The word 'spiritual' gives a lot of people problems, and I'm not going to define it. I'm not even going to claim I understand all that it entails.

But one description that works: "If you can't define something; if you can't reduce it to a combination of some other categories or interactions between them" -- words like say, Truth, Beauty, Love and the like come to mind --

then it very likely is spiritual.

Friends have a lot of trouble with the word 'Truth' anymore. It isn't factuality. It isn't anything 'objective' or 'subjective'; it isn't the end product of some process or other.

It won't necessarily hurt to try to figure it out -- but so far as that succeeds, you "see" it or "recognize" it. Whatever reasoning led you there was just a crutch.

It isn't what gets publicly acknowledged (frequently, as in our War Against Vietnam, the most widespread lies.) It isn't any context that any news media we know tries to squeeze the facts through (so much the worse if pieces fall off along the way). It isn't a consensus; it's something we "see." Or not.

It isn't our assumptions, although much of the time people mistakenly seize on assumptions and take them for the reality...

That quiet 'voice' in us does see it... and sometimes brings a little bit more of it into view.

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Comment by James C Schultz on 5th mo. 3, 2017 at 9:26am

Let's start with Truth being what is.  Then we go to the burning bush where we hear "I AM".  Then we go to Jesus speaking as God (either literally or figuratively - take your pick) says I am the Truth (John 14:6) and finally to John 4:24: God is spirit.  God, the great I Am, is truth, Truth, what is, is Spirit.  Looks good to me.  As you point out Truth can only be experienced.  Even the best attempt at describing the experience falls far short of the experience.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 5th mo. 3, 2017 at 10:52am

Well, little-t truth is just as much a spiritual thing, even if it only gives you a small 'Aha!' rather than The Big Wow!

There are many ways including plain plodding reason -- of reaching that Aha of Recognition about anything in particular.

We rely too much on the plodding, but it's seemed like the only way people knew to settle a disagreement without a slaughter.

But reasoning doesn't work all that well, because the facts (and their provenance) can always be disputed. "Our facts are factier than yours!" Maybe they are (although I try to anchor mine pretty carefully.) But there are other questions of overall context and meaning of a purported fact, of how well it fits into... um, truth, ie the actual rights and wrongs of what's really happening -- in the spiritual realm, in the play of ideas or the physical world or in the actual sufferings of how many people -- and how these all interrelate.

I keep wrestling with why Quakers seem as much prey to misguided notions as do other groups. What are the obstacles to sitting out disagreements and arriving at a better agreement than the conventional wisdom (so often so very far short of the truth) about anything?

Comment by James C Schultz on 5th mo. 3, 2017 at 2:29pm

The truth you speak of comes from "inspiration/revelation" and is outside of our control.  Since we can't seem to accept that anything is outside our control we manufacture it as well as we can.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 5th mo. 3, 2017 at 3:34pm

Who can't accept that anything is outside our control? When all the evidence says that it all is?

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We are given our kind of control; we'd find life oppressive if we weren't. But the will of God runs through that control; it isn't as if we could step outside it all and decide things as separate beings.

Archimedes is supposed to have said  that he could move the whole Earth if only he had a suitable place to stand... But we don't get any such place. We makes our decisions and we makes our moves -- but we're embedded in what really moves us.

Sometimes a kid learns 'the right way' to work an arithmetic problem; if he doesn't understand the process he can still sometimes (by sheer persistence and dumbluck) produce the right answer. To see that it is right (or that a mistake is a mistake) is the spiritual recognition of something we consider a purely intellectual product.

But that's like thinking we can get from airport A to airport B by getting on a plane -- It's what we do to get there; but something else happens to make what we do effective.

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