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" One touch of nature

makes all the world kin "

William Shakespeare

Spiritual Nakedness and Reductionism

November 15th, 2007

In another post I listed the many reasons for having a blog. I have been amazed at how many of these there actually are. And now it’s time to reveal a deeper, darker, motivation behind many an author’s blogging efforts (and my own though in a minor way I hope) – which is that they are trying to ‘build a platform’. So many books are published, and the competition for contracts and publishers’ attention is so strong, that the more of an audience you have the better. If the publisher thinks people are listening to you, they are more likely to offer you a contract.

So if we are to believe this is of value, creating a blog becomes one of the things an author needs to do – just like creating a website, trying to get reviews and so on. Of course this isn’t news and isn’t really a ‘dark secret’ but I guess it just adds to the idea I’ve been pondering over: the concept of ‘spiritual nakedness’. It shows that some, perhaps many, of our actions have layers of intent and that attempting to be authentic is not as simple as it may appear.

The problem with the concept of spiritual or psychological nakedness is that it easily falls into the trap of reductionism – and worse, of a search for an illusory ‘purity’ – as if we can ‘strip’ away motivations to come to ‘the truth’ which we will discover to be one single thing. The reality is, I suspect, more interesting, more complex, more colourful and confusing. When we undress – psychologically or literally – we do not come to just one version of ourselves – the ‘true self’. Instead there are still a multitude of identities – the same naked person can be coy, calm, proud, appearing as an object or clearly as a subject. Despite our knowing that life, and we ourselves, are complicated and multi-faceted why do we yearn so for the pure and simple?