Philosophy - LeisureArts - Passion

A rather unfashionable topic, one we're loathe to talk about due to its hokey connotations, is spirituality. Yes, that's right, we're going to risk evoking images of crystals, aura readings, and other trappings of white middle class new age culture, in order to briefly offer up Robert C. Solomon's Spirituality for the Skeptic: The Thoughtful Love of Life. We mentioned his Joy of Philosophy before, and this new book is a revision/expansion of the themes in that volume.

Spirituality for the Skeptic is an attempt to develop what Solomon calls "naturalized spirituality," a vision of spirituality that is not uncritical or antiscientific. The book has become a core theoretical text for LeisureArts, particularly for Solomon's brilliant defense of passion and its complementary, rather than oppositional, relation with reason. His notion is a veritable checklist of LeisureArts thematics. The everyday practice we're trying to theorize and embody here resonates with his quick summary of what sort of spirituality he is writing about:

"Spirituality means to me the grand and thoughtful passions of life and life lived in accordance with those grand thoughts and passions. Spirituality embraces love, trust, reverence, and wisdom, as well as the most terrifying aspects of life, tragedy, and death. Thinking of spirituality just in terms of our terrifying realization of loss of control and impending death is morbid, but thinking of spirituality only in terms of joy or bliss is simple-minded, a way of (not) thinking that is rightly summarized as 'la-di-da.' If it is passion that constitutes human spirituality, it must be the whole spectrum of human passions - and thoughtful passions - that we must consider. Thus when I have to summarize naturalized spirituality in a single phrase, it is this: the thoughtful love of life."

Note: We admire Solomon's penchant for adopting topics that are unpopular in academe - see this excerpt of a review of In Defense of Sentimentality to get a clearer picture.