Rainn Wilson, popular for his antics as Dwight K. Schrute on NBC’s “The Office” and recently a “New York Times” best-selling author, believes he can resurrect spiritualism and philosophy in today’s society.
Co-author of the thought-provoking “SoulPancake,” Wilson encourages students and readers alike to engage in substantial discussions about life.
“People looked at me so weird, like I’m at a party and I’m just kind of like, ‘You think that we have a soul?’ and people would make a lot of jokes like, ‘Well, that sounds like a conversation you’d have when you’re stoned,’” Wilson said. “But why can’t you have have a deep conversation in the real world?”
The book was written for society’s thinkers, said co-author Devon Gundry.
“We really wrote it for all of… the innovators and the misfits and the creators and the artists and writers,” Gundry said. “All of the people out there that are looking at the world, figuring out what they believe, how they affect the people in the environments around them.”
The best part about the “SoulPancake” experience is the interaction and collaboration, Wilson said.
The book is meant to be a conversation-starter, Gundry said.
“We wanted it to be part workbook, part journal,” Gundry said. “We kind of decided to kind of take an approach that would, it would create a little artifact, a little tool that anyone can carry around with them.”
Wilson said he believes spirituality has become a polarizing force.
“Spirituality is pretty lame in our culture today, it’s really flaky or new-agey, or else it’s kind of born-again fundamentalist, and there’s no one kind of in-between,” Wilson said.
People’s definition of spirituality is often incorrect, according to Wilson.
“Anything having to do with life, love, the heart, looking at the universe as something greater than oneself — that’s what spirituality is,” Wilson said.
Spirituality can also be everything that makes one a human being, Gundry said.
“It’s not just praying, it’s not just your soul, it’s not just your religion, it’s really everything about us that makes us human, and we’re going to call that spirituality,” Gundry said.
The book incorporates many different colors and popular art to get its message across.
“We used creativity and art and expression as the bridge between philosophy and spirituality,” Wilson said. “Artistic expression is integral to what SoulPancake is.”
The book and website make philosophy more fun, Wilson said.
“Philosophy classes in college are boring, let’s face it,” Wilson said. “They’re really dry, and they have no bearing on real life whatsoever, it’s a bunch of funless intellectual arguments.”
Spirituality and morality are not things people can learn or develop, Wilson said.
“There are things that we will do and that we will not do. We mostly instead of learning them in churches, we learn them societally, socially,” Wilson said.
Morality, spirituality, and other aspects of life represented in the book are not just concepts, Wilson said.
“It’s something we all live. We live a life of experience, of the soul, of our emotions, beyond just… our bodies,” Wilson said. “If young students want to encourage their spirituality that they look at life as a spiritual journey and that spirituality is part of the everyday life.”
The book will help people live through their own experiences, Wilson said.
“A lot people in our culture don’t really dig into life’s big questions,” Wilson said. “It’s a much more real part of life than the Kardashians.”
Music influences people more than most mediums today, Wilson said.
“Bob Dylan is probably the biggest musical influence on my life,” Wilson said. “He’s always dealing with life’s big questions as an artist.”
The book is an investigation about what the reader believes, Gundry said.
“It’s supposed to be an experience of what everyone else around us believes and what all sorts of thinkers and creators believe, and then it’s about taking that and really seeing what we believe,” Gundry said. “So figuring out how we determine truth to ourselves and how we determine truth as a society and how we determine truth as a family and our friend circles, I think is a really important kind of foundation for all of this.”