mysticism

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Postby Bob » Sat Jan 03, 2004 3:02 pm

Matt wrote:
Bob, your posts are very interesting and informative and I don't mean to pick but you say:

Bob wrote:
That is why for me, Matt's assumption that Mysticism is escapism is purely an assumption, not backed up by facts.


without ever having tried to counter my arguments.

Well I'm sorry Matt, I must of missed your arguments. I'll give it another go though.

Yes, mysticism might be a way of coping with the world but it is still escapism. Yes it does have value for the very reason that it gives hope and meaning to many people but it does it in an essentially delusional way. Yes, rationalism and reason have their problems, but it doesn't mean they don't give value or compassion, that's attacking a straw doll and then presenting a false dilemma argument[1], I don't want to enter into it as my post is going to be long enough as it is.

If this is your argument, then we are all escapists and do nothing but escape from looking at the world in a pessimistic state of mind. The thing is that the assumptions of this state of mind are equally unproven!

I could cry everyday because there is no hope and try to console myself with the thought: I am a realist! I don't think it would work. I don't think that I could motivate many people, or persuade them to stop being outright egoists, or promote some kind of social behaviour, if that was the official standpoint. If there is no hope of any kind, there is no reason to do anything but try to get the best out of life, regardless of the losses.
I have also argued that we don't need religion anymore, we have ways to give hope and meaning to people without it.

I'm listening ...

You see, this is the way I have experienced your arguments. You say there are means and ways but you don't describe them.
An illness may be relieved by giving someone a drug to counter the symptoms, but surely it would be better to cure the illness?

What cure Matt? Tell me what the cure is?

Very briefly you have accused rationalism and reason of not imparting any value to human life, compassion, love, etc. (the straw doll part as that's misrepresenting these stances) and then reduced the argument to "It must be rationalism or mysticism that gives human life value therefore it must be Mysticism".

From a (not so) old posting:
But all the time we are dependent upon both: Rationality and Intuition, Knowledge and Faith, Certainty and Assurance, the Thought and the Deed.

What I did say is that Intuition and Love picks up where Rationality calls it a day. Mystics go beyond the rational argument and grasp hope.

Shalom
Bob
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
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Postby Bob » Sat Jan 03, 2004 3:18 pm

Matthew wrote:
What Matt views as escapism, I think you see as pragmaticism (at the risk of putting words in your mouth).

I think you could be right by saying that. I am a bit pragmatic.
Why do you help people Bob? Well, because a specific chemical reaction that is created by assisting others leads you to keep doing it. But, if we are to accept this as our answer, the majority will lose their interest in doing anything, as life becomes merely a conglomeration of chemical reactions.

Thanks Doc, I'm feeling better already :D

I suppose you could reduce everything to the sum of its parts, but the dissected rat on the table is dead, and we can't see what made it live. We can't see life by simply cutting it up and holding it up to the light. Just as we can't base our life simply upon what we know. The thing is, you don't do it either - nobody does.

Karl Jaspers tried to lead his Students into this kind of thought process and became very concerned when he realised that he may drive them to suicide (I believe some of them did take their lives). I can't for the life of me understand why something so hopeless could be regarded as any kind of "cure".
I think the position that you represent Bob, is the pragmatic position. That reason, while sufficient in describing the universe, is not sufficient in fulfilling happiness or well-being.

Exactly, life isn't just the juices of the bodies flowing and the stimulants turning on instinctive reactions. Hope is an integral part of helping people grasp life and look for meaning. Hope isn't born out of rational thought alone, but is to some degree irrational. But that is alright.
If the rationalist position foregoes happiness and peace of mind, can it truly be right?

That is exactly my point.

Shalom
Bob
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
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Postby Marshall McDaniel » Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:49 pm

Bob said,
What I am concerned about is the tendency to regard the two sides of one coin as though they were not connected. In my job I have to use both Reason and Intuition to approach human beings.


A agree that the balance is important, many philosophers such as Bergson have talked of the value of intuition.

