar as religion and spirituality are concerned, the idea is that the same, or much the same, sacrality lies at the heart of all religiospiritual teaching of significance; lies beyond their differences. English émigré, living for a considerable period in California, Aldous Huxley wrote one of the great classics, The Perennial Philosophy; a volume which ranges east and west, and which today would probably be published as The Perennial Spirituality. Foremost literary critic, Harold Bloom, speculates — and I think that this is the appropriate word — on the theme of 'gnostic' (inner-life) spirituality lying as the soul of 'American Religion', emerging in alternative territory with the counter-cultural sixties.'
The other three authors in this section are M. H. Abrams, the most incisive of all on Romanticism, Mark Taylor, whose volume on art, architecture and what he calls 'religion' is brilliant, and Georg Simmel, whose essays on so-called 'religion' raise and address all the key issues which are still being grappled with today, including the relationship between differentiated religious traditions and more universalistic spirituality. Abrams dwells on the perennial within the Romantic trajectory of the Occident, elsewhere in Natural Supernaturalism tracing this back to the neo-Platonists and forward to the counter-culture. Among many other things, Taylor incorporates the most significant 'founder' of liberal Christianity, Schleiermacher, as one who sought to protect Christianity from those who despise it, and to expand it among the despisers, by emphasizing its spiritual core. And the incomparable Simmel — as a life-philosopher-cum 'sociologist' of the human condition, the secular and, most especially, the sacred — attends to the relationship between religion and the formless life'-vitalism of 'religiousness' (today's spirituality). In their different ways, the authors of this second draw attention to perennial themes; and remarkably similar themes at that.
I should stress that the sacred of the perennial is not necessarily the same as what I have been calling 'ultimate spirituality'. As noted previously, the term `ultimate spirituality' refers to the most elemental theme-cum-dynamic of all, simply, spirituality as direct experience of the sacred. Encompassing theistic and inner-life sacrality, and other modes of spiritualities of the sacred such as of a non-theistic Higher Power, the term is of general applicability.' Usage does not hang on particular 'universal' truths being in evidence. Perennialists are important to consider, though, because they draw attention to continua/ continuities; and with emphasis typically being placed on the perennial of sacrality of the inner-life, their writings help flesh out this mode of the ultimate.
The next sub-section, 'On differentiating spirituality within and beyond religious tradition', dwells on the more variegated: modes of spirituality; the three zones. The foremost contemporary pioneering analyst of what he calls `the nova', sometimes 'the spiritual super-nova', namely the transformative zone, is Charles Taylor (2007, pp. 297, 300). Approaching two thirds of A Secular Age is primarily devoted to the topic. As he amply demonstrates, the `third ways' between the 'exclusive humanism' of the secular, and 'Christian faith', are informed by complex dynamics. Of particular note among other contributors, Joseph Tamney draws attention to 'spirituality' within strong tradition, one rooted in the Calvinistic. In somewhat similar vein, Robert Fuller refers to 'spiritual but not religious' views among church members. With regard to spirituality, continua commence within religion itself, the conservative included.
The reader need not worry about the possibility of having to plough through one-to-one introductions to some ninety entries. Basically, entries are self-explanatory.
On religion and spirituality
Several topics might be worthwhile bearing in mind when perusing the entries. One concerns differentiation between 'religion' and 'spirituality' and associated dynamics.
First, there are relationships between religious tradition and spirituality Within tradition and beyond. Summarizing, there are relationships of a com- plementary nature, tradition and religion serving each other well. There are relationships of co-existence within tradition, tradition and spirituality running parallel courses whilst tolerating each other. Then there is the relationship of intolerance, traditionalists, like those influenced by Karl Barth for example, rejecting, attempting to eradicate that spirituality they judge with some contempt. And then there are relationships of marginalization, spirituality on the 'fringes' of tradition; or — among traditional mystics, perennialists like Simmel and James and experiential liberals — religion on the margins of spirituality. The latter is the view that tradition — seen as reified, 'objective', or, as in Hegel's sense, 'positive' — gets in the way of what the spiritual core of 'religion' should be all about. Tradition, itself, is basically taken to be out of touch with life itself. Finally, there is autonomous spirituality, basically standing on its own feet; albeit to varying degrees, doing without theistic tradition.
Then there are relationships between poly/theistic sacred sources and spirituality within and beyond tradition. First, spirituality is direct experience of the source as God-on-High; second, spirituality is the experience of more or less immanentized modes of the source, owing much to human encounters for example; third, spirituality is the experience of the source, now in the internalized mode of the Holy Spirit; fourth, spirituality involves sources other than the theistic; and fifth, the value of theistic source/s of spirituality depends on the test of personal experience.
Simmel (1997) pioneered the study of what he saw as the relationship between 'the objectivity of the facts of religion' (that is, 'form' and 'content') and 'religion as something that is located entirely within the subject's inner life' (that is the 'formless') (p. 78). One of his main contentions is that unless `religiousness' somehow remains anchored to religion, detraditionalized, comprehensively immanentized 'religiousness' lapses into 'formlessness'. This can generate disquiet within the transformative zone: the disquiet of 'knowing' the sacred whilst 'knowing' it as too formless to be a meaningful reality. It need not be significant enough, `feeling-full' enough, worthwhile enough to serve as a response to existential issues; to serve as a basis for action to make a difference. The formless requires a measure of the objective. At the same time the objective can only too readily reify, essentialize, valorize to serve as a shell, blanketing, preventing expression; entering the subjectivities, the profoundly intimate feelings of inner life to undermine, distort, denaturalize; to undermine that which is irredeemably one's own, what one will die with. If the objective of religion becomes too divorced from inner life, it becomes hollowed-out, vacuous, with participants suffering from alienation and anomie. The formless requires a measure of the objective; and vice versa. For Simmel, a balance has to be struck, a balance which has to be continually balanced.
If Simmel were alive today, it is certain that he would continue to emphasize that formless spirituality, however 'vital' it might be taken to be, is some, thing of a dead end; and that if religious traditions of the Occident are to be kept alive - other than retreating into a rump of conservative, conformist.. orientated people happy with the 'objective' - spirituality has to be brought into play. What Simmel could not take account of, though, is the remarkable development of spiritual disciplines which has taken place, in the Occident, since his time: practices which do not rely on the objectivities Simmel had in mind when he wrote of religion (beliefs, etc.), but on experiential 'traditions' of instructions, yoga partnerships (where movement of one practitioner is guided by someone more practised), and the like: all to do with how to practise for experience. In Simmel's language, 'religiousness' (recalling that this is more or less equivalent to spirituality in today's parlance) is so-to-speak informed by the 'formless'.
On spiritualities coming into action
There are a great many volumes, and several series, devoted to spirituality as such: dwelling, that is, on the nature of spiritual experience, the autobiographies or biographies of spiritual seekers, and so on. Not wishing to replicate this literature on any scale, a considerable number of entries have been included on spirituality in action: a less frequently explored theme, and one of great importance. An advantage of including these entries is that they help combat the widely held view, in evidence in the Occident, for instance, that spirituality is flaky, wimpish, only for weak, unduly soft or subjected women; or reducible to an adjunct of self-pleasuring aspects of consumer culture. It is remedial, salutatory, that during recent years a swathe of publications has appeared which forcefully combat the negative picture. When the compass of publications focused on the Occident is broadened to encompass the role played, say, by Gandhi - and the countless number he appealed to who were already on, or on the road towards, spirituality-cum-humanism - the negative picture is combated rather like a dagger to the heart. The transition of 'new' India to democracy, a true cultural revolution if there ever was one, would have been inconceivable if there had not been a' huge, humanistic, counter current against the allegedly dominant hierarchical systems of caste, the feudal, inequality. Without the liberal-cum-spiritual ethos of approaching three-quarters of the population of Pakistan, it is difficult to see why the country does not fall apart.
