Resources

Glossary

 

The terms ‘spiritual aspirations,’ ‘spiritual laws,’ and ‘spiritual realities’ are key concepts in the writings of Sir John Templeton. In this glossary, the initiators of The Enhancing Life Project provide a provisional and more nuanced definition of these concepts. One purpose of the Project is to expand and test these ideas as well as generating new concepts needed for enhancing life.

 

Counter-World

A counter-world is a reality that manifests a distinction between present conditions and possible states of affairs. They function to instigate processes of transformation of life. Counter-worlds may be found in religion and the religious imagination, but also, for instance, in media narratives, cultural ideologies, social ideals, and visions of technological enhancement. Counter-worlds can be designed as utopias or dystopias. Accordingly, they can function for the enhancement of life, but also be used, implicitly or explicitly, to distort and endanger life.

Spiritual Aspirations

Aspirations are drives to imagine, understand and bring about a condition of reality not yet manifest. By spiritual is meant the interrelation of three elements: i) a power that is driving a living reality, ii) a structuring and orienting dynamic, and iii) a process of emergence that leads to the stable condition of a complex reality not being reducible to its parts. Spiritual dynamics are directed towards the enhancement of life, yet are also open to distortion in ways that endanger life. Within the dynamic interdependence of the three elements just mentioned, spiritual aspirations accentuate the element of a transformative dynamic or power that is driving a living reality. Spiritual aspirations may be found in, but also exceed, the realm of religion and religious reasoning. Hence, spiritual aspirations may also be found, for example, in legal transformations, economic and media developments, and social dynamics.

Spiritual Laws

Laws are rules and measures of living things for structuring individual and social life. Laws can be implicitly embedded in action, but can also be deliberately used and even altered for orienting a form of life. By spiritual is meant the interrelation of three elements: i) a power that is driving a living reality, ii) a structuring and orienting dynamic, and iii) a process of emergence that leads to the stable condition of a complex reality not being reducible to its parts. Spiritual dynamics are directed towards the enhancement of life, yet are also open to distortion in ways that endanger life. Within the dynamic interdependence of the three elements just mentioned, spiritual laws accentuate the element of structuring and orienting life. Spiritual laws may be found in, but also exceed, the realm of religion and religious reasoning. Hence, spiritual laws may also be found, for example, in psychological formations, communication processes, and biological dynamics. They can be intertwined with, but at the same time reach beyond patterns in natural processes.

Spiritual Life

Life is a dynamic reality structured by various interactions of organism and environment in terms of basic needs and correlate goods required for a process of life to flourish. Processes of life can be individual and social, human and non-human. By spiritual is meant the interrelation of three elements: i) a power that is driving a living reality, ii) a structuring and orienting dynamic, and iii) a process of emergence that leads to the stable condition of a complex reality not being reducible to its parts. Spiritual dynamics are directed towards the enhancement of life, yet are also open to distortion in ways that endanger life. The term “spiritual life” is meant to capture this dynamic interdependence and integration of the three elements just mentioned and thus points towards a “thick” understanding of life that transcends classical academic boundaries and reductionist approaches. Spiritual life thus is not a special (e.g. religious) kind of life “above” natural life, but life as a complex reality, encompassing cultural, religious, and social dimensions intertwined with, but not reducible to with biological processes. 

Spiritual Realities

Something real consists of a distinct and complex condition that resists and interacts with its environments. By spiritual is meant the interrelation of three elements: i) a power that is driving a living reality, ii) a structuring and orienting dynamic, and iii) a process of emergence that leads to the stable condition of a complex reality not being reducible to its parts. Spiritual dynamics are directed towards the enhancement of life, yet are also open to distortion in ways that endanger life. Within the dynamic interdependence of the three elements just mentioned, spiritual realities accentuate the element of an emergent relatively stable condition non reducible to its parts. Spiritual realities may be found in, but also exceed, the realm of religion and religious reasoning. Hence, spiritual realities may also be found, for example, in the arts, technological advances, and political formations.

Bibliography

In addition to the initial bibliography written by the two Principal Investigators, William Schweiker and Günter Thomas, The Enhancing Life Project scholars each prepared a bibliography with books and articles from their disciplines which they judge most important for Enhancing Life Studies. Together these form a comprehensive bibliography for The Enhancing Life Project.  Check these out to get their recommendations on resources which will strengthen further the interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration inherent to Enhancing Life Studies; you may search by name or by key terms in their titles or their research areas.

Initial Bibliography of the Enhancing Life Project


William Schweiker & Günter Thomas

Syllabi

Each Enhancing Life Project scholar teaches two courses, weaving the theme of enhancing life into their respective disciplines.  Below are syllabi for the courses.  We encourage other teachers to use these resources, and we welcome your feedback!  Email us at enhancinglife@uchicago.edu.

