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Let's discuss Russian "spirituality"...


There are some words which have purely subjective meanings in my view, and "spirituality" is one of them. For me, this word has nothing to do with God or religion. As an agnostic, I'm not attached to any church or religious rituals, yet I still consider myself a spiritual person. This seems to be a key word in Russian media and culture, as discussions about "spirituality" are constantly thrown around on LJ and in comments, usually to insult the non-spiritual and decadent West. I saw it just this week when the pro-Kremlin blogger "politichanka" grew outraged at Varlamov's recent posts about bad Sevastopol, particularly his focus on all the trash in the city. The reason for all this shit on the ground? She claims that "Ukraine in 23 years failed to instill spiritual values in the youth. Therefore, young people behave like pigs and there is garbage everywhere." Of course, this is an absurd statement but I grew curious and decided to ask her what her definition of "spirituality" is. Her answer? "Actually I don't know."

I never use words I don't know or understand, especially when I'm insulting people. For me, spirituality is an aura, the energy and emotion that you evoke when encountering complete strangers, your charitable contributions to the overall good of humanity, a connection to something bigger than yourself, and an overall sense of openness and positivity toward the world and its inhabitants....and how about you? How does Russian culture define "spirituality," and why is the term so commonly used there? Help me understand. :)


Dec. 17th, 2015 03:30 pm (UTC)
Любовь - это то, что русские придумали, чтобы денег не платить. (C)
The painful truth is that there is no "Russian spirituality" - there is an overused explanation for laziness, lack of work ethic, financial insufficiency, etc
We have a family anecdote about my brother. When he was about six years old, he was exposed to a bragging one of his friend who came from a very privileged family. That boy was listing all his expensive toys and his recent trips with the parent, and my brother was visibly upset trying not to cry. And then suddenly, my brother's face lit up as he thought of a response to all of his friend's statements. After taking a dramatic pause, he declared: "Зато я душой богат!" I have no idea where he got it from, but apparently it worked and made the bully to shut up. I am pretty sure most of the Russian population still share the attitude of a six y o.
Dec. 17th, 2015 03:38 pm (UTC)
отлично! you made my day ))))
Dec. 17th, 2015 05:02 pm (UTC)
:)) Does your brother also live in the USA? It must be interesting for you to observe the cultural differences between Russians and Americans, even in your daily work now as a lawyer because it appears that you have a lot of Russian immigrant clients in your legal work.
Dec. 17th, 2015 05:27 pm (UTC)
My brother lives in Russia but he is well-travelled, so I cannot give him a credit for being a typical quintessence of Russian soul. :)
I have a lot to say about Russian mentality based on my interaction with my clients, but I usually try to keep it professional :)
Dec. 18th, 2015 12:59 pm (UTC)
True, I think Petranovskaya explained this "culture code" pretty well here: http://spektr.press/missiya-lech-kostmi-nischeta-i-prenebrezhenie-soboj-kak-chast-kulturnogo-koda/


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