Spirituality Negation in Religions: A Catalyst for Global Peace Disruption
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 5 Jun 2023
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In their efforts to propagate pseudo-spirituality, by proclaiming the name of God, Godliness and Goodliness, the guardians of specific religious ideologies committed many brutal atrocities over the eons and continue to engage in such annihilations, wars and killings of humans for electing to proclaim the names of other preferred Gods, in their worship.
This publication, discusses Spirituality, as one of the multifaceted elements, of the pillars of religious beliefs and ritualistic ideologies of humanoids, since evolution. This long and ponderous religious odyssey commences when the primitive Neanderthals, with their receding foreheads and thick spatulate hands, realised that there must be a supreme force, of unknown origins, dimensions and capabilities to cause them to come forth on the primordial Earth, roaming around on its surface, amongst other primitive life forms and causing peace disruptions. The question of whether Neanderthals exhibited any form of spirituality is a subject of ongoing scientific investigation and debate. As our understanding of Neanderthals continues to evolve, researchers are examining various aspects of their behavior and culture, including their potential for spiritual or symbolic practices. At present, there is limited direct archaeological evidence to conclusively determine the spiritual beliefs or practices of Neanderthals.
The study of Neanderthal spirituality relies on interpreting indirect evidence, such as the presence of symbolic objects, burial practices, and cave art in Spain. The findings suggest that Neanderthals and modern humans had the same cognitive abilities. Some researchers argue that certain aspects of Neanderthal behavior, such as the deliberate burial of the dead and the presence of symbolic objects like jewelry or personal ornaments, may suggest a level of spiritual or ritualistic significance. These practices could potentially indicate beliefs in an afterlife or a concept of the sacred. Additionally, the discovery of cave art in some Neanderthal sites, such as those in Spain, has sparked speculation about the possible expression of symbolic or spiritual ideas. Dated to 65,000 years ago, the cave paintings and shell beads are the first works of art dated to the time of Neanderthals, and they include the oldest cave art ever found. In two new studies, published in Science and Science Advances, researchers lay out the case that these works of art predate the arrival of modern Homo sapiens to Europe, which means someone else must have created them, In three caves scattered across Spain, researchers found and it was the Neanderthals
However, the interpretation of such art and its intended meaning is still a subject of study and interpretation. Albeit, the available evidence is limited and subject to different interpretations. The complexities of Neanderthal cognition and the challenge of accessing their inner thoughts and beliefs make it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about their spirituality. Further research, including the analysis of newly discovered archaeological finds and advances in scientific techniques, may provide more insights into the spiritual aspects of Neanderthal culture. As our understanding of Neanderthals expands, we may gain a better understanding of their potential for spirituality or symbolic practices.
While the archeological evidence is limited, these early hominids, with the ongoing evolutionary processes and accompanied by the development of the cerebral NEOCORTEX, and the bulging frontal lobes of the cerebral hemispheres, a characteristic hallmark of the modern humans, the Homo sapiens, sapiens, began to control the dominion of the Lord, endowed with the ability of manipulating their natural environment to suit their needs, as well as means. This then resulted in the emergence of different higher beliefs, which progressed to religious ideologies, resulting in the establishment of physical structures as places of worship and eventually the codification of community rituals, which became the norm of practice in that hunter gatherer settlement. The situation was conducive to the inevitable emergence of a leader of the clan, who controlled the grouping, based on his larger physical size, or possibly, his intellect. Any dissension resulted in the death of the dissenters.
However, some dissenters, migrated with their followers, becoming disciples of that subdivision and propagated a new ideology, which led to the formalisation of a new set of spiritualistic beliefs and traditions. This resulted in a new code of spiritual conduct, being innovated. This led to the development of a new set of codification of the behavioural patterns of primitive humanoids and eventually a new leader emerged propagating a new dictum of ideologizes and practice of new set of rituals as well as a new religion, in a slightly modified manner or a totally different mode of conduct. At some stage in this progressive spiritual evolution of humanoids, it was realised that the heavenly bodies could be the superior force which is responsible for the sustained wellbeing of humans on earth, hence the sun and the moon together with the planetary stars and galaxies were involved in paying reverence to these heavenly bodies.
This is demonstrated by the enunciations of the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, which the 21st Century is still trying to interpret. The goddess Ma’at was depicted as a female with wings, and often had a white ostrich feather in her headband. This feather was the feather of Truth and Justice, used by Anubis during the weighing of the heart ceremony which was believed to happen before the dead could transition to the afterlife. During this ceremony, the soul would give confessions according to the principals of Ma’at. The goddess Ma’at personified the principals which were the foundation of Egyptian society. These were principals of Ancient Egyptian spirituality, such as truth, balance, order, harmony, righteousness, morality and justice. As well as being a goddess, Ma’at was the concept of these values. These 42 confessions have been known as a declaration of innocence for the soul. Modern worshippers have translated these values into positive affirmations. Three of the popular affirmations include:
- I speak positively of others
- I do the best I can
- I care for the Earth
Similarly, in the Indus River Valley civilization, there emergence a philosophy that each aspect of human like such as the creation of life itself, the preservation of life and finally the destruction of life itself were in a realm of three different supreme forces, as typified by the three principal deities of Hinduism: Lord Brahma: The Creator; Lord Vishu: The Preserver and Lord Shiva: The Destroyer, which subsequently form the pillars of polytheistic religions emerging from that line of thought. This philosophy was preempted by the Greek tenets of spirituality as well as the Sanskrit basis of life itself. At some time in the present day Americas, the highly advanced Inca, Mayan and Aztec civilisations adopted the route of Sun God as the superior force, while in the central Asia, the idea of fire, as the superior force emerges. Similarly, in the Far East, another set of principles, in defining the supreme force emerged. While it is impossible to speculate on the details of these patterns of the emergence of new spiritualistic ideologies, cults, groupings and community collections of humans, there emerges the Abrahamic faiths in the Middle East with the appearance of Prophets or a progressive series of messengers, of one supreme God.