Speaking as a Romantic perennialist, during an 1838 lecture Emerson affirmed, 'For all things proceed out of the same spirit, which is differently named love, justice, temperance, in its different applications' (cited by James, 1974: 41). Leaving aside the metaphysical question of whether 'the same spirit' is at work, there is certainly an observable connection between the ways in which sacred spirituality is 'taken', by participants, and contexts of application. During the last few decades, a great deal of progress has been made in the study of spirituality in action:
Incomplete as it is, with regard to both foci and modes of application, it is apparent that a great deal is going on. Three points of note. First, the nowhere for Enlightenment, for ultimate spirituality as an end in and of itself, is nearly as significant as might be expected. Neither in the Occident, nor, more surprisingly, in much of the Orient: in countries like India and South Korea where, in fact, prosperity spirituality is predominant. Second, insofar as matters of application are concerned, theistic and transformative
The activities are frequently similar; sometimes more or less indistinguishable. The highest' common denominator concerns the quality, the value, of the (truely) most especially that spiritual humanism which runs through all applications: bar those which articulate, promote, the most 'I'm worth it' of esteem-evaluations, married to power-obsessed, ego-hungry, identity-capitalism.
And third, philosophy, in that older sense of the term 'philosophy of life', is widely abroad. Above all, many modes of spirituality provide the opportunity, encouragement, to reflect on how 'one' is living 'one's' life; and to do something about it. Whether the focus is on oneself, or, more typically I think, oneself with, through, for and from others, attention can be paid to what is going well, what is going badly, what could go better, what, of the past, requires attention, what, of the future, is the most worthwhile way to spend the rest of one's life, and so on. The holistic thrust of so many spiritualities -inner-life and immanentized theistic, in particular - means that the compass of consideration is broad. Not just mind-body-spirit, but also feelings, sentiments, dispositions, proclivities and the like; not just oneself, but oneself as bound up with others; and also as bound up with all those 'externals' of life which would best be dropped. The last is of particular significance. Increasingly, theodicies of tradition (which basically aim to make sense of how an all-powerful, all-loving theistic God can allow/justify suffering) have to compete with `sacodicies': inner-life (including the life of nature), immanentist, experienced-informed accounts which attribute suffering to the imperfections (and worse) of the secular. (Because the term `theodicy' is so closely associated with religious tradition, I'll henceforth use the coinage `sacodicy' when appropriate. The term is coined by drawing on Gk. dike, meaning justice, judgement.) Philosophy of life; the ethicality of ways of life; the 'philosophical' critique. Readers might object: but look at the trash under 'wisdom' in the bookshop or on the web. Well, the humanist - spiritual or not - can respond: respect the philosophy of the different; value difference. A leading scholar of mysticism once said to me that mysticism was of and for the elite, spirituality of and for the masses. Quite? Well, 'the mass' will have to make do with their wisdom-spirituality! The fact remains, though, that it is not even 'the mass' of the Occident which engages; when it comes to participation in practices, it is the professional, educated. Beyond this, sneering is blinding.'
Spirituality in action: the following passage, bringing out the major theme of Shelley's poetry, could be taken as the impossibly utopian of Shelley's outlook. It is best to take it as inspirational; inspiration as the expiration, the breathing out, of the best of life: for Shelley, for all those who envisage life as momentum from what lies within the failures of the secular to the glories, 'the glorious flashes', which come from within to go beyond:
The world, according to the Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, is a 'dim vast vale of tears'. Visiting and illuminating this vale with inconstant glorious flashes is the unseen Power, which works, not outside the world, but from within it, striving to transform creation in accord with its own radiant perfection. This power is the Spirit of Beauty, to whom Shelley looks, as to a God, to work the ultimate millennium. (Guy Boas 1925: ix)
Shelley was expelled from his Oxford College. The College authorities took what Shelley described as 'tyrannical violent proceedings'. The reason? A pamphlet, The Necessity of Atheism. The momentum of the ethicality of Shelley's paeans does not hang on literality per se, as when the necessity of atheism is taken literally. Cultivation, to believe in to go with inspiration, is what really counts. As will now be indicated, the inspiration driving 'transformation' is arguably best cultivated beyond the 'spelt out'.
On cultivating spiritual humanism
In critical regards, Martha Nussbaum is the Thomas Paine of our time. Both are religious, the former having taken up liberal Judaism, the latter being a Deist. Both are rationalists of 'stands to reason' persuasion. Most critically of all, both are powerful advocates of the ethicality of humanity. So typical of those who contributed so much to the development of this ethicality in the Occident, Paine grounded the ethicality in reason, the laws of reason which he took to be the laws laid down by the God of Deism. Whilst there is no doubt an elective affinity between Nussbaum's humanism (1997; 2000) and her liberal religion, she is more strictly the rationalist.
In the hands of Paine, where rationalism is rather tenuously
connected with experiences of the sacred, and in the hands of Nussbaum,
whose main published works make little reference to the sacred, the
basic working out, the advocacy of humanism links up with all those
other rationalistic efforts to provide the ethicality with the
legalistic details of the 'bite' of positive law. This might work well
enough in the Occident.' Elsewhere in the world, though, the basically
rationalistic-cum-legalistic approach suffers from serious
disadvantages. I am thinking of all those countries, like Pakistan,
which are extensively religious-spiritual; albeit to varying degrees,
deeply so. I am thinking of all those countries where 'way of life'
values, sentiments, dispositions which are not grounded in
religion-cum-spirituality are unlikely to flourish
Leading sociologist Bryan Turner is one of the all too few social scientists k developing the study of humanism; reactivating, and taking further, the concerns of which great masters, like Durkheim and Simmel, were so acutely aware. As Turner emphasizes in his more recent work (for example, 2006), one of the foremost challenges facing the globe is to strengthen the ethicality of humanity. Whether secular or not, the intrinsic, 'ultimate' worth of the ethicality in United Nations mode counts in and of itself. (In the secular register, 'ultimate' until philosophical anti-humanists miraculously come up with a better way forward for the co-existence of difference.) Especially when not secular, the ethicality provides the equality, capacities, capabilities, sentiments, the value of freedom, above all, life, to combat the tendency of religious tradition to evolve into 'we, and we alone hold The Truth' intolerance I and exclusivism; to combat the fact that this tendency has become reality in some of the most terrible areas of the world. (Different dynamics are at work in the most terrible of all, the predominantly 'Christian' Congo.)
The huge advantage of moving beyond the stands to reason approach pursued by Martha Nussbaum, in order to bring spiritual humanism to bear, is to pit the sacred against the sacred; to pit the all-inclusive of the sacred within against the exclusivities of ethico-legal features of sacred tradition. In the Orient, to bring the sacred to bear to propagate the ethicality of humanity is to chime in with what could well belong to the indigenous, with the present being sanctified by the past. The ethicality is embedded in the spirituality of a great deal of Sufism. In common with Romantics like Shelley and Wordsworth, Sufi poetry and songs of the environs of the Hindu Kush affirm natural humanism: human as nature; nature as human, with ethicality to experience. It is embedded in so much of what is taking place in the transformative zone in so many settings. It is embedded in all those whose spirituality is in tune with great teachers, masters, leaders like the Dalai Lama. It is embedded in liberal, immanentized religion, the liberal Islam of countries like Pakistan; most especially in Indonesia where there are more Muslims, of liberal persuasion, than anywhere else.6 Suffused with the sacred, belonging to the sacred, the values, sentiments, dispositions, proclivities, capacities of the ethicality have power. The ethicality is charged by that which is believed in. Anti-humanists (religious or secular) aside, the value of this cannot be emphasized enough. Local and national people of influence, including, say, activist Sufis, can work to cathect the value-laden energy of what I have elsewhere called 'birth right spirituality' with legalistic renderings of human rights, the rights of the child, and so on (Heelas, 2008), to put intrinsic moral worth, sentiments, proclivities, values grounded in the sacred to work; to put what springs into life with birth — 'natural' rights, elementals and capacities — to entitle formal rights and to demand cultivation in the name of the sacred: the birthright as 'the right' to human rights. Educational settings are absolutely critical; so is cultivation of what is alreadY `right', in many localities, in connection with relationships with the land. So, too, is the dynamic which can be encapsulated as 'the rite is right'. Articulating, cultivating, expressing or amplifying birthright spirituality — the sense of the demands of life, for the full life — rituals serve the right, human rights, the sentiments of humankindness. Such is the power of belief in. (Among those anthropologists who have attended to this dynamic, Victor Turner (1974) and Roy Rappaport (1999) are among the distinguished.)
