If you enjoy reading my blog, you might be interested in learning a bit more about me. My name is Peter Reedijk (1982) and I am from The Netherlands. I’ve been writing for many years in a wide variety of genres, including song lyrics, music journalism, political essays and even a children’s book (unpublished). With The Everyman I focus on inspirational essays about existentialist issues, social issues and spirituality / the spiritual evolution of mankind.
From early age onward I have adopted a critical stance towards the way things are in the world and over time I have taught myself to question every new piece of information that I come across. My criticisms focus mostly on our civilization’s powerful institutions (religion and government / politics), but taking a critical stance also means keeping an open mind, which means I try to incorporate all relevant sources I can find in my research. In keeping with that spirit, I tend to seriously consider all alternative theories and philosophies, including those on the fringe of the socially acceptable (conspiracy theories, occultism and the likes – that is not to say I always embrace them, but I do try and take away from them whatever I can use.
I have become convinced that the elite of our world exercises a disproportional amount of power over the rest (the vast majority of the population), and that our views are heavily influenced (i.e. have become thoroughly distorted) according to their wishes. Practically, this means I never blindly trust any information that is handed to me – through education, media, entertainment, spokespeople or by any other means. I expect that if we will ever learn the full extent of the truth, it will turn out to be far beyond what most of us (choose to) believe.
The Everyman is my platform for sharing my ideas, ideals and theories – which brings me full circle in connecting my writing with my philosophy, spirituality and their reflection in current events. I have also completed a manuscript about these subjects, entitled The Search For Morals In A Godless Age, for which I am still trying to find representation and a publisher. I will post more information about that in due time, while I am looking into the option of self-publishing it.
I’ve started a more personal blog over here to track my ventures in music, writing, blogging and whatever else occupies me at any given moment.
The Everyman was my personal blog before I “rebranded” it and turned into the website you see now. The name derived from a 15th century English morality play called Everyman (or The Somonyng of Everyman in full). The play deals with salvation of the soul from a Christian perspective, that suggests man’s good and evil deeds will be weighed against each other by god after one’s death. To me, the everyman represents the individual and his inalienable sovereignty – as opposed to the ruling elite, which perceives itself as being above the rest of the population. In an ideal world, I believe everyman should be his own king and his own god – and should not bow down to any other human or institution.
The promise of an eternal afterlife in paradise no longer gives us the consolation it once did. While this was considered a given and hardly questioned less than a century ago, there is now a wide variety of different interpretations about life after death, and indeed life down here on Earth. Probably more people than ever consider themselves to be atheistic or a-religious, and among the religious as well there is less consensus on heaven and hell, sin and virtue. We, humans, are becoming more confident and independent as we gain access to a world of information that was once blocked off.
Mankind, with the freedom and the information it now has, is questioning all of its knowledge, which puts an unprecedented pressure on the ancient belief systems many still adhere to. We are not even close to finding the answers to our questions, but we are finally becoming aware of the blanks we have yet to fill in. Years of introspection, philosophy and attempts to achieve true independence have brought me (as one of many) to question everything – everything I thought I knew, and everything new that I learn. Asking questions to which there is no answer cannot in itself bring forth a new paradigm, but it has consequences for existing opinions and beliefs. But incidentally, the goal of asking these questions should not be to impose a new paradigm upon the world, but to free it from the existing ones. The laws designed to protect us from savagery actually restrict us in our attempts to move forward, for the more we are told how to live, the more we forget that we already knew.
I consider myself anti-religious rather than a-religious, but not necessarily atheistic. My writing is not an attack on god and my goal is not to tell you what to believe or how to live. My goal is the deconstruction of dogmatic thinking, whether religious or secular, and the proposition of an alternative for a brighter future. My personal opinions do not matter and I will try my best not to include them in my writing. Forgive me if I do not always succeed in doing so.
My goal is not to get you to live your lives according to my nature, but according to your own. This is harder than it sounds, since we are not accustomed to recognizing our nature and listening to it.
As mankind evolves mentally and spiritually, other schools of thought have taken the place of religion in determining the moral framework of man (a power which has shifted from churches and temples to government and which has more recently become more economically driven). The exploration of our morality encompasses the secular realm as well as the religious. As a result, some terms used may carry a political charge, but they are never meant in a political context. I do not believe that politics are the answer to the challenges our species is facing – I believe only spiritual progress (‘common sense’ for those who do not consider themselves spiritual beings) will allow us to overcome these obstacles. Concepts like individualism and collectivism (both of which you will encounter numerously) may evoke strong feelings in some readers, but I see them as interdependent, not as opposites. I use them as politically neutral terms, therefore I hope you can read them from a politically neutral standpoint.
The underlying message of The Everyman (and of The Search For Morals) is that we need to take our lives into our own hands. We need to stop letting the church tell us what to believe, letting the government tell us how to act and letting commercialism tell us what to buy. Mankind has depended on great, liberated minds in its evolution, and our further growth depends on them still. Any one of us has the potential for greatness, but there is much to overcome in unlocking it. I hope you will find something of value in my writing that you can use on your journey or that will inspire you.
About secular spiritualism
For a short while, The Everyman was called Secular-spiritualism.com. After an extensive search (see the related articles here, here and here) this is what I have dubbed my philosophy, focused on individual freedom – the ability of each individual to live as he or she pleases without the constraints of predetermined, set in stone principles (dogma’s) and without being a burden to others. In the debate on spirituality or a-spirituality, freedom represents first and foremost the absence of religious dogma. But it is broader than just that: freedom is independence, not just from religion, but also from government (political dogma), economical institutions (monetary dogma), or any other organizational form which derives authority from hierarchy.
Freedom is our lowest common denominator. It is what binds us as human beings. It is what we are all entitled to, and what none of us should deny others without warrant.
I hope the term Spiritualism doesn’t deter secularists who feel no connection to spirituality whatsoever. This philosophy wholeheartedly includes a-spirituality, although it acknowledges the value and validity of spirituality as long as it is practiced in a secular context. Spirituality represents the importance of freedom for the complete development of the individual and in a very down-to-Earth interpretation spiritual awareness is equivalent to common sense. By taking the existence of god out of the equation, I hope to avoid the personal attacks that seem an inevitable part of any discussion between theists and atheists, and eventually to redefine the discourse on religion.
Secular spiritualism is part of the ongoing revolution in values, marked by the consistently growing call for individual freedom. It advocates picking the fruits of cooperation and society without suffering the limitations of a restrictive hierarchical system. Late 2016, I decided to shift the focus away from religion and spirituality again, back to society and politics – but I might still touch on either subject.