These messengers were then tasked to spread the message, beginning with Prophet Abraham, as the Archetypal father and chief messenger of the unseen, un-visualised god, who was portrayed as a revengeful and vindictive supreme force, much like Zeus in the Greek religion, who was expedient in exacting revenge and punishment against transgressing and disobedient humanoids, in antiquity. This Lord of Prophet Abraham was extremely quick in removing an entire civilization from planet Earth, if these mortals did not conform to the tenets of the Divine Supreme. This was demonstrated in the great deluge, of Prophet Noah. However, what is important to appreciate, is that each of these Abrahamic prophets codified the rituals as prescribed by the Supreme, as scriptures. The Ark of the Covenant and the Torah, from Prophet Moses, The Bible from Jesus and finally, The Quran, by the messenger ship of Prophet Muhammad PBUH, resulting in the formalization of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, respectively. The formation of these three major religions, can be regarded as progressive upgrades of the code of rituals, prayers, lifestyle and religious tenets of the same Lord: The God of Moses, The God of Jesus and The God of Muhammad. Similarly, each of these Abrahamic religions became further stratified into different denominations of the parent religion, noting the unhappiness within the Catholic Church, as the original church of Christianity, due to its excesses, corruptions, proscriptive tenets of ritualistic practices and scandals, in early history. Again, individuals and groups rejected the supremacy of the Pope, such as King Henry VIII, who rebelled and formed his own Anglican Church, and religion, becoming an arch enemy of the Pope, as well as the Catholic Church, at the time. History informs us that this separation and acrimony against the Catholic Church resulted in the most brutal and dreadful tortures, as well as horrendous executions of Catholic priests, in England, subsequently, by King Henry VIII.
The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, is an example of this breakaway, as well. This split shook Europe’s cultural identity to its core. It was a revolution that emerged from centuries of political and social grievances against the Christian Church, since then having come to be known as the Catholic Church. Christianity, once a fledgling religion, whereby its followers were killed for the sole entertainment of the Roman Emperors, by being literally torn apart by starved wild animals or, tarred, tied o poles and burnt alive as illumination for the games held in the Colosseum in Rome, at night, during the period of abject and brutal persecution by the Roman, had subsequently grown into a powerful institution by the 13th century, rivaling state governments in influence. The tension escalated with the Renaissance, a transformative period marked by the rise of humanism and a shift towards individual agency. The Church’s alleged corruption and departure from biblical teachings prompted figures like John Wycliffe and Jan Hus to challenge its authority. However, it was Martin Luther, a German priest, who became one of the most prominent advocates for reform. Martin Luther questioned the Church’s doctrines, criticizing the Pope’s supremacy over the Bible and the sale of indulgences. On 31st October 1517, Luther personally nailed his 95 theses to the door of Castle Church, igniting the Protestant Reformation.
With the advent of the printing press , Luther’s ideas spread across Europe, inspiring others to challenge the Church. This movement not only revolutionised Christianity, as such, but also empowered the common people to question religion and other aspects of life. The Reformation’s impact extended beyond faith, ushering in an era of greater freedom and individual autonomy in Europe. Eventually different branches and sects emerged within each of these major Abrahamic religions. The present situation is so radicalised that there is great infighting and peace disruption amongst the different denominations. The acrimony is so divisive that the Christians do not even regard the Catholics as Christians, because they venerate Holy Mother, Virgin Mary.
Analogous to the sectionalism in Christianity, which is widely known, such divisions also appeared with Judaism and Islam, where the two major groupings, which are the Shias and the Sunnis, have emerged, based on conflicts of successions after the demise of the founder and leader of Islam, Prophet Muhammad PBUH , with great infighting and peace disruption within the most recently emerged Abrahamic religions in the Middle East, 1444 lunar years ago, in the year 610 AD.
It is pertinent to examine the origins of general spirituality in society, which can be traced back to the earliest human civilizations and prehistoric times. The quest for meaning, transcendence, and connection to something greater than oneself has been a fundamental aspect of human existence throughout history.
Spirituality often arises from the human capacity for introspection, curiosity, and the search for purpose and understanding. It encompasses a wide range of beliefs, practices, and experiences that involve the exploration of the inner self, the nature of reality, and the relationship with the divine, the sacred, or the transcendent. The specific origins of spirituality are difficult to pinpoint precisely because it predates recorded history. However, spirituality has been intertwined with various cultural, religious, and philosophical traditions throughout human civilization. It has found expression in diverse ways, such as rituals, ceremonies, prayer, meditation, contemplation, and the pursuit of wisdom and enlightenment. Different cultures and civilisations have developed their unique spiritual beliefs and practices, giving rise to a rich tapestry of spiritual traditions worldwide.
