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Rational Spirituality Movement

Author Ian Lawton (The Book of the Soul) has updated his website, with his plan to create a group of like-minded individuals willing to explore their spirituality objectively and on the basis of scientific evidence. Calling it the ‘Rational Spirituality Movement‘ (RSM), Ian is inviting people who share this view to join up:

With its over-riding message of personal empowerment with responsibility, and grounding in modern scientific evidence rather than belief or faith, the Rational Spirituality Movement has the potential to have a far-reaching impact on the future of humankind. It is far more a shared philosophy than a formalised religion, in that it places the responsibility on the individual to find their own answers when applying the basic spiritual framework of the movement to their lives.

The webpage has detailed information on the philosophical framework underpinning the RSM, so check it out if it sounds like your thang.

  1. Been done before?
    If smoking weed and LSD were included, then it would be hard to differentiate this project / lifestyle from the Hippie culture of the 1960’s.

    And without the ‘weed’ to glue it all together, it will not succeed.


    1. Re: Been done before?
      Dear Nostra

      I have no problem with a bit of cynicism, especially in the modern world. All I would suggest is that if you are going to be so cynical AND make public pronouncements about it, it might be sensible to have some sort of basis for your arguments.

      Although I have great regard for those people that have experimented with halucinogens to induce altered states of consciousness in a constructive rather than escapist context, the evidence and precepts that form the basis of the Rational Spiruality Movement could not be further removed from the relatively woolly thinking and mix-and-match approach to religion/philosophy that characterised the new age/hippy culture of the 60s.

      If you want to take issue with me on an intellectual level about the movement, please do. But you will need to read the evidence and arguments first, and do a much better job than all the leading materialists have done so far of dismissing them.

      You might then understand why I insist that this movement is founded on modern evidence, not faith and belief in revealed wisdom. And that IS an entirely new approach. It may or may not succeed in broadening a significant number of people’s horizons, but if it doesn’t it won’t be because it is just a replay of what has already been tried.

      With all best wishes, Ian Lawton

    2. Sticky weed? — must be indica buds
      Hi Nostra,

      Weed – a glue? You must not have seen Jimi Hendrix: Rainbow Bridge (amazon US, or available at this UK site). The best customer reviews on the amazon page are titled Nix ‘Hendrix’ by R. Epstein, and Period Piece by Albert Doyle. Epstein is correct in saying that, in a way, it’s not really about Jimi Hendrix, and Doyle is right about it being a Sixties period piece, but even these two reviewers both entirely missed the (probably unintentional) point. The movie leads one to believe Jimi Hendrix was, or at least aspired to be, a member of the Rainbow Bridge Occult Meditation Center in Maui, Hawaii, and that the film was made by commune members, but neither of those are true.

      No wonder this mess of a movie is so frequently misunderstood. It turned out to be, but wasn’t intended as, a cautionary tale, due to Jimi’s overdose and death three months after it was made. From a tale of hippies trying to establish an ‘alternative community’ (commune), it morphs into a documentary about a deep division that occurred at the Rainbow Bridge Occult Meditation Center between those who believed entheogens (psychoactive plants and drugs) would/could enlighten them, and those who believed spiritual enlightenment was more likely to come to those who meditated, preferably as a group, without the use of entheogens. There’s even a scene of a full-moon group meditation, with the non-drug-using members reciting The Great Invocation from the Alice Bailey books.

      The movie also features many discussions – or arguments – between the two factions, which in the end favor the abstainers, not so much because they ever ‘won’ any of these philosophical arguments as because the drug users were generally in no shape to verbalize coherent thoughts. Or as one review puts it, ‘there’s a plethora of trippy visuals and lots of hippie’s droning on about higher consciousness while smoking marijuana (funnily enough) [sic]. Jimi Hendrix participates in these discussions about higher consciousness – and makes music while standing on the slopes of a volcano.

