During an election post-mortem breakfast on Sunday with Lexy, Ms X and my newest subscriber Janine (the button’s just there on the right), I was reminded that I move and work in small-l liberal circles. Of course there’s a ‘well, derr’ response to that, but when you’re surrounded by people who understand the correct order of things, it’s easy to forget that the rest of Australia isn’t quite there yet. I’m ok with that, because there’s room for lots of different views, but what I’m not ok with is the way politicians promote ignorance to get votes. They know that asylum seekers who arrive by boat aren’t a big problem, so when they stir up the issue they damage Australia. Journalists also know that asylum seekers who arrive by boat aren’t a big problem, yet they let the politicians get away with saying it is because they believe that simply ‘he said, she said’ reporting means they’re doing their jobs well, as though somehow it’s good enough. When did we all get so lazy?
Anyway, I’ve digressed. Back to the circles I move in. We talk about politics; about policy; about books and movies; about music; about experiences that got us to this point in our lives. We talk about meaning. Does this mean that this bunch of soulless atheists ain’t so soulless after all? No one tell Abbott and Pell, they’d go into shock.
I’ve been thinking about the monopoly religions have over spirituality, and this idea that if you don’t believe in something in the sky your spiritual life is barren (just like my deliberately barren womb of doom).
When people talk about having a spiritual life – not in the sense of believing in fairies and spirits, although to me that’s the same as believing in God – what do they actually mean?
Does having a spiritual life simply mean you think about stuff? I think about stuff, but I wouldn’t call myself spiritual. Yet I’ve worked with a few people who pretty clearly don’t think about stuff, so is that all it is? (My favourite insult is stolen from recovering philosopher Justin Tauber: “you have no internal monologue”. That’s freakin’ awesome!)
So, over to you – what is a soul?