From ancient civilizations like Mesopotamia,  Egypt, and the Indus Valley, to indigenous cultures across the globe, spirituality has been an integral part of human experience. Spirituality has also been closely tied to religious traditions, as many religions provide frameworks and structures for spiritual exploration and guidance. However, spirituality can exist outside organized religions and be expressed through individual or personalized beliefs, practices, and experiences. It is important to recognise that spirituality is a deeply personal and subjective aspect of human life. It can be influenced by cultural, social, and historical factors, as well as personal experiences, beliefs, and philosophies. The origins of spirituality, therefore, lie in the innate human longing for meaning, connection, and transcendence, which have been expressed and explored in diverse ways throughout human history.
Human spirituality can be expressed in various formats and mannerisms, reflecting the diversity of beliefs, practices, and individual experiences. The common ways in which spirituality is expressed are:-
- Religious Practices: Many people express their spirituality through organized religious practices, rituals, and ceremonies within specific faith traditions. These can include prayer, worship, meditation, sacraments, chanting, and participation in religious community activities.
- Personal Prayer and Meditation: Engaging in private prayer, contemplation, and meditation is a common form of spiritual expression. This can involve seeking solitude, connecting with a higher power or inner self, and reflecting on deeper meanings and insights.
- Sacred Texts and Scriptures: Reading, studying, and reflecting on sacred texts and scriptures are significant for many individuals. Exploring the wisdom, teachings, and stories contained in religious or spiritual texts can be a way to deepen one’s spirituality.
- Rituals and Ceremonies: Spiritual rituals and ceremonies play a role in many traditions, marking important life events, seasons, or transitions. Examples include birth ceremonies, coming-of-age rituals, marriage ceremonies, and funeral rites.
- Service and Compassion: Expressing spirituality through acts of service, kindness, and compassion is valued in numerous traditions. Helping others, practicing forgiveness, and promoting social justice are ways to embody one’s spiritual values.
- Nature Connection: Many people find spiritual connection and awe in nature. Spending time in natural surroundings, appreciating the beauty and interconnectedness of the natural world, and engaging in practices like eco-spirituality or nature-based rituals are ways to express spirituality.
- Artistic and Creative Expression: Art, music, dance, and other forms of creative expression can serve as outlets for spiritual exploration and communication. Artists may draw inspiration from spiritual themes or use their craft as a means to convey and evoke spiritual experiences.
- Mindfulness and Contemplative Practices: Cultivating mindfulness, present-moment awareness, and contemplative practices are ways to deepen one’s spiritual connection. This can involve practices like mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, or walking meditation.
- Study and Reflection: Engaging in intellectual inquiry, philosophical exploration, and reflective practices are avenues for spiritual expression. Reflecting on life’s purpose, seeking knowledge, and exploring existential questions can be part of one’s spiritual journey.
- Ritualised Movements: Certain traditions incorporate ritualised movements or body practices as a form of spiritual expression, such as yoga, tai chi, or sacred dances. These practices integrate physical movement with spiritual intention.
However, each individual may have unique combinations of spiritual expressions based on their personal beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and individual preferences. Spirituality is a deeply personal aspect of human experience, and the ways in which it is expressed can vary widely.
Albeit, during antiquity, spirituality was deeply intertwined with various ancient civilisations and religions. In ancient Egypt, spirituality revolved around the worship of numerous deities, rituals, and the belief in an afterlife. In ancient Mesopotamia, the spiritual landscape was characterized by the worship of gods and goddesses, with rituals and offerings conducted by priests. In ancient Greece, spirituality encompassed a pantheon of gods and goddesses, and individuals sought divine favour through rituals, festivals, and participation in religious practices. Ancient India witnessed the development of spiritual traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, emphasizing concepts of karma, dharma, enlightenment, and the pursuit of liberation.
Spirituality in the medieval period, in Europe was dominated by Christianity, which played a central role in the spiritual lives of people. The Catholic Church held significant influence, and spirituality was expressed through devotion to God, the veneration of saints, participation in sacraments, and adherence to religious rituals and practices. Monastic orders emerged, emphasizing asceticism, prayer, and contemplation. Mystical movements, such as the Beguines and the Rhineland Mystics, focused on personal spiritual experiences and union with God. The medieval period saw a blend of formal religious structures and individual spiritual expressions.
During the Victorian era, in the 19th century, spirituality became transformed. It witnessed a complex spiritual landscape. While Christianity remained prevalent, there was a growing interest in spiritualism and occult practices. Spiritualism, characterized by the belief in communication with the spirits of the deceased, gained popularity. Theosophy emerged, promoting the idea of universal spiritual truths and theosophical societies formed. The Victorian era also saw a rise in the exploration of Eastern philosophies and practices, such as yoga and meditation. There was a tension between traditional religious practices and the search for new spiritual avenues.
However, in contemporary times, spirituality has become increasingly diverse and individualistic. Traditional religious affiliations still hold significance, but there is a rise in alternative forms of spirituality. Many individuals explore spirituality independently, drawing inspiration from various religious traditions, philosophical systems, or New Age beliefs. Mindfulness and meditation have gained popularity as spiritual practices for well-being and personal growth. People seek spirituality outside formal religious institutions, engaging in nature-based spirituality, holistic healing practices, and personal development approaches. There is also an increased emphasis on interfaith dialogue, ecumenism, and the integration of spiritual values with social justice and environmental activism. Contemporary spirituality is characterized by a more personalised and eclectic approach, with individuals often crafting their own spiritual beliefs and practices. It reflects a longing for meaning, self-discovery, and a connection to something larger than oneself. The digital age has also influenced spirituality, with online communities, virtual meditation groups, and the accessibility of spiritual resources, much more easily.
