I'll let the excerpts from this book by Christopher Alexander do the talking:
I have become quite certain that the deepest living structure in buildings is not attainable without some new understanding like this, without a new faith based on a new physical and intellectual grasp of the nature of the material universe. For us, I believe that the old forms of mysticism that we know as religious cannot provide us with this "something." It is too late. By the end of the 19th century, unshakable faith in God -- as human beings had known it in the world's religions for some two thousand years -- no longer worked. For us of the 20th and 21st centuries, our faith, if there is to be faith, must come from some new vision -- a new vision able to do for us and for the future what the vision of God did for the builders of the 14th century. [p.46]
This will require lots of leisure time for learning. More on this in a day or two from the work of Clare Graves.
Here we come to the core connection between the field of centers -- the phenomenon of life in the physical world -- and the process of human growth, self-knowledge, insight, and human discovery of the true self which resides in every person. They are profoundly linked.
It means that at root, the process by which a person comes in touch with wholeness -- as it is in the world and as it is in the world around them, and as it is inside themselves -- the more, then, that person actually discovers the meaning of their own existence, sees himself accurately in relation to phenomena, and the more that person becomes aware of the real structure which exists inside him and which links him to the universe. [p.265]
New Assumption #4. Everything matters.
Stated baldly, this perhaps seems commonplace. Yet in our present cosmology, at least as far as the cosmology itself is concerned, nothing matters. Our present cosmology has build into it a definite refusal to assert the importance of anything, a refusal to define any value, a refusal to define any reality. It is value-free.
The picture of the world created when we accept the self-like, living character of space and matter has a different character. Because, in this picture, portions of the world can be less alive or more alive, and because the life of a given center has a transcendent quality in which the I of the universe become manifested, the degree to which living self occurs in our actions then becomes a matter of immense importance.
In this world everything matters. [p.330]
This is similar, in my mind, to the work of Ken Wilber and his assertion that there is a Mean Green Meme. It is recommended that you at least read Book One before reading Book Four.
In a series of books (e.g., A Sociable God, Up from Eden, and The Eye of Spirit),
I have tried to show that religion itself has always performed two very
important, but very different, functions. One, it acts as a way of
creating meaning for the separate self: it offers myths and
stories and tales and narratives and rituals and revivals that, taken
together, help the separate self make sense of, and endure, the slings
and arrows of outrageous fortune. This function of religion does not
usually or necessarily change the level of consciousness in a person;
it does not deliver radical transformation. Nor does it deliver a
shattering liberation from the separate self altogether. Rather, it
consoles the self, fortifies the self, defends the self, promotes the
self. As long as the separate self believes the myths, performs the
rituals, mouths the prayers, or embraces the dogma, then the self, it
is fervently believed, will be "saved"—either now in the glory of being
God-saved or Goddess-favored, or in an afterlife that insures eternal
wonderment. But two, religion has also served—in a usually very, very small
minority—the function of radical transformation and liberation. This
function of religion does not fortify the separate self, but utterly
shatters it—not consolation but devastation, not entrenchment but
emptiness, not complacency but explosion, not comfort but revolution—in
short, not a conventional bolstering of consciousness but a radical
transmutation and transformation at the deepest seat of consciousness
itself. (Entire Article Here)
Matt here. My argument for some time now has been that none of our current institutions encourage personal transformation -- and personal transformation is the cornerstone of the change that is required to live healthy and happy lives.