As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I've started a new blog, Yoga Emergence. My attention has, thus, been somewhat diverted from this blog as my blogging persona has bifurcated again. Please check out my new blog if you have not yet done so.
One reason I chose the name Yoga Emergence for my new blog was to try to capture the way in which yoga has emerged as the central spiritual practice of my life, and continues to emerge in ways that surprise me every day.
I also chose this name because I think that the concept of Emergence as used by Phyllis Tickle in her book, "The Great Emergence," is necessary if we wish to understand how it is that so many people now say they are "spiritual but not religious," not to mention understanding those of us whose spiritual practices transcend boundaries that used to separate major faiths. I will have a bit more to say about that on my new blog, so keep an eye open there for more on this topic.
I reviewed Tickle's book last year, but was initially drawn to it by her use of the word "Emergence," one I had previously been familiar with in complexity science. There, it refers to a phenomenon or behavior that exists only at the system level, but one which cannot exist at the level of the parts of which the system is made. So, for example, we say that "wetness" emerges from a large collection of water molecules, since we know that one water molecule cannot be "wet."
Tickle makes brief mention, in her book, of the emergence concept as it is used in science circles, but not enough to satisfy a complexity scientist like me. Her short discussion did make me wonder, though, if what she has identified is the emergence of an entirely new religious landscape--one that comes about through interactions of different religious groups, and which cannot exist in one isolated group. If so, this would, in fact, be the type of emergence we talk about when we say that a drop of water is wet, but a molecule of water is not.