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Turin Spirituality does not mean theoretical research on spirituality

Turin Spirituality is a remarkable event. This is what they say in the website:

It is a privileged space for reflection. It is the home of those who never give up asking questions. It is the place in which to search, away from the rush of everyday life, the deep meaning of our being and of our time. It is Turin Spirituality. Five days of meetings, dialogues, lectures and readings to grow together, through the comparison of consciences, the intersection of faiths, cultures and religions from all over the world.

Turin Spirituality is an opportunity in this blog for a clarification on the difference between spirituality as such and its particular manifestations. If we try to look at the individual activities carried out in the event, we can see that they can even lack any explicit reference to spirituality. It does not, however, mean that they are not spirituality: they are just particular expressions of it.

This phenomenon occurs in virtually all human activities, especially in humanities. For example, Dante did not wrote the Divine Comedy with the specific intent of making Italian literature and enter the list of most important literary writers; Michelangelo did not sculpt his masterpieces with the explicit intention of becoming part of sculpture as a humanistic field. It is critics and specialists who choose works and group them according to various disciplines.

In this website we mostly deal with spirituality as such, without examining in detail individual expressions that can be traced to it. We are working on this because today spirituality, unfortunately, does not have a clear definition, like we have for literature, painting or history.

Additional notes

The event “Turin spirituality” is clearly affected by today’s confusion about spirituality. There are very different levels of value in its moments. For example, in the past Jurgen Moltmann, the theologian of hope was a guest. This is a name that guarantees seriousness, high quality, critical research. On opposite side, I have seen videos on Youtube about the mysticism of the Hebrew language, or about a dance called “kemo-vad”, about which, apparently, there are no documents except those Italians who decided to talk about it.

This happens because, unfortunately, on a global level, there is no clarity on what is called “spirituality”. There are people who say that their spirituality is secular, but you can see that it is not really secular, it involves practices, beliefs, which is not secularism; other people claim their spirituality has no dogmas, but you can see that indeed they have them.

Here I would like to take the opportunity to clarify a criterion that I have adopted to sweep away many useless discussions on what can be considered “spirituality”. We can start from the definitions given by dictionaries and encyclopedias, but a more fruitful method is that of selection. We start from a general, universal, meaning of “spirituality”, even by saying that everything can be spirituality, and then we narrow the field, not because of a definition, but because of a subjective choice of interest. In other words, everything can be spirituality, but we can decide to deal with the human meaning only, or with spirituality that has certain characteristics, because for the rest we may consider that research is fruitless, or there are no methods well tested enough. This has the advantage of eliminating a lot of useless discussions, narrowing the field of interest and also forming methods, so that research on spirituality becomes something serious, critical, well organized.