Throughout most of history, human consciousness remained a spiritualized consciousness. More specifically, past humans were aware of and believed in the existence of the supernatural. Moreover, they thought about, understood, and related to others and the world around them through the primacy of the spiritual. The spiritual, not the material, underpinned the very fabric of reality for the vast bulk of human history.
Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once observed that "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." I suspect this observation would ring true for most historical humans right up until the beginning of the modern era, in which the primacy of the human gradually replaced the primacy of the spiritual.
Yet early belief in the primacy of the human still depended on viewing humans as spiritual beings living in a world that was at once both natural and supernatural, but over the course of time the belief in humans as spiritual beings began to fade, taking with it the innate, spontaneous, and "natural" belief in the spiritual world and the supernatural. The primacy of the human eventually became the primacy of the material in which humans were mere and accidental participants.
Contemporary human consciousness is generally a despiritualized consciousness. Modern people do not think about, understand, or relate to God at all. Furthermore, they do not believe in the spiritual nature of anything, including themselves.
If pressed, I suspect most moderns would cite a worldview laced with humanist remnants of a bygone era: the individual and collective potential of human beings to establish and promote values, dignity, and purpose via human agency supported by experience, rational thinking, reason, and compassion that does not rely upon and is completely independent of any belief in the supernatural.
I believe the early humanists, be they Christian or secular, helped human consciousness evolve beyond the obedience mode of consciousness that had dominated the West for about 1500 years. This was the path of viewing humans as being capable of spiritual experiences. The late humanists harmed human consciousness by locking human consciousness into a mode of autonomy that was meant to be a transitional phase rather than a final destination. Eventually, humans became nothing more than humans having human experiences, which set off a series of ongoing crises over what human even means.
The despiritualization caused by humanism should have eventually led to a period of acute respiritualization. By turning away from God and focusing on solely on themselves humans should have eventually recognized the dead end of "material humanity" and rediscovered themselves as true spiritual beings with an innate divine center that was directly, lovingly, and personally aligned with God and others. But it never happened - not on a large-scale anyway. Instead, humans became grounded in the human-and-only-human.
As the connection to the spiritual continued to dissolve, the perception of what a human is became perverted and distorted. By denying the spiritual nature of humanity, the "humanization" of humanity rapidly degenerated into dehumanization.
Dehumanization is often defined as the denial of full humanness of others via the stripping of dignity and positive human qualities. It is sometimes contrasted with personification in which non-human things or creatures are assigned human qualities. Unlike conventional dehumanization, which is usually perpetrated by one individual against another individual or group of people against another group of people, contemporary dehumanization via despiritualization is perpetrated by the individual against himself or herself.
By denying the existence of the spiritual, contemporary people deny the existence of their own spiritual nature - a spiritual nature that is utterly inseparable from and indispensable to what it means to be human. By rejecting the reality of God and their own divine selves, modern people basically reject the sources from which all positive human qualities, values, and dignity emanate.
Humans who deny that they are spiritual beings also deny the meaning, purpose, and ultimately, reality of the human experience in which they are immersed.
Their core reality as spiritual beings cannot fully engage in the human experience they are having because the "human" aspect of the experience has been overly-distorted, inverted, and muddied.
Rather than participate in a genuine human experience, the spiritual beings embedded within hearts of all contemporary humans are subjugated to a dehumanized experience in which the potential for spiritual learning is severely obstructed.
Thus, moderns are not humans having spiritual experiences. Nor are they spiritual beings having human experiences. Instead, they are spiritual beings having dehumanized experiences.
They are having dehumanized experiences because human personality has been solidified and objectified.
We, as spiritual beings, use or should use the human experience to establish a personal relationship with God, others, and ourselves.
Despiritualization hinders this by stripping away the personal aspects of the human experience. In other words, the spiritual beings immersed in the human experience attempt to connect with other spiritual beings in mortal life but cannot.
The only solution is respiritualization. Without respiritualization, whatever is human about humanity will continue to erode until the very notion of humanity is pushed beyond the brink of spiritual viability.
Identity lies at the core of the kind of conventional dehumanization practiced by resentful and murderous regimes of the past. Fittingly enough, identity also lies at the core of dehumanization via despiritualization.
People who reject their identities as spiritual beings risk losing the very essence that makes them truly human.
Note added: I firmly believe all human beings are spiritual beings - and this applies even when the human beings in question deny their own reality as a spiritual beings. Thus, at the most fundamental level, I continue to think "highly" of despiritualized people even when they themselves do not.
Further note added: I am inclined to believe that this process of self-dehumanization among moderns is a big part of things coming to a point - that the souls having human experiences at the present time have been given an unprecedented opportunity to discern good from evil in order to begin the process of respiritualization.
Nevertheless, modern humans have thus far remained extremely committed to the choice of despiritualization, which entails the process of dehumanization noted above could have much more time and space to run.
More simply, the seemingly endless degeneration of the human experience should trigger some kind of collective spiritual awakening. The fact that it hasn't yet reveals just how despiritualized human consciousness has become, which begs the question as to how much more dehumanized the human experience can become.