This is a continuation of an earlier post on secular spirituality. That first one was called “Secular Spirituality is, in the End, Spiritual Materialism.” The second “Secular Spirituality, Cont’d: Soft Porn As Spiritual Quest.”
Jennifer Lopez performed at the Halftime Show of the Super Bowl on Sunday. Since then, much has been made of her fit, seductive, envy-inducing body. She is 50-years-old.
Another Hollywood actress, Haile Berry, now 53, is training for a movie in which she’s playing an MMA fighter trying to make a return to the ring. In one Instagram post, she shows off her washboard abs of which she is quite proud.
Or consider Elizabeth Hurley, at 54, who has her own bikini line, one for which she models. (When you search for Elizabeth Hurley, AI first suggests “Elizabeth Hurley son” and next “Elizabeth Hurley age.”)
What we’re witnessing, once again, is secular spirituality. Which goes something like this:
- There is the loss of the transcendent dimension on the “north side.”
- And there is also the feeling that the purely secular on the “south side” is insufficient.
- Therefore, in this weird interstitial space between the “north side” and the “south side” is springing up quasi-spiritual articulations of the secular: peak experiences, living indefinitely long, the beautiful body, and so on.
What is good about this development is that it reveals, starkly so, the inadequacy of a secular outlook: the “spiritualizing” of, say, the Carnivore Diet or of productivity reveals to us as much.
But then there comes the day of reckoning. Alas, secular spirituality will not fulfill our spiritual longings. The body shall age. Spiritual materialism shall get old. Peak experiences finally cease. Growth will reach its limit. The temporal shall remain temporal.
Someday even Jennifer Lopez will be irrelevant. This says little about her and a lot about modern culture.