---
After looking up mysticism at http://www.dictionary.com i am inclined to agree with Matt. I believe in prior posts here i have equated mysticism with religion. Mysticism is the topic of the thread however, and my arguments are for religion. Nevertheless, equating mysticism with escapism seems misguided. I don't even think you can confine mysticism to religion. Heraclitus certainly had some mystical sayings, and charges of mysticism have even been leveled at Heidegger. The way some philosophers talk about their 'nothingness'! As if that were not irrational in the 'love of wisdom' the same way that mysticism is an 'unbalanced emotional state' in the realm of religion! How is it that we are always reduced in these two realms: philosophy and religion to using what is not (God or nothingness[Sartre, Heidegger]) to describe what is! Is this not synonymous with mysticism!
---
Pax Vitae. A lot of your arguments seem like reductionism. The argument fails as Bob said, because you can not reduce a gestalt to the sum of its parts, it will always be more. Science believes that when it has explained something it has done away with it, similiar to the naming and labeling process that Polemarchus mentioned in reference to God. Science can explain, and verify but it can not give meaning to our lives. Science can provide the means, but not the goal. I agree that life should be taken as a puzzle and not an answer, however.
Anything else gets shaved by Ockham's razor. I thoroughly support a lot of the opposition's arguments. for example, most people, living in arabia would be muslim, most people unthinkingly take whatever religion they are given. I know that religion causes wars, stupidities, and the like. But i still hope to leave you with two things that remain after the bath water gets thrown out.
1.) As Bob said, "Religion supplies us with rites, ceremonies, songs, imagery, works of art, buildings, myths, legends, teachers and offices in connection with an assumed - and very often divine – authority. Religion was primarily oral and upheld the values which were regarded “holy” and were passed down from generation to generation. It is an abstract method of guiding social behaviour and dealing with problems." Religion has previously supplied us with rites of passage, ceremonies, and other important devices to help people relate to themselves, their stage of life, others around them, and their universe. Myth is and remains an important part of the collective unconscious. This does not mean we actually have to believe the myth! a lot of these rites could be transvalued into humanistic rites and such. This is already happening! The other sciences are taking over where religion left off and this is good, but life still requires balance, meaning, and a center.
2.) Reason by itself is doomed to failure. Love by itself is doomed to failure. reason and love = understanding and a much better life. We have a lot to learn about love before we cast off this old garment called religion, and philosophy qua philosophy is ill equipped to do so.

Shalom
"..All life is the struggle, the effort to be itself. The difficulties I meet with in order to realise my existence are precisely what awaken and mobilise my activities, my capacities.."GASSET"..For enjoyment and innocence are the most modest things: neither want to be looked for. One should have them-but one should look rather for guilt and pain!.."NIETZSCHE"..The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart.." CAMUS
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Postby Pax Vitae » Sun Jan 04, 2004 7:39 am

Bob wrote:Today I would say that we are bound to trust people every day: the bus and train driver, the airline pilot, the surgeon etc. We live in a society of mutual trust - to some degree.

True, but there is a training process. You don’t just let anybody drive a bus, train, or fly a plane. How do you training Mystics? They normally just show up making claims. At least with most set religions you know a Priest has learned about the ways of his or her Religion and is qualified to teach that to the laity, while a Mystic is more of a sole-trader, who is guided by their God.

Bob wrote:And that is precisely the standpoint of many Mystics who were very often dissenters

These people don’t call themselves Mystics, just normal people going about there daily lives. They have no interest in God and couldn’t careless if he is real or not. But they do know you should treat people with respect if you want to be respected.

Bob wrote:But I think Religion has always been misused by people in power, especially when you look at the structure of the church in the middle ages, when second sons of principalities looked for some power of their own. It is an old and relevant argument against church as we know it, but it isn't what we are looking at. The Mystics were often classed as heretic themselves.

True, but how can you tell the good Mystics from the bad ones? There are a lot of cunning people out there that play on the insecurity and vulnerabilities in their followers.

Bob wrote:It was also his second attempt and the WTC - why? It is the symbol of the WTO - World Trade Organisation - which is held by many millions of muslims to be the new colonialism of the west, but with more devastating effects.

I don’t want to take this topic off subject to much, but... If you look at America over the Christmas holidays you can see just how successful that 9/11 incident has been. Code Oranges and flight cancellations. ‘The Land of the Free’ is gone look at all the new totalitarian laws that have been passed. America is frightened! and the terror is working! 9/11 is the only thing that needs to be done to keep America in fear.

Bob wrote:I think we should be able to recognise that Religion isn't the only source of evil and passionate hate.

I agree. But ‘Mein Kampf’ was a product of a country humiliated after WWI. But I think you know your own history. The ‘Communist Manifesto’ was about the workers getting their fair share of the profit and no longer being slaves to the system. To bad that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There are all Doctrines just like religious texts are.

Marshall McDaniel wrote:Science believes that when it has explained something it has done away with it, similiar to the naming and labeling process that Polemarchus mentioned in reference to God

You are not labelling a mystery, but knowledge about how it works, its classification and other properties. We label the unknown as God, and then when we understand what was once a mystery, we no longer see it as apart of God anymore. God used to move the Heavens and the Earth, but not anymore with Newton’s laws of Force and Gravity new forces now control these objects.

Marshall McDaniel wrote:Science can explain, and verify but it can not give meaning to our lives. Science can provide the means, but not the goal.

That’s Philosophy’s goal. Science is apart of the investigation giving fuel to Philosophical minds to see how this new fact fits into the whole. After learning something new we have to revaluate if any of our old ideas or beliefs have become false in light of this new fact. Philosophy is about growing with the knowledge as each new insight brings us closer to understanding, while Religion already has all the answers so why bother to look in the first place. The only thing that might happen is, you might stumble across a piece of knowledge that throws out your religious worldview.

Marshall McDaniel wrote:But i still hope to leave you with two things that remain after the bath water gets thrown out.

