They are often tarnished with labels like "self-absorbed" and "materialistic." But young adults are actively engaged with spiritual questions, two new surveys suggest, even if they are not necessarily exploring them through traditional religious practice.
One of the lessons in A Whole New Mind (which I have finished and highly recommend, btw) is that material abundance in Western cultures is leading to a sort of spiritual awakening. Since the average suburbanites no longer needs to focus all of their energy on feeding the family, they have more time and money to devote to philosophical introspection and therefore are on the lookout for people/things/services aimed at their spiritual side.
While these surveys seem to confirm that notion, I don't really see anything surprising here. You're supposed to explore the ether when you go to college. It goes hand in hand with leaving the nest. There's nothing new about college freshmen experiencing (or striving for) an "awakening" when they first start reading Kerouac, Nietzsche, Castaneda, or whatever.
It's the way things always worked, I thought.