Welcome to Clip from Spiral logo

Interactive video lesson plan for: Sam Harris: I'm Trying to Rehabilitate the Word "Spirituality"

Activity overview:

Despite its spooky etymology, there's no better word than "spirituality" to describe one's personal exploration of human consciousness. Harris explains why it's important to reclaim powerful words despite their past misuse. Harris is the author of Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (http://goo.gl/2N8CKv)

Read more at BigThink.com: http://goo.gl/pGP1n3

Follow Big Think here:
YouTube: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigthink

Sam Harris: I’m almost as embarrassed by the word spirituality as every other atheist. It’s not – I’m not comfortable with my use of it. The problem is – and this is a problem you almost never encounter in English. We just don’t have a good word for this domain. We just do not have a good word for the project of taking seriously the notion that you could become like Jesus or become like the Buddha or become someone who inhabits the far end of the positive side of the continuum of human psychology and human well-being. And someone who can have really radical insights into the nature of consciousness by virtue of a disciplined practice like meditation. So to talk about things like awe and well-being and love and positive psychology and happiness, that doesn’t get at how deep and rarified this project can be. It also doesn’t link it to the traditional context in which people have pursued similar projects. So there is a point of contact between what I’m talking about and, you know, what a Tibetan Lama is doing in a cave for five years. I mean it’s very explicit. Most of these teachings come out of traditions like Buddhism. So while I argue that we have to get out of the religion business and the doctrines that have framed most people’s discussion of these experiences are as unwarranted as I’ve always said. There is no alternative term for the efforts that people can make through meditation or psychedelics or some other means to really transform their consciousness and have insight into the – it’s intrinsic selfless nature. And it’s inconvenient but I feel like the other words that are available are even spookier, something like mysticism, you know, or more specific like contemplation, the contemplative life. I use contemplative a fair amount but again that doesn’t get at for most people what the subject matter is. So for better or worse I’m just – I’m trying to rehabilitate the word spirituality.

I mean one burden I think we have is to reclaim good and powerful words no matter how they’ve been misused in the past, no matter what the inconvenient details of their etymology is. So I would say spirituality is one of those words. But a word like evil is also spooky for many people. It’s felt that evil is a holdover from religion. When religious people talk about evil they’re thinking about things like Satan and a force that is somehow not to be understood in scientific or naturalistic terms. And it’s thought, I think, rightly that once we understand psychopathy at the level of the brain fully we will have a discussion of evil that will seem to erode any basis for using this spooky word. But I think to lose the word evil would be unfortunate and would disempower smart people from making strong moral claims and fighting a war of ideas on this front. And so we need potent words. We just need to be precise about how we use them and the kinds of experiences that merit their use.

Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton

Tagged under: Sam Harris (Author),Spirituality,Spiritual,Religion,Meditation,Mindfulness,Good,Evil,Language,Terminology,Term,Word,Usage,Use,Buddhism,Psychedelics,Spooky,Big Think,BigThink,BigThink.,Education,Educational,Lifelong Learning,EDU,Philosophy (Field Of Study),Linguistics

Clip makes it super easy to turn any public video into a formative assessment activity in your classroom.

Add multiple choice quizzes, questions and browse hundreds of approved, video lesson ideas for Clip

Make YouTube one of your teaching aids - Works perfectly with lesson micro-teaching plans

Play this activity

1. Students enter a simple code

2. You play the video

3. The students comment

4. You review and reflect

* Whiteboard required for teacher-paced activities

Share on:

Share Sam Harris: I'm Trying to Rehabilitate the Word "Spirituality" on Google+ Share Sam Harris: I'm Trying to Rehabilitate the Word "Spirituality" on Twitter Share Sam Harris: I'm Trying to Rehabilitate the Word "Spirituality" on Facebook Pin Sam Harris: I'm Trying to Rehabilitate the Word "Spirituality" Email Sam Harris: I'm Trying to Rehabilitate the Word "Spirituality"

Ready to see what else Spiral logo can do?

With four apps, each designed around existing classroom activities, Spiral gives you the power to do formative assessment with anything you teach.

Quickfire

Carry out a quickfire formative assessment to see what the whole class is thinking

Discuss

Create interactive presentations to spark creativity in class

Team Up

Student teams can create and share collaborative presentations from linked devices

Clip

Turn any public video into a live chat with questions and quizzes

1000s of teachers use Spiral to deliver awesome, engaging activities that capture students' understanding during lessons.

Now it's your turn Sign up

Spiral Reviews by Teachers and Digital Learning Coaches

Spiral
Review of Spiral by teacher: Kathryn Laster @kklaster

Tried out the canvas response option on @SpiralEducation & it's so awesome! Add text or drawings AND annotate an image! #R10tech

Spiral
Review of Spiral by teacher: Room 220 Math Stars @3rdgradeBCE

Using @SpiralEducation in class for math review. Student approved! Thumbs up! Thanks.

Spiral
Review of Spiral by teacher: Miss Ord @ordmiss

Absolutely amazing collaboration from year 10 today. 100% engagement and constant smiles from all #lovetsla #spiral

Spiral
Review of Spiral by teacher: Adam J. Stryker @strykerstennis

Students show better Interpersonal Writing skills than Speaking via @SpiralEducation Great #data #langchat folks!

Spiral
Review of Spiral by teacher: Dr Ayla Göl @iladylayla

A good tool for supporting active #learning.

Spiral
Review of Spiral by teacher: Brett Erenberg @BrettErenberg

The Team Up app is unlike anything I have ever seen. You left NOTHING out! So impressed!

Get the Clip Chrome Extension & Create Video Lessons in Seconds

Add Clip to Chrome