I don’t have any objections to Religion! Heck, I spent good deal of time studying to be a Catholic Priest! I believe Religion has a lot to offer! I’ve said this in my last post. Religion has its truths! But it’s not the only place offering such truths. Philosophy also teaches truth, each has it’s own place. The biggest problem with Religion is it can close peoples’ minds! while Philosophy tries to do the opposite.

I’m not religious; in I don’t practice a religion. But I still believe in understanding, compassion, and forgiveness, but not for religious reasons. I do it because it makes sense Ethically. “Treat others, as you would like to be treated.” Christ wasn’t the first to say this! All Moral teachers have said this; it’s the Golden Rule. From this rule you will see that Understanding, Compassion, and Forgiveness make sense. I know I want to be treated in that way, so I’m willing to treat others in that way. Not because God says I should, but because I want to have the same courtesy shown to me. But how can I ask to be treated fairly if I don’t do this to other people? Some religions and philosophy can teach you this.

Marshall McDaniel wrote:but life still requires balance, meaning, and a center.

So, a religion handing out any old “Meaning” will do? If truth and fidelity don’t play a part in your quest for that Meaning how do you know its right? This is my point about already knowing what we are looking for!!! We go to the religion with the answers we want to hear. We mightn’t know what these answers are at a conscious level, but when we hear people talk about their religion it clicks and we know this is the right one for us. This is where our intuition comes into play. Not only is this true for religion it’s also truth of people being led to philosophy. They hear philosophical answers that bring meaning, so follow that philosophical discipline.

Just like religion have dangerous sub-cults, the Cole-Aid-Kids, David Karesh (Branch Davidian religious sect in Waco, Texas), and other suicidal mystical leaders. Philosophy has their fair share, Sartre and the many other Existentialists. Nothing is perfect, whether it be religion or philosophy, each has had its Madman or women that have done more harm then good.

Marshall McDaniel wrote:Reason by itself is doomed to failure. Love by itself is doomed to failure. reason and love = understanding and a much better life. We have a lot to learn about love before we cast off this old garment called religion, and philosophy qua philosophy is ill equipped to do so.

Please tell me where I have said we should do away with all religion. I’ve said each has its purpose, but when you think you can have Religion without philosophy then you end up with Passions leading people astray. Philosophy can teach love and compassion and understanding. Don’t dare think that only religion can teach these things! Pick up any good book on Ethics and all the same lessons are there. There not taught with Divine retribution if you disobey, just the simple, ‘Treat others, as you would like to be treated’ maxim. How quickly it’s forgotten that God less the 100 years ago was a God of Fear, not Love. Pick any religion and just look how full of holes it is. Nothings perfect not even God! Get over it and move on. I’m not saying leave your religion, but realise that religion only has the answers to a small part of the picture, the part of the picture that Philosophy can only guess at.
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Postby Matt » Sun Jan 04, 2004 1:31 pm

Bob wrote:If this is your argument, then we are all escapists and do nothing but escape from looking at the world in a pessimistic state of mind. The thing is that the assumptions of this state of mind are equally unproven


I'm baffled, again you duck and weave the questions I have raised. No, I'm not an escapist in the context of the question, I don't buy the mysticism or religion side of things. I'm sure I am on other things, but not this one. Neither are all others who view these subjects in the same way as I do, and there are a lot of us out there.

So, we're not all escapists, are we?

Bob wrote:You see, this is the way I have experienced your arguments. You say there are means and ways but you don't describe them.


Have you been reading my posts?

Well, just for you, here it is again, posted 01/01/04 further to something I'd said in my very first reply:

Matt wrote:I meant that society teaches us [a sense of being a moral agent, and a sense of meaning] using law and those concepts much like priests used scripture, sorry, I realise I didn't say. I know society is a vague term, but it is an entity in itself, I believe it teaches through social participation and the wholesale school system we have.


The thing is I don't have to offer an alternative, I am discussing whether mysticism is escpaism, I feel like you keep trying to drag this discussion out of the context of the question.

Bob wrote:What I did say is that Intuition and Love picks up where Rationality calls it a day. Mystics go beyond the rational argument and grasp hope.


I had said I wasn't really willing to go into the "atheism gives no meaning" argument, but as you insist that it's needed for my arguments, so be it.

I wish I was paid a penny for each time someone comes into the forums saying that we need religion as without it we have no X, X being hope, need to be moral, sense of meaning, and on and on and on.

Why? There are so many atheists out there now and do you see them all commiting suicide every day? Do you see them constantly depressed? Do you see them acting as anarchists?

Your view is wrong, plain and simple, it is at odds with the real world. All these athesits out there prove you and all the others before you who have claimed this great 'need' for religion wrong. They prove you wrong every second of every day. I am proving you wrong by not sitting here sobbing at my keyboard at the hopelessness of it all. I have lots of hopes and dreams and desires and all that while believing there's ultimately no real reason why we are here, we just are. And we should enjoy it and be thankful that this happy accident happened!
Matt
"The irony of the Information Age is that it has given new respectability to uninformed opinion." -John Lawton
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Postby Bob » Sun Jan 04, 2004 1:35 pm

http://www.dictionary.com gives this definition of Mysticism (thanks Marshall!):

1. a) Immediate consciousness of the transcendent or ultimate reality or God.
b) The experience of such communion as described by mystics.
2. A belief in the existence of realities beyond perceptual or intellectual apprehension that are central to being and directly accessible by subjective experience.
3. Vague, groundless speculation.