Spirituality has evolved through different historical periods, shaped by cultural, religious, and philosophical influences. From ancient civilisations to the present day, spirituality has been a fundamental aspect of human experience, seeking to connect with the divine, find meaning, and explore the mysteries of existence. This is based on the element of curiosity and the thirst for increasing knowledge and data of the unseen, of the highly evolved neocortex, in humans. The question which is often raised about spirituality refers to the mediaeval era, when dissenters were hung, disemboweled, decapitated and quartered, by the rulers, the generation of these brutal acts of violence against fellow humans, of the most horrific kind, would it therefore mean that the individuals who sentenced the dissenters to this macabre level of punishment and death, as well as the executor of these sentences, did not have spirituality, within them, whatsoever? The violent practices mentioned during the medieval era were often employed as punishment for heresy, treason, or other perceived threats to religious or political authority, and dissent. It is important to distinguish between the actions of rulers and the spiritual beliefs and practices of individuals. While dissenters who were subjected to such brutal punishments may have held different beliefs or questioned the established religious authority, it does not necessarily mean they lacked spirituality.
Spirituality is a deeply personal and subjective aspect of human experience. Individuals can hold diverse spiritual beliefs and engage in spiritual practices even in the face of persecution or opposition. Dissenters during the medieval period may have held their own spiritual or religious convictions, which were seen as deviant or heretical by the ruling powers. Many dissenting individuals during that time sought to express their spirituality or religious beliefs in alternative ways outside the institutionalised structures of the dominant religion. They often formed their own religious movements, sects, or communities, seeking to live according to their own interpretations of spirituality. It is also important to note that the medieval period was characterised by a complex and diverse spiritual landscape, with different interpretations and practices within Christianity itself. Mystical movements, like the Rhineland Mystics, sought direct personal experiences of God and emphasised inner spirituality. These individuals often faced challenges and opposition from institutional authorities but maintained their own spiritual pursuits. While the violent actions of rulers and the repression of dissent during the medieval period may have suppressed certain expressions of spirituality, it does not mean that dissenters themselves lacked spiritual beliefs or practices. Spirituality can manifest in various forms, and even in challenging circumstances, individuals may find ways to nourish their spiritual lives privately or within underground movements.
It is important to recognise that spirituality is multifaceted, and its presence or absence cannot be determined solely based on historical accounts of violence or repression. It is a deeply personal and individual aspect of human experience that can exist even in the face of adversity and persecution.
Interestingly, in places like Stonehenge, which is a prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England, consists of a ring of standing stones, some weighing several tons, arranged in a circular pattern. The site is believed to have been constructed in multiple phases between 3000 and 2000 BCE, during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Stonehenge has long fascinated people, and its association with spirituality and religious beliefs has been a subject of much speculation and interpretation. While the exact purpose and meaning of Stonehenge remain uncertain, several theories suggest its connection to spirituality:
- Ritual and Ceremonial Site: One prevailing theory is that Stonehenge served as a ceremonial and ritualistic site. The alignment of the stones with the movements of the sun and the celestial bodies has led to the belief that it was used for astronomical observations and marking significant celestial events such as solstices and equinoxes. These celestial alignments could have been important for religious or spiritual ceremonies, emphasizing connections with the natural world and the cycles of the seasons.
- Ancestor Worship and Burial Site: Another hypothesis suggests that Stonehenge was associated with ancestor worship and funerary rituals. Excavations have revealed the presence of human remains nearby, indicating that the site may have been used as a burial ground. The reverence for ancestors and belief in the continuity of life and death could have played a role in the spiritual significance attributed to Stonehenge.
- Healing and Sacred Site: Some propose that Stonehenge was regarded as a place of healing and pilgrimage. The presence of healing artifacts and the belief in the stones possessing special powers for restoration and well-being suggest a spiritual association with healing practices. People may have traveled to Stonehenge seeking spiritual or physical healing, making offerings, and engaging in rituals.
- An Expression of Communal Beliefs: Stonehenge’s construction required significant effort and collective labor, suggesting that it served as a symbol of community cohesion and shared spiritual beliefs. The process of erecting the stones and participating in rituals or ceremonies at the site could have fostered a sense of communal identity and a connection to shared spiritual experiences.
It is to be noted that Stonehenge predates written records, and our understanding of its purpose and spiritual significance is largely speculative. Interpretations of Stonehenge’s role in ancient spirituality are based on archaeological evidence, comparative studies, and cultural contexts of the time. However, Stonehenge continues to be a place of intrigue, attracting visitors who are drawn to its enigmatic aura and the sense of connection to our ancient ancestors. It stands as a testament to human ingenuity, spirituality, and the enduring mysteries of our past and great spiritualistic ceremonies are conducted at the site during the solstices, whereby countless humanoids gather there, on these galactic occasions, to try and connect with the elusive world of spirits, as one theory proposes.
Another question, often raised, is that about mystics. Do the mystics, globally, including individuals like Rasputin, have a superior attribute of spirituality, to explain their higher level of thought process and cerebration, their physical features, which are often unkempt and their paranormal actions and achievements, as they are interpreted by the laypersons, these mystics interact with, including, no lesser personage than the, very Royal, Russian Tsarina? However, Mystics, including individuals like Grigori Rasputin, are often characterised by their deep spiritual experiences, intuitive insights, and a sense of connection to a higher or transcendent reality. They are believed to have a heightened level of spiritual awareness and access to mystical or paranormal phenomena. However, it is important to approach these claims with critical thinking and a nuanced perspective. The experiences and actions of mystics vary greatly, and their attribution of spiritual significance to their thoughts, actions, and paranormal phenomena can be subjective and open to interpretation. It is often through their reported experiences of altered states of consciousness, visions, or mystical encounters that mystics claim to have a unique connection to the divine or the unseen realms. This is often facilitated by use of hallucinogens, as often reported. While some mystics have been revered for their wisdom, spiritual teachings, and perceived ability to perform supernatural feats, it is crucial to consider alternative explanations for their abilities and actions.