On the theme of the enhancement of efficacy, it is also noteworthy that the sacodicy of spiritual humanism is all to the good for reform. Albeit in very different language, a great deal of the writings and teaching of spiritual humanists resonate with the critical theorists of, say, the Frankfurt School. Damage lies with the pulverizing effects of unjust, repressive, opiate-like techniques of social and cultural arrangements, including much of religious tradition. Damage lies with the power-lusting effect. By drawing attention to injustice, as sacodicy, spiritual humanism points the way, motivates the path to reform, even revolt. I could perhaps add that the sheer value of what spiritual humanism has and can contribute means that it should not be demeaned by using the purportedly academic, meta-language of 'capitalizing on cultural capital', with its capitalistic undertones. The point, precisely, is to enable the indigenous to emerge; to fortify it to counter, or temper — among other things — the injustices and inequalities so typically generated by market capitalism; the exploitative exclusivism of hierarchical tradition.
In the Occident, t s also plausible to argue that spiritual humanism can contribute to bringing the ethicality of humanity alive: to more effectively combat racism, religious intolerance, prejudice; the widespread processes of the dehumanizing, regulating, delimiting and the limiting. A few classical Romantics of nationalistic persuasion notwithstanding, the Romantics paved the way. Breaking with Christian tradition, to varying degrees and in varying ways, the majority of the Romantics retained their faith in the sacred and Erasmus-like humanism. Simultaneously, they attempted to break with the accelerating, as industrializing, fall of the secular. The somewhat younger Wordsworth is paradigmatic. A spiritual humanist and an activist, which explains why the railway line into the Lake District stops at Windermere, a safe distance from his abode, Dove Cottage. Belonging as so much of it does to the romantic trajectory of the Occident, one of the great strengths of the transformative zone today, which helps explain its appeal, is that it, too, draws on the sacred and the ethicality of the secular. In accord with an obvious, laid down continuum, the theistic zone (most significantly in the mode of the sacred per se) and the secular — in the mode of that so-called 'Christian culture' which is normally best thought of as the culture of humanism — combine to provide an efficacious, heart-moving spiritual humanism. The humanism of virtually all CAM practices; the humanism of spirituality in education or in business, and so on; a humanism which is taken to be 'vital' in both senses of the world; which is felt to come from within the person; a humanism which is not dry, estranged, 'objective' (in Simmel's sense) like the legal, or the moralistic commandment-mode of `positive' (in Hegel's sense) religious renderings; a humanism which is very considerably more plausible, more palatable, if only because non-moralistic, than that of liberal religion; a humanism which largely lies beyond propositional beliefs which so readily go together with exclusivistic differentiation, lying instead with experiences of unitary, inclusivistic, perennialistic spiritual flow; a humanism which replaces the (categorical) imperatives of the obligatory with the sense of the right. Or so it is experienced. Addressing the two-fold failure of Christian ethics and Goethean humanism to prevent the terrors of National Socialism, Thomas Mann completed Dr Faustus early in 1947. The historical record gives no reason for being sanguine today. In the Occident, spiritual humanism has its place in the struggles with the forces of anti-humanism.
One of the chapters of the volumes which I am most pleased to have been able to include is on spiritual humanism in its 'natural' mode: the 'humanism' of nature. A great deal more research of the kind provided in the articlc under consideration (Vol. IV, Ch. 76) is required, though, to demonstrate the extent to which spiritual humanism naturalized is contributing to resistance; to the struggle against capitalism going wild. We do not even know, for example, the extent of humanism within the transformative zone; anywhere. Neither do we know the extent to which the presence of humanism is combated by other incumbents of the transformative zone of the Occident and Orient of today: the prosperity spirituality of acquisitive individualism, the consumerized 'spirituality' (which is probably more secular than transformative) of those who treat spirituality as an experiential commodity to be taken in and used up for pleasure, only to be left 'behind' (wherever that might mean!).
One does not have to be a spiritual humanist to appreciate the fundamental way in which we are each other. Until recently, I tended to believe in Sam Keen. The founder of Psychology Today, his perspective is simple. We are the sum of our experiences; the sum of our experiences of other people and nature. Other people and nature (help) compose what we are as 'individuals'. For good or for bad — and it goes without saying that there are plenty of bad experiences — life is largely, intrinsically, relational. Without experiencing others, we would not be ourselves; we would not be human at all. After recently talking with anthroposophist Hugo Verbrugh, an intimately related perspective dawned on me; one I should have appreciated much more profoundly much earlier in life. The point is elementary. Whereas the 'sun/ of our experiences' points to the present, our memories, too, are primarily relational. As a mode of reincarnation, the dead and the living live in each of us. Naturally, since significant memories are experiential (`the memorable experience'), and since memories are only remembered in the present, the two perspectives ultimately boil down to the same thing; an obvious one I at that, but one which the obsessive, culturally-`biased' use of the language of individualism (to praise, to critique) serves to mask.
With that great thematic of spiritual humanism in mind — the interconnected, the 'trans-human', the unitary beyond or below difference — the point of the forgoing rather amateurish psychologizing-cum philosophizing is clear. In more secular mode, spiritual humanism 'brings out' the beyond, the counter-individualism of even the most individualistic. To say that a friend is really spiritual, or that a sunset is spiritual, could well mean that the friend or the sunset has entered, moved 'oneself' as a 'partner% more graphically, as movement of the soul. In more sacred mode, spiritual humanism can function likewise: if participants are to be believed, with the force of more significant/powerful experiences. Simmel: these are the themes which he develops in the essays included in the last part of Essays on Religion (1997); Buber, his student, colleague and friend: these are the themes of his classic I and Thou (2004): a work which does not emphasize the theistic God-on-High; a work which does emphasize the 'God' which lies between, simultaneously within the I-Thou, the profoundly experiential intra-relational which, he held, springs into life when public identity, role-play and the like are broken asunder. (The anthropologist Victor Turner took up Buber's (and Simmel's) theme in his influential The Ritual Process. Structure and Anti-Structure (1974).) To encounter, better `incounter'. Such is the experienced. Long considered the leading feminist of 'strategic essentialism', Luce Irigaray now dwells with experiential spiritual humanism. Resonating with her teacher, Levinas, and her earlier The Way of Love (2002), she writes,
If the attraction that brings me towards the other is a quest for transcendence, as a desire for a beyond that I cannot appropriate in my world, and if the same goes for the other towards me, what calls us together belongs to a transcendental dimension. It is in a transcendental ecstasy that we exist together if what brought us closer is a relation of desire between us, and not a mere complicity within an environing world that is already there and supposedly the same for the two. (2008, p. 80)
Small wonder that Irigaray pursues this mutual mode of being through yoga (Vol. III, Ch. 58).