This is what Mysticism is considered in the various uses of the word. It gives us a variance because a dictionary only displays what a word can mean. There isn't even any heirarchy in the numeration.

The question was, whether Mysticism is Escapism. The conclusion that I arrived at was, if we want to use the term Escapism, then we would have to use it in the sense of
"The tendency to escape from daily reality or routine by indulging in daydreaming, fantasy, or entertainment"
as it is defined by http://www.dictionary.com.

By doing this we immediately see that Escapism, if we're honest, is something that we are into daily. Using this definition, there isn't anybody on the planet that doesn't "escape" on a regular basis. What we should then ask is whether Mysticism is a "form" of escapism. Is it a kind of "daydreaming, fantasy, or entertainment"?

Do Mystics indulge in a "dreamlike musing or fantasy while awake, especially of the fulfillment of wishes or hopes." I could accept that, yes, Mystics probably do indulge in dreamlike musings. Whether anything worse emanates from these musings than from any of our musings would have to be proven. When I read what (selected) Mystics have written, then I find that it is quite the opposite. You may have a different opinion.

Do Mystics indulge in fantasy? Yes, I am quiet certain they do, for how else would they transport an experience of realities beyond perceptual or intellectual apprehension? The human mind is dependant upon fantasy to understand at all. Metaphers are the use of fantasy to explain things otherwise inexplicable.

Do Mystics indulge in entertainmant? I can't rule it out, but most of the revered Mystic lived in times when entertainment wasn't readily available.

But the question ist, did Mystics wish to "escape from daily reality or routine" when they saw what they saw, and is it to be referred to as an indulging in daydreaming, fantasy, or entertainment? To this I would say no! I believe that they were trying to fathom their daily reality, they tried to understand the things that occurred around them. In that sense, they weren't escaping (although I'm sure they did that too) but they were occupying themselves with their experience of reality and the problems that arose from it.

Shalom
Bob
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
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Postby Marshall McDaniel » Mon Jan 05, 2004 12:19 am

Pax Vitae stated:
Marshall McDaniel wrote:

Science believes that when it has explained something it has done away with it, similiar to the naming and labeling process that Polemarchus mentioned in reference to God

You are not labelling a mystery, but knowledge about how it works, its classification and other properties. We label the unknown as God, and then when we understand what was once a mystery, we no longer see it as apart of God anymore. God used to move the Heavens and the Earth, but not anymore with Newton’s laws of Force and Gravity new forces now control these objects.

Yes Pax, but science serves mainly to describe a thing, not state what it is.
Polemarchus repied to a fellow poster in the philosophy forum , philosophy thread:

I disagree with the idea that scientists tell us not what something is, but what it does. Chemists tell us that salt is sodium chloride.

All right, the chemical analysis of table salt indicates that its molecules are composed of one atom of sodium and one atom of chloride. What you're saying is that science has just told us what table salt is, full stop; end of question. Your idea reminds me of Democritus' assertion that the world is made of tiny indivisible atoms (atomon is Greek for "indivisible") of which nothing more can be said; they are the essence of table salt. Do you really mean to say this, or do you accept that an atom of sodium consists of protons, neutrons, and electrons. And these subatomic particles themselves consist of yet smaller, quarkish sub-subatomic particles with the odd habit of converting themselves into energy when they happen to bump into anti-particles. So tell me, Kennethamy, what specific level of scientific description tells you what table salt is? Is table salt a molecule, is it a collection of atoms, is it a swarm of subatomic particles, or is it rest-energy? What's that? You're thinking that it's all of the above, and perhaps even more? Welcome to ontology my brother philosopher!

Pax continued:
Marshall McDaniel wrote:

Science can explain, and verify but it can not give meaning to our lives. Science can provide the means, but not the goal.

That’s Philosophy’s goal. Science is apart of the investigation giving fuel to Philosophical minds to see how this new fact fits into the whole. After learning something new we have to revaluate if any of our old ideas or beliefs have become false in light of this new fact. Philosophy is about growing with the knowledge as each new insight brings us closer to understanding, while Religion already has all the answers so why bother to look in the first place. The only thing that might happen is, you might stumble across a piece of knowledge that throws out your religious worldview.


Who was it who said, "philosophy is a question looking for an answer and religion is an answer looking for a question."? I remain skeptical as to whether philosophy can inherently provide meaning and value in and of itself. As has been stated in this thread numerous times by many posters in different ways, it is important to perceive things from within a balanced framework of ideas (reason, intuition, feelings / philosophy, religion, science). If you look at something for too long from only one spot you begin to think that that one perspective is all that exists of that object. Philosophy, for example, finds it hard to rationally demonstrate ethics. You yourself resort to the Golden Rule to do so.

