Biological and Psychological Foundations of the Quest

Robert M. Torrance

in The Spiritual Quest

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 1994 | ISBN: 9780520081321
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520920163 | DOI:
Biological and Psychological Foundations of the Quest

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  • Social and Cultural Anthropology


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Religion as process is one source of the spiritual quest, suggesting that the individual's search, idiosyncratic though it may sometimes seem, gives intensified direction to an impetus shared in some measure with society as a whole. The outcast could not so frequently return as hero or savior if the needs to which she gives voice were not latent in those who initially cast her out. But if the human being is truly animal quaerens, a similar latency will be found in the biological, psychological, and linguistic conditions of human life and culture without which society and religion would themselves be inconceivable. The quest, far from being an incidental activity, gives specifically human shape to processes basic to life. Distinctive of both is direction, or even, in some sense, purpose. Unlike modern physicists, who have rigorously rejected the notion of telos, many biologists find function or purpose a concept fundamental to understanding life.

Keywords: religion; quest; human being; culture; society; telos

Chapter.  5842 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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