On why spirituality is here to stay
Because there is not enough on the topic in the volumes, it is good to include a few observations about the possible future of spirituality. Apart from intristic interest, and implications for policy planning (such as educational provisions for those younger people who are on the road to 'deep' humanism, that if affinity with spirituality than religious tradition), a justification lf spirituality looks set to have a promising global future these volumes will not become outdated too soon. Together with what has been said in the previous chapter, pertaining to change, four reasons why spirituality is here to stay might be worthy of consideration.
Not being a believer in academic fashion, I remained convinced of the utility of what my old teacher, the great anthropologist and explorer of human consciousness/imagination, Rodney Needham, took to be the fundamental processes of 'the human mind'. I think he would concur with the argument that cultures, ways of life, everywhere work with spectrums of the kind: bad, not so bad, okay, better, better still, almost perfect, virtually perfect, perfection, the perfect itself. Deploying a version of the transcendental deductive argument in neo-Kantian manner, societies exist. It is inconceivable that social cultures could exist unless occupants (other than psychopaths and the like, that is) work with some graded (I'm inclined to say `graduational) continuum of the kind just outlined. How would one be able to ensure that crops are properly tilled other than by judging them accordingly? Since societies do exist, then the spectrum under consideration must exist. What is critical about this is that the spectrum logically, automatically, imaginatively leads, progresses to the notion of the perfect; that is, the sacred. Analogous chains of thought, which also lead to the perfect, include one flowing from the worthless to the 'perfectly worthwhile' to the worthwhile, the transcendental deductive argument applying here as well. If, somehow, a collective existed of the worthless, as experienced, the collective would not last for long. (An argument of a volume I'm completing on spirituality and the worthwhile.) Other logical-cum-practical-necessity flows are provided by the move from the dirty, to the clean, to the pure (Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger, 1966) (imagine a collective living in what it takes to be dirt, for long); from the short lasting, to the longer lasting, to the 'ever' lasting, to eternity; from the contingent/impermanent/transitory, to the relatively stable, to the stable, to the permanent; from the not enough, to the enough, to the more than enough, to the infinite plenitude. (Not many think that less is more; for those who do, some will see this as a way to perfection.) Logics to the perfect, required for social cultures to operate; necessitated to explain what is known to exist: the sociocultural. And at the level of personal cultures, from utterly muddled, inchoate consciousness (blind drunk) to that degree of cohesion required not to lapse into the mal-functional to, ultimately, pure consciousness.
Contentment with the way things are. Who can doubt that the contenting contents of much consumer culture (Aldous Huxley's soma) contribute to the fact that for the great bulk of the time the great majority of inhabitants of the Occident, in particular, are disinclined to move beyond the secular frame. The quest for the perfect is not going to enter the ranks of some kind of end of history, though. That consumer culture capitalizes on the above logics or 'progressions' contributes to the cultural significance of the perfect. The ideology of progress is waxing, not waning; and is universalizing. The role played by 'heaven' and the like in fuelling the logic of the move to the perfect shows no signs of waning, with surveys suggesting that 'heaven' is °1e of the most resilient of Christian notions in much of Europe. And, of course, there is the sheer efficacy of ideals: greatly enhanced by the desires aroused by the gulf which inevitably exists between secular ideals of any real significance and their realization in reality. So long as 'the perfect' is there, so long as the desire for the perfect is there, there is work to be done. spiritualities of the transformative zone, and/or of the internalized within religion, will surely continue to perform their tasks; elementally, facilitating progress to/wards the perfect. Unless, possibly, there is a massive move towards spirituality within religious tradition: which would mean that heaven's way would be a really serious competitor with regard to whatever lies beyond theistic tradition.
The second argument hinges on the obvious point that whatever else humans might be, humans are evolved beings. Our 'hardware', that is the brain, has reached a certain stage of evolution. The brains of ants have reached a much 'lower' stage. Ants make nothing of Mozart. Humans do. Unless the evolution of the brain stops, unless that technological advance, of the kind resulting in brains being uploaded into upgrading 'clouds' comes to an end, it is inconceivable that we will not progress: to where we enter realms which are, at present, akin to Mozart for ants. How many people think in this kind of 'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy' way has yet to be determined. (A pretty terrible failure of research agendas.) The frequency of 'there must be something there' statements reported by questionnaires, however, suggests that Horatio's outlook (Einstein's too, for that matter) is far from uncommon. With the decline of religion in the Occident, spirituality is set to remain an obvious way of incorporating this sense of mystery beyond comprehension: as meaningful experience. As it has for long done among all those more devoted believers of the Orient.
The third consideration is, perhaps, more firmly grounded. It is best introduced by something emphasized by Thomas Mann; something written at a time when cultural and social disintegration was far, far, more in evidence than radical postmodernist thinkers have ever dreamt of. (Well, almost!) Reflecting on a free-floating 'faith', longing for an object, as the hallmark of the period around the end of the First World War, Mann (1983 [orig. 1918]) observed, 'One must believe. And in what? In belief [faith] —would be the correct answer' (p. 362).9 Even when there is nothing to believe in, the imperative for believing in remains imperative. Among other factors, including the 'hold' of secular ideals as things to aspire for the worthwhile life, the 'necessity' of 'believing in' comes from heaven. That is to say, whether or not one believes in heaven, most people cannot but be struck by what heaven has to offer. It cultivates the sense of having to have something to believe in. With the (relative) demise of belief in heaven in the Occident (although not the demise of heaven as a cultural item), with many secular ideals (like materialistic progress) falling under criticism or disarray (albeit not the ideal of the ideal), the imperative of having something to believe in becomes all the more pressing.
Of all contemporary scholars of the topic - so sadly neglected by other than a few German and USA sociologists (etc.), so magisterially portrayed by human condition, sociological, cultural, existential (so-designated) novelists -I think it is fair to say that Charles Taylor has illuminated the pivotal significance of Mann's point more than anyone else. One can reflect upon points made in the appropriately named first chapter of Sources of the Self (1989), 'Inescapable Frameworks'. With Taylor's insights in mind, 'To have something to believe in' amounts to saying 'To have something worthwhile to believe in'; to 'know' a 'true source of the worthwhile': arguably a more pointed expression than Taylor's own 'sources of significance'. People rarely (ever?) believe in things which are not considered worthwhile. For the increasing number of disaffiliates of the main tradition of the Occident, with the increasing failure of religion to continue its central job of providing (identifying, motivating, cultivating) the truly worthwhile, and with the secular increasingly in distress, the transformative zone, in tandem with the immanentized sacrality of detraditionalized religion, comes into its own. With so many people having what they take to be spiritual (or religious) experiences (Vol. I, Ch. 22) - including what could be intimations, inklings of the sacred - the truly worthwhile is signposted; could become easier to find; could be confirmed. Spiritualities of the Occident, I surmise, are set to gradually 'transplant' the worthwhile from religion. At the same time, cultural processes are 'implanting' the spiritual dimension of life on their own, autonomous grounds. Maybe as a dream, maybe as some sort of necessity of the dynamic of life, the perfect, the lure of the perfect, is not going to go away. That much is as certain as can be.
The more convincing the spiritual experience, the greater the amplification, the greater the significance of the transplant/implant of the worthwhile: for increasing numbers in the Occident, spirituality as the primary source of the worthwhile; the 'truly' worthwhile of healthy living, humanism, relationality, and so on. Whether the educated or not, whether Occidental or not, people are not easily fooled by - say - healing spirituality. There is more than enough evidence from the Occident and Orient to convince that spiritual sourcing for health (including the wellbeing of feelings) is remarkably effective: in experience-. The placebo effect - if that is what it is - works in experience; indeed, works in much the same way meanings do in connection with feelings, emotionality. Or think of the 'flowing', expressive actions of those whose sense of the worthwhile is their sense of the sacred. If only there was additional evidence to chart these kinds of claim!