Speaking of the golden rule different versions of the golden rule in different religions, philosophies, etc.

From Joseph Campbell, myths to live by:
Comparative cultural studies have now demonstrated beyond question that similiar mythic tales are to be found in every quarter of this earth...Now the peoples of all the great civilizations have been prone to interpret their own symbolic figures literally, and so to regard themselves as favored in a special way, in direct contact with the Absolute. However, today such claims can no longer be taken seriously by anyone with even a kindergarten education. And in this there is serious danger. For not only has it always been the way of multitudes to interpret their own figures literally, but such literally read symbolic forms have always been- and still are,in fact- the supports of their civilizations, the supports of their moral orders, their cohesion, vitality, and creative powers. With the loss of them there follows uncertainty, disequilibrium, since life, as both Nietzsche and Ibsen knew requires life-supporting illusions; and where these have been dispelled, there is nothing secure to hold on to , no moral law, nothing firm. We have seen what has happened , for example, to primitive communities unsettled by the white man's civilization. With their old taboos discredited, they immediately go to pieces, disintegrate, and become resorts of vice and disease.


If as you say in your post, truth is a criteria in the search for meaning, and life needs supporting illusions from myth then the only alternative to me seems to be to accept the myth as myth, accept the illusion as illusion, similiar to the way that art does. The fact that billions of people are unable to do this is no refutation to the cohesive, integrating power of myth in our lives.
---
Bob,
you said
http://www.dictionary.com gives this definition of Mysticism (thanks Marshall!):
Quote:

1. a) Immediate consciousness of the transcendent or ultimate reality or God.
b) The experience of such communion as described by mystics.
2. A belief in the existence of realities beyond perceptual or intellectual apprehension that are central to being and directly accessible by subjective experience.
3. Vague, groundless speculation.

This is what Mysticism is considered in the various uses of the word. It gives us a variance because a dictionary only displays what a word can mean. There isn't even any heirarchy in the numeration.

Son of a gun! You're right! no heirarchy! As it says in the below named dictionary's introduction, "no fixed, arbitrary arrangement of the senses within a given entry has been attempted." I once had someone in a thread tell me that the most common usage comes first and i believed them. damn unwarranted assumption.

My 1983 Websters New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines mysticism thusly:

"1.) doctrines or beliefs of mystics; specifically, the doctrine that it is possible to achieve communion with God through contemplation and love without the medium of human reason.
2.) any doctrine that asserts the possibility of attaining knowledge of spiritual truths through intuition acquired by fixed meditation.
3.) vague or obscure thinking or belief."

this parallels that above. I pretty much disagree with the God part of number 1, and 3, but i fail to see any objections to #2. Note that #3 could refer to anyone, including philosophers, and charges of mysticism have been made about Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and others. Maybe you are mainly talking about 1.
"..All life is the struggle, the effort to be itself. The difficulties I meet with in order to realise my existence are precisely what awaken and mobilise my activities, my capacities.."GASSET"..For enjoyment and innocence are the most modest things: neither want to be looked for. One should have them-but one should look rather for guilt and pain!.."NIETZSCHE"..The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart.." CAMUS
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Postby Bob » Mon Jan 05, 2004 6:04 pm

Marshall McDaniel wrote:
My 1983 Websters New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines mysticism thusly:
"1.) doctrines or beliefs of mystics; specifically, the doctrine that it is possible to achieve communion with God through contemplation and love without the medium of human reason.
2.) any doctrine that asserts the possibility of attaining knowledge of spiritual truths through intuition acquired by fixed meditation.
3.) vague or obscure thinking or belief."
this parallels that above. I pretty much disagree with the God part of number 1, and 3, but i fail to see any objections to #2. Note that #3 could refer to anyone, including philosophers, and charges of mysticism have been made about Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and others. Maybe you are mainly talking about 1.

Yup, that's where I am - and if you think about it, it's quite an ecumenical position. At the same time it very often annoys those who need written Religion or Dogmen. That is why I can cope as an "Elder" of the church, as long as I don't have to play my hand. I believe myself to be in line with Christ and that is what matters to me.

To quote Matthew Fox, the director of the "Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality" in California:
There were times in western awareness,
when the right half of the brain
wasn't a dried prune!

I deeply believe that the abilities of Mankind have reduced since we became reliant upon technology and that is why we have difficulty in communicating. I don't know whether it is completely correct, but my experience supports the theory that the left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for verbal, abstract, symbolic activities. The right hemisphere serves for synthetic, holistic, intuitive perception and information processing. I believe our teaching pushes people towards using the left half and leaves the right hemisphere of the brain underdeveloped.

That is why people distrust people who are primarily holistic and intuitive - especially if you are a man. In the sixties and seventies a man couldn't cultivate these abilities without getting abuse. I believe a few have gone overboard, but most of us are using the right hemisphere more - but not enough. To some degree, that is why there are some extreme views on the subject here. Mystics aren't people who are solely using the right hemisphere, indeed most have the ability to use both effectively.

