Morris West: A writer and a spirituality
HarperCollins Religious, $22.95 pb, 173 pp
‘Until the last decade or so,’ writes Maryanne Confoy, ‘most people thought of spirituality, if they thought of it at all, as something for other people.’ It is certainly true that there is a new and quite sudden interest in spirituality in this country, and this book on the spirituality of Morris West is a timely addition to the growing tradition of – what can we call it? – ‘wisdom writing’ in contemporary Australia. It might be a symptom of the turn of the millennium, it might be a reaction to the craziness and fragmentation of the modern world, it might be a sign of cultural disorientation and the search for roots – however we attempt to account for it, spirituality and the quest for meaning is back on the public agenda and is in great demand. Just ask your local bookseller.
This is a grass-roots movement, without too many leaders. Certainly the upsurge of interest in spirituality has taken academics, politicians, and social commentators by surprise. A great many of our cultural leaders have decided that Australia is a down-to-earth country, secular, pragmatic, and sceptical. Intellectuals are busy promoting a ‘postmodern’ view of the world, in which the search for meaning looks old-hat and out of step. But now, the intellectuals who thought they were leading us discover that they are out of step with the genuine spiritual hunger of our time.