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Most people know how to differentiate between religiousness and spirituality, for instance, being religious doesn't necessarily mean that a person is spiritual, they can live after certain rules and dogmas, having long ago decided that there is a certain god, and the rules they fancy this god has created should be followed and beyond that they don't contemplate the matter very much, they just continue to live their life in their material reality.

Counter to this there are spiritual people who contemplate esoteric matters and communicate with the spiritual side of the world regularly, but don't subscribe to places of worship, dogmas, rules or other religious practice. And then of course there are people who are both religious and spiritual and people who are neither.

When it comes to goodness, being good or less selfish, whatever traits that classically have defined goodness, it is by most people agreed that there are religious people who lack goodness, they are often considered fanatics or dogma-drones. It is also fairly commonly understood that certain religious people can be good, they are then often described as having "true faith" or being god touched. Atheists and agnostics (i.e. the two groups that don't spend much time with either religious matter or spiritual matters) are in general, except by the most dogmatic of religious bigots, considered to have equal capacity for good and evil, depending on personality, choices, disposition, etc. But I have found that when it comes to spirituality, this trait is more often than any of the other 3 groups (religious, atheist and agnostic) associated with goodness. It seems to me that many people have some form of precognition that a person who's interested in spiritual matters without embellishing him/herself with an established faith should have a special capacity for compassion and seeing the soul in people, places and things, as well as being less inclined toward various expressions of human hierarchy, and this is where the myth begins.

I guess this is a lengthy way for me to say that to be spiritual doesn't in any way mean that a person is good, just that the person believes in a spiritual reality, no more, no less. If we assume that there is such a spiritual reality upon which a spiritual person relies to draw wisdom, power, faith and other things from, then there is no guarantee that this person actually is particularly "chosen" to do so. I don't necessarily mean to say that the ability to gain insights or signals from a spiritual reality would be a completely random matter, but the personality traits upon which such a "selection" would be based, certainly wouldn't be goodness, or for that matter wisdom. I have found a few criteria that seem to be common qualities essential for a person to feel that they are getting any insight in a spiritual reality, but these qualities would seem pretty mundane in comparison to such already mentioned traits as goodness, bravery or wisdom. This is of course not to say that a spiritual person can't be a truly good person as well, rather that goodness is not dependent on their spirituality, but by how they make use of their spirituality, and those choices are completely dependent on their goodness/bravery/wisdom etc.

The first two things I silently ask when I see someone who seems to be on a spiritual quest are: "what do they do with their spirituality?" and "how do they relate what they do to their fellow spiritual seekers?". I think a lot can be answered by just observing the outcome of these two questions.

Date: 2009-09-17 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mojodragonfly.livejournal.com
you will know them by their works, I guess is your way

you know, once you work your way up the masonic degrees to where you are the eye at the top of the pyramid, you won't be so concerned with sides, like good and bad, because you'll be able to see all sides and the cosmic chicken dance, or something like that, I once overheard nietzsche telling this hooker with a heart of gold while we were standing in line for port-a-potty at a Golden Smog concert.

Date: 2009-09-18 06:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
you won't be so concerned with sides, like good and bad, because you'll be able to see all sides and the cosmic chicken dance


ah, esoteric post modern b-shit at its finest!

Date: 2009-09-18 04:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mojodragonfly.livejournal.com
esoteric, sure. But post modern, hardly. The Eye of Providence is pretty old, and can be taken as an extension of the Eye of Horus, and well, if Benjamin Franklin is wrong, I don't want to be right. But it's all b-shit, Seal. All of it, if "b" stands for Buddha, and buddha-shit is a more colloquial way of referring to the buddha nature. You are colorful.

Date: 2009-09-18 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
sorry friend, I'm just sensitive against the masonic order, Nietzsche and a particular post modern notion that there isn't any good or bad at all to discuss, but I realize that your quote may not have contained any of that at all!

Date: 2009-09-18 10:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mojodragonfly.livejournal.com
meh. those things are there. what you read above is a failed attempt at being funny. it was a bouillabaisse of complementary flavors from many different practices. I'll keep it to myself.

regardless of one's practice, spirituality or lack thereof, you can not escape being human, which comes complete with often acting like a poopyhead. No one escapes that.

communication falure on my part?

Date: 2009-09-19 07:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
I wasn't annoyed, just trying to be cheeky! Your last sentence however, summed up exactly what I was writing about in my post, so all was not lost!

Date: 2009-09-17 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lowhumcrush.livejournal.com
I guess this is a lengthy way for me to say that to be spiritual doesn't in any way mean that a person is good, just that the person believes in a spiritual reality, no more, no less.

ah, YES. One of my only real enemies in the world is some spiritual poopface that is NOT good at ALL.

Date: 2009-09-18 06:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
yeah, I've known some spiritual poopfaces too, in my day, haha...

Date: 2009-09-17 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] browniegirl322.livejournal.com
For me, you know they are complimentary...and I firmly believe that what matters in terms of goodness are the choices people make. This gets muddled, I know because people can intend to do good things and the result is bad, or people can truly believe their intention are good when others may perceive them as not: for example someone who truly, truly believes murdering a doctor who performs abortion can be a "good" act.

Ultimately I've always felt that we can't neva know for sure... you know, how good and bad are determined, so I just go on trying to love as much as possible. harm can come from love, I know, but what else can you do?

