The Subjectivity of Spirituality
I honestly don’t think there is any other way to describe spirituality in general other than calling it subjective. By that I mean it has virtually nothing to do with concrete evidence or facts, and it is rather based on our own impressions, feelings, emotions, and ideas. As I continue walking down this path and incorporating my spiritual beliefs into every waking moment of my life as best I can, it becomes more obvious to me every day, that our spiritual understandings have virtually nothing to do with another’s interpretations. We all have our own ideas, come from different cultures, backgrounds, and ethnicity’s, and therefore all perceive the world a little differently, based on these situations and resulting experiences.
This isn’t to say that the world we are perceiving is actually different, how could it be? Who knows, but what’s more important is that it is different for each of us, on a personal level. If our perception wasn’t subjective than I could imagine all of us following and living by the same beliefs. This just isn’t the case. Even looking towards religion; Christianity being the largest religion on the planet, with it’s believers and followers accounting for over two billion people, has more subjectivity than you could imagine, with it’s subsections or “categories” being too numerous for me to even count. This stemming from a seemingly objective foundation of what Christianity should be. So when we are discussing spirituality in general, it’s no surprise to see how so many of us simply cannot agree on what “reality,” is actually factual. Does it matter though?
Paganism, Kabbalahism Shamanism, Christianity, etc… Despite the many overall differences associated with just these spiritual and/or religious paths, the general, underlying fundamental goals of the practices all seem to be interconnected in so many ways it’s almost pathetic disappointing people don’t realize them. (I had to rephrase that last sentence because it’s not everyone’s fault, it’s typically a result of how someone was brought up. Of course, there are those who choose to conciously ignore it, in which case, yes, it’s pathetic.) After engaging in countless debates and discussions about spirituality, my own beliefs, and the issue I see with Religion, I’ve learned that due to the subjectivity of it all, and peoples own understandings of anything they come across, convincing others or dismissing anothers’ interpretation gets us no where. It doesn’t help them or me by even proclaiming that one thing would be right, whereas another is wrong.
I try not to make it a habit, however, one instance rings a bell. I was having a conversation with a group of people about Religion as a whole, and how I felt it to be overall misleading in nature. I said that Religion (the groups not teachings), at least today, does more dividing of people than uniting. Many Religious individuals claim that their Religion is the correct one, and any others are following a wrong, even secular path. I went on to say that despite this, many of the Religions they so strongly stand behind dictate love, compassion, and understanding for one another, which goes to show that individuals are more of the dividing and controlling factors, as opposed to the Religions themselves.
This brought me to a few light bulb moments while engaging in the conversation. I ended up moving forward, making note that even in Christianity; within the Bible, peoples interpretations of simple passages were all different. The major differences I noticed where in their choices of taking text literally, or figuratively, based purely on what to me seemed to be their own feelings on the matter. What made most sense to them, or what they could make use of most easily in their situation. The individuals I was discussing this with really couldn’t disagree with me, although they had their own feelings on the matter, but to me it just paved the way for more trains of thought.
Talking about the “paranormal” for instance… We all seem to have our own set of beliefs, which I cannot claim is a bad thing, because I fully accept that my current reality, how I perceive things, may not be felt by anyone else I know. However, it just led me to question the teachings of so many books and websites, who take an objective stand within every word, paragraph, and page written. It leads to websites springing up, attracting so many kids and instilling upon them beliefs that seem to be concrete and without question. It seems like a typical societal methodology to me, creating the US and THEM caste system. Whereby whoever agrees with our beliefs are correct and anyone not following the same standards we live by are outcast, not correct, and therefore should be changed or shunned if they want to be respected or “fit-in.”
So, if we are unable to agree on some form of an objective reality, whereby everyone can agree on a singular system of beliefs, then we should at least all agree on our realities being subjective. Which does not mean that we can’t agree on anything, but that one experience for one individual may not be seen as the same for another. The way I see it, if I see something one way and another see’s it another way, we can share those experiences and come to our own conclusions that fit our own beliefs and our own “world.” For happiness we don’t all need to agree on every detail, but pointless bickering on senseless matters can be avoided for the most part if not entirely.