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Sacred Geometry Evokes Spirituality

Spirituality is defined here as the personal pursuit of one's core beliefs and connections to the universe, and attempts to become more mentally attuned to those beliefs and connections. It is separated fully from belief in the supernatural in order to create a "secular spirituality" that is compatible with science.

It's All In Your Brain

Since the source of all morality, and indeed consciousness itself, is the brain, most "spiritual" pursuits involve attempts to become more in touch with the internal reward systems of our brains.

Buddhism is a spiritual tradition that is almost completely psychological in terms of its practices.

Spiritual tradition is ritualized mental health, whether it is directly acknowledged as it is in Buddhism or indirectly as it is in Judeo-Christian traditions.

Spiritual Best Practices

Modern spirituality borrows rituals and traditions from every culture, as well as the science of psychology, to create a patchwork of religious, cultural, and secular practices that can have widely varying degrees of success.

From this there needs to evolve a more purely evidence-based spiritual tradition that illuminates the intense beauty of the universe with the inspirational language of mysticism. One that taps the power of our ancestors and practices perfected over countless generations, while providing demonstrable value with its refined rituals based on spiritual and psychological best practices.

Secular Spirituality

Spirituality need not imply the supernatural and superstitious. It can be any pursuit of self-knowledge and mental self-improvement practice. An enlightened secular spirituality can find this knowledge in any source, while maintaining a healthy skepticism for spiritual quackery that runs rampant when science and spirit are separate.

Seeking to learn the science behind ancient practices like yoga, prayer and meditation is a spiritual pursuit. Understanding exactly how rituals affect our brains and bodies doesn't demystify them or negate the placebo effect that is at the root of many health benefits.

While sometimes science will prove some cherished tradition to be ineffective or even counter-productive, it will back with the weight of evidence those that really help make our lives better and allow them to continue to be a part of our traditions when spiritual literalism has become a distant memory.

A Secular Spirituality Venn Diagram

Woo Without Woo

The brain's desire for wonder often leads people to the supernatural. This causes secular and scientifically minded people to refer to it derisively as "woo woo". Quantum woo is often use in attempts to add wonder to science by those who are unable to discern pseudoscience from reality.

Is there a way to infuse science with wonder while still working within the limits of materialism?

Fractal Pantheism offers a viable solution. Using fractal geometry and the universe itself as a scientific metaphor for the god concept, the beauty and wonder found in religious art and psychedelic visions throughout history is evoked, along with the infinite complexity of the evolving universe, and the fundamental, self-referential slipperiness of truth described by Gödel.

It uses a metaphor that helps ground spiritual beliefs in scientific reality, instead of supernatural ones that are too easy to take literally.

Fractals give the brain the wonder and "woo" that it craves while working fully within the framework of the laws of physics.

Stochastic Manifestation

One of the most common themes in modern spirituality is the idea of manifestation or the Law of Attraction, popularized by the self-help book The Secret. In capitalist Christianity this is known as the Prosperity Gospel. More generally, all forms of prayer that seek favors from the universe invoke the principle of manifestation. The general idea is that your conscious thoughts can somehow manipulate the universe to fulfill your wishes or desires.

Of course, this is pseudoscience. But the phenomenon of the self-fulfilling prophecy has a very real basis in psychology, since our beliefs will inevitably influence our behavior. Is it possible to create self-fulfilling prophecies intentionally? Even if it doesn't guarantee success, can we increase the odds in our favor?

When you focus your mind on a particular outcome, you become more likely to do the things that will lead to it. When you tell other people about your desires, they are now able to help you achieve them if an opportunity arises. The more things you actually do to further your goal, the more likely it is that they will eventually pay off. Given the vast complexity of the universe and the fact that a small action can lead to a very large and unexpected result (i.e. the Butterfly Effect), you can never know when one of those actions can lead to an opportunity years later due to a long chain of improbable coincidences.

Stochastic manifestation is the idea that the "energy" you put out into the universe consists of very real thoughts, words, and actions that can slightly increase the odds of your dreams becoming reality. The more you do, the more it improves your odds. Actions that further the goal directly are obviously best, but simply telling people about your goals improves your chances that one of them will help you. This is also known as networking, but that is nowhere near as exciting and woo-inspiring as manifestation.

Secular Spirituality Videos

To demonstrate that secular humanists are not just about debunking, here are some videos that discuss secular visions of spirituality.

Daniel Dennett Discusses Secular Spirituality

Sam Harris Mindfulness is Powerful

Spirituality Amid Secularism

The Upbeat Atheist - My Divine

Police Spirits in the Material World