Is it possible to be spiritual and yet not believe in the supernatural? Can a person be spiritual without belonging to a religious group or organization?
In Spirituality for the Skeptic, philosopher Robert Solomon explores what it means to be spiritual in today's pluralistic world. Based on Solomon's own struggles to reconcile philosophy with religion, this book offers a model of a vibrant, fulfilling spirituality that embraces the complexities of human existence and acknowledges the joys and tragedies of life. Solomon has forged an enlightened new path that synthesizes spirituality with emotions, intellect, science, and common sense. His new paradigm, "naturalized" spirituality, establishes as its cornerstone the "thoughtful love of life"a passionate concern for the here-and-now, and not the by-and-by. Being spiritual doesn't mean being holed up as a recluse, spending hours in meditation and contemplation, Solomon argues. It demands involvement and emotional engagement with others in the struggle to find meaning in our lives. As such, this modern-day spirituality encompasses a passionate enthusiasm for the world, the transformation of self, cosmic trust and rationality, coming to terms with fate, and viewing life as a gift, all of which are explored in depth throughout this book.
Spirituality for the Skeptic answers the need for a non-institutional, non-dogmatic spirituality that leads to personal fulfillment and satisfaction. By examining the ideas of great thinkers from Socrates and Nietzsche to Buddha to Kafka, Solomon arrives at a practical vision of spirituality that should appeal to many seekers looking to make sense of the human condition.
Solomon (business and philosophy, Univ. of Texas, Austin; A Passion for Wisdom) has no sympathy for New Age spirituality or any family heritage of traditional religious practice. Nevertheless, he has also grown weary of academic philosophy's tendency toward "clever paradox and puzzle-solving" and "often cynical obscurantism." "Philosophy," he reminds us, "is a spiritual practice." He looks to philosophy itself, especially the work of Hegel and Nietzsche, to provide the tools to pursue a naturalized spirituality, spirituality as "the thoughtful love of life." Separate chapters address thoughtful spirituality as characterized by passion, cosmic trust, and rationality; as facing up to tragedy, fate, and death; and as fostering transformation of the self. This is a warm and wise book. While Solomon does not begin to touch the historical riches of philosophy as spiritual practice (as in the pioneering work of Pierre Hadot), he does begin the important task of reconceiving contemporary philosophy as a passionate spirituality a spirituality for those skeptical of supernaturalism and authority-based religious claims. Steve Young, McHenry Cty. Coll., Crystal Lake, IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.