Spirit

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whitehorse
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Spirit

Post by whitehorse » 15 Dec 2011, 22:35

I would like to use the word Spirit(s) in a naturalistic, sceptical way. I honestly believe that the word can still be meaningful even powerful without supernaturalistic connotations. Obviously if a druidic naturalist talks about 'Spirit' we are definitely not accepting there are disembodied minds or some supernatural or subtle 'stuff' or 'force' that supposedly exists alongside the forces known to science.

Considering the ways that 'spirit' is used in paganism and beyond, and then subtracting all the supernaturalistic stuff, I came up with some naturalistic 'meanings' of spirit.

For me Spirit is (a placeholder word) for....

My impression of: nature's awesome power, nature's vitality, nature's creativity, something's uncanny strangeness, mystery, being, specialness, distinctive character, aesthetic quality.

Whatever is memory invoking, inspiring, the meaning something 'carries' or expresses for me, or that meaning I attach to it.

The sense of something's fascination, harmony, beauty, terror, chaos, inherent worth,value, my personal or ancestral connection

Consciously and sub-consciously, a mental picture or ideal in the imagination , an object's resonance with an archetype, myth or iconic symbol or notion, the awareness of something's 'deep' history

Together in a ritual the focus of our thought, will, the shared nature of our intention or expectation, the sense of mutuality, a collective sense of belonging, the web of relationship, the unspoken collective purpose and experience

Also any indefinable aspect or quality that is beyond language, my awareness of an object without ego, without concepts or judgement.

or sometimes the 'sum' of all or some of the above.

********

Does anyone else have a clue what I'm getting at here?

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DJ Droood
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Re: Spirit

Post by DJ Droood » 15 Dec 2011, 22:59

I don't think "spirit" has been co-opted by the superstitious....it is in wide secular use..."Team spirit, esprit de corps, smells like teen spirit...."...I see no reason why it can't be used in a spiritual, yet non-hocus pocus way....a city can have a unique "spirit"....a forest...an animal, a car...symbolic language...
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treegod
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Re: Spirit

Post by treegod » 15 Dec 2011, 23:50

It is often a word that conveys an intuitive perception of the world, where we have an understanding of the world that is not arrived at through reason or language. Or it could cover up ignorance and unquestioned assumptions. Not knowing the distinction can cause a lot of confusion.

I usually use the word in terms of "essense of something", though understanding that's it's use by other people isn't limited to my own use.

Thanks for sharing Whitehorse :)

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Re: Spirit

Post by Donata » 16 Dec 2011, 18:48

"Energy" or "Essence" or "Life Force" might convey what you intend without involving the supernatural or spiritual.

Just a thought.
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Frog
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Re: Spirit

Post by Frog » 17 Dec 2011, 00:58

For me; spirit is an energy.
There are many terms for this, "chi" being one - and in its core is not part of a religion or a belief, it just "is".
Spirituality, religion, belief then add a magical "sparkle" to that to make it their own.

The problem (as far as the Skeptical Druid would be concerned) is how to define something scientifically which is (effectively) outside of science...
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DJ Droood
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Re: Spirit

Post by DJ Droood » 17 Dec 2011, 01:28

Frog wrote:The problem (as far as the Skeptical Druid would be concerned) is how to define something scientifically which is (effectively) outside of science...
As a very skeptical druid indeed, (but not a very scientifically-minded one...more arstsy-fartsy flaky) I don't think it is a question of needing a word to define something scientifically, I think it is just worry that metaphorical language...poetic language used to describe emotions and feelings...will be mistaken for magical thinking. I find the superstitious and religious to often be literalists who take words and expressions at face value rather than symbolically, thus robbing them of spiritual value.
spirit (n.) mid-13c., "animating or vital principle in man and animals," from O.Fr. espirit, from L. spiritus "soul, courage, vigor, breath," related to spirare "to breathe," from PIE *(s)peis- "to blow" (cf. O.C.S. pisto "to play on the flute"). Original usage in English mainly from passages in Vulgate, where the Latin word translates Gk. pneuma and Heb. ruah. Distinction between "soul" and "spirit" (as "seat of emotions") became current in Christian terminology (e.g. Gk. psykhe vs. pneuma, L. anima vs. spiritus) but "is without significance for earlier periods" [Buck]. L. spiritus, usually in classical L. "breath," replaces animus in the sense "spirit" in the imperial period and appears in Christian writings as the usual equivalent of Gk. pneuma. Meaning "supernatural being" is attested from c.1300 (see ghost); that of "essential principle of something" (in a non-theological sense, e.g. Spirit of St. Louis) is attested from 1690, common after 1800. Plural form spirits "volatile substance" is an alchemical idea, first attested 1610; sense narrowed to "strong alcoholic liquor" by 1670s. This also is the sense in spirit level (1768)
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Al Hakim
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Re: Spirit

Post by Al Hakim » 18 Dec 2011, 19:56

DJ,
you hit it, Ithink. "Spirit" is nothing for what a scientific term exists. Furthermore, it would not be possible to create a unique scientific idea out of it. Spirit is owned by the manys, and everybody produces an individual (and valid) version. That makes the search for the "spirit" so exciting.

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