This chapter asks: What is the source of the enormous interest in spiritual ideas, values, and practices in today's society? The major answer is the failure or at best very partial success of many of that society's leading values and authorities. There is widespread disenchantment with consumerism and the market, science and technology, professional expertise, organized religion, and reformist political movements. In terms of other historical developments, an interest in spirituality is also a by-product of religious pluralism. On the whole, spirituality's emphasis on psychology and morality over metaphysics matches a widespread cultural trend away from the metaphysical and cosmological in favor of the human, the historical, the empirical; and is part of what philosopher Charles Taylor calls “the massive subjective turn of modern culture” away from roles, duties, and rules, and toward a focus on “how people experience their personal lives.”
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