Dark spirituality

Charles Taylor, a Canadian philosopher has won this year’s Templeton Prize – worth more than $1.5 million.

Taylor investigates people’s desire to seek meaning and spiritual direction, and has suggested that the world’s problems can only be solved by considering both their secular and spiritual roots. He argues that by failing to take individuals’ spiritual needs into account and focusing only on the economic and political, politicians have left out a large part of how people of all religions find meaning in their lives.

“I think the reason why young children turn to violence in Gaza City is not just through socio-economic factors but also through the meaninglessness of their lives,” (Taylor) said yesterday. “They feel no purpose and people come along and offer them a ’cause’.

“Or take the people who were involved in the July bombings in London. What we know is that some were highly successful and integrated in British society and yet they did what they did, because they were excited by some greater cause of Islam on a global level. They were giving some sense to their lives by becoming fighters. We need to understand this ‘dark spirituality’ as the West is very unschooled in this.”

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