Landscapes of the Soul: The Loss of Moral Meaning in by Douglas V. Porpora

By Douglas V. Porpora

Do you think in God? 9 out of ten americans unhesitatingly solution convinced. yet for Douglas Porpora, the genuine questions start the place pollsters go away off. What, he asks, does spiritual trust truly suggest in our lives? Does it form our identities and our activities? Or, regardless of our professions of religion, are we morally adrift? Landscapes of the Soul paints a stressful photo of yank religious lifestyles. In his look for solutions to his questions, Porpora interviewed clerks and managers, Jews, evangelical Christians, Buddhists, Taoists, or even fans of Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh. He requested them approximately God, and approximately what they observed as their very own position within the universe. What he came upon used to be a common lack of ability to articulate any grand which means of existence. We lack heroes to encourage us. We lack a feeling of calling, of transcendent function in our life. many folks appear incapable of being concerned deeply in regards to the pain of others. Our society is permeated with ethical indifference. sure, we're a believing humans, yet God is usually a far-off abstraction and barely an emotional presence in our lives. purely such an emotional connection, Porpora argues, should be the foundation of a real ethical imaginative and prescient. Our emotional estrangement from God and the sacred retains us from being concerned approximately social justice, retains us from eager to swap the realm, retains us enclosed in our personal inner most worlds. Landscapes of the Soul is a passionate name to expand our religious and ethical horizons, to elevate our eyes to the better fact that unites us all.

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Introduction 23 Who’s to say if this is the case? Again, this is a decision each of us must make individually for himself or herself. We make our judgment, however, not on whim but on honest evaluation of the arguments, always knowing that we ourselves may be the ones who are wrong. We make our judgment by being ever open to new arguments, especially to arguments originating from communities other than our own. In the end, we must find our conversational partners in the universal community of humanity as a whole.

In moral space, we are what we stand for. We are the quests we are embarked on, the callings that move us. In moral space, our souls are like arrows that point to visions of the good. 25 To speak of moral directions is to speak again of moral purpose. It is to speak of that toward which our lives move. Our souls may not point to anything more than the procedural morality that defines the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Yet, even within the boundaries of moral constraint, there will always be that which ultimately concerns us.

Most ordinary 20 Landscapes of the Soul people also think of their personal identities solely within the realm of social space—solely, that is, in terms of their social relationships and group memberships. As a result, when asked who they are, most people are as startled as Alice was to find they have no adequate answer. We cannot adequately describe who we are just in terms of our placement in social space. Social space is only one of the landscapes of the soul. It is not only with persons and groups that we identify.

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