Shalom
Bob
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
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Postby Marshall McDaniel » Tue Jan 06, 2004 2:56 am

Even though strictly speaking many recent specialists think this distinction somewhat antiquated the left/right brain scenario is an important tool for understanding how people deal with information. Many people in education, for example, use it. When i was a corporate trainer, i found it useful to know if people were left brain (detail oriented) or right brain (holistic) oriented. I think age may be a critical factor too. It takes time to assess the many parts and learn how they congeal and interact as a whole. I used to be very detail oriented, but i think the latter half of my life (God or Nature willing) will be more right brain oriented. I'm currently 38.
"..All life is the struggle, the effort to be itself. The difficulties I meet with in order to realise my existence are precisely what awaken and mobilise my activities, my capacities.."GASSET"..For enjoyment and innocence are the most modest things: neither want to be looked for. One should have them-but one should look rather for guilt and pain!.."NIETZSCHE"..The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart.." CAMUS
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Postby Pax Vitae » Tue Jan 06, 2004 9:39 am

Marshall McDaniel wrote:it is important to perceive things from within a balanced framework of ideas (reason, intuition, feelings / philosophy, religion, science).

That’s what I’ve been saying. You need Religion and you need Philosophy, but the idea I’m trying to get across is that no matter what you would like to believe, what we do believe comes initially from our intuition. Then we can use either Faith or Reason to hold on to that belief once it comes into question. Some people don’t like the idea of Faith and others Reason, but that doesn’t mean they’re right or wrong, each person is the measure of truth, their own truth. There is no universal truth! That’s the big lie!

The mystic believes that he has a special insight into God, to him he does, and maybe there will be others who like what he has to say. But there’s also going to be people who will reject his beliefs, as it doesn’t seem right to them or it conflicts with what they already believe in. Their faith or reason will stop them from accepting this new so-called truth. To them it’s just the ramblings of a madman, while they are more then willing to listen to another madman, the madman that gave them the belief they are now defending.
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Postby Bob » Tue Jan 06, 2004 6:38 pm

Pax Vitae wrote:
The mystic believes that he has a special insight into God

I apologise for being away for a while - had a lot of work. I keep on reading the word "special" when referred to the kind of spirituality that I'm into. What does special mean?

From http://www.dictionary.com I get the following:
1.Surpassing what is common or usual; exceptional: a special occasion; a special treat.
1a.Distinct among others of a kind: a special type of paint; a special medication for arthritis.
1b.Primary: His special satisfaction comes from volunteer work.
2.Peculiar to a specific person or thing; particular: my own special chair; the special features of a computer.
2a.Having a limited or specific function, application, or scope: a special role in the mission.
2b.Arranged for a particular occasion or purpose: a special visit from her daughter.
3.Regarded with particular affection and admiration: a special friend.
4.Additional; extra: a special holiday flight.
n.
1.Something arranged, issued, or appropriated to a particular service or occasion: rode to work on the commuter special.
2.A featured attraction, such as a reduced price: a special on salmon.
3.A single television production that features a specific work, a given topic, or a particular performer.

[Middle English, from Old French especial, from Latin specilis, from specis, kind. See species.]


If I judge my experience to be exceptional, in other words uncommon and unusual, is that a problem for other people? If a Mystic speaks of his insight, is he any more of a problem in doing that than anyone else with a view? And if people have the insights of Mystics passed on and eventually printed, which leads to them being read and held to be something special, where is the problem?

Is there a general requirement for people with a different approach to life to dispute their insights as the work of madmen? Nobody has yet told us the name of a Mystic that ranted and raved to the point of being a danger to others, or of a Mystic that forced his view upon other people. Quite the opposite is the case, most Mystics were heretics because they didn't conform.

I get the feeling that some people tend to argue from the “stomach” than from the head. They have a “gut-feeling” about Mystics and start pouring their wrath upon anybody who dares to associate with them. This all occurs although we are writing in a Forum dedicated to Religion. It seems in keeping with what Mystics experienced in long-gone days when the churches tried to burn them at the stake.

All the time Mystics are the silent admirers of a mysterious God, who they believe created this universe and life therein. They remain silent to hear the one voice that we otherwise can't hear, to understand what is happening in the world and marvel at the wisdom that can be found if we could only hear above all of the noises and voices that this world has to offer.

If a Mystic describes his experience as distinct amongst other experiences: a special kind of experience, why should others who clearly haven't had the experience disagree? If his experience is peculiar to his experience with God, something that he doesn't experience with other aspects of life, who is to disagree? And if a Mystic regards these experiences with particular affection, who can wish to dissent?

The insight of Mystics may well be “special” for a whole range of reasons – but who's bothered about it? If we concede that much of what we speak comes from our vanity, or is spoken because we overestimate our importance, then we can only welcome people who want their judgement to be compassionate, their decisions careful and their answers balanced. Mystics achieve this only because their word is spoken out of the silence.