Factors such as psychological predispositions, personal beliefs, cultural influences, and the power of suggestion can also contribute to the reported phenomena associated with mystics. Additionally, mystics can be subject to mythologization and idealization, where their stories and abilities may be exaggerated or distorted over time. It is important to critically evaluate the available evidence and consider multiple perspectives when assessing the claims and attributes of mystics. Furthermore, spirituality is a deeply personal and subjective experience, and different individuals may have varying degrees of spiritual awareness or engagement. It is not necessarily accurate to categorise all mystics, globally, as universally possessing a superior attribute of spirituality. Spiritual experiences and practices can be diverse, and individuals may have unique paths and expressions of spirituality. Mystics are often regarded as individuals who exhibit extraordinary spiritual attributes and experiences. However, it is essential to approach their claims and actions with critical thinking, considering various factors that can influence their reported phenomena. Spirituality is a complex and multifaceted aspect of human experience, and its interpretation and understanding can vary among individuals and cultures.
Usually, in the human race, it is observed that there is a balance between reality, based on science and spirituality based on their belief in the supreme force, called by different names and depicted by different visual attributes. The present 21st century human race is desynchronising the eternal balance between the two entities, leaning to a greater degree towards realism in their daily lives, compared with the Pharaonic culture of five thousand years ago. In further analysis, the theory suggests that there has been a shift in the balance between science-based realism and spirituality in the present 21st century According to this theory, contemporary humans are leaning more towards realism in their daily lives, possibly at the expense of spirituality. It is important to note that theories regarding the balance between science and spirituality can vary, and opinions may differ.
However, the theory suggests that there has been a shift towards prioritising scientific explanations and a more rational, evidence-based approach to understanding the world. This shift can be attributed to various factors, including advancements in scientific knowledge, technological progress, and the influence of secularism and materialism. In the modern era, scientific discoveries and technological advancements have contributed to significant changes in how we understand and interact with the world. Science has provided us with explanations for natural phenomena, technological innovations, and medical advancements, among other practical benefits. As a result, many people place greater trust in science and rely on empirical evidence and reason to guide their beliefs and decision-making processes. Moreover, the influence of secularism, which emphasises a separation between religious or spiritual beliefs and the public sphere, has contributed to a reduced emphasis on traditional religious or spiritual practices in some societies. Materialistic values that prioritise material wealth and tangible achievements have also become prominent in many cultures, potentially overshadowing spiritual pursuits.
However, it is important to note that spirituality remains a deeply personal and subjective aspect of human experience. While the prominence of spirituality might have shifted in certain cultural contexts, it does not necessarily mean that spirituality has diminished entirely. Many individuals continue to hold spiritual beliefs, engage in practices like meditation or prayer, and seek deeper meaning and connection beyond the material realm. The extent and nature of the balance between science and spirituality can vary among different individuals, cultures, and contexts. Some individuals may find harmony between scientific understanding and spiritual beliefs, perceiving them as complementary rather than contradictory. The author proposes that there has been a progressive shift towards realism and a reduced emphasis on spirituality in the present 21st century, compared to ancient cultures. While this perspective resonates with certain trends in contemporary society, it is essential to acknowledge the complexity and diversity of human beliefs, values, and experiences. The balance between science and spirituality can vary among individuals and cultures, and interpretations of this balance may differ based on personal beliefs and observations.
The author also proposes that the “East equals Spiritual operating system, while the West uses scientism as an overall operating system,”  However, this is a generalization that oversimplifies the complex and diverse realities of both Eastern and Western cultures. While it is true that Eastern cultures, such as those influenced by Buddhism, Hinduism, or Taoism, have historically placed significant emphasis on spirituality and philosophical traditions, it does not mean that spirituality is absent in the West or that the West solely relies on scientism. It is important to recognise that spirituality and science are not mutually exclusive, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds can engage in both spiritual and scientific pursuits. Many Western societies have a rich history of religious and spiritual traditions, and a significant portion of the population still identifies with religious or spiritual beliefs. Additionally, many Western individuals engage in practices like meditation, mindfulness, or alternative forms of spirituality. However, subscription to this cultural belief is not an indigenous attribute to the West, in the authors opinion, as it was literally imported to the West, by individuals in search of the elusive Peace, which is in the midst of pursuit of materialism and often use spirituality as a mechanism, to promote inner peace. for financial gain, in the process.
On the other hand, Eastern cultures have also embraced scientific advancements and have made significant contributions to scientific fields. Countries like China, Japan, and India have thriving scientific communities and institutions. Furthermore, scientism, which refers to an excessive or unwarranted belief in the power of scientific knowledge, is not limited to the West and can be found in different parts of the world. It is more accurate to acknowledge that different cultures and individuals may prioritise spirituality or science to varying degrees based on their personal beliefs, cultural heritage, and societal influences. However, it is important to avoid generalisations that oversimplify the complexity and diversity of human experiences and beliefs across different regions. While there may be historical and cultural differences in the emphasis placed on spirituality and science in Eastern and Western cultures, it is not accurate to categorize the East as solely focused on spirituality and the West as solely reliant on scientism. Both spirituality and science have their place and coexist in various forms within different cultures and individuals worldwide.
