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David Rousseau PhD The Dimensions of Spirituality David Rousseau PhD Study Society 5 Jun 2013 Centre for Systems Studies www.hull.ac.uk/hubs www.hull.ac.uk/fass.

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Presentation on theme: "David Rousseau PhD The Dimensions of Spirituality David Rousseau PhD Study Society 5 Jun 2013 Centre for Systems Studies www.hull.ac.uk/hubs www.hull.ac.uk/fass."— Presentation transcript:

1 David Rousseau PhD The Dimensions of Spirituality David Rousseau PhD Study Society 5 Jun 2013 Centre for Systems Studies Centre for Spirituality Studies Centre for Systems Philosophy

2 Spirituality vs. Religion Spirituality is the personal quest for understanding answers to ultimate questions about life, about meaning, and about relationship to the sacred or transcendent, which may (or may not) lead to or arise from the development of religious rituals and the formation of community Religion is an organized system of beliefs, practices, rituals, and symbols designed (a) to facilitate closeness to the sacred or transcendent (God, higher power, or ultimate truth/reality) and (b) to foster an understanding of one's relationship and responsibility to others in living together in a community. -Koenig et al., The Handbook of Religion and Health (2001) Spiritual: 92-97% Spiritual Experiences :45-75% Religious: 50-70% Church attendance :8.5-20%

3 Milestones in the scientific study of spirituality 1859Charles DarwinThe Origin of Species 1882Henry SidgwickSociety for Psychical Research 1902William JamesThe Varieties of Religious Experience 1976Ninian Smart Department of Religious Studies, Univ. of Lancaster 1975Raymond MoodyLife after Life 1997Harold Koenig Center for the Study of Religion, Spirituality, and Health, Duke Univ 2008 Margaret Holloway The Centre for Spirituality Studies, Univ. of Hull

4 spiritual MedLine PsychInfo PhilPapers Rise of academic research into spirituality The Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health Duke University The Center for Spirituality and Health University of Florida The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values MIT The Centre for Spirituality Studies University of Hull The Spirituality, Religion and Personal Beliefs GroupWHO-QoL

5 Modern academic views on spirituality the belief that there is an unseen [moral] order, and that our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto (James, 1902, p. 53) the personal quest for understanding answers to ultimate questions about life (Koenig et al., 2001, p. 18) the need for achieving transcendent meaning in life (Hill & Pargament, 2003, p. 65) the capacity to be virtuous (show forgiveness, compassion etc) (Emmons 1999 p.163 ) following a practice aimed at cultivating awareness of the sacredness of certain things (Stone, 2012, p. 493) ability to use spiritual resources for problem solving (Emmons 1999 p.163) the experience of cultural pleasures such as listening to classical music or learning theorems or admiring architecture (Bunge, 2010, pp. 95–96) the experience of material pleasures such as luxurious living (Solomon, 2006) having experiences perceived as of overriding personal significance (such as signs of maturity in ones children) (Stone, 2012, p. 493).

6 welfare outcomes: better mental and physical health better coping with adversity higher perceived quality of life better social welfare outcomes virtuous behaviour patience charity tolerance community spirit friendliness Objective Spirituality outcomes & behaviours The Dimensions of Spirituality

7 capacity be or act virtuously (forgiveness, compassion, gratitude, etc) capacity to experience higher states of consciousness ability to use spiritual resources for problem solving ability to invest the everyday with sense of the divine or sacred capacity to transcend the physical and material Objective Spirituality Spiritual Intelligence outcomes & behaviours capacities & abilities The Dimensions of Spirituality

8 the personal search for answers to ultimate questions about life search for meaning search for connections that have ultimate value experienced relationship to the sacred or transcendent Objective Spirituality Spiritual Intelligence Subjective Spirituality outcomes & behaviours capacities & abilities goals & motivations The Dimensions of Spirituality

9 the intuitive conviction that: existence has meaning and value life has an ultimate purpose we are genuine contributors to how this drama unfolds there are some absolute values (goodness, evil, sacredness, duty) we are responsible for our choices (free will) we are responsible for our actions (authentic agents) Objective Spirituality Spiritual Intelligence Subjective Spirituality Spiritual Worldview outcomes & behaviours capacities & abilities goals & motivations percepts, intuitions & beliefs The Dimensions of Spirituality