Mystics want their words to be equitable, they want to cleanse, the want to be peace-makers and give others strength to cope in the world. They can only achieve this, if they don't speak everything that comes to mind. The real worthwhile things that people should hear aren't the things that readily come to mind, but those that have been heard from a distance. That is why it pays to be silent, to gain time by waiting until the worthwhile things come to us from a distance. It is learning to discern our words from His that takes up most of our time and makes His word something special.

Shalom
Bob
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
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Postby Pax Vitae » Tue Jan 06, 2004 8:39 pm

Bob wrote:If a Mystic speaks of his insight, is he any more of a problem in doing that than anyone else with a view?

I would say everybody that talks about God is a Mystic. But what do you mean by the word Mystic and not dictionary.com! All languages are living and as such words meaning and usage change over the years, just look at English 200 years ago. Would all Catholics Priests be Mystics because they talk about God, or must they have some other from for connection that is beyond their Ordination?

Bob wrote:Nobody has yet told us the name of a Mystic that ranted and raved to the point of being a danger to others

I have! Here’s one of many: David Karesh (Branch Davidian religious sect in Waco, Texas). If you would like I could find more, as there have been plenty. Or would your definition of a Mystic exclude Mr Karesh?

I’m not saying Mystics are Madmen, just that some would perceive them that way.

Bob wrote:I get the feeling that some people tend to argue from the “stomach” than from the head. They have a “gut-feeling” about Mystics and start pouring their wrath upon anybody who dares to associate with them.

This is my main point, ‘Gut-Feeling’ is just another way of saying Instinct! People will act from Instinct about what they believe. Some will rant others will take a more structured approach, yet there goal is the same, to defend their point of view.

Bob wrote:a special kind of experience, why should others who clearly haven't had the experience disagree?

‘God is all things to all people,’ everybody has their own unique way of relating to and understanding God. There is no one right way, only our own private way. In essence we all need to be mystics if we want to have a relationship with God. Another person’s experiences might be similar but they won’t be identical.

This is just one person’s account of his relationship with God, and each relationship tells its own unique and personal story. But at the heart of them all is Love. There is no way one story could encompass a complete understanding of the fullness of God and all His many glories, as it would require everybody’s personal story to be complete. Religions are little more then a way of introducing people to God. They are the first step on a very long path to understanding God’s love and plan for us. A path that can only be completed if we grow spiritually mature, and no longer need to rely on others opinions on how we should live our lives, but come to read the commandments that are written on our hearts by God, love. But a final idea, God’s glory doesn’t come from power, but from His meekness. The qualities that give God His glory come from His unlimited knowledge of Patience, Compassion, Forgiveness, and their grand total, Love. It’s because of this that God is rightly called glorious and the one person I love more then everything else.
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Postby Logo » Tue Jan 06, 2004 11:15 pm

One shot for the mystics! I posted this in another thread. Seems relevant here.
[It would be] an easy mistake to make, to think that one loved one's country less because it happened to be in the wrong.
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Postby Marshall McDaniel » Wed Jan 07, 2004 12:13 am

Right Pax Vitae, there is no universal truth, that is why i have the "Truth is a pathless land." quote from Krishnamurti (whom some would call a mystic) below.
---
The still small voice. Something rarely heard amidst the hustle and bustle of modern civilization. Do you meditate Bob?
---
Interesting part of that long quote Pax Vitae. "There is no way one story could encompass a complete understanding of the fullness of God and all His many glories, as it would require everybody’s personal story to be complete." Nietzsche once said the same kind of thing in (the will too Power i believe) something like you could never define something because you would have to know all of it's interactions with everything else.
"..All life is the struggle, the effort to be itself. The difficulties I meet with in order to realise my existence are precisely what awaken and mobilise my activities, my capacities.."GASSET"..For enjoyment and innocence are the most modest things: neither want to be looked for. One should have them-but one should look rather for guilt and pain!.."NIETZSCHE"..The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart.." CAMUS
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Postby Bob » Wed Jan 07, 2004 4:43 pm

Pax Vitae wrote:
Bob wrote:
Nobody has yet told us the name of a Mystic that ranted and raved to the point of being a danger to others

I have! Here’s one of many: David Karesh (Branch Davidian religious sect in Waco, Texas).

LOL, please excuse me for laughing indiscretely, but you must be some kind of follower of David Koresh to give him the honour of appearing in the lines of such revered people as Adelhard of Bath, Johann Arndt, Aurelius Augustinus, Johann Christoph Blumhardt, John Bunyan, Jakob Böhme, Martin Buber, Mathias Claudius, Areopagita Dionysius, Meister Eckhart, Fénelon, Franz of Assissi, Gregor of Nyssa, Hildegard von Bingen, Ignatius, Johannes vom Kreuz, Juliane of Norwich, Sören Kierkegaard, Martin Luther, Nicolas Cusanus, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and many, many more....

None of these people saw themselves as a davidian Leader and heaped up arms to overthrow the Government. I really though you had something more to offer. You can't just say "I don't like Mystics and I didn't like Koresh either, so Koresh is a Mystic."

Bob wrote:
a special kind of experience, why should others who clearly haven't had the experience disagree?

