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“How do you perceive that word, spirit? How do you measure it? What sort of entity is it? What value is it to living things? What value is it to human beings, who are perhaps most responsible for its consequences? The answers appear to be as numerous as its definitions …
Spirit – noun
1. the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul.
2. the incorporeal part of humans: present in spirit though absent in body.
3. the soul regarded as separating from the body at death.
4. conscious, incorporeal being, as opposed to matter: the world of spirit.
5. a supernatural, incorporeal being, especially one inhabiting a place, object, etc., or having a particular character: evil spirits.
6. a fairy, sprite, or elf.
7. an angel or demon.
8. an attitude or principle that inspires, animates, or pervades thought, feeling, or action: the spirit of reform.
9. (initial capital letter) the divine influence as an agency working in the human heart.
10.a divine, inspiring, or animating being or influence. Num. 11:25; Is. 32:15.
11.(initial capital letter) the third person of the Trinity; Holy Spirit.
12.the soul or heart as the seat of feelings or sentiments, or as prompting to action: a man of broken spirit.
13.spirits, feelings or mood with regard to exaltation or depression: low spirits; good spirits.
14.excellent disposition or attitude in terms of vigor, courage, firmness of intent, etc.; mettle: That’s the spirit!
15.temper or disposition: meek in spirit.
16.an individual as characterized by a given attitude, disposition, character, action, etc.: A few brave spirits remained to face the danger.
17.the dominant tendency or character of anything: the spirit of the age.
18.vigorous sense of membership in a group: college spirit.
19.the general meaning or intent of a statement, document, etc. (opposed to letter ): the spirit of the law.
20.Chemistry. the essence or active principle of a substance as extracted in liquid form, especially by distillation.
21.Often, spirits. a strong distilled alcoholic liquor.
22.Chiefly British, alcohol.
23.Pharmacology. a solution in alcohol of an essential or volatile principle; essence.
24.any of certain subtle fluids formerly supposed to permeate the body.
25.the Spirit, God.
The spirit is incorporeal. It is not bound by mind, body, ‘fact’ and opinion. It is beyond simple definition. can it be beyond commercial value? I do hope so, and is it perhaps beyond measurement. For me, it is part of the individual human ‘heart’, the non-physical heart. It is that part of a human body that echos throughout our universe long after the body is dead and perhaps even long after life on Earth is extinguished.
It is called upon, like the artist’s muse, so often when the mind and body are under stress, under pressure that it cannot sustain for too long; when conflict and threat to livelihoods and even life itself, sharpens the mind. It can come into its own, when ego, pride and prejudice are dispensing their know desires for individual, selfish survival; when individuals begin to fear the loss of their survival and start thrashing about and fighting for their gene pool; when the search for truth is no longer possible by simple logic, ‘reasoning’, science, well articulated, but biased speeches … this is when we have our greatest need to resort to the spirit. Whether that spirit is your God, or an established religious faith and and its set of scriptures, prescriptions for the easement of stress and improvement of self, or whether it is music, poetry or the writings of great minds, or simply great visual art, it is, from my perspective, all very valid. Humans need a spiritual guide, wither it’s external or internal. Without this, the wayward spirit can lead us further from the truth. When our spirit is strong, we can conquer the World.
May we all be able to poem, paint and play until our hearts are healed, to help us further pursue the quest for truth, through the spirit.
P.S. You may like to consider the future of digital technology in art. Can you envisage A.I. (artificial intelligence) being as capable as the human spirit in the part it plays in its creative inspiration for art?
© 2019, John Anstie / Lead for the December 2019 “The BeZine,” Volume 6, Issue 4, themed “A Life of the Spirit”
JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British writer, poet and musician – a multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”. He has participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. He is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).
Recent publications are anthologies resulting from online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group (Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.
* Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.