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A transcendental spiritual identity


Envisioning the Dynamics of a World Parliament of Religions (Part #6)


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The nature of spiritual concord may thus be closely associated with the "gene pool" of metaphors. From this the spiritual community may draw fruitful metaphors in the formulation of responses to new opportunities and crises. Culture may be understood in terms of this gene pool.

This vision of spiritual concord does not call for radical transformation of religious traditions and institutions. Rather it calls for a shift in the way of thinking about what is circulated through society's information systems as the triggering force for any action.

At present spirituality in the international community is haunted by a form of collective schizophrenia -- a left-brain preoccupation with established religious frameworks and traditional procedures and a right-brain preoccupation with the proclivities of people avid for "meaningful" spirituality (even if "sensational"). This quarrel between frameworks and metaphors could be transformed by focusing more effectively on the metaphoric dimensions already so vital to any sustainable motivation of public opinion.

Spiritual concord should not be so closely linked to the seemingly impossible task of maintaining a consensus on particular responses to dilemmas as appropriate, and therefore "correct". The collective insight to cultivate could well be detached from this level of short and medium term preoccupation. This focus favours tokenism and unimplemented resolutions which in turn reinforce cynicism, alienation and loss of credibility. In these times all simple solutions eventually become problems, just all problems are in effect unpleasant solutions. The creative opportunity is to cultivate instead an understanding of how incompatible solutions can be woven together as phases over time in a cycle of policies. It is metaphors -- such as crop rotation -- which make comprehensible and credible such a complex approach. It is at this level of conservation and generation of metaphors that may be found a dynamic spiritual identity appropriate to a sustainable development.