19 March 2016

Spirituality in 2016

Ken Wilber talks about the "spiritual but not religious" people in one of the footnote videos and there's points of agreement and disagreement I have with his assessment. I've written about this topic at least twice before. Just taking his numbers as given, 20% of Americans are "spiritual but not religious." Ken says they don't want the mythic elements of organised religion, they want direct access to genuine transpersonal realities. And I think there's definitely some of that. In the back of everyone's mind there's the drive to return to the Source, but I don't think that's the main reason people are checking out of religion, and I say that because people don't seem any more "spiritual" today than 50 years ago. People today seem much less likely to accept non-physical realities, and they also seem far less moral and far more materialistic. I think the main push is that people don't want guilt. People reject absolute morality so they can have, mostly, guilt-free sex, along with guilt-free gluttony (1/3 of Americans are obese), guilt-free envy, celebrity worship, and just all around hedonism. That's why drug addiction is so high, because people know they are living crappy lives and even though they have rejected religion they still know that buying $400 of shit and wondering why you bought it is wrong, people know this Weimar cabaret lifestyle of nights of heroin use and anonymous sex with 50 people followed by mornings of detoxing with green coffee enemas is wrong, and it's causing massive anxiety and massive depression. I do not see this as an ascent to Integral spirituality, I see this as a descent into egocentric hedonism.

He also mentions the mindset of terrorists, that I've written about here. He does a good deal of equivocating, "Southern Baptists bombing abortion clinics"? When was the last time that happened? "Buddhists releasing sarin gas in the Tokyo subway"? Aum Shinrikyo are not Buddhist, they are an apocalyptic cult led by a blind man who believes he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ as prophesied by Edgar Cayce. That's not Buddhism, nor is it Christianity, it's worship of a charismatic figure by nihilists. And he lumps these people in with Al Qaeda (and radical Islam by extension). He says the reason these terrorists exist is because modernity has no place for their ancient religions, so they will destroy modernity completely. Well, if that were the case why are so many terrorists highly successful, highly educated Westerners? These people very clearly don't reject modernity because they are mostly educated professionals. Saudi Arabia, the largest state sponsor of terrorism, the place where Salafism was invented, exists only because of modern technology! These people do not reject modernity, they reject the meaninglessness of post-modern boomeritis.

I'm not saying very bad Christians don't exist, just that the worst of them tend to be assholes who disrupt solder's funerals. The very small handful who turn to violence can be easily handled (and are easily handled) by the police. They are such a tiny minority that they can be dismissed as mentally deranged. The only two groups of people who have a very large number of very violent terrorists are radical leftists and radical Islam. All, or very nearly all the mass shootings of the past decade have been perpetrated by radical leftists who were on psychiatric medication, the other groups causing trouble, the Black Lives Matter people who burnt Ferguson and Baltimore to the ground, they are opportunistic nihilistic leftists. I have yet to see a prototypical far right group like the KKK or Neo-Nazis kill a lot of people in the US in the past two decades. And there is no small minority of Muslims who support terror. In every majority Muslim country surveyed the majority of the populations, while not terrorists themselves, support terrorism, or at the very least a strict interpretation of Shariah that says infidels have no rights, women are property, gays should be murdered, and Christians and Jews should be second-class citizen dhimis. Religions do not need to get with the program and integrate modernity, not to eliminate terrorism, cultural Marxism and radical Islam need to stop seeing terrorism as a means to achieve political ends.