‘God is all things to all people,’ everybody has their own unique way of relating to and understanding God. There is no one right way, only our own private way. In essence we all need to be mystics if we want to have a relationship with God.

Are you paraphrasing me or do you really think that I am saying anything different? If I have a special kind of experience that others have difficulties with, who has a problem? It isn't me. If we all have "our" spiritual experiences, then fine. Nobody on my side of the fence is complaining - we were sparked off by someone who asked a question.

Marshall asked:
Do you meditate Bob?

Probably not enough, but yes, it is silence and meditation that helps in my struggle with a stressful vocation. What also helps is using time instead of "killing" it. Time is a precious gift and the art is in using it effectively. Of course I'm not talking about working overtime or performance, but using time for me, so that I can find strength for others.

Mysticism is all about giving ones life a direction and being resolute on the chosen path. You can call it loyalty, being faithful, being steady or constant. It all amounts to remaining unperturbed on the path. Not always very easy....

Where does the path lead? It leads inwards, into our inmost being and again it leads to other people. The inward path is necessary to prepare for our task in this world, helping people to catch their breath again, to disencumber the tired, to heal, to help people on their feet, to open the eyes, enable people to take hold of their lives again, to forgive and to set free. In fact I quite imagine Jesus in the Synagogue smiling as he is given the Scripture he is required to translate into everyday life:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3)

That is what it is about, and Jesus must of thought: that's easy! He said: this prophecy has just been fulfilled! Of course people didn't understand straight away - that is nearly always the case with Mystics.

Shalom
Bob
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
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Postby Matt » Wed Jan 07, 2004 7:02 pm

LOL, please excuse me for laughing indiscretely, but you must be some kind of follower of David Koresh to give him the honour of appearing in the lines of such revered people as Adelhard of Bath [et al.]

.....

You can't just say "I don't like Mystics and I didn't like Koresh either, so Koresh is a Mystic."


Why do you keep referring to mystics so wistfully Bob?

A satanic priest can be a mystic, according to the definitions of http://www.dictionary.com

You particular perception of what a mystic is is irrelevant, the list you give is just a list of respectable mystics. You can't just say "Only people I respect can be mystics, so Koresh isn't a mystic".
Matt
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Postby Pax Vitae » Wed Jan 07, 2004 10:37 pm

Bob wrote:If I have a special kind of experience that others have difficulties with, who has a problem?

I think you keep missing my main point! It’s not only what you believe, as you have judged a mystic to teach either a Good or Bad message. But it’s only fair you respect everybody else’s freedom to make that same choice. You might think somebody is a Good mystic; I might disagree, why is your opinion more correct then mine? Each person will judge a mystic and it will be up to them to believe if the mystic is true or not. ‘Man is the measure of all thinks,’ the individual is the measure of the Mystic. You’re an individual; I’m an individual. We both have the same decision to make and to ourselves we will each have chosen the correct choice.
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Postby Bob » Wed Jan 07, 2004 11:33 pm

I think you keep missing my main point! It’s not only what you believe, as you have judged a mystic to teach either a Good or Bad message. But it’s only fair you respect everybody else’s freedom to make that same choice.

But we haven't discussed individuals - I have named and quoted those people who I respect and leave myself open for other opinions. And pardon me, but if you expect me to even consider people like Koresh, then we're wasting our time here.

Remember the first Posting?
People go to their religious (Buddhism (Karma), Christianity, Judaism (Kabbalah), and Hinduism (Yoga)) preferance to find meaning and truth in their lives. However, do you think these practices of divinity and spirituality explain true reality? Or are they means of excaping true reality themselves? I'm not sure I understand the whole relationship between "religious" practices and reality in the sense of whether they give us true knowledge or true exlanation of reality.

Those were world Religions and respected persons who were named, if you want to bring in Fanatics, then perhaps you should mention the fact that you see Mystics in two categories. I could communicate on that. But the first time a Critic is asked to name someone, he brings up a real nutter!

That isn't a basis for discussion. To be quite honest its just a pub crawl at that level.

Shalom
Bob
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
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Postby Matt » Wed Jan 07, 2004 11:46 pm

But we haven't discussed individuals - I have named and quoted those people who I respect and leave myself open for other opinions. And pardon me, but if you expect me to even consider people like Koresh, then we're wasting our time here.


But we do expect that!

Look at it from the other perspective, name all the philosophers that have been utterly wrong and had many follow their philosophies, who now have nothing to offer us.

I can't think of any of the top of my head. It's not easy, they stop being documented, new writers ignore them, no-one cares about them. Even in recent times virtually every neo-Hegelian is unknown apart from Kant. Why? Because Hegel was so far off track it astounds, the only reason he's still known is that he had such an influence on that most enigmatic of people Kant.

The well documented ancient mystics are going to be the ones who had something useful to offer.
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Postby Marshall McDaniel » Thu Jan 08, 2004 12:46 am

Bob. Please correct me if i'm wrong, but at one point you alluded to mystics shunning authority; and now we are to accept mystics only from established religions?
"..All life is the struggle, the effort to be