While it is true that certain segments of Western society may exhibit a tendency to be sceptical of or dismissive towards spirituality, it is important to note that views and attitudes towards spirituality vary widely among individuals within the West. The Western world is diverse and encompasses a broad range of beliefs, ideologies, and perspectives. While some individuals in the West may prioritize a more secular or materialistic worldview, many others maintain spiritual beliefs, engage in spiritual practices, and find value in exploring questions of meaning, purpose, and transcendence. There are numerous spiritual and religious traditions within Western societies that continue to be practiced and valued by millions of people. It is also worth mentioning that there has been a growing interest in spirituality, mindfulness, and alternative forms of spirituality in Western cultures in recent years. Practices such as meditation, yoga, and mindfulness have gained popularity and are often embraced as means of personal growth, stress reduction, and cultivating a sense of well-being.
Another concept involves, mindfulness and spirituality, which are related concepts but have distinct differences:
- Mindfulness refers to a state of active and non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. It involves intentionally paying attention to one’s thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment. Mindfulness is often cultivated through meditation practices, where individuals focus their attention on their breath, bodily sensations, or specific objects of focus. Mindfulness is rooted in various contemplative traditions, including Buddhist meditation practices, but it has also been secularized and integrated into various psychological and wellness approaches. The practice of mindfulness aims to cultivate a sense of presence, clarity, and non-reactivity to thoughts and emotions, fostering a greater sense of calm, focus, and well-being. While mindfulness can be practiced within a spiritual context, it is not inherently tied to religious or spiritual beliefs. It can be embraced by individuals of diverse backgrounds and belief systems as a tool for stress reduction, self-awareness, and personal growth.
- Spirituality, on the other hand, pertains to the exploration and pursuit of a deeper meaning, purpose, or connection to something beyond the individual self. It involves an individual’s personal beliefs, values, and experiences related to the transcendent, sacred, or divine. Spirituality often encompasses questions about the nature of existence, the search for ultimate truth or reality, and the exploration of moral and ethical principles. It can involve religious beliefs, engagement with religious practices, and participation in rituals, but it can also exist outside traditional religious frameworks. Spirituality is highly subjective and can take various forms depending on an individual’s cultural, religious, or philosophical background. It may involve seeking a connection with a higher power or divine presence, exploring one’s inner self and consciousness, or finding meaning and purpose in life beyond material pursuits.
While mindfulness practices can be incorporated into spiritual traditions as a means of deepening spiritual awareness and insight, spirituality itself encompasses a broader range of beliefs, practices, and experiences that extend beyond the focus on present-moment awareness and attention. Essentiality, mindfulness is a practice of intentional present-moment awareness and non-judgmental observation of one’s experiences, while spirituality encompasses the broader exploration of meaning, purpose, and connection to the transcendent or sacred. Mindfulness can be practiced within or outside of a spiritual context, while spirituality can involve a range of beliefs and practices that extend beyond mindfulness techniques.
The epicentre of mindfulness is the present moment itself. Mindfulness is primarily concerned with cultivating a state of awareness and attention to the present moment, without judgment or attachment. The focus is on observing and accepting whatever arises in one’s experience, whether it be thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, or the environment.
In mindfulness practice, the emphasis is on developing a direct and non-reactive relationship with one’s present-moment experience. This means intentionally directing attention to the sensations of the breath, bodily sensations, or other objects of focus, and continuously returning to the present moment whenever the mind wanders. Unlike spirituality, which often involves a conceptualization of the divine or a higher power, mindfulness is less concerned with seeking or connecting to something external or transcendent. Instead, it encourages a direct engagement with the here and now, acknowledging and accepting the present experience as it unfolds.
While mindfulness can be practiced within a spiritual context and can be seen as a way of deepening spiritual awareness, its core essence lies in the ability to bring focused attention to the present moment and develop an attitude of non-judgmental awareness. It is about cultivating a deep presence and attunement to the present rather than seeking or focusing on any specific external or internal reference point.
In summary, the epicentre of mindfulness is the present moment itself, where one cultivates a state of direct and non-judgmental awareness of one’s experience. It is less concerned with the divine or external references and more focused on the immediate, unfolding reality of the present.
In South Africa, amongst the Indigenous nation, the concept of Ubuntu in the Zulu tradition and culture is deeply rooted in both spirituality and communal interconnectedness. Ubuntu can be understood as a philosophy or worldview that emphasizes the interdependence and interconnectedness of individuals within a community. It recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of every person and highlights the importance of empathy, compassion, and mutual respect in human relationships. While Ubuntu is not explicitly associated with mindfulness as a specific practice or technique, it shares some similarities with mindfulness in terms of its emphasis on present-moment awareness, interconnectedness, and the recognition of the interdependent nature of human existence. Ubuntu reflects a spiritual understanding that acknowledges the sacredness and interconnectedness of all beings. It recognizes that one’s own well-being and identity are intimately connected with the well-being and identity of others. The dictum “I am because you are” captures this interconnectedness and highlights the spiritual essence of Ubuntu. In practicing Ubuntu, individuals strive to cultivate a deep sense of empathy, compassion, and respect for others, as well as a recognition of their shared humanity. It involves being mindful of one’s actions, thoughts, and attitudes towards others, with the aim of fostering harmonious and caring relationships within the community. While Ubuntu encompasses elements of mindfulness in terms of being attentive and present to the interconnectedness of human existence, it extends beyond individual mindfulness practice and emphasizes the broader spiritual and communal aspects of interconnectedness and ethical living. Essentially, Ubuntu in the Zulu tradition and culture can be seen as a philosophy that embodies both spirituality and a sense of communal interconnectedness. While it shares some similarities with mindfulness in terms of present-moment awareness and interconnectedness, Ubuntu encompasses a broader understanding of spirituality and emphasizes the importance of empathy, compassion, and mutual respect within a community.
