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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 521)...

    My growing and learning beckons questions which crave answers. One particular area in my studies, is man's "spirituality." When asking myself about the essence of "religion," I also want to feel back to what "religion" was before the Great Forgetting (GF). I feel the animist-glow sometimes and then follow the linear evolution until the ability to think in abstract ways seemed also to form (or allow room) for "the gods/God," etc. I trust I'm making sense to you: the concept I'm trying to convey.

    So all this brings me to question WHAT IS spirituality? Taker or not, how does one enact his story on a spiritual level accordingly? Sure, the Buddhists, Christians, etc. (as well as the Lakota, Souix, for that matter) have some beautiful expressions of spirit (whatever that is). As a Taker, I sensed the need for "salvific" religion. As an awakened Taker, I feel the need for something deeper. If the Lakota Indians' "religion" wasn't salvific/salvationistic (which it wasn't), it was their spirituality nonetheless. Doesn't "religion" (spirituality) come enter the scene wherever abstract thinkers are (mankind)?

    Of course I realize that their spirituallity was more of a perception of the world, etc. whereas our religions often include reactive laws, rituals, etc. In the evolution of things, including mankind with his amazing brain/mind, is there room for us to evolve in "spirit?" What is your opinion of the direction we are to move (spiritually), if "spiritual candy" is simply "candy" which will not save the world? Are you saying we should simply not eat candy? Wait. I know you're not saying that! I've read enough (and listened) to know better! If spiritual candy will not save the world (which it appears it cannot), then what's the use of it? More personally, if I may, how do you express your "spirituality?" Are we just a biomassive blob bouncing around the earth, or is there a deeper realm of reality? Does the term "universal consciousness" or "soul of the universe" make you laugh? What do you distance yourself from, and to what do you draw near?

    ...and the response:

    Forgive me if I deal with your questions in my own terms rather than your own. If you were to search out and ingratiate yourself with an extant aboriginal Leaver, animist, people today, you'd have a great deal of trouble making them understand a question like "Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person?" Any definition of the word "spiritual" you might devise is going to include people you probably don't want to include. The men who sacrificed their lives to destroy the World Trade Center were undoubtedly highly spiritual; they were engaged in an act of Holy War against the heathen, and they doubtless anticipated a heavenly reward for it. Osama bin Laden is without question a spiritual leader to his followers and co-religionists. Throughout history, the barbaric acts perpetrated against each other by Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and others have all been spiritually motivated. I have stories in my files of people who tortured and killed their own children for spiritual reasons, or knowingly allowed them to die unnecessarily. If you refuse to classify these people as spiritual, I really can't imagine what you're left with, except something like, "Spiritual people are people I admire" (assuming that being spiritual is something you admire). I feel no more need to "express my spirituality" than to express my longevity or my humanity. (You might ask me why ISHMAEL is subtitled "An Adventure or the Mind and Spirit," but you'd be asking the wrong person; this is something my publishers added, and, since they graciously let me do what I think I must as an author, I let them do what they think they must as publishers.) I'm afraid that terms like "universal consciousness" and "soul of the universe" merely make me shrug.

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