January 27th, 2009

Text Ticker: Sacred misunderstanding

Discover's Cosmic Variance discusses the call made in Adam Frank's The Constant Fire and Stuart Kauffman's Reinventing the Sacred: that a "spiritual" vocabulary shouldn't be off-limits in discussions of science.

The problem is, words have meanings. When you start talking about “spirituality,” people are going to take you to mean something that goes beyond the laws of nature, in the sense of being incompatible with them, not just “hard to understand in terms of them” — something supernatural. Now, you may not want them to make that association; that might not be a connotation you wish to invite. (Or maybe it is, in which case I’ve completely misunderstood.) And you are free, as was Humpty Dumpty, to insist that words mean whatever you say they mean. But it’s a very good strategy for guaranteeing that people will misunderstand you.

Do we have the vocabulary to leave spirituality behind? [go!]

One Response to “Sacred misunderstanding”

  1. Neil B ☺

    Sean is just so wrong IMHO about what spirituality means and its implications. See my remarks at that thread, tx.