I had a really fascinating IM conversation with Sasha a few days ago, which has been resurfacing everywhere I go, so I figured I’d paste it in here:
(14:46:33) Nelson: we get wrapped up in stupid petty stuff and we miss the big picture
(14:46:42) Sasha: right
(14:46:52) Nelson: people always have tunnel vision and they don’t see what’s going on around them
(14:46:56) Nelson: things like this are a distraction
(14:47:05) Sasha: that’s true
(14:47:22) Nelson: if we want our lives to have a purpose, we have to make everything we do purposeful
(14:47:43) Nelson: just as if we want a peaceful society, we have to make every action peaceable
(14:48:15) Nelson: that’s kind of the Quaker ethos I suppose, that spirituality is 24/7, not just in church on Sunday
(14:48:31) Nelson: that the mundane stuff is holy if you make it so
(14:48:43) Nelson: and anyplace is a place of worship
(14:49:03) Sasha: but if everything is holy, then doesn’t holiness lose its meaning?
(14:49:11) Sasha: (devil’s advocate here)
(14:49:25) Nelson: perhaps… but it makes everything else meaningful
(14:49:32) Sasha: by contrast
(14:49:43) Nelson: as in, yeah, I don’t really feel very excited upon walking into a church
(14:50:05) Nelson: that is, more than I do when sitting under a tree
(14:50:10) Nelson: or looking at the stars
(14:50:24) Sasha: sorry, which is more what?
(14:50:51) Nelson: I don’t find a church more exciting than the God in the grass or the “inner light” in the people around me
(14:51:17) Sasha: I feel the same way, except that I have all sorts of problems with spirituality nowadays
(14:51:29) Sasha: I also totally agree with you about purpose
(14:51:32) Nelson: “holiness” does kind of lose a certain kind of meaning, but that’s a good thing. We can’t have an aritificial separation between spirituality and the rest of life
To crystallize that, I think that humans are here to create meaning in the world, and that if we want to have meaningful lives, everything we do must have meaning, every action must be meaningful. We can’t waste time doing things that don’t have meaning, or alternately if we are to do them we must find a way to give them meaning. Hm… but do I really know what I mean by that?