You say that all pain is psychic. I agree with you to the extent that all painful feeling is a reaction by the brain. However, that's where I stop. Psychic/mental or whatever other words one might call depression-type conditions are generated in the mind. They are not necessarilly in response to some external stimulus like physical pain is. Yes, one can easilly and convincingly prove that physical and psychic pain are one in the same because both operate the same way, namely by some process involving neurology and chemistry. However a psychic pain can often be experienced as physical pain backwards. It starts "in the head" and then procedes, almost like some sickening things taking over one's body, and renders us incapable of performing much of our day-to-day routines. I know I will sound rather new-agey when I say this, but in order for one to be healthy, one must be balanced in both mind, body, and[assuming that this exists]spirit. If memory serves, many followers of Zen in its many forms will tell you that life is a constant balance. Zen is not the truth, but the way to the truth.
As far as current spirituality is concerned, it seems to me that there are more spiritually inclined groups. The only problem is that there are so many of them that it is often very confusing. That's why if I were going to become a fundamentalist, I would choose to be a Bahai fundamentalist. That way I could have my cake and eat it too. Hopwever, I am not a fundamentalist and do not plan on becoming one at any time in the near future.
But my point here is that before we can start with the jibber jabber about spirituality we need to come to a common ground about just what spirituality is. Many people define it in different ways. For example, I might define it as being the "study/practice" of that part of ourselves that transcends our existence in this universe, but is still unceverably linked to it. Another person might define it as being that metaphysical aspect of ourselves which is "seated at the right hand of God," or some other distant incomprehensible locale.
There are many different definitions of something which many claim exists. Does this mean that all are following some dilusion? Not necessarily, but quite possibly thair idea of what this thing which exists is may be a dilusion in itself. So, do we throw it away? I don't think we ought to until we've studied its effects on people. Many would call these placebo effects. But if these effects are indeed placebo in nature, should we get rid of spirituality? I will wait for people's answers.
You suggest that the family values of the past helped our children. This may have been so, however I do not think that trying to return to these ideas will help any. Women and men are starting to grow closer in their individual rights. This is not an easy issue to solve, however I do not believe that forcing one member of the family to stay at home with the children will help any. This is what the fundamentalist Christians do, and it drives me up the wall. I will quote something to you that sounds to me like something which is nothing less than Orwellian in its idea of suppressing freedom of thought and action in women:
"Several years ago, my wife started feeling inadequate because she was 'just a housewife and a mother.' After some discussion we realized she was being influenced in her thinking by the editorial bias or certain women's magazines. She promptly canceled her subscriptions."
-- Patrick Morley, The Man in the Mirror, P 138
What this is saying is that for women, if it suggests that you are anything more than an object or servant of your husband, don't lissen to it. I apologize if I sound harsh here, but I simply cannot stand this idea of suppressing the rights of one group of humans and letting another do all the thinking, working, and enjoying of life.
I have often considered that there is a higher evil power, Satan perhaps, influencing me in my thinking. However, one needs to be careful with this mentality. It can lead to people telling you that one group of people is decieved by Satan, therefore you shouldn't go near them. That's a virtual gag order.
However, I agree with you, we need more firmly based spirituality, not all this watered down commercial/psychological/spiritual stuff that so many people try to peddle to innocent easy targets. I think that we need to rediscover ourselves. We've just finished having science "destroy" our previous conceptions of the world, and perhaps even religion. However, these conceptions, such as creationism and other ideals brought forth by fundamentalist religion, are man made. They needed to be destroyed so that we could get to the window of opportunity we're at now. We have the opportunity now to find what truly makes us human. I believe that if we do this, we will have a much greater chance of finding common ground and fighting off the real "monsters and predators" - those inside our minds. They're things such as greed, lust for power, and other things which separate us all from one another. Some call them memes, others call them demons. But the point is, I would not be surprised if they were the main contributors to our current predicament of loss of meaning. Yes, one can argue that this is as a result of evolution, and we don't really have a higher purpose. But we do have the "higher" thinking. So now what are we going to do with it?
Finally, everyone, please forgive any spelling errors in here. I have a rather nasty and annoying cold virus attacking my body right now, and my mind isn't up to the kind of technical thinking required for messing around with grammar, punctuation, and spelling. I hope to be better soon.
[This message has been edited by fractal007 (edited 02-12-2001).]