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Jonathan Rowson on Spirituality

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Published on Jan 2, 2015

RSA Spotlights – taking you straight to the heart of the event, highlighting our favourite moments and key talking points.

It has been said that the problem with the word ‘spiritual’ is that it means too much to some people and too little to others.

While some see spirituality as a form of psychological depth, others see philosophical confusion or an unhelpful theological relic. Some see the best of religion, free of uncomfortable doctrine; others see a lack of discipline and a loss of institutional support, community and tradition. Some see the profit motive of capitalism exploiting our restless search for wellbeing, identity and experiences; others see a deep critique of materialism in all its forms.

After a two year RSA inquiry involving a range of experts and public events, project director Dr Jonathan Rowson now proposes a framework for a post-religious spirituality that makes the spiritual less nebulous, while maintaining its inclusive ambiguity.

This new framework is based on a shift of cultural emphasis in four shared existential touchstones:

Love: from romance to rootedness
Death: from denial to confrontation
Self: from esteem to transcendence
Soul: from substance to perspective


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