Replacing Maslow With An Evolutionary Hierarchy of Needs

However ugly the parts appear, the whole remains beautiful. A severed hand / Is an ugly thing, and man dissevered from the earth and stars and his history … for contemplation or in fact … / Often appears atrociously ugly. Integrity is wholeness, the greatest beauty is / Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe. —Excerpt from The Answer, a poem by Robinson Jeffers, 1936. In 2018, the world will celebrate the 75th… Read more

truth and care: on jonathan haidt’s moral dilemma

  Before I critique Jon’s talk (you can watch it here), I should mention that I’ve been a fan of his for years; it’s why I asked him to serve on the advisory board of my former journal The Evolutionary Review: Art, Science, Culture, which he was kind enough to do. And I’ve cited his scholarship on ‘the sacred’ in some of my recent essays (also, here) because I have an interest in ‘the sacred’ and sacred spaces. Because I’m familiar with Haidt’s moral foundations theory, I… Read more

evolutionary well-being

Well-being and our adapted minds The first time I came across the idea of happiness from an evolutionary perspective was in 2002, in Bjørn Grinde’s Darwinian Happiness. A year later I read John Price and Anthony Stevens’s Evolutionary Psychiatry, where they proclaimed: “Mental health results from the fulfillment of archetypal goals.” I was glad to see evolutionary psychology pay homage to Jung. In many ways, Jung, like William James (and Schopenhauer!), is a grandfather of the field. But the essential message of… Read more

is there something we can all pledge our allegiance to?

 There’s a controversy here in my town of New Paltz that recently went national. It involves the pledge of allegiance, FOX & Friends, hateful threats from “patriotic Americans,” and chocolate. Essentially, someone on the Planning Board here decided she wanted to begin the meetings of the PB with a pledge of allegiance (they hadn’t been saying it and hadn’t for decades). The vote was 4-3 in favor of keeping things the way they were — no pledge. Once this got out… Read more

Steps Anyone Can Take to Unify and Change the World

By Ed Gibney   A couple of posts ago on this Sacred Naturalism blog, Alice Andrews made A Call to Unify the Nonreligious. While the religious are technically spread among hundreds, if not thousands, of different sects, there are a handful of leaders who together can say they speak for the vast majority of those who are full of faith. And no matter what the message, people who represent mobs of millions have real power. As a good example of… Read more

in memes begins responsibility | A Call to Unify the Nonreligious

When I wrote my novel, Trine Erotic, back at the turn of the century, the word meme was virtually unknown to the American public.1   Today, meme is so ubiquitous, I debated whether to use it in my title. But the truth is, it’s a great word — and judging from what one undergrad class of mine thought memes were (‘pictures with words’), its precise meaning is likely unknown or misconceived by many. Indeed, memes are more than just fluffy cat pics with text. A meme, as… Read more

Redefining Progress: Keeping a Place for “Place”

Concepts of modernity and progress have long served as markers of differentiation in human history. We often consider the past as primitive and inferior to our current state of civilization, resulting in inattentional blindness to the failings of our most recent institutions. Anxieties about this tendency were particularly prevalent in the early 19th century, as exemplified by authors such as Yevgeny Zamyatin. His science fiction novel We was first published in Russia in 1924 and embodies the fear of rapid and unchecked “progress.” The story takes place in… Read more

The End of God

By Ric Dragon – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1 There are words that we use for things we know so well, as in, “look at that goat over there, it’s chewing on my favorite book!” We also use words to signify things that we can’t touch and feel; things that are abstract and ineffable, like “I love you” and “thank God!” With those things that we can… Read more

An Atheist’s Place in the Big Tent of Sacred Naturalism

By Ed Gibney This is the atheist channel on Patheos, right? So why the new blog on something sacred? The first four Google definitions of the word “sacred” all involve religious or holy connotations, yet I—a thoroughly confirmed sacred naturalist—am also a hard-nosed atheist and a materialist/physicalist philosopher. How do I reconcile these seemingly contradictory stances? How might you? In the first five Patheos posts of this blog, we’ve seen many different definitions of what it means to be a… Read more

The Ordinary as Sacred

By John A. Johnson Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Penn State University   Reading a draft of Alice Andrews’s The Sacredness of Relationship gave me a huge rush of recognition. As Alice says, sacredness is a matter of the heart, akin to love. In the presence of the sacred, I am filled with feelings of awe and joy and gratitude. I can hardly believe that I am privileged to be in communion with something so extraordinary, something so special. In contrast, encounters… Read more

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