As for the fourth, more routinely sociological consideration, the long history of spirituality of the Orient alone puts paid to the idea that (relatively) stand alone practices - autonomous in that they are not firmly embedded sustained by religious tradition - are perfectly able to perpetuate them- selves through time. To what persuasive effect I do not know, but it might be worth mentioning that for longer than three decades I, for one, have been arguing for the viability of strongly detraditionalized 'traditions' of practice (Heelas, 1982, passim). And it is not just that the organization of practices is viable in the sense of providing the (relatively) non-formative for autonomous participants to work with the (relatively) formless; that is, for practices, with their embedded or closely linked values, assumptions, etc., to serve as perspectives for monitoring the relatively formless, for judging progress, and so on. In addition viability is provided by predominantly positive outcomes (Vol. IV, Ch. 79). If practices did not work, they would simply wither away.'
On what is 'more' . . .
Drawing together a number of points, and adding a couple or so new ones, 1 would like to close with a few reflections on what is probably the greatest challenge facing those intent on making sense of spirituality. The challenge concerns all those countries where theistic tradition is in decline. (And don't believe a word of those who would have it otherwise!) The challenge concerns much the same countries where spirituality beyond theistic/polytheistic tradition is popular, probably increasingly so. (And don't be entirely put off by problems with surveys - findings don't come out of the blue; they are indicative.) The challenge is simple. How is it possible to make sense of this popularity? Put rather differently, why is the transformative zone - where some degree of 'believe in' the sacrality of spirituality is almost certainly widespread - apparently waxing? Could it be the case that this explains, or helps explain, why 'sincere' incumbents of the secular zone, namely atheists, have not grown in number, to any significant extent, since around the time Census records (in a number of countries) began - not so long after the First World War. I think it does largely account for the fact that there are far fewer atheists than secularization theorists would expect.
Now, a number of somewhat attenuated ideas, with some hypotheses:
The failure of theistic tradition. With tradition having ceased, or ceasing to be 'worthwhile religion', with belief-in engagement with theistic sacrality disappearing, or gone, in the lives of many as the worthwhile of human life, the sacred does not go away. Find me a person in Australia who is not aware of heaven.
The (relatively) constant reminder, the 'direct' - mediated – encounter with heaven and the like in popular/consumer culture, literature (etc.), means that all are aware of the value of the truly worthwhile-as-the-perfect. This is probably the most powerful of all aspects of the legacy of the theistic tradition of the Occident. For optimistic agnostics, half, believers, optimistic atheists, even die-hard atheists: 'heaven' is there; however subliminal, serving as a recurrent reminder of the perfect, perhaps amplifying it.
The perfect broadcast by the legacy of theist tradition: and in the context of the secular condition (where, to emphasize a point, virtually everyone spends most of their waking hours). The point need not be belaboured, Many a secularist joins hands with those who 'know' the sacred: the secular is imperfect. No doubt fuelled by utopias of the sacred, intrinsic imperfections are thrown into relief.
Thrown into relief, now by the secular condition itself. The ideology of progress is self-defeating. Without secular ideal/s being in place, to serve as the telos, inspiration, aspiration, defining gauge, 'progress' loses its significance. Bearing in mind the transcendental deductive argument adduced earlier, for progress to really work, other than in an ad hoc or unintended consequences fashion, the teleological of the ideal has to be there. And within the secular realm, ideals of any significance cannot be met. Ideals continually stretch the worthwhile to the more. By proving unobtainable, the more so as the stretching process operates, ideals simultaneously undermine the worthwhile. The ideology of progress operates in any number of contexts, which can — and frequently do — generate disquiet with what the secular has to offer. In my own trade, scholarly inquiry is premised on the rule of 'the always better'. To 'meet' a goal is to bring further ideal-aspirations to mind: to generate their discontents. As for the perfect — that ever remains in front. The impulsion of the 'is this it?' question, posed by a yet-to-be-determined number of people across cultures: a question which, naturally, entails that the secular is 'not it'.
Inherent imperfections of the secular are not just made worse by necessary/ virtually inevitable idealism. As well as being beset by the ideology of progress, on occasion existential awareness serves to destablize: thereby pointing to, awakening the 'beyond'. Although the volume is disappointing, Jurgen Habermas et al's An Awareness of What is Missing (2010) has a wonderful title. Precisely because the secular is secular, this awareness is more-or-less inevitably generated. In the words of that distinguished North American thinker-of-culture Daniel Bell (1977), 'The ground of religion [and spirituality] is existential: the awareness of men [and womenl of their finiteness and the inexorable limits to their powers ... (p. 447). I, for one, do not know of a way of life, a culture, an individual which does not recognize the distinction serving 'the finite or the limit — the beyond on the other "side"' in some way or another. Who cannot sense that the experience of the finite (let alone the failed) cannot but generate, minimally, a sense of the beyond? That things are possible within the finite contributes to a sense of the impossible, fuelling frustration about things not being possible.
With the foregoing in mind, there are, I think, at least three relatively clear-cut themes to explore; three plausible hypotheses:
The first and second of these themes have a fair amount in common. As for their differences, the first predominantly concerns people who have lost their faith with religion, and being relatively old, were not socialized into spirituality when they were at school or by way of the youth culture of their younger years. The second predominantly concerns people who have been brought up with socialization 'towards' the transformative. What this boils down to is that the second involves people who are more likely to have a positive attitude to the transformative than the former.
Three ideas, all alluded to previously, all providing golden opportunities for further reflection. Exploration is in its infancy. I must admit that as someone long disillusioned by theistic tradition, and increasingly of the view that the secular cannot possibly answer the rhetorical question 'Is this it?' with the affirmative 'Yes it is; life is great', I'm especially fascinated by the 'Bertrand Russell hypothesis'. The yearn, that desire, hope, built into the yearn; that reasonable expectation built into the yearn: when the time, the circumstances come, if they do, the transformative experience. Basically, the yearn plus a new 'sense of reality' (to use the title of one of Berlin's books): most likely spirituality as the meaningful reality of experience. Just as yearning was not `really' enough for exemplar Russell, the impulsion to 'the more' generated by the secular, not least the 'making the most of life in the face of the death of heavenllife, is not a rehearsal' factor, has ultimately to await the experience. Even before the experience, the walk of beyond-beauty, the into life of the hospice with spiritual care, though, there can be much of value. Sans `the' experience, Thomas Mann's (1983) own credo, with non-ironic voice for once, is that `The belief in God is the belief in love, in life, and in art'; is that 'despair' is better for humanity than the sweet-tasting do-gooder (pp. 371; 381). Here lie depths which cannot be fully plumbed. Here lie depths which can be delved. With the sacred so widely abroad, ultimate spirituality, variants, approximations are safely embedded in many a locale across the globe. Some argue that what is taking place is most at 'risk' in the Occident. The author of a classic on mysticism, W. T. Stace (1960) wrote, 'It is better to be vaguely right than to be precisely wrong' (p. 6). I'll be vaguely right and — arguably `precisely' wrong to suggest that spirituality is certain to take further root in the Occident: to 'catch up' with the Orient.
