The New Secular Spirituality
Nature and Society are Self-Animating thus "Spiritual" in Their Essence
The network agency of self-organizing system makes them self-animating entities
This self-animating impulse in both human and natural systems constitutes spiritual agency
To be scientifically spiritual is to perceive of how networks unpredictably but purposefully animate the world
Such perception poses an evidence-based secular spirituality that experiences society and Nature as sacred
The spirits of mythic imagination can now be understood as metaphors for network agency's animating impulse
The Science of Spiritual Animation and Its Mytho-logical Imagination
Scientific Spirituality--Perceiving Self-Animating Systems
There now exists a science of complex systems which allows us to perceive how feedback networks enable some systems to self-organize and adapt their operations in ways that promote their continued existence. These facts can be reasonably restated thusly: the self-organizing agency of complex system networks effectively animates those systems by enabling them to operate purposefully for their own persistence. Whether we like it or not, logic now compels us to acknowledge there exists an unexpected, factual basis for 'spiritual agency' in Nature. It is in this regard that we can know something about 'spiritual animation' in Nature scientifically--without having to believe literally in spirits, gods, or demons. However, this requires us to think not only in terms of factually predictable sequences of events but also factually unpredictable, simultaneous network interactions that generate self-organization.
Scientific thinking can now be done in terms of predictable events
AND in terms of unpredictably self-determining networks
Scientific Mythology--Imagining Network Agency
With this surprising new scientific characterization of 'spiritual agency,' it becomes possible to reinterpret the meanings of the mythic imagination. From the perspective of network science, the spirits, monsters, and divine actors of myth can be understood as personified metaphors which 'stand for' the different 'characters' of network behaviors. Such symbolization of network agency has long provided humans with a way to perceive and appreciate how it animates and orders both natural and humans systems. We are creatures in a creaturely world. The feedback networks that are the basis of our human intelligence pervade Nature, though in simpler yet still self-organizing, thus self-animating forms. To know reality we must have ways to perceive these 'agents'. To do that in an emotionally compelling way, we must employ our mythic imagination.
The network agency that animates the self-organization of the biosphere is 'see through'
the mythic imagination of the goat-footed god Pan--the 'spirit' that orders Nature
Myth's monsters model the network character of networks which act in non-reciprocal ways to exploit other systems in ways that only disable them
Science and Sacredness
Given the new scientific description of a self-animating thus spiritual impulse in Nature we can now regard the world as 'sacred' in the archaic sense. That is, because it is ordered by self-animating agency it has a sacred aspect that is beyond our human control and indeed the source of our human agency itself. In that view, it is the reciprocally interdependent relationships of many 'network spirits' that enable the biosphere to self-organize itself in what constitutes a collective con-spiracy, giving the whole a 'unitary sacredness.' In contrast, human systems tend to behave 'monstrously' by acting non-reciprocally, competing with and exploiting natural ones without responding to feedback from them. The failure of or modern systems to act reciprocally with natural systems can be seen as a cultural failure to perceive this 'sacred interdependency' that governs relationships between Nature's networks.