Friday, July 24, 2009


"I'm probably 20 per cent atheist and 80 per cent agnostic. I don't think anyone really knows. You'll either find out or not when you get there, and then there's no point thinking about it." -- Brad Pitt

Finally, the two-time Sexiest Man Alive and I have something in common. (If these comments, reportedly made to the German website, were indeed made by Pitt -- you know how sketchy some of those European publications can be.) For me, who was raised in a household where the fire-and-brimstone version of religion was practiced and preached on a near-daily basis, the road to my current state of wholly enlightenment was long and tortured. Today, I'm thoroughly bemused by how many of my Facebook friends from my hometown (Kissimmee, Florida) regularly use the words "God" and "church" in their status updates.

But getting back to Brad, what I thought was even more revealing than the above quote, was his admitting that he's not a spiritual person. It's an interesting thing to say because almost everyone I know who does not follow any particular religion qualifies it by saying, "But I'm a very spiritual person." I'm not even sure what it means to be spiritual. Does it mean that you sit around eyes closed chanting mumble jumble? Does it mean that you have regular contact with the otherworld? Or that a piece of trash blowing in the wind is so beautiful that it turns you into a pretentious blubbering fool (like Wes Bentley's character in American Beauty)? What exactly does it mean to be spiritual.

I consider myself to be a person of great depth (whether or not anyone else thinks so), and I spend an inordinate amount of time on self-analysis and thinking about the world I live in and life in general (rather than simply living it). But at the same time, I'm a practical realist. I may believe in reincarnation and kismet and things that go bump in the night, but I have about as much use for the word "spiritual" as I do for walking barefoot in the country, getting in touch with nature.

I'm like Miranda in the episode of Sex & the City in which she and Steve spent their honeymoon out in the country. Or Carrie when Aidan dragged her out to his broken-down country house. My sentiment exactly, girls! I'm currently copy editing a book for Time Out on perfect places in Argentina and Uruguay. One allegedly "perfect place," Cabo Polonia, Uruguay, has an official population of 68 people, 72 dogs and no electricity or running water.

I suppose this kind of set up is meant to encourage spirituality -- and perhaps poor hygiene. For me, it's my worst nightmare come true. The place looks absolutely breathtaking (see the photo above for proof), but I don't do the middle of nowhere for more than a few hours. I've never gone camping, and if I have anything to say about it, I never will. Remember, depth does not necessarily equal deprivation. Give me running hot water, AC, phone service, cable TV and Wi-Fi , or give me death. I belong to a world of modern comforts where there's no talk of rainbows, unicorns and little fluffy clouds, and the closest you get to spirits is bottle of Jack Daniel's.
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