Sep 06

Language, Civilization, and Spirituality

If one looks back to when language become dominant in the world, it seems apparent that language had more functions than to merely communicate. In earlier times, survival was critical and anything that improved your odds was welcome.  Language served both functions; it communicated but also helped set the parameters for coexisting in a given culture. One was expected to conform to the culture that one lived in, and in return one could partake of cultural benefits as a dutiful citizen. This worked within a given culture, but in the world there are many cultures, each with their own language and beliefs. What language and culture did by segregating and protecting its citizens, it also did by separating them from all other cultures. If one has internalized a culture’s expectations and then meets up with members of another culture, friction and conflict is a possible outcome. After all, the beliefs and ways of one culture may disrespect those of another. And this culture clash may become violent at some point.

At the present time, we have reached a place where it is evident that the separation of cultures is causing much of the conflict and violence in the world. The psychological process of socialization or acculturation is still a powerful tool for conformity. But it has become clear that the old ways of culture and conformity are not making the world a better place. Our base survival needs are taken care of regardless of whether we respect the culture or not. And it is these survival needs that were the historical basis of cultural cohesion.

Today, we find that many are taking a life journey to eliminate the effects of conditioning – to shift their psychological functioning from the conditioned life of conformity to one of psychological liberation.  I consider this process as the goal of the spiritual life.

The process of psychological liberation even liberates one from the system that made their liberation possible. This is sort of like the Buddhist simile of the raft. The raft represents the teachings and they are the vehicle to help you reach the other shore (your liberation). After reaching the other shore, it is not necessary to carry the raft on your back. Liberation means freedom even from that which carried you to your destination.

The process of removing one’s conditioning is what this blog is dedicated to. The end result of this deconditioning is a Natural Life. This process has been described as shifting one’s psychological functioning from cognitive dominance (which is necessary to maintain our conditioning) to a state where sensory information is more immediate and vital (this is the “being” approach). For more details of this process, see the Freeing the Inner category.

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