Date: 2009-09-18 06:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
I hear you, but I do also think that there is a limit to how post modern the view can be on such matters as killing an unarmed person just because you percieve that person as a killer. One aspect in the quality of goodness must always be humility, to analyze yourself and your own rights.

I think we all define good or bad around us all the time, we can't be sure, but that doesn't stop us, and it shouldn't, really. I fear the day when people would stop defining good or bad and stop having a discussion about it. I think your concept of Love is an excellent way of doing good, and as they come, a pretty safe one.

Date: 2009-09-18 08:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
I also want to add, Ang, that your way of doing good, is IMO also the hardest one, and I commend anyone who's doing it, and am so happy that you're the way you are.

Date: 2009-09-17 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] st-rev.livejournal.com
Aleister Crowley was a pretty spiritual guy.

Date: 2009-09-18 07:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
He's a good example. Even if he hardly was "the wickedest man alive", he certainly did some doubtful things, and history proved him to have many flaws in his wisdom, and yet, it does seem like he received many important messages from the spiritual realm, which worked to boost his already considerable ego.

On other aspects, Crowley was a classical narcissist, and behaved as one in the dominance game among men in those groups he frequented.

How smart are you????

Date: 2009-09-18 01:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] goodbadgirl.livejournal.com
Soooooooooooooooooo smart.

Thank you for this excellent post. Good reading. Lots to think about. Excellent. And, smooches. xo

Date: 2009-09-18 07:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
I'm only smart when I sit down, unprovoked! Not all the time, like you.

Date: 2009-09-18 05:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombienought.livejournal.com
That's interesting. In my experience,
the atheists and agnostics I've met
tend to be the most "good". I have
always thought that was because they
had no other entity to blame for their
actions besides themselves. I've seen
a lot of "spiritual" people make excuses
for their behaviour by blaming it on the
wishes of this or that Power, or their
religious code of conduct, or Mercury
in retrograde.

Date: 2009-09-18 07:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
Well, there may be some correlation between being able to blame external forces or not...but my experience is still that humanity will blame whatever works, if they want to do doubtful things. I've even seen people blame themselves and shrug, and yet do things that were destructive, so, in the end, I don't think it makes a huge difference whether they're agnostics or spiritual or anything else.
Edited Date: 2009-09-18 08:17 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-09-18 08:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dust-rat.livejournal.com
My favorite qoute is:

"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion." - S.W.

Of course it is not the full truth, but it really has a point, I think...

Date: 2009-09-18 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
I think it's the jarring hypocrisy that's hurting people's eyes the most when deeply religious people do blatant harm to other people...and yet it happens all the time. Although one can certainly discuss if those committing atrocities in the name of god were really good people in the first place. According to my little rant up there, I would probably vote "no" on that!
Edited Date: 2009-09-18 05:08 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-09-21 07:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dust-rat.livejournal.com
I adhere to the belif that there is no absolut good or bad, it all depends on the circumstances and definitions. But spirituality don't correlates to goodness no, but as I said it is a question of definitions.

As everything (I belive) only can be viewed as good or bad from your own viewpoint (but there is things that most people can agree upon being bad or good, mass murder of children most people can agree is bad under most circumstances, as an example), you have to ask youself in every instance of choosing : is this something I will feel is right.
Then there is up to everyone else to act upon their own feelings for your choice.

So what I say in a very meadering way is that I have some difficulty to actually say either yes or no,as there is a underlaying problem in defining good and bad, but the thoughts you express is very important and interesting.

Date: 2009-09-28 04:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
Well, there is good or bad, even if we agree that in many cases the definition can come down to the context of the situation, and in such or other context, that definition is likely to be pretty solid.
And also, as any culture will create a collective paradigm of good or bad, both inside the realm of the law and outside it.

If we should discuss a fictional example of a spiritual person, who's Swedish, thus being affected by Swedish culture, that person may also, hypothetically have wiccan beliefs and actively explore those with some success in the spiritual side of life, now we might add that she is academically inclined and has a profession according to her inclinations. In all these hypothetical examples surrounding a personality, there are also certain broader definitions of good and bad; wiccan beliefs, Swedish/western European ethic codes, academic codes. What I mean to say is that in spite of being very actively spiritual, this person is still just as capable of breaking against any definitions of good, attached to any of these cultures surrounding her, as any atheist or evangelical Christian would be of breaking any ethical codes against values attached to larger or smaller cultures of humanity surrounding them.
Edited Date: 2009-09-28 04:06 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-09-30 10:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dust-rat.livejournal.com
*Tries to wrap my mind around that answer to grock it*
.
.
.
.
.
*sound of brain bursting*

Date: 2009-10-04 10:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
*picks up pieces and makes shiny ornaments from them*
Edited Date: 2009-10-04 10:41 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-09-18 09:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommdroid.livejournal.com
*Nods in agreement.*

Date: 2009-09-18 05:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
I suspected you would!

Date: 2009-09-18 06:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abomvubuso.livejournal.com
Counter to this there are spiritual people who contemplate esoteric matters and communicate with the spiritual side of the world regularly, but don't subscribe to places of worship, dogmas, rules or other religious practice.

Seconded. *waves hand*

Date: 2009-09-18 07:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
I guess we belong to the same, extremely unofficial club, then! :)

Date: 2009-09-18 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abomvubuso.livejournal.com
Except that i dont communicate with spirits, but all the rest is true :)
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