Spiritual Atheist by Nick Seneca Jankel
|Spiritual Atheist by Nick Seneca Jankel|
|Reviewer: Megan Kenny|
|Summary: Spiritual Atheist is part memoir, part humblebrag, part 'instruction manual' on how to blend spirituality and science. Unchallenging but alas, also pretty uninspiring, Jenkel fails to live up to the promises he makes about holding the key to spirituality in the digital age.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 350||Date: January 2018|
|Publisher: Switch On|
|External links: Author's website|
Spiritual Atheist is a new 'bible' for the spiritual not the religious, according to the tagline. This is a taboo smashing book which solves the problem of modernity and explains how to be a 'spiritual technologist' who can live and love freely in 'spiritual fullness' without relying on a belief in god. Touching on everything from 'brain science' to AI, Jankel offers a 'path to meaning', allowing us to move beyond consumerism towards an ethical life.
In theory. In practice, Jankel's latest book appears to be a mix of humblebrag and personal memoir with titbits of theory and philosophy thrown in. From its description, I was expecting something more tangible, a clearer direction and perhaps some answers to the questions posed. This clarity never arrives. Whilst we meander through Jankel's adolescence, lonely and unloved, then his foray into therapy and stint as a teacher abroad, it becomes difficult to see the point he's trying to make. Spiritual Atheist comes to feel like a word salad of a book, with no real answer to how to unite science and wisdom to thrive in love, life & leadership in the Digital Age.
I must confess that this book does, at times, feel a bit like a hard sell from Jankel. As someone who runs a company whose tagline is 'Thrive Your Future', Spiritual Atheist feels like a 300 page advert. In short, I didn't like it. It feels like a cynical attempt to promote Jankel's achievements and also his company whilst offering no real solutions or novel ideas.
There is also the fact that it is much easier to live a life of spiritual exploration, from rolling around in fits of giggles with students whilst teaching in Africa, to finding spiritual bliss raving in Nevada when you come from a point of privilege. Jankel has had a wealth of opportunity, from studying at Cambridge to setting up his own company and travelling the world advising others. Whilst I'd never wish to minimise anyone's achievements, it does appear that Spiritual Atheist serves more as a chance to display all the things he has done, rather than providing a means of finding spiritual fulfilment for those with less access to such opportunities.
Jankel's writing style is also overly simplistic, as are the ideas presented here and so I did find it, at times, quite tedious and hard to focus on. Whilst an easy to read format makes Spiritual Atheist accessible for all, it also leads to a less than satisfying exploration of happiness and fulfilment. There is also little explanation from Jankel, rather definitive statements are made without much evidence to back it up, points such as for a spiritual atheist, the mind-body problem disappears. Mind and body are simply two aspects of the same Moibus-strip-like reality. We see body when we weigh it or put it in a scanner. We see a mind when we meditate or dance. Jankel rarely follows through to explain or elaborate on such statements which, for a critical thinker such as myself, feels unsatisfying. Whilst it could be argued that it would be remiss to assume Jankel has all the answers, particularly with regard to the amorphous issue of spiritual fulfilment, I expected more from this book and was left disappointed.
This is a book for those looking to perhaps learn more about one man's view of spiritual atheism and for those who may enjoy reading about one individual's experiences. For those looking for a critical, detailed and focused analysis of what it means to be spiritual in the Digital Age, I think you will be left wanting, as I was. This is a shame, as the book promises so much but give it a try if you are after an unchallenging look at spirituality in the modern age.
For those of you interested in reading more about life, happiness and spirituality, you could try The Secrets of Happiness by Richard Schoch
You can read more book reviews or buy Spiritual Atheist by Nick Seneca Jankel at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Spiritual Atheist by Nick Seneca Jankel at Amazon.com.
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