spirituality of imperfection

I really should have included this in my previous post, but I couldn’t quite fit it in. It’s an article I read a couple of days ago and it’s about a book, from which this quote comes:

‘The problem with organized religions, Bill Wilson once complained, ‘is their claim how confoundedly right all of them are.’ The spirituality of imperfection … makes no claim to be ‘right.’ It is a spirituality more interested in questions than in answers, more a journey toward humility than a struggle for perfection.

‘The spirituality of imperfection begins with the recognition that trying to be perfect is the most tragic human mistake.’

Read more on the excellent Brain Pickings blog.

19 thoughts on “spirituality of imperfection

  1. Swedish TV just showed this TED talk from wrongologist Kathryn Schulz. Found it on YouTube. A highlight from the conference “The Rediscovery of Wonder”. Enjoy!

  2. Yes it is – and there is more on Kathryn Schulz on Brainpickings, and another video about regretting a tattoo:


    I wonder if we might already have heard of wrongosophy described as the evil materialistic science, denying the objective truths of spiritual science, in it’s tireless search for errors? I could be wrong, of course.

  3. Oh, well, of course. That could be it.

    But I’m worried about canineosophy. It’s awfully sure of its truths. Mr Dog claims he’s never chased the wrong bunny, thanks to canineosophy. I’m not so sure…

    That is another a very good video.

  4. Wonderful talk… I have been thinking about the idea lately, of grading students on the quality of the questions they ask rather than the answers they give. The idea is, you have to understand the subject in order to ask good questions. OK, it won’t work for math, but still…

  5. Pete, I and a teacher friend of mine have been discussing grading students on the quality of their questions! And since my sister started thinking along those lines, she has been worried about how to help her pupils ask better questions. And she told them stories and asked the pupils to come up with mathematical questions about it. So it could work in maths too! However, you can’t always “judge” a question unkess you know why someone asks it. A superficially boring question about a fact, low in the Hierachy of Good Questions, could be part of a very clever line of reasoning. I’ll stop there, this is a favorite subject and I might go on forever …

  6. Oh please do go on forever ;-)

    Funny how waldorf, for all its supposed progressiveness and inventiveness, does not manage to come up with anything similar. Awe and reverence more important, I guess.

    Daisy — nope, I haven’t, only the article. But might be interesting.

  7. I recall the chair of the SWSF telling us that Steiner educators should approach the world “with questions, not with answers”…..

  8. Good point, Daisy! Could be an opportunity for Steiner education, compared to much of mainstream education. Has anyone seen it being practiced in classrooms? How?

    Now if we look at for example what Waldorf pedagogy says about the development of children, there is on one hand the ongoing inquiry and debate of mainstream science – and on the other hand the eternal truths of Steiner’s spiritual science. I have never seen the mystical seven-year cycles and the temperament diagnostic manual being questioned. But this would be a good day to be wrong ;-)

    BTW if you are the same Daisy as the one with the questions earlier, any news?

  9. Hi Ulf, I’ve definitely met Steiner teachers who are open-minded and questioning. Not all of them take Steiner’s indications as gospel.

    Yes I’m the same Daisy, I’ve finished and submitted my dissertation. I’m happy for anyone to read it if they wish to. :)

  10. I don’t doubt that there are Waldorf teachers who practice more open-ended inquiries in their classrooms. Especially because I have seen quite a lot of references to “phenomenology” in anthroposophical writings about education. I’m no expert on phenomenology but I think it might include trying to observe without too many preconceived ideas or categories in your head. Which could be a sort of meditative experience – or a way to discover new patterns, meaning or knowledge. Anyway I’m interested in the HOW of such practices, if anyone have seen or heard about them in Steiner schools.

    And yes, it would be lovely to read your dissertation, Daisy. Do you have a link to it?

  11. “I have never seen the mystical seven-year cycles and the temperament diagnostic manual being questioned”

    yes Ulf, great point! Reading Steiner, there’s so many statements of absolute truths, and pompous “the moon was made of spongy lettuce, this, gentlemen is the truth,” “this you see, is anthroposophical law, you gullible adoring worshippers hanging on my every absurd new pronouncement,”. It goes with the “freedom” always banded about when people talk about Steiner.

  12. Hi Ulf, sorry I forgot to get back to you. I don’t have a link to my dissertation on the web, however I can email it?

  13. Can I have a look too?

    Btw, I found this article quite interesting. Only very loosely relevant to the topic, but nontheless…

  14. Hi Ulf, I even signed up for a Gravatar account and I still couldn’t see you email address….maybe I’m being stupid….?

    Alicia, I’ll send it to you :)

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