A major consideration concerns the rather significant popularity of CAM in the Occident. Even pragmatic CAM, of the 'what works, works' persuasion, demonstrates the 'going beyond' of the strictly secular. Given that it is so easy to adopt this variety of CAM (in particular), given that one does not have to believe in anything more than the quality experience (if, as is typical, quality is the case), given that it has been adopted by apparently ever-increasing numbers, and given that it can lead on to 'other' things, the future looks assured. It could be the case, though, that secular governmental restraints of countries like Holland, where restraints have already had some success in dampening activity, will prevail. To point to another consideration, youth in many countries of the Occident are much more likely to be `proto'. spiritually-inclined than anything else. Although relatively few might have convincing experiences of the perfect, under appropriate (educational, etc.) circumstances many of the younger are in the process of socialization: learning the significance of interrelationships with nature, or of 'wonder', as `ends' in themselves, for instance. Some are primed for the circumstances, the occasion of the future: then, perhaps, finding it quite easy to enrich any sense they might have of the 'I am a spiritual person' variety. It could be the case, though, that educational practices move away from 'spirituality'. It could be the case that the so-called 'indifferent', the 'could not be bothered with; nothing wrong with my life so long as there are football, girls and booze', of the younger, increase in number: significantly.
Spiritualities of the transformative, in particular, tend to accommodate `the best' of both worlds. Continua, perhaps more especially continuities in this regard, are taken to combine the best of the secular (for example humanism) and the best of theistic tradition (for example the sacred). Here lies the security of moving with, combining, the familiar, plausible, credible. Here lies the opportunity of experiential drift; the 'drift "away" '.
In more speculative vein, on a global compass it is possible, perhaps likely, that increasing numbers will find it increasingly difficult to find 'true sources of the worthwhile within religious tradition. In virtually all countries, the critical voice of the secular, the lures of the secular, are becoming more powerful. With various forms of 'modernization' taking their hold, exercising their hold — competitive individualism in the economic sector and, via consumption, for necessity or pleasure — the secular is set to become ever more influential. Even now, it is misleading to suppose 'blind faith' to be all that, widespread. It is quite probable that belief in the beliefs of 'fundamentalism has coloured the judgement of many an eye. There is a great deal which the eye has not taken fully into account: including the extent to which lip-service is paid to belief and ritual, especially when lip-service is useful for political (etc) tactics. Whether simply a continuation of long-standing, relatively `casual' relationships with religious tradition (arguably the case in much of Bangladesh, for instance), or due to the impact of the increasing hold of the secular, or both, the hunch is that theistic/polytheistic sources of the worthwhile will not fare all that well. It cannot be emphasized enough that relative to the global population so-called fundamentalists — those believing in a battery of illiberal beliefs — are relatively few and far between. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, which is probably the most fundamentalistic' region of the world, it is probably safe to venture that Christianity is frequently worn , lightly' during everyday life: apart, that is, from a few key values and beliefs, associated, say, with the Holy Spirit and heaven. In many countries, and for many people, so-called great traditions ride with the secular.
The afflictions of the worthwhile thesis applies beyond the Occident. Spirituality, when it is experienced as expressing itself, as working, is an especially good option between the secular and pretty non-experiential 'rote' beliefs and rituals; and, of course, one which has long been in play in numerous regions. The secular at one and the same time failing (greater poverty, ill-being not greater wealth) and promising so much (wellbeing, success in the world); religion not always providing that reality of experience of the sacred, or akin, which can be contacted when occasion demands: here lies the option, most obviously (World Health Organization supported) TCAM, including the non-theistic, indigenously-informed TCAM of sub-Saharan Africa. It would be ethnocentric prejudice to suppose that the urge to move beyond imperfect reality, to experience the spiritual reality of beyond, is limited to the Occident. It would be ethnocentric hubris to suppose that religious tradition is not falling into doubt in many places beyond the Occident. It would be ethnocentric bias to deny the propulsive force of belief in the perfect, the perfect which has to be believed in, which is essential for life. An indeterminate number of the world's population, I surmise, is not all that different from those suffering from afflictions of the worthwhile in the Occident. Not all that many are 'beyond doubt'. Of those who are 'without doubt', and who are not die-hard believers in propositional beliefs (namely so-called fundamentalists), an equally indeterminate number of the world's population are absorbed by, taken 'in' by, what they `know' of spirituality. From the cosmopolitan ranks of decision-makers and facilitators of capital cities around much of the globe (including Tehran), from the impoverished ranks of those working the land drawing on indigenous transformative resources working from within: spirituality 'joins forces' with Inherent Islam, typically in humanist mode: set to make a difference. From the inherent spirituality, to the capacities of the inherent, to the capabilities fostered by the resource-allocations of decision-makers, facilitators.
Sufi Qalandar Sain Irshad Husain Shah, based in the Margalla Hills northeast of Islamabad, a couple or so kilometres from the Offices of central government (and the Diplomatic Compound), attracting the more enlightened/liberal of decision-makers (including Sufi-orientated) intent on enhancing sense of value in life, and Sufi-orientated poor, intent on tackling what is less than worthwhile in their lives. I wish I could explore further. Unfortunately, eruption of violence in Islamabad and environs meant I could not spend time with Shah. A huge shame; although having been told so much about this Sufi, the illustration is indeed exemplary: of the kind of thing taking place across the Orient and elsewhere.
Volume I: Overview—Part 1: Spirituality
1 On making some sense of spirituality- Paul Heelas
2 On some major issues- Paul Heelas
3 On some significant themes - Paul heelas
Part 2: On Formulating the perennial and the Zoned
(a) Perennial Spirituality Predominantly Within Religious Tradition
4. Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy: An Interpretation of the Great Mystics, East and West  (Perennial, 2004), pp. vii–xi.
5. Harold Bloom, ‘Enthusiasm, Gnosticism, American Orphism’ and ‘The New Age: California Orphism’, The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation (Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 45–58, 181–8.
(b) Perennial Spirituality: Within and Beyond Religious ‘Tradition’
6. M. H. Abrams, Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature (W. W. Norton, 1973), pp. 429–37.
7. Mark C. Taylor, Disfiguring: Art, Architecture, Religion (University of Chicago Press, 1992), pp. 18–23.
8. Georg Simmel, ‘On the Salvation of the Soul’ , Georg Simmel: Essays on Religion (Yale University Press, 1997), pp. 29–35.
(c) On Differentiating Spirituality: Within and Beyond Religious Tradition
9. David M. Wulff, ‘Spirituality: A Contemporary Alternative’, Psychology of Religion (John Wiley, 1997) (extract).
10. Peter C. Hill et al., ‘Conceptualizing Religion and Spirituality: Points of Commonality, Points of Departure’, Journal of the Theory of Social Behaviour, 2000, 30, 1, 51–77.
11. Charles Taylor, ‘Religion Today’, A Secular Age (Harvard University Press, 2007), pp. 506–13.
12. Joseph B. Tamney, ‘Truth Church’, The Resilience of Conservative Religion: The Case of Popular, Conservative Protestant Congregations (Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 119–36, 152–6.
13. Robert C. Fuller, ‘Unchurched Spirituality: An Introduction’, Spiritual But Not Religious: Understanding Unchurched America (Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 1–12.
14. Rodney Stark, Eva Hamberg, and Alan Miller, ‘Exploring Spirituality and Unchurched Religions in America, Sweden, and Japan’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 2005, 20, 1, 3–23.
15. Catherine L. Albanese, ‘The Subtle Energies of Spirit: Explorations in Metaphysical and New Age Spirituality’, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 1999, 67, 2, 305–25.
16. Paul Heelas, ‘"New Age" Spirituality as "Tradition", in Mark Cobb, Bruce Rumbold, and Christina Puchalski (eds.), Spirituality in Healthcare (Oxford University Press, 2011).
Part 3: Illustrating Diversity—Some Cultural and Practical Zones, Ontological and Non-Ontological
17. Peter H. Van Ness, ‘Spirituality and the Secular Quest’, in Van Ness (ed.), Spirituality and the Secular Quest (SCM Press, 1996), pp. 1–17.