10 Spiritual Intuitions There really is, as everyone to some extent divines, a natural justice and injustice that is binding on all men, even on those who have no association or covenant with each other" – Aristotle, Rhetoric b5 Duty to me is as real as the physical world, though not apprehended in the same way. - Henry Sidgwick, Letter to Major Carey (1880) Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe … the starry heaven above me and the moral law within me. Neither of them need I seek and merely suspect as if shrouded in obscurity … I see them before me and connect them immediately with my existence. - Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason (1788)

11 Cultural conditioning? Neurological effects? God ? ? ?? Objective Spirituality Spiritual Intelligence Subjective Spirituality Spiritual Worldview Ontology of Spirituality outcomes & behaviours capacities & abilities goals & motivations percepts, intuitions & beliefs reality The Dimensions of Spirituality

12 objective spirituality spiritual intelligence subjective spirituality spiritual worldview ontology of spirituality capacities & abilities goals & motivations percepts, intuitions & beliefs reality outcomes & behaviours ?? capacity be or act virtuously (forgiveness, compassion, gratitude, etc) capacity to experience higher states of consciousness ability to use spiritual resources for problem solving ability to invest the everyday with sense of the divine or sacred capacity to transcend the physical and material the personal search for answers to ultimate questions about life search for meaning search for connections that have ultimate value experienced relationship to the sacred or transcendent the intuitive conviction that: existence has meaning and value life has an ultimate purpose we are genuine contributors to how this drama unfolds there are some absolute values (goodness, evil, sacredness, duty) we are responsible for our choices (free will) we are responsible for our actions (authentic agents) Cultural conditioning? Neurological effects? God ? ? virtuous behaviour: patience charity tolerance community spirit forgiveness welfare outcomes: better mental and physical health better coping with adversity higher perceived quality of life better social welfare outcomes Objective Spirituality Spiritual Intelligence Subjective Spirituality Spiritual Worldview Ontology of Spirituality

13 ?? Objective Spirituality Spiritual Intelligence Subjective Spirituality Spiritual Worldview Ontology of Spirituality outcomes & behaviours capacities & abilities goals & motivations percepts, intuitions & beliefs reality Healthcare Sociology Behavioural Psychology Cognitive Psychology Developmental Psychology Motivational Psychology Transpersonal Psychology Philosophy of Values (Axiology) Philosophy of Action (Praxiology) Philosophy of Religion Religious Experience Studies The Dimensions of Spirituality

14 Dominant academic opinion is against authenticity… Biologist Francis Crick, 1994: You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells, and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll's Alice might have phrased it: You're nothing but a pack of neurons. Physicist Steven Weinberg, 1999: The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless. Religious Studies Scholar Robert Scharf, 2000: …mystical experience is wholly shaped by a mystics cultural environment, personal history, doctrinal commitments, religious training, expectations, aspirations, and so on.

15 How do worldviews change? Intuitions Experiences Cultural & Scientific Knowledge

16 Type of Experience (British population) % increase Experience of a transcendent providence in pattern of events 29%55%90% Awareness of a divine presence27%38%41% Having a prayer answered25%37%48% Awareness of a sacred presence in nature16%29%81% Awareness of the presence of a deceased person 18%25%39% Awareness of an evil presence12%25%108% Any of the spiritual experiences listed above48%76%58% Spiritual Experiences Sources: (Hay & Heald, 1987; Hay & Hunt, 2000) * International surveys give similar results * Over this time, UK church attendance fell by 17% from 10.2% to 8.5% (Brierly, 2005)

17 Scientific Evidence Unconditioned moral intuitions Adults have cross-culturally consistent moral intuitions in unfamiliar scenarios (Pyysiäinen & Hauser, 2010) Pre-verbal children have a sense of right and wrong (Bloom, 2010; Hamlin et al., 2007) Altruism and pro-social behaviour in animals Lab research: empathy in rats (Bartal et al., 2011) Field research (Trivers, 1971 ; Wilson 1975, 2000) Direct experiences of Nature as having spiritual aspects (Marshall 2005) Causal powers of a spiritual kind Long term meditators affect other peoples axiological behaviour simply by their presence (Ekman, 2008; Goleman, 2005; Orme-Johnson & Oates, 2009) Transformative effects of encounters with spiritual light phenomena (Fox, 2008) Experiences of beings and phenomena with inherent axiological characteristics Direct apprehension of axiological qualities in people (Lawson 2011) Direct apprehension of axiological qualities in visions, presences, ELEs and NDEs (Fenwick & Brayne, 2011; Fox, 2008; Kapstein, 2004; Marshall, 2005; Wiebe, 2004, Rousseau 2011, Huffod 1983, 2012)

18 THANK YOU David Rousseau Centre for Systems Philosophy Centre for Systems Philosophy


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