Spiritualised perspective?

25 & 26 Apr’15 ~QofDay~ Spiritualised Perspective

What is a spiritualised perspective?

This is a really difficult question, as there are so very many different possible interpretations and commonly made errors.

The Oxford defines spirit as “The animating or vital principle in man (and animals); that which gives life to the physical organism, in contrast to its purely material elements; the breath of life.”

In the light of a modern understanding of life, that idea seems as false as the once prevalent idea that the Earth was at the centre of the universe, and all things revolved around the Earth. The Earth centred view of reality came from the fact that we live on this ball of molten rock with a thin skin of cooled rock on the outside, and a thinner covering of water and gasses over much of that. This ball of rock is spinning on its own axis, and also revolving around the star (our Sun) which is at the centre of the local system in which it exists. This star is one of a local cluster of stars, that are situated in a gap between two major spiral arms of the galaxy of stars we call the Milky Way. So the Sun and Earth are revolving around the centre of the milky way galaxy. And so on it goes, cluster of galaxies, super clusters, etc.

Most people have now given up the Earth centred view of our place in the cosmos, but have not yet been able to apply the same sort of understanding to our awareness.

If one is familiar with the details of evolution (the evidence, the mathematics, the logic), and one is familiar with the the details of currently living systems (the biochemistry, the levels of interacting systems, the mathematics and the many levels of logic), and one is familiar with systems development and systems theory through a practical experience of thousands of hours of developing computer systems; then the notion that there might be “spirit” in the sense of an “animating or vital principle in man (and animals); that which gives life to the physical organism, in contrast to its purely material elements; the breath of life” exists only in the same sense as the idea that the earth is the centre of the universe.
It is the sort of idea that seems natural and obvious to someone who is alive and self aware, but has no real idea of the levels of systems that give rise to that self awareness, just as to someone standing on the thin crust of a molten rock spinning in space, it seems that they are standing on solid rock and that everything is spinning around them.

In this sense, the notion of “spirit” is clearly illusion.

There is another sense however, in which the notion of spirit retains some useful meaning, and that is in the sense that in today’s world of computers we might describe as “software” as distinct from “hardware”.
One can think of the spiritual side of being as the “software” side of existence, as distinct from the “hardware” side of being. Spirit in this sense would be more of the “thoughts and feelings” side of being, rather than the “rocks and buses and bodies” side of being.
And as a first order approximation, that works reasonably well.

However, when one gets down into the detail of how brains actually work, it is much more difficult to draw any clear distinctions between hardware and software, the boundaries become very blurred, the systems overlap and intertwine at many different levels. So the simple distinctions between hardware and software that make a lot of sense when dealing with a modern digital laptop computer, are not nearly as neat and tidy and distinct when one gets down to how living systems actually work.

To me, it is easy to see how ideas like spirit and soul have evolved, and why they seemed like reasonable ideas, and to me they do not seem very reasonable at all (at least not in their classical formulations).

To me, it is clear, beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, that we human beings are but one of many examples (all other life forms on this planet being other examples) of the outcome of the processes of evolution by natural selection operating over the last 4 billion or so years on this planet.

It seems that with respect to our particular species, evolution has also been operating on a different realm, the realm of ideas and behaviours, to deliver systems that allow for modelling of self within a model of reality, that allows for the sort of languaging self awareness that we all display.

It seems that it is possible to understand the major themes of strategies in action that have given rise to our bodies, our cultures and our awareness of self and the rest of existence.

To the extent to which we can distinguish these themes and strategies, and to the extent that we can explore the wider “spaces” of possible strategies and the interactions of those potential strategies in action: as they relate to us as individuals, to us as societies, and to the wider existence of us within ecosystems and a galactic existence; then it seems to me that we can be said to spiritualise our perspective.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) with reasonable security, tools, resources and degrees of freedom, and reasonable examples of the natural environment; and that is going to demand responsibility from all of us - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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