I think you'd have a hard time attributing secularism to just academia. The secular world includes democratic politics, capitalistic business, and the entertainment sector. All of that's winning while the organized religions are having their superficial dialogues.

You're suggesting the solution is the commonsense displayed by the ancients before the rise of civilizations and even by many folks today, that being the emphasis on practice as opposed to theological creeds.

In that case the conflict would be between spiritual practices and the secular ones which often coopt the former. Meditation, for example, would have to compete with self-help exercises or with cognitive behavioural therapy. The problem, then, is that secularism intrudes at the level of practice too. Are the archaic practices so obviously superior to the secular ones?

To be sure, I criticize the latter, including self-help therapy and psychiatry. But I also suspect that ancient spiritual practices are far more disruptive than their spokespeople often lead us to believe. They rest on entheogens, for example, which alter brain chemistry and which humiliate the users, disintegrating their egos. It's not clear we'd have any of our technological advances or scientific knowledge without humanistic pride.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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