While the concept of Ubuntu is particularly associated with the Zulu culture in South Africa, similar philosophies and principles emphasizing communal interconnectedness, empathy, and the recognition of shared humanity can be found in various cultures and traditions around the world. Examples are:
- Ma’at (Ancient Egypt): Ma’at is an ancient Egyptian concept that represents the principles of truth, justice, harmony, and balance. It emphasizes the interconnectedness of all things and the importance of living in alignment with these principles.
- Indigenous Wisdom (Various Indigenous Cultures): Many indigenous cultures worldwide have philosophical frameworks that emphasize the interconnectedness of all beings and the sacredness of the natural world. Concepts such as “All My Relations” in Native American traditions or “Ubuntu” in various African cultures reflect similar principles.
- Buddhism (Various Buddhist Traditions): Buddhism, particularly Mahayana Buddhism, emphasizes the interconnectedness of all beings and promotes compassion, loving-kindness, and the well-being of others. The concept of “Bodhisattva” embodies the idea of seeking enlightenment not only for oneself but also for the benefit of all sentient beings.
- Confucianism (East Asia): Confucianism promotes virtues such as benevolence, righteousness, and propriety, emphasizing harmonious relationships and ethical conduct within society. It underscores the importance of interconnectedness, respect for others, and the cultivation of moral character.
- Indigenous African Philosophies: Apart from the Zulu tradition, various other African cultures have similar concepts and principles that emphasize communal harmony, interconnectedness, and the value of relationships. Examples include the Black, South African philosophy of “Ubuntu” in Southern Africa and the Akan philosophy of “Nkrabea” in Ghana.
It is important to note that while these philosophies may share similarities with Ubuntu in terms of emphasising interconnectedness and communal values, they also have their unique cultural contexts and specific manifestations. Each culture has its own wisdom traditions and philosophies that reflect their historical, social, and spiritual perspectives. While Ubuntu is a distinctive concept in the Zulu tradition, similar philosophies emphasizing interconnectedness, communal harmony, and ethical living can be found in various other cultures and traditions around the world.
The modern human race is drifting away from the philosophy of interconnectedness as espoused by the application of Ubuntu, towards ego-centricism, like “America First” motto of former President Mr Donald Trump. The extent to which the modern human race is drifting away from the philosophy of Ubuntu and embracing ego-centricism varies across individuals, societies, and cultures. While it is true that there are instances of ego-centricism and self-interest in the world, it is important to note that there are also many individuals, communities, and organizations actively promoting principles of empathy, compassion, and interconnectedness. The philosophy of Ubuntu, with its emphasis on communal harmony and recognizing the shared humanity of all individuals, serves as a reminder of the importance of considering the well-being of others alongside our own. It encourages a shift from an ego-centric mindset to a more inclusive and compassionate worldview.
While certain political slogans or ideologies, such as the “America First” motto, may prioritise self-interest or nationalistic agendas, it is crucial to recognise that they do not represent the entirety of human attitudes and beliefs. There are countless individuals and groups around the world who continue to promote values of cooperation, empathy, and a global perspective. Many grassroots movements, humanitarian organizations, and individuals are actively engaged in promoting social justice, equality, environmental sustainability, and intercultural understanding. They embody the principles of Ubuntu and work towards creating a more compassionate and interconnected world.
Ultimately, the direction of humanity’s collective consciousness and actions is a complex and multifaceted matter. While there may be challenges and instances of ego-centricism, there are also ongoing efforts to foster a greater sense of shared responsibility, empathy, and cooperation. The philosophy of Ubuntu and similar principles of interconnectedness continue to resonate with many individuals as a guiding force in their lives and their interactions with others. However, the progressive isolation from the basic tenets of Ubuntu, results in loss of spirituality and gross peace disruption, as evidenced in the ever-increasing global belligerence.
The above transformation can be classified as a formidable force in global, national, ethnic and communal peace disruptions. The transformation described, where there is a shift towards ego-centricism and a neglect of principles like Ubuntu, can indeed contribute to disruptions in global, national, ethnic, and communal peace. When individuals and groups prioritize their own interests at the expense of others, it can lead to conflicts, divisions, and a breakdown of harmonious relationships.
- On a global scale, ego-centricism and a lack of consideration for the well-being of others can result in tensions between nations, trade disputes, and power struggles. It can hinder international cooperation, empathy, and understanding, making it more challenging to address global issues collectively.
- At the national level, ego-centricism can manifest as policies and actions that prioritize narrow interests over the needs of the entire population. This can lead to social inequalities, polarization, and the erosion of social cohesion, which can potentially escalate into conflicts or social unrest.
- Similarly, at the ethnic and communal levels, when there is a lack of recognition of the shared humanity and interconnectedness among different groups, it can fuel prejudice, discrimination, and intergroup conflicts. This can create divisions, animosity, and challenges in building inclusive and harmonious societies.
