Thank you for your reply. No, it no longer does surprise me!! With the advent of the internet and the discussion forums I joined, I quickly realised that what I had taken for granted that, well, most people knew was not the case.Quote
Hello Susan - how are you? And thanks for your questions.
It's refreshing to learn that you knew much of this; but you'd be surprised at how many people don't!
I have found in recent years that the words ‘spirit’, ‘spirituality’, etc have been assumed by the religious to be their ‘property’. I point out that I, a non-believer, am as spiritual as the next person!Quote
Defining spirituality is always tricky, as it means different things to different people. But in the context of this article, it refers to people who evidently practiced, followed (and often made contributions to) a religious tradition premised on a reality that transcends the material world.
Until such time as any objective facts about a ‘reality that transcends the material world’ becomes available, such a reality exists only in human imagination.
Personal incredulity, etc!Quote
Mystics are those who pursue (sometimes claim) some form of direct connection to that reality.
There is never going to be a time when things run in anywhere near what one might call an ideal way, I’m afraid!!Quote
The reason that this worldview often corresponds with polymathy is that it tends to be holistic by its very nature - encouraging the study (or at least acknowledgement) of various dimensions of the world as well as their interconnections.
Specialisation - if we are to define it as the pursuit of mastery in a particular skill or field of knowledge - is certainly commendable. In fact many people do achieve this in many fields. That said, even the notion of the ‘specialist’ requires revision. Yes, a specialist ought to have a deep knowledge of his or her subject area, but that depth should be given perspective by breadth too. For example whilst specialist training is of course important for medical practice, to become the best doctor or healthcare practitioner you can be, you will have a rounded understanding not only of the complex, multifaceted biochemical and physiological system that is the human body, but also the social scientific, humanistic and cultural contexts within which it operates. So a true specialist is actually a polymath.
But specialisation as an institutionalised system and cultural norm is nothing short of intellectual and professional apartheid - it has a long history of exploitation. Whether in the form of industrial division of labour or the caste system, such social engineering confines people to silos and bubbles, often for life. Not only does this foster ignorance, bias and narrow-mindedness, but perhaps more importantly it thwarts one's ability to fulfil their many-sided potential.