Publications of Books

Publications of Articles, Essays, and Chapters

Anderson, P.. "Ricoeur in Dialogue with Feminist Philosophy of Religion: Hermeneutic Hospitality in Contemporary Practice ." Lexington Books Read →
pp. 199-220 Feminist Explorations of Paul Ricoeur's Philosophy

Anderson, P.. "When Justice and Forgiveness Come Apart: A Feminist Perspective on Restorative Justice and Intimate Violence’." The Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Read →

Blondheim, M.. "Media Theology: New Communication Technologies as Religious Constructs, Metaphors, and Experiences." New Media and Society Read →

Danely, J. "Hope in an ageing Japan: Transience and transcendence." Contemporary Japan Read →

Haynes, Jeffrey. "‘The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and improved global dialogue’." London: Routledge Read →

Jansen LA, Mahadevan D, Appelbaum P, Klein WMP, Weinstein ND, Mori T, Sulmasy DP. "Dispositional optimism and therapeutic expectations in early phase oncology trials." Cancer Read →

Malik IA, Shabila NP, Al-Hadithi TA. "Women's knowledge of the domestic violence legislation in Erbil, Iraq and their response to spousal violence." Journal of Family Violence Read →

Rossing, B.. "Eco-Reformation, Deep Incarnation, and Lutheran Perspectives on the Universe Story." Orbis Books Read →
Pages 264-272 in Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, eds., Living Cosmology: Christian Responses to Journey of the Universe

Sattler, S.. "Cognitive Enhancement in Germany: Prevalence, Attitudes, Moral Acceptability, Terms, Legal Status, and the Ethics Debate." Oxford University Press Read →
p. 159-180. in Jotterand, F., Dubljević, V. (eds.), Cognitive Enhancement: Ethical and Policy Implications in International Perspectives

Sulmasy, DP. "The clinical decision making process for the elderly patient at the end of life: upholding the tradition." Vatican Read →
Assisting the Elderly and Palliative Care: Proceedings of the 21st General Assembly of Members, Pontifical Academy for Life: 83-99.

Sulmasy, DP. "Death and dignity in Catholic Christian thought." Medicine Health Care and Philosophy Read →

Sulmasy, DP. "The Ethics of Medically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration at the End of Life: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff." The Oxford Handbook of Ethics at the End of Life Read →

Couldry, Nick. "The price of connection: ‘surveillance capitalism’." The Conversation Read →
An article in conversation with the themes of the ELP, with over 62 on-site comments, 450 Twitter mentions, and 1800 Facebook shares.

Haynes, Jeffrey. "The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations' ability to improve relations between Christians and Muslims has been limited'." LSE Blogs: Religion and the Public Sphere Read →
Part of a series of blogs that overall attract 70,000 hits per week.

Haynes, Jeffrey. "National Sovereignty, Globalisation and Securitisation of International Migration." Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute Read →

Nagel, Alexander-Kenneth . "Governing religious diversity in urban contexts: The interplay of religious and state representatives in local interfaith networks." Routledge Read →
Co-authored with Eva Dick; pages 27-45 in the book "Spiritualizing the City"

Nagel, Alexander-Kenneth. "Sind Druiden gemeinnützig? Anerkennungprozeduren und kollektive Identitäten am Beispiel des britischen Druid Network." Read →
In book Zeitschrift für Evangelische Theologie 76 (3), pages 440-450.

Barbara Rossing. "The World is About to Turn: Preaching Apocalyptic Texts for a Planet in Peril." Wipf & Stock Read →
A chapter of the book Eco-Reformation; pages 140-159.

Scott, Christopher. "Life Played Richly." Read →

Scott, Christopher. "Longevity research and genetic enhancement." Baylor College of Medicine Read →

Sulmasy, Daniel. "Non-faith-based arguments against assisted suicide and euthanasia." Taylor & Francis Read →
Published in Linacre Quarterly 2016; 83:246-257

Zimmerman, Ruben. "Abundant and Abandoning Life. Towards an ‘Ethic of Life’ in the Gospel of John." Fellowship of Biblical Studies Read →
Published in Volume 64 of the Australian Biblical Review; pages 31-53

Danely, Jason. "#Ageing." Allegra Lab Read →
Series of blog posts

Danely, Jason. "Creativity and Aging in Japan." Age of Creativity Read →

Ing, Michael. "Two Virtuous Actions Cannot Both be Completed: Rethinking Value Conflicts in Early Confucian Thought.." Wiley Read →
The Journal of Religious Ethics 44.4, pages 659-684.

Mitchell, Monique . "The family dance: Ambiguous loss, meaning-making, and the psychological family in foster care." National Council on Family Relations Read →
Journal of Family Theory and Review, 8, 360-372.

Mitchell, Monique. "Building a relational home for children transitioning into foster care." Read →
Fostering Families Today, pages 26-27.

Pinchevski, Amit. ""Alterity"." Read →
Encyclopedia entry in The International Encyclopedia of Communication Theory and Philosophy.

Schweitz, Lea. "Mothering and a Goose." Read →

Schweitz, Lea. "Take Me to the (River) Walk." Read →