Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison
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The Internal Logic of Spiritual Definition

Spiritual definition can be see as an art form. As with any art form such as writing or painting, spiritual definition does have a structure defined by the intent of the creator, a forum available, and an anticipated audience. The wide open possibilities of the creator must somehow fit into these spaces. A spiritual definition does this fitting. The spiritual definitions are then held accountable to the resulting strictures of structure. The adherents of the spiritual definitions are both supported and restricted by their creation.

I recently saw an interview with John Cleese. He is critically acclaimed for this work on Monty Python and Faulty Towers. John explained that even the most loony comedy has a logical internal structure. He gave a wonderful example that I will paraphrase. He said that is perfectly reasonable to have a skit in which five people sat in dustbins. They can all be wearing fishes on their heads and nose extensions. The mad dustbin existence becomes the accepted structure. With this established premise, the comedic writer must then 'explain' why man in a business suit appears. The newcomer does not inherently fit into the logic of the dustbins, and therefore his part in the skit's internal structure must be explained. This is an incredible insight.

The paradox is that there are no rules or boundaries for the creation of a creative form. The form can be a play, book, blog, or comedy skit. The form can even be a painting or musical piece. Once the form is created, and initial boundaries are established, further exploration and expansion of the form is held up against the internal 'logical' structure. Deviations are allowed. Good artists and writers can and will surprise their audience. The challenge is that deviations must somehow spring from the original, even if the 'ah-ha' from the audience comes much later after the deviations appearance. Again I have to say that this concept is BIG to me

Spiritual pursuits have an incredible creative aspect. People can set up their spiritual definitions on any scale they wish. Anything goes. The catch is that the creation takes on an internal logic matching the scope of of the spiritual definition. Compliance to a driving internal logic molds people's actions on so many levels. The logic of a spiritual definition can estrange it from other definitions. The challenge to the cross-group dynamics is that one spiritual definition's internal logic will not be congruent to another's. In fact, it takes a lot of effort to get groups to match. One of the reasons traditions are created is so there will be some congruency of internal logics. This reason by be subconscious, but it is there nonetheless. The most hardened traditions attempt to lock in a set of rules, but these fixed precepts originally came from some creative source. It is terribly practical and human that spiritual definitions are seen to be a creative pursuit.

Spiritual definitions can and will change. Further applying Cleese's insights, the changes must be explained in a way that integrates them to the existing internal logic. The changes may be very difficult or the changes may be very easy. The relative ease is determined by the existing internal logic and the desired state of the change. As Cleese would say, the 'explanation' of the change must fit into the existing internal logic of the spiritual definition. A person must be even more creative than the originator of the spiritual definition when a change is especially contrary to existing logic. Especially contrary changes or additions are disapproved by those who cannot explain the extension of the logic. Complete investment in a spiritual definition can put a person in a place where it is difficult to accept or promote any change. Agents of change often must then come from the 'outside'. This outside can be truly on the exterior of the spiritual definition or it can be an internal force that sees looseness in the internal structure. The agents of change provoke changes in internal logic that the vested insiders cannot.

John Cleese's comedic theory puts spiritual definitions in their proper human place. Definitions are an created structure with an operational logic. Spiritual definitions find their own logic in a creative statement, but this statement then, for good or bad, defines their relationship to other structures. The then inherent logic creates both easy channels and high walls to the expansion of the structure. Changes are either easily added or there is extreme difficulty in synchronizing the existing logic with the newly desired modifications. In the end the spiritual definition becomes a helpful tool, too limiting to realize the full scope of the divine or connect all interpretations of the divine together, but it is enough to state, "this is what I believe in all its wonderful and insightful wackiness".
Tags: logic, spiritual definition, structure
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