However, it is important to note that the impact of these disruptions can vary depending on numerous factors such as historical context, socio-political dynamics, and the presence of counterbalancing forces promoting peace and understanding. While ego-centricism and a neglect of Ubuntu-like principles can contribute to tensions, there are also numerous individuals, organizations, and movements working towards fostering dialogue, reconciliation, and cooperation. Efforts to promote empathy, intercultural understanding, and the recognition of our shared humanity can help mitigate the negative effects of ego-centricism and contribute to greater peace, harmony, and social cohesion. By embracing values of compassion, respect, and interconnectedness, it is possible to counterbalance disruptive forces and work towards a more peaceful and inclusive world.
The Bottom Line is that spirituality in general, plays an important role in the development and sustenance of interreligious Peace, not only locally and nationally, but globally. There is significant interplay between ego-centricism and the Ubuntu Philosophy, as espoused in the South African Zulu culture as well as tradition, together with global equivalents of this basic innovative philosophy. in shaping Global Peace.
The present era witnesses a delicate balance between ego-centricism and the Ubuntu philosophy, which emphasizes interconnectedness and communal harmony. The aforementioned discussion explores the implications of this interplay on global, national, ethnic, and communal peace. By examining the consequences of ego-centricism and the potential of Ubuntu-inspired principles, we can gain insights into the challenges and possibilities for fostering a more peaceful world.
The Rise of Ego-centricism in the 21st century is a major setback to religious spirituality and results in gross Peace Disruption, globally. Ego-centricism, characterized by self-interest and a neglect of the well-being of others, poses challenges to global peace. Examples such as nationalistic slogans and policies, like the “America First” motto, prioritise narrow interests and hinder international cooperation.
The impact on global relations of ego-centricism can lead to tensions, trade disputes, and power struggles between nations. The absence of empathy and cooperation hinders collective efforts to address global issues, exacerbating conflicts and hindering peace. At a National-level, the consequences, are profound, as ego-centricism can manifest as policies that prioritize narrow interests, leading to social inequalities and the erosion of social cohesion. Such divisions and polarization can contribute to conflicts and social unrest, disrupting national peace.
The impact on ethnic and communal challenges, are also significant, if the principles of Ubuntu are neglected and the ideology of emphasising ego-centricism fuels prejudice, discrimination, and conflicts among different ethnic and communal groups. The lack of recognition of shared humanity and interconnectedness creates divisions, hindering efforts to build inclusive and harmonious societies, causing Peace Disruption.
It is reassuring to note that there are counterbalancing forces, despite the challenges posed by ego-centricism, as there are numerous individuals, organisations, and movements working towards promoting empathy, intercultural understanding, and Ubuntu-like principles. These forces aim to mitigate negative effects, foster dialogue, reconciliation, and cooperation, thereby contributing to peace and social cohesion.
The Ubuntu philosophy, the very anti-thesis of former President Donald Trump’s general, four year rule of the United States and his striving for clinging onto power, after losing the democratic election, is exemplified by the Zulu tradition of “I am because you are”. This emphasizes communal interconnectedness, empathy, and shared responsibility. It promotes a shift from ego-centricism towards a more inclusive and compassionate worldview, fostering harmonious relationships within communities.
The South African, innovated humanistic Philosophy of Ubuntu has an enormous potential as a peace propagator, universally for Peace and harmony to prevail. Ubuntu, based on African indigenous spirituality, with its focus on interconnectedness and recognizing the inherent worth of all individuals, has the potential to create a more peaceful world. By cultivating empathy, compassion, and a global perspective, Ubuntu-inspired principles can counteract ego-centricism and promote understanding, cooperation, and harmony. This will result in the cancellation of the global belligerence, the world is experiencing in the 21st century.
The interplay between ego-centricism and the Ubuntu philosophy significantly influences global, national, ethnic, and communal peace. While ego-centricism poses challenges to peace, Ubuntu-inspired principles offer an alternative path by emphasizing interconnectedness, empathy, and compassion. Counterbalancing forces working towards promoting these principles are essential in mitigating the disruptive effects of ego-centricism. By embracing values that transcend narrow self-interest, humanity can foster a more peaceful and inclusive world, where the well-being of all individuals is considered and respected. It is through a conscious and collective effort to cultivate Ubuntu-inspired principles that the delicate balance between ego-centricism and interconnectedness can be shifted towards a more harmonious global society.
Practically, in India, if spirituality persisted, the Mughal administration would not have demolished the Lord Rama’s Temple, to build a mosque, at the site on the banks of Ganges, nor would the Hindu administration, have demolished the Babri Masjid, , belonging to the Muslims, causing enormous Peace Disruption, in a secular India, overcome by Hindu, nationalistic fervour, which has led to violent inter-communal riots, causing an enormous loss of at least 2000 civilian lives, amongst both, Hindus and Muslims.
 Personal quote by author May 2023
Professor G. Hoosen M. Vawda (Bsc; MBChB; PhD.Wits) is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment.
Director: Glastonbury Medical Research Centre; Community Health and Indigent Programme Services; Body Donor Foundation SA.
Principal Investigator: Multinational Clinical Trials
Consultant: Medical and General Research Ethics; Internal Medicine and Clinical Psychiatry:UKZN, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine
Executive Member: Inter Religious Council KZN SA
Public Liaison: Medical Misadventures
Activism: Justice for All
Tags: Peace, Religion, Spirituality
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 5 Jun 2023.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Spirituality Negation in Religions: A Catalyst for Global Peace Disruption, is included. Thank you.
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.
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