The 'me' is considered the socialized aspect of the individual. The 'me' represents learned behaviors, attitudes, and expectations of others and of society. This is sometimes referred to as the generalized other. The 'me' is considered a phase of the self that is in the past. The 'me' has been developed by the knowledge of society and social interactions that the individual has gained.
We began with institutions and society. Now, we move to individual minds surrounded and shaped by these societal structures. Next, we then move to interacting minds, which further perpetuate societal and individual racial distinctions. Racial bias at each level supports bias at the other levels, creating a racist system.
Most non-Black people do not realize that Black Americans are more diverse than most American ethnic groups. Underestimating their variety allows an oversimplified image to dominate every level, from mind to society, making it a systemic racism. This section describes diversity based on place, intermarriage, immigrant experience, parent education, and sheer escape.
An open attitude to the possibility of spiritual perception may be important for it to occur. Seeing involves knowing what to look for. Thus a familiar food or everyday object may take on new meaning and induce a sense of wonder when perceived closely and without judgement. Intense experiences of a spiritual type may occur during prolonged periods of isolation, physical deprivation or emotional stress. Spiritual awareness is also said to arise from contemplation of works of art or intense concentration on a task, such that the separation between subject and object becomes less apparent. This includes retreat and religious worship and ritual. Ecstatic mystical experiences may occur spontaneously but periods of intense reflection or indecision have often occurred beforehand. There may also be a link between such awareness and an ability to replace the usual focus on oneself with a concern for and interest in others. Religious and secular systems of morality (in contrast to narrower concepts of moralism) concur that we flourish through our ethical and loving actions towards others. This suggests that although spiritual perception is not usually the result of an effort of will, certain states of mind may favour its appearance. It also suggests that spirituality is a response to the world. Rather than cultivation or improvement of an illusory self[47, 48], it may involve being moved by what is other than oneself. It is communication of something within a relationship, an interaction.
How might this brief review of such a vast and complex field help us arrive at a working concept of spirituality? We have argued that humans have always sensed a transcendent spiritual world and although throughout most of history this was placed firmly within a religious framework or narrative, since the Enlightenment there have been many alternative claims and counter claims about its nature and origins. These have included the phenomenology of our mental experiences, possible biological and evolutionary origins, the role of mind altering substances and the nature of the self. To start with, we suggest that the definition of religion already proposed by one of us[15, 16] is simple and pragmatic and we shall not attempt to refine it. However, before defining spirituality we must emphasise three points. First, this very brief overview indicates that although the content of religion and spirituality may vary widely, its form is more limited. Second, although we can describe secular sources in people who understand spirituality purely in those terms, we can say nothing at all if the source is claimed to be sacred, diabolical or divine. Third, it is an error to include proximate consequences such as a moral life or more distal outcomes such as better physical or mental health in the definition as this renders tautological research into consequences. Several published definitions contain within them what we would regard as its consequences [12, 13, 17]. Given these caveats, we propose a definition that is rooted in how we believe the word is used by everyday speakers. We suggest that the word spirituality has been difficult to define because most attempts to do so have tried to abstract the word from its application. We are guided by Wittgenstein's critique of the abstraction of the meaning of words from "the spatial and temporal phenomenon of language". Attempts to drill down to some base or 'thing' that is spirituality will founder in incomprehensibility. Rather we suggest that the best approach to the meaning of spirituality lies in how it is used in language rather than in anything hidden in the minds of those who use it. With this orientation in mind, we propose in table 1 four components of spirituality, any one of which may stand alone. These components do not constitute a hierarchy of value from basic to advanced spirituality, nor is one component a bridge to the next. However, the components are ordered in terms of increasing awareness of relationship to something that is beyond empirical verification. In using the words domain and existence we do not imply a world of spirits; we emphasize again that any reference to a source of spirituality is not part of the definition (table 1). Furthermore, we suggest that desire for understanding; wonderment at beauty, art or nature; or the intention to live an ethical life are neither necessary nor sufficient for the definition as all occur in what is regarded as every day, secular experience. We do not regard the emotion in component 3 as a consequence of spirituality when it forms the route of awareness itself. When we speak of spirituality an essential part of what we mean is our emotional response. Finally, we assume that these components of spirituality are mediated by processes rooted in brain function.
We are interested in provoking debate about whether our suggestion that spirituality is used in these ways is widely recognised. Our experience as well as the evidence from qualitative research would suggest that it is. Categorising individuals' accounts may help to impose structure on their complexity and to understand how spirituality is expressed. Nevertheless, we make three caveats. First, we should be wary of treating the components as if they exist materially in the minds of individuals. Second, we should avoid squeezing people's accounts into specific categories when there is no precise fit. Finally, we should regard this taxonomy as a means of understanding spirituality and not as an end in itself. A number of clinical applications arise from this definition. Most importantly, clinicians might explore the four components of spirituality and how they impact on their patients' care. We suggest a number of questions on spirituality (table 2). The first five are the most basic, while the sixth and seventh may be posed when relevant. Examples of research questions that might be pursued are: 1) What is the prevalence and stability of these four components of spirituality in patients, the general population and between cultures? 2) Are health and social outcomes different in those who regard the source as sacred or secular? 3) Is the frontier between psychotic experiences and beliefs and components 3 and 4 of our definition to be found in the phenomena described or their consequences?
Whether digital platforms are ultimately a help or a hindrance to self-identity remains to be seen. The human mind is still very much a frontier of modern science. For individuals who wish to ask the psychological questions essential for modern times, however, the right career begins with the right degree. 2b1af7f3a8