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Friday, May 22, 2015

David Brooks, "Building Spiritual Capital": Did You Bury Enough Squirrels as a Child?

Yes, I buried enough squirrels as a child, but have I grown up to be spiritual? Probably not, much to the intense displeasure of my wife. You see, I've been a bit busy attempting to stay alive in the corporeal sense of the word and, to my eternal shame, financially afloat.

Dwelling on spirituality in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Building Spiritual Capital," David Brooks refers us to a book, "The Spiritual Child," by Columbia Professor Lisa Miller. Brooks would have us know:

"Still, it does seem true that most children are born with a natural sense of the spiritual. If they find a dead squirrel on the playground, they understand there is something sacred there, and they will most likely give it a respectful burial. They have a natural sense of the oneness of creation, and a sense of a transcendent, nonmaterial realm. Miller cites twin studies that suggest that the strength of a child’s spiritual awareness is about 29 percent because of broad genetic heritability, 24 percent because of family environment and 47 percent because of a person’s unique individual environment.

. . . .

Public schools often give short shrift to spirituality for fear that they would be accused of proselytizing religion. But it should be possible to teach the range of spiritual disciplines, in order to familiarize students with the options, without endorsing any one.

In an era in which so many people slip off the rails during adolescence, we don’t have the luxury of ignoring a resource that, if cultivated, could see them through. Ignoring spiritual development in the public square is like ignoring intellectual, physical or social development. It is to amputate people in a fundamental way, leading to more depression, drug abuse, alienation and misery."

Got it. But I wonder if those thousands of Westerners who have volunteered to fight for ISIS are saturated with or lacking in "spirituality." (Please forgive my cynicism, which is about one percent because of "broad genetic heritability," one percent because of "family environment," and 98 percent because of my "unique individual environment.")

1 comment:

  1. and David Brooks gets paid for this?

    Does he know that NYC public schools do NOT even let the students pledge allegiance to the American flag?