Spiritualism. The purpose of spiritualism was once to add a mystical element, an unmeasurable variable, to the natural world, to fill all of the gaps in our understanding of physics/chemistry/biology/psychology. It subdued our fear of the unknown, so that said fear would not influence our behavior in negative ways- negative toward the in-group, any way. Spiritualism led to religion, of which the unifying strength was so great that it began to make us think of humans with a faith different from our own as detrimental to our own way of life, as if we secretly knew that all it took to destroy our beliefs was an alternative perspective. I am not here to rant about religion, though, at least not directly. Religions are traditions; they serve a greater purpose than to simply keep us from questioning the world. They serve a social purpose, which is arguably much more valuable than a metaphysical or existential one. Straight up, unattached spiritualism, though, a general and personal belief in a spiritual plane of existence that we are/can be connected to, does not cater to the same social needs.
Look at this. Dear determinism, just look at it. It is sickeningly meaningless and empty of purpose. It answers no thing and raises so many questions. What is a mental realm? Is that my mind? If that is so, what is an emotional realm? Is that, like, the hell to my mental heaven? How does one tap in to the spiritual realm? If we can think of tapping in to the mental realm as thinking, and the emotional as feeling, what follows for the spiritual realm? What kind of spiritual actions can we make? Is there some significance to changing the term from ‘realm’ to ‘dimension’? Is the spiritual dimension merely a spacial dimension that we are not used to perceiving on? Finally, the blasted energy. What kind of energy are we talking about? Are we talking about all energy? How can physical energy be limited by existing in its own realm? If we are not talking about physical energy, how can it benefit us during our physical lives? If there is a source of unlimited energy out there, doesn’t that mean that, how ever it is accomplished, as soon as one is to tap in to this source, they should be able to quickly and easily become a god?
There is a practical use of imagining intellect and emotion in such a duality as light and dark realms, but let’s face it: they are both systems contained within the brain; they are both part of the same electro-chemical system. In any case, they certainly can not be a realm as physical space/time is a realm. Discussing intellect and emotion in this way merely serves a rhetorical purpose, as for poetry or metaphor. My dreamscape can be thought of as a realm, but my dreams are actually disconnected sequences of memory events. There is no realm that binds them, so to think of dreams in terms of realms is to imagine an original realm for every dream one has ever had. Even that is foolish, unless you believe in Multiple Personality Solipsism, because once a dream is had it is reduced to common memories, like every other kind of memory. A dream sequence does not continue to progress while we are awake. To try to imagine thoughts and feelings as things with spacial dimension is absurd. At best, this image is trying to use a metaphor to justify through analogy the significance of the spirit, which just plain does not work logically (and yes, for those haters out there, logic is extremely important, because we live in a logical, mathematically predictable Universe).
If it is true that there is a spiritual dimension that is ‘higher’ than temporal dimensions, and we have yet to be able to time travel by mere will, I doubt that any one can simply just ‘tap’ in to it, and I especially doubt that any human ever has. The trouble here is that, to the best of our ability, we can only imagine interacting with spiritual stuff in terms of feeling, and feeling is either an emotional event or a sensational event, that is, it either refers to emotional stimulus in the brain or physical stimulus in the rest of the body. We, as human animals, are a mind and a body, or even just a body with a complex electro-chemical system on top. Every thing about us, including spiritual beliefs, can be accounted for by psychology and biology. Every phenomena that we produce is a thought, an emotion, or a behavior. Spiritual feelings or sensations are just complex emotions and/or bodily sensations (which are closely related to said emotions) that are entirely misplaced intellectually. We have a strong urge to belong, so our nervous systems have developed a complicated set of programming to appease this urge, including feelings of bonding, including sentimental value for inanimate objects, including misattributing a sense of purpose or belonging to our environment. In other words, our brains can trick us in to feeling like things in our environment are alive and have mystical influence over us, including the empty air. This is what ‘tapping in to the spiritual realm’ is, it is an emotional state and bodily sensation that makes us feel that we belong to some thing invisible, some thing powerful, an abstract hallucination that is not only predictable but triggerable in a laboratory environment for reliable testing and retesting (with electrical signals sent from electrodes to a specific part of the brain). I am pretty sure that, if spiritual experiences can be created by inanimate objects in a sterile and bland lab office (not to mention by chemical imbalances in schizophrenia patients), that there is no thing truly spiritual about them.
