Exploring A Definition of 'Spiritual'

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Exploring A Definition of 'Spiritual'

by James Edward David Cline

'Spiritual' is a term which has a wide range of definitions, just as the word 'love' also does. Spiritual, as I use the word here, means the imaginative component of that which forms the physical reality, such as a blueprint drawing a machinist uses to fabricate a metal part of a car. The blueprint drawing conveys a design to the mind of the craftsman who manipulates physical tools and materials to re-shape that physical material into a form, which earlier was represented by the imaginative drawing on the blueprint paper.

Spirituality as I use the term here thus is the set of all patterns which are representative of potential physical manifestations. A photograph is thus such a representation, and a photograph can exist long after the object or event has ceased to exist, such as the photograph of my father, grandfather, great-grandfather and myself as a baby. All of us have changed form drastically since that photo was taken, yet the photo is a graphical representation of a physical reality that once existed in the viewpoint of the camera film used to take the photograph.

Another characteristic of photographs is that once made they can be copied repeatedly; thus, in the 'spiritual' sense, amplified or reproduced. This applies to xerographic copies of typewritten material, too. Words, such as those xerox-copied on a machine, are representations of alternate realities, some of which are physical in past-present-future times. Viewing a television set, one's vision/hearing is impressed by a representation of alternate reality, one even not physically present actually at the site of the television tube. Thus the patterns of changing images seen on the television tube's face are 'spiritual' in this general definition.

Some people, notably a generation or two ago, used the word 'spiritual' to mean the active essence of dead people. 'Mediums' were people claiming to enable the linking to such dead people's 'spirits.'

Yet even older definitions of 'spirit' exist, such as the 2,000-year-old statement of Jesus 'It is the spirit that quickeneth...' suggesting that it is the 'spirit' that provides life's activities manifested in physical bodies ... it is not the body's physical materiality that activates itself. 'It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing', Jesus Christ is quoted.

The blueprint of the machinist enables the fabrication of a specific shape of a machined part of a car. Yet only does so when all the required physical stuff is gathered together, in this case the gathering of machinist, tools, raw material to be machined, the urge to make it, and the blueprint itself on paper. Then it is possible (but not certain) to have the spirit of the design of the past represented by the drawing on the blueprint, flow through the eyes of the machinist, expressed as flow through hands guiding tools which flow as shape changes to the raw material, becoming a specific physical thing for physical functionality. Such as a 6-32 bolt that threads onto a nut to hold something together, a real functioning physical manifestation.

Yet that blueprint was drawn by a draftsperson from a mental image, conceiving of design, envisioning the finished 6-32 bolt long before the physically manifested 6-32 bolt becomes attached to a nut holding something together. Yet that earlier envisioning was a prerequisite for the physical manifestation. The design of the envisioned shape is an essense of the spiritual aspect. The design can be perceived, in part, simply by looking with one's eyes at a 6-32 bolt's physical sample, as it holds something together ... thus seeing its 'spirit'. Is that image in the mind the 'physical' machined bolt, or is it the 'spiritual'essense of a machinable bolt?

Thus the definition: a 'spirit' is an energy with a specific pattern which, when played upon visible physical matter, creates change in the visible physical world.