      Most people who watch it these days just fast-forward to the end, which shows Hendrix’s performance at Woodstock. One of the things they miss by doing that is the movie’s unflatteringly egotistical portrait of Hendrix, or should I just say, the chronicle of his downward spiral from apparently fresh-faced spiritual aspirant and budding rock guitarist to the drugged out rock star who insisted he be the last to perform at Woodstock because he was obviously the best. Problem was, by the last day of Woodstock, a lot of people had already partied out and left, and the torrential rains of that last day motivated most of those still there to leave, so by the time the mighty Hendrix played (beginning at around 4 p.m.), most of his audience was long gone.

      It sounds to me like Ian just places the responsibility for use, or abstention from use, of weed, LSD, etc. on the individual, which is where it always is anyway. From what I’ve seen, use of weed isn’t a predictable group glue. I know many who (still) smoke weed — die-hard neo-con republicans, pinko liberals, greens, libertarians — and its use certainly hasn’t functioned as any sort of glue amongst those. You’d probably have better luck forcing them together with hemp rope.

      But I think you may be right about it lacking a certain something. There’s a presumption that if a large enough group shares similar spiritual ideals, something worthwhile will automatically ensue, but there’s no hint of what that something might be, and no proof, especially in view of humanity’s common history, that whatever it is would be worthwhile.


      1. Re: Sticky Weed
        Hi Kat

        I haven’t seen the Hendrix film, but it sounds interesting. There were some cracking discussions on TDG some time back about the differences between hallucinogens and meditation as a means to enlightenment. Some of those in the best position to judge because they have tried both in some depth seem to suggest that hallucinogens can act as a catalyst to make natural techniques such as meditation more productive, but the latter is arguably the “true” way in the end.

        But with respect to your last para, I would have thought humanity’s experience with religion would tell us precisely that when you get a large group of people to follow a religious dogma, the bulk of the result is positively NOT “worthwhile”!

        However, that does not mean that we should just throw our hands up in the air and give up. Albeit that the fledgling Rational Spirituality Movement is definitely not intended to be a dogmatic religious one, I am only too aware of the all too human/political pitfalls that lie in wait for it. Whether I, and those people who have joined and will join the movement, can avoid repeating past mistakes remains to be seen.

        As to what we hope to achieve, I am wary of trying to have unrealistic expectations up front that cannot be met, especially when we have no money because I refuse to ask for subscriptions. But what I am absolutely sure of is that a rational spiritual worldview has a very different take from any of the mainstream approaches reported in the popular media, and has important contributions to make to debates on – for example, and to quote two that have been much in the news of late – abortion and euthanasia. I have submitted articles on both of these subjects that have so far not even been acknowledged by the mainstream press, and so are currently restricted to my website, but I will keep trying.

        Surely any attempt to offer an alternative analysis of the human condition, which reflects the knowledge and scientific evidence we now have at the start of the twenty-first century, is worthwhile? If not, the human race might as well pack it in and go home 😉

        With all best wishes, Ian Lawton

  2. I missed the hippie movement…
    because I was bringing up children so I am not so cynical.
    Besides, although I have not read Ian’s books I rather like him just from his posts here and what I have read.He seems gentle and kind and honest.
    I might have a go at it, although knowing me I might take a while to understand it all.
    Sometimes I get a little confused.
    Anyway it couldn’t hurt.


    1. Well if shadows will give it
      Well if shadows will give it a go then so will I. I am looking for some grounding and direction to my thoughts so this may indeed be worth a try.

      1. Highly recomended
        I’ve just joined TDG in order to add this comment. As someone who is in the process of reading Ian Lawton’s ‘The Book of the Soul’ all I can say is that anyone interested visit the Rational Spirituality Movement website and read everything there; then get your own copy of The Book of the Soul (just £10 from the RSM website) and read the evidence of karma and reincarnation for yourself.
        I’m glad to hear that The Shadow and Electricmonk are willing to give it a go, and can only suggest to Nostradamus that you do some reading before speaking.

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