By Douglas V. Porpora
Do you suspect in God? 9 out of ten americans unhesitatingly solution certain. yet for Douglas Porpora, the genuine questions start the place pollsters depart off. What, he asks, does non secular trust truly suggest in our lives? Does it form our identities and our activities? Or, regardless of our professions of religion, are we morally adrift? Landscapes of the Soul paints a hectic photograph of yank religious lifestyles. In his look for solutions to his questions, Porpora interviewed clerks and bosses, Jews, evangelical Christians, Buddhists, Taoists, or even fans of Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh. He requested them approximately God, and approximately what they observed as their very own position within the universe. What he chanced on used to be a common lack of ability to articulate any grand that means of existence. We lack heroes to motivate us. We lack a feeling of calling, of transcendent function in our life. many folks appear incapable of being concerned deeply concerning the affliction of others. Our society is permeated with ethical indifference. definite, we're a believing humans, yet God is usually a far away abstraction and barely an emotional presence in our lives. basically such an emotional connection, Porpora argues, might be the root of a real ethical imaginative and prescient. Our emotional estrangement from God and the sacred retains us from worrying approximately social justice, retains us from eager to switch the realm, retains us enclosed in our personal deepest worlds. Landscapes of the Soul is a passionate name to increase our religious and ethical horizons, to elevate our eyes to the higher truth that unites us all.
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Extra info for Landscapes of the Soul: The Loss of Moral Meaning in American Life
My nephew had not just identified himself to me; as I only had one nephew at the time, he had identified himself uniquely. Uniqueness is integral to identity. To speak of our identities is to speak of who each of us uniquely is. Two things are said to be identical if one cannot be distinguished from the other. Identity is thus linked to differentiation. We are uniquely who we are because in ordinary life, (1) we cannot differentiate our own self from ourself, and because (2) there are always ways of differentiating our own self individually from everyone else’s self.
The same is true of every social position and role we occupy. 32 Landscapes of the Soul Thus, to challenge social space is at once to challenge the moral and metaphysical order as well. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that even those oppressed by the current social arrangement may offer some resistance. What the oppressed are being urged to surrender is not just their chains but their place in a cosmic order, an order in which they themselves may be both morally and metaphysically invested.
We are African American or white and European. We are members of the Rotary or of the Communist Youth League. These are all relational identifiers in social space. Who we are in social space is the intersection of all these overlapping roles. Most sociological studies of identity begin and end here in social space. We, too, will begin in social space with questions about our personal identities. ” Social space is just our point of departure, however. In fact we will see that as long as we remain rooted in social space, we will never be able to give a complete answer to the Caterpillar’s question.