What the hell kind of energy are we talking about? Is it electricity? Is it electromagnetism? Is it heat? Is it acoustic pressure? No. All of those things are measurable, so are physical. What we are talking about is a specific spiritual energy, what our souls are made of! Different cultures call it different things. Some call it chi. Some call it ki. The word adapted to English is ether, which is where the term ethereal comes from. People claim that ghosts are ethereal, that they are no thing but spirit stuff, and yet claim that ghosts can be seen- but… if ghosts can be seen, if they can reflect light, they can be measured. It doesn’t matter, whether cameras can pick them up or not; our eyes are simple machines, and, if they can detect ether, certainly our advanced machines of precision can, but they can’t and they don’t. Now, some people are more reasonable and realize that every one who has ever claimed to have seen a ghost has either lied or been subject to a hallucination, prank, or optical illusion. These people know that our eyes are not ethereal, and so can not measure what can’t be measured (the idea is that the ghosts do not reflect light, but actively manipulate light or other physical things for the purpose of drawing attention to their selves). That’s all well and good, but, if the physical world can not interact with the ethereal, how is it that our bodies react to our spirits? If our simple flesh sacks can so easily and flawlessly receive input from our spirits, why can literally no thing else in the known Universe (why can I interface with my brain but not my computer)? Sure. There are people who have claimed to have invented electronic machines that can detect ether, but, if their spiritual selves can not detect the same signals, why are they so quick to assume that ether is what is being read, in stead of some other input (just food for thought here, really, as all of that nonsense has been proved to be hoaxes)? The whole purpose of subscribing to a belief in ether is so a whole mess of arbitrarily chosen postulates can escape scientific scrutiny, but the joke of it is that, if a thing can not be analyzed scientifically, it effectively does not exist. Even the most subtle sentiment captured in poetry can be explained in psychological terms, which in turn can be explained biologically, and so on.
If spiritual energy is unlimited, and unrestricted by physical limitations, are there spiritual limitations? The argument is typically that physical limitations hold back our spiritual selves, but by definition ether and physical matter/energy can not even interact. A more generous definition (humored here with much strain on my capacity for benefit-of-the-doubt thinking for the sake of argument) allows for the spiritual to influence the physical- but certainly there is no way to justify the other way around. Okay. What new problem does that allow us to explore? If my spiritual self has access to unlimited energy, only choice can prevent me from acquiring godhood. In order for a spirit to interact with its physical host, it has to have sway over the physical world, and so a spiritual god is also in effect a physical god- buuut I’ve never seen a new-ager bending the very fabric of reality to their will, and none of my friends have either.
The things that ether used to account for have been explained in physical terms. The mystery has been solved. We don’t need that awe or wonder any more. We have new awes and wonders. New, better awes and wonders. And why the hell would our spirits be shaped like our bodies, complete with bones when no structural support is needed, ears where there are no air vibrations to be heard, and noses in a realm without physical matter to enter the nostrils? Look at that ridiculous image! Why all of this but no spirit genitals? Eh? And the star patterns? And what the hell do big, burning balls of gas and heavy metals have to do with the spirit plane? Is that secretly where all of the ghosts are getting their real ‘unlimited’ energy? They’re sucking the electromagnetism off of stars? It’s all just artistic interpretations to me, and trying to explain how the Universe works with art is a horrible top-down approach to analysis, if I ever saw one.
PS: If the physical, mental, and emotional realms are distinct from the spiritual one, then what the hell does a spirit take away from interacting with them when it separates in death? How is losing your ability to comprehend and remember sensations, feelings, and thoughts any different from a complete death, as the atheists expect it? If having a spiritual self is supposed to give our lives more meaning, what the hell is the point of interacting with a body at all? If we follow this logic, the ethereal form just goes back to being incapable of action and experience, having learned no thing.