Aesthetic Versus Spiritual

November 30, 2009

Tags: Aesthetic vs. Spiritual

Over the course of many years, and in the course of many conversations, I've heard people refer to themselves as having "spiritual" experiences. Not being spiritual myself, I've often wondered what they meant by this. When I question them, "spiritual" people claim that "spiritual" experiences occur when they listen to Mozart, or view some gorgeous natural phenomenon, or read a Yeats poem, or contemplate "Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer" or...well, fill in the blank yourself. It seems to me that what they're describing is an aesthetic experience rather than a spiritual one. In any case, I'm left STILL not knowing what a "spiritual" experience is. Perhaps I'm hopelessly shallow.


  1. October 17, 2012 10:51 PM EDT
    They are describing an aesthetic experience. No experience is "spiritual" which is just a con for New Age, channeling, The Occult, or make-it-up-as-you-go-along religion. Even Post-Modern and/or Pre-Emergent Christians go for the "experience", otherwise they do not feel "spiritual". Spirituality may be "otherworldly" in feeling, and one might feel one is getting close to the infinite, the unspoken something beyond us all - blah blah blah. But it is all man-made. So there is no aesthetic vs. spiritual. It's all aesthetics, i.e. from the mind of man. Using the word "spiritual" may seem to put it on a more lofty plane, but actually using the word "spiritual" in such a context is just mental sidestepping of what spiritual used to mean, and that meant "not of this world." It meant a Judaeo-Christian concept of an experience that clearly pointed back to the Judaeo_Christian God, the Creator of the music, the musician, the art, the artist. To deny this is simply another potshot at Judaeo_Christian beliefs. Choose another word. The experience is spiritual in one sense, because we all are made by God. Otherwise it is just me-man-self-I-at the center of the universe having these incredible experiences which I will call spiritual because I have no intention of pursuing it farther than what satifies my own ego and inflates it.
    - MJ Marotta
  2. October 18, 2012 12:12 PM EDT
    I agree.
    - Susan Kelly

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