In its definition of spirituality, and with a view perhaps to avoidance of controversy, Websters’ English Dictionary chooses to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. Websters defines spirituality to be:
The quality or state of being spiritual.
This definition has the quality of stating “banking consists of all of the actions taken by a banker”, “dancing consists of all of the actions taken by a dancer”, or “teaching consists of all of the actions taken by a teacher.” Websters clearly understands importance of political correctness in so far as characterization of controversial words such as spiritual or spirituality are concerned.
Perhaps you wonder,
if Websters defines the word spiritual there really is no pulling of wool over our eyes or attempt at political correctness is there?
Well then just how exactly does Websters define the word spiritual? The definition goes as follows:
of or relating to a person’s spirit
having similar values and ideas — related or joined in spirit
The above definition of the word spiritual is of an order of magnitude more obtuse than definition of spirituality. Websters adopts then a ‘lets avoid a mea culpa’ strategy in respect of definition of spiritual or spirituality, clear evidence of attempts at being intentionally obtuse.
The take away?
Websters declares (between the lines): let every religious group define what it means by spiritual and spirituality. Kudos to Websters. Claps on Medium. Brilliant.
The implication of Websters’ avoidance of a mea culpa? For the non-religious, there are no clear cut definitions of spiritual or spirituality.
For the non-religious, the English language does not proffer any meaningful definition of spiritual or spirituality.
What then to do? Well, we can make it up as we go along or attempt to start off with a definition a priori. It seems sensible to me that we start off with a meaningful definition a priori. Better to have to change a destination or objective than start off with none in the first place.
I proffer that spirituality revolves around two things. What we determine individually to be the raison detre, equivalently, purpose of our existence and the sum total of restraints we as a result desire to impose on our character, behavior, choices, decision making paradigms, beliefs, and actions — restraints that are natural outcomes of our personal definition of existential purpose. We have then objectives — purpose, and processes required for maintenance of progress — restraints.
It is important to realize restraints are not the same as constraints. Restraints always are self imposed, constraints, however, can be induced external to ourselves.
The religion I know the most about is Christianity. Applied to Christianity, the characterization of spirituality I have proferred implies, consistent with Christian beliefs, that man lives to glorify Jesus Christ, with the commandment to love others a restraint on character, choices, beliefs, decision making paradigms, and actions of Christians. If my definition can work for Christians, believe me it can work for the Atheist and non-religious Pantheist or Agnostic.
The good news? Websters has left the field wide open. With freedom, however, comes responsibility, because while actions can be unconstrained or lack restraint, consequences of actions typically are bounded by nature of initial actions. If a factory has capacity to produce 1,000 items per day, absent additional investments, it cannot meet demand for 2,000 items per day.
Let us use our freedoms wisely.