18. Agnieszka Dyczewska, ‘Vegetarianism as an Example of Dispersed Religiosity’, Implicit Religion, 2008, 11, 2, 111–25.
19. Kate Khatib, ‘Automatic Theologies: Surrealism and the Politics of Equality’, in Hent de Vries and Lawrence E. Sullivan (eds.), Political Theologies: Religion in a Post-Secular World (Fordham University Press, 2006), pp. 617–32.
20. Mark C. Taylor ‘Terminal Faith’, in Paul Heelas, David Martin, and Paul Morris (eds.), Religion, Modernity and Postmodernity (Blackwell, 1998), pp. 36–54.
21. Stef Aupers, ‘"Where the Zeroes Meet the Ones": Exploring the Affinity between Magic and Computer Technology’, in Stef Aupers and Dick Houtman (eds.), Religions of Modernity: Relocating the Sacred to the Self and the Digital (Brill, 2010), pp. 219–38.
Part 4: On Counting Zones
22. David Hay, ‘The Spirituality of Adults in Britain: Recent Research’, Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy, 2002, 5, 1, 4–9.
23. Paul Heelas and Dick Houtman, ‘Research Note: RAMP Findings and Making Sense of the "God Within Each Person, Rather than Out There"’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 2009, 24, 1, 83–98.
24. Dick Houtman and Stef Aupers, ‘The Spiritual Turn and the Decline of Tradition: The Spread of Post-Christian Spirituality in 14 Western Countries, 1981–2000’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2007, 46, 3, 305–20.
25 a. Sergey Flere and Andrey Kirbis, ‘New Age, Religiosity, and Traditionalism: A Cross-Cultural Comparison’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2009, 48, 1, 161–9.
25 b. Dick Houtman, Paul Heelas, and Stef Aupers, ‘Christian Religiosity and New Age Spirituality: A Cross-Cultural Comparison’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2009, 48, 1, 169–79.
25 c. Sergey Flere and Andrey Kirbis, ‘New Age is Not Inimical to Religion and Traditionalism’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2009, 48, 1, 179–84.
Part 4: Changing Zones
26. Mark C. Taylor, Disfiguring: Art, Architecture, Religion (University of Chicago Press, 1992), pp. 64–6.
27. Inger Furseth, ‘From "Everything Has a Meaning" to "I Want to Believe in Something": Religious Change Between Two Generations of Women in Norway’, Social Compass, 2005, 52, 157–68.
28. Tony Glendinning and Steve Bruce, ‘New Ways of Believing or Belonging: Is Religion Giving Way to Spirituality?’, British Journal of Sociology, 2006, 57, 3, 399–414.
Volume Two: Spirituality From Within Religious Tradition
28. Walter Principe, ‘Toward Defining Spirituality’, Studies in Religion, 1983, 12, 2, 127–41.
29. Pontifical Council for Culture and Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the ‘New Age’ (CTS Manchester, 2003), pp. 38–41.
30. Stefania Palmisano, ‘Spirituality and Catholicism: The Italian Experience’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 2010, 25, 2, 221–41.
31. Johan Roeland and Peter Versteeg, ‘Transformations of Dutch Protestantism: The Turn to Experiential Belief’.
32. Phillip C. Lucas, ‘The New Age Movement and the Pentecostal/Charismatic Revival: Distinct Yet Parallel Phases of a Fourth Great Awakening?’, in James R. Lewis and J. Gordon Melton (eds.), Perspectives on the New Age (State University of New York Press, 1992), pp. 189–211.
33. James Davison Hunter, ‘The Self Examined’, Evangelicalism: The Coming Generation (University of Chicago Press, 1987), pp. 64–71.
34. Elizabeth Sirriyeh, ‘Sufi Thought and its Reconstruction’, in Suha Taji-Farouki and Basheer M. Nafi (eds.), Islamic Thought in the Twentieth Century (I. B. Tauris, 2004), pp. 104–27.
Part 5: Contexts of Participant-Affirmed Value
(a) World Peace
35. Ralph Pettman, ‘In Pursuit of World Peace: Modernism, Sacralism and Cosmopiety’, Global Change, Peace and Security, 2010, 22, 2, 197–212.
36. Ian Harris, ‘Buddhist Environmental Ethics and Detraditionalization: The Case of EcoBuddhism’, Religion, 1995, 25, 3, 199–211.
37. Michael S. Northcott, ‘Wilderness, Religion and Ecological Restoration in the Scottish Highlands’, Ecotheology, 2005, 10, 3, 382–99.
38. Mark I. Wallace, ‘God is Underfoot: Pneumatology after Derrida’, in John D. Caputo (ed.), The Religious (Blackwell, 2002), pp. 197–211.
(c) Growing Up
39. Barbara Wintersgill, ‘Andrew Wright’s Critical Realism, Clive Erricker’s Radical Postmodernism and Teenage Perceptions of Spirituality’, in Tore Ahlback and Bjorn Dahla (eds.), Postmodern Spirituality (Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History, 2009), pp. 259–76.
40. Richard W. Flory and Donald E. Miller ‘The Embodied Spirituality of the Post-Boomer Generations’, in Kieran Flanagan and Peter C. Jupp (eds.), A Sociology of Spirituality (Ashgate, 2007), pp. 201–18.
(d) Feminism and Gender
41. Linda Woodhead, ‘Spiritualizing the Sacred: A Critique of Feminist Theology’, Modern Theology, 1997, 13, 2, 191–212.
42. Melissa Raphael, ‘Truth in Flux: Goddess Feminism as a Late Modern Religion’, Religion, 1996, 26, 3, 199–213.
43. Donna Maeda, ‘The Other Woman: Irreducible Alterity in Feminist Thealogies’, Religion, 1997, 27, 2, 123–8.
44. Graham Howes, ‘From Religion to Spirituality’, The Art of the Sacred (I. B. Tauris, 2007), pp. 130–45.
45. Mario Fernando and Brad Jackson, ‘The Influence of Religion-Based Workplace Spirituality on Business Leaders’ Decision-Making: An Inter-faith Study’, Journal of Management & Organization, 2006, 12, 1, 23–39.
(g) Challenges to Religious Tradition from Beyond
46. Jeanne Openshaw, ‘The Web of Deceit: Challenges to Hindu and Muslim "Orthodoxies" by "Bauls" of Bengal’, Religion, 1997, 27, 4, 297–309.
Volume Three: ‘Autonomous’ Spiritualities Beyond Religious Tradition
Part 6: Illustrating the Most Distinctively Autonomous—‘New Age’
47. Stef Aupers and Dick Houtman, ‘Beyond the Spiritual Supermarket: The Social and Public Significance of New Age Spirituality’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 2006, 21, 2, 201–22.
48. Stef Aupers, ‘"We are all Gods’: New Age in the Netherlands 1960–2000’, in Erik Sengers (ed.), The Dutch and Their Gods (Verlaren, 2005), pp. 180–201.
49. Liselotte Frisk, ‘Quantitative Studies of New Age: A Summary and Discussion’, in Daren Kemp and James R. Lewis (eds.), Handbook of New Age (Brill, 2007), pp. 103–22.
Part 7: Illustrating the Somewhat Less Autonomous
50. Boas Huss, ‘The New Age of Kabbalah: Contemporary Kabbalah, the New Age and Postmodern Spirituality’, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, 2007, 6, 2, 107–25.
51. Patrick Haenni and Raphael Voix, ‘God by all Means … Eclectic Faith and Sufi Resurgence Among the Moroccan Bourgeoisie’, in Martin van Bruinessen and Julia Day Howell (eds.), Sufism and the ‘Modern’ in Islam (I. B. Tauris, 2007), pp. 240–56.
52. Suha Taji-Farouki, ‘The Beshara Perspective and the Teaching of Ibn "Arabi", Beshara and Ibn ‘Arabi: A Movement of Sufi Spirituality in the Modern World (Anqa Publishing, 2007), pp. 97–106.
53. Masayuki Ito, ‘New Spirituality in Contemporary Societies: A Comparative View on Japanese "Spiritual World"’, in Inken Prohl and Hartmut Zinswer (eds.), Zen, Reiki, Karate (Lit Verlag Munster, 2002), pp. 91–108.
Part 8: ‘Internal’ Dynamics, Including Ethicality
54. Steven M. Tipton, ‘Antinomian Rules: The Ethical Outlook of American Zen Students’, Getting Saved from the Sixties (University of California Press, 1984), pp. 95–155.
55. Benjamin Richard Smith, ‘Body, Mind and Spirit? Towards an Analysis of the Practice of Yoga’, Body & Society, 2007, 13, 25, 25–46.
56. Jennifer Lea, ‘Liberation or Limitation? Understanding Iyengar Yoga as a Practice of the Self’, Body & Society, 2009, 15, 71–92.
57. Luce Irigaray, ‘Eastern Teachings’, Between East and West: From Singularity to Community (Columbia University Press, 2003).
Part 9: Contexts of Perceived Value
58. Maya Warrier, ‘Revisiting the "Easternisation" Thesis: The Spiritualisation of Ayurveda in Britain’.
59. Chikako Ozawa-De Silva and Brendan Ozawa-De Silva, ‘Secularizing Religious Practices: 2010: A Study of Subjectivity and Existential Transformation in Naikan Therapy’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2010, 49, 1, 147–61.
60. David M. Eisenberg et al., ‘Trends in Alternative Medicine Use in the United States, 1990–1997’, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1998, 280, 18, 1569–75.
(b) The Workplace
61. Ellie Hedges and James A. Beckford, ‘Holism, Healing and the New Age’, in Steven Sutcliffe and Marion Bowman (eds.), Beyond New Age: Exploring Alternative Spirituality (Edinburgh University Press, 2000), pp. 169–87.
62. Don Grant, Kathleen O’Neil, and Laura Stephens, ‘Spirituality in the Workplace: New Empirical Directions in the Study of the Sacred’, Sociology of Religion, 2004, 65, 3, 265–83.
63. Martin Ramstedt, ‘New Age and Business’, in Daren Kemp and James R. Lewis (eds.), Handbook of New Age (Brill, 2007), pp. 103–22.
64. Paul Heelas, ‘God’s Company: New Age Ethics and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International’, Religion Today, 1992, 8, 1, 1–4.
65. Mary Farrell Bedenarowski, ‘The New Age Movement and Feminist Spirituality: Overlapping Conversations at the End of the Century’, in James R. Lewis and J. Gordon Melton (eds.), Perspectives on the New Age (State University of New York Press, 1992), pp. 167–78.
66. Michael F. Brown, ‘Towards Sacred Androgyny’, The Channeling Zone (Harvard University Press, 1997), pp. 93–114.
67. Leslie Goode, ‘Spiritualities of Life: The Neglected Role of the Artistic Paradigm’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 2010, 25, 1, 107–23.
Volume Four: Explorations of Explanations
Part 10: The Matter of Efficacy
68. Bernice Martin, ‘From Pre- to Postmodernity in Latin America: The Case of Pentacostalism’, in Paul Heelas, David Martin, and Paul Morris (eds.), Religion, Modernity and Postmodernity (Blackwell, 1998), pp. 102–46.
69. Friday M. Mbon, ‘The Social Impact of Nigeria’s New Religious Movements’, in James A. Beckford (ed.), New Religious Movements and Rapid Social Change (Sage, 1986), pp. 177–96.
70. Steve Bruce, ‘The Failure of the New Age’, God is Dead: Secularization in the West (Blackwell, 2002), pp. 75–105.
71. Teemu Taira, ‘The Problem of Capitalism in the Scholarship on Contemporary Spirituality’, in Tore Ahlback and Bjorn Dahla (eds.), Postmodern Spirituality (Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History, 2009), pp. 230–44.
72. Steven M. Tipton, ‘Making the World Work: Ideas of Social Responsibility in the Human Potential Movement’, in Eileen Barker (ed.), Of Gods and Men: New Religious Movements in the West (Mercer Press, 1983), pp. 265–82.
73. Siobhan Chandler, ‘The Social Ethic of Religiously Unaffiliated Spirituality’, Religion Compass, 2008, 2, 2, 240–56.
74. Samira van Bohemen et al., ‘The Religiously Contested Nature of Nature. Christian Dualism, Spiritual Holism and Environmental Concern in the Netherlands’, Sociology of Religion, 2011 (forthcoming).
75. Siv Ellen Kraft, ‘Sami Indigenous Spirituality: Religion and Nation-Building in Norwegian Sapmi’, Temenos, 2009, 45, 2, 179–206.
76. Miguel Farias and Pehr Granqvist, ‘The Psychology of the New Age’, in Daren Kemp and James R. Lewis (eds.), Handbook of New Age (Brill, 2007), pp. 123–50.
77. Klas Nevrin, ‘Empowerment and Using the Body in Modern Postural Yoga’, in Mark Singleton and Jean Bryne (eds.), Yoga in the Modern World: Contemporary Perspectives (Routledge, 2008), pp. 121–39.
78. Robert H. Sharf, ‘The Uses and Abuses of Zen in the Twentieth Century’, in Inken Prohl and Hartmut Zinswer (eds.), Zen, Reiki, Karate (Lit Verlag Munster, 2002), pp. 143–54.
79. Taeyon Kim, ‘Neo-Confucian Body Techniques: Women’s Bodies in Korea’s Consumer Society’, Body & Society, 2003, 9, 97–113.
Part 11: Growth
80. Georg Simmel, ‘The Conflict of Modern Culture’  and ‘The Problem of Religion Today’ , Georg Simmel, Essays on Religion (Yale University Press, 1997), pp. 7–19, 20–5.
81. Charles Taylor, ‘The Malaises of Modernity’ and ‘Cross Pressures’, A Secular Age (Harvard University Press, 2007), pp. 301–3, 594–602.
82. Dick Houtman and Peter Mascini, ‘Why Do Churches Become Empty, While New Age Grows? Secularization and Religious Change in the Netherlands’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2002, 41, 3, 455–73.
83. Paul Heelas, ‘Challenging Secularization Theory: The Growth of "New Age" Spiritualities of Life’, Hedgehog Review, 2006, 8, 1–2, 46–58.
84. John A. Astin, ‘Why Patients Use Alternative Medicine. Results of a National Study’, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1998, 279, 19, 1548–53.
85. Ioan M. Lewis, ‘Spirit Possession and Deprivation Cults’, Man, 1966, 1, 3, 307–29.
86. Steve Bruce and Tony Glendinning, ‘The Interaction of Gender and Occupation on Attitudes Towards Spirituality and Engagement in Activities’ (2006).
87. Scott Taylor, ‘Gendering in the Holistic Milieu: A Critical Realist Analysis of Homeopathic Work’, Gender, Work and Organization, 2010, 17, 4, 454–74.
88. Maya Warrier, ‘Modernity and its Imbalances: Constructing Modern Selfhood in the Mata Amritanandamayi Mission’, Religion, 2006, 36, 179–95.
89. Mark R. Mullins, ‘Japan’s New Age and Neo-New Religions: Sociological Interpretations’, in James R. Lewis and J. Gordon Melton (eds.), Perspectives on the New Age (State University of New York Press, 1992), pp. 232–46.
90. Inken Prohl, ‘The Spiritual World: Aspects of New Age in Japan’, in Daren Kemp and James R. Lewis (eds.), Handbook of New Age (Brill, 2007), pp. 359–74.