I’ve been thinking about this category of “vital man,” and for some reason I’ve been having difficulty putting it into words, even though I am quite familiar with the type of person we are talking about. I can tell in an instant if I am dealing with a vital man, but it happens on such an intuitive level that I’ve never really put words to it. But the more you develop spiritually, the more you will recognize a gulf between yourself and this kind of person.
I believe that I intuitively understand something of what Dr. Godwin means by "vital man," and I share his growing sense of separateness and even alienation from individuals, groups, and even entire subcultures steeped in this orientation toward life. I also share his dismay with the coarsening (he might call it the de-subtilization of emotions) effect of this orientation at sporting events, in the media, and in the arts. But I wonder if it's really true that the "more you develop spiritually," the more you feel separated and alienated from "this kind of person."
Something deep within tells me that real spiritual development, at least at its highest levels, does not entail these feelings of separation and alienation. Quite the opposite actually. And what this suggests to me is that I have a long, long way to go. But what I wonder is whether I must first increasingly feel more separate from others before I can feel spiritually united with them, or whether a genuinely spiritual path never fosters this feeling of separateness or, at least, never regards it as any kind of virtue.
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