Atheist Daniel Dennett on the secret to spirituality

Many people talk about the importance of spirituality. Daniel C. Dennett, a philosopher, says that we tend not to have a clear conception of just what spirituality is, and that the concept tends to resist definition. But even though he doesn’t believe in the supernatural, he feels there’s something important lurking in all that vague talk about the spiritual:

“What these people have realized is one of the best secrets of life: let your self go. If you can approach the world’s complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you have seen, you have only just scratched the surface, you will find worlds within worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your mundane preoccupations will shrink to proper size, not all that important in the greater scheme of things. Keeping that awestruck vision of the world ready to hand while dealing with the demands of daily living is no easy exercise, but it is definitely worth the effort, for if you can stay centered, and engaged, you will find the hard choices easier, the right words will come to you when you need them, and you will indeed be a better person. That, I propose, is the secret to spirituality, and it has nothing at all to do with believing in an immortal soul, or in anything supernatural.” (From Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, 2006.)

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7 thoughts on “Atheist Daniel Dennett on the secret to spirituality

  1. Pingback: Atheist Daniel Dennett on the secret to spirituality | Guide for My Perplexity

  2. I find Dennett’s insight to be true in my life–spirituality happens when I drop the pretense that I matter ever so much, and recognize that I am a but a member of a rare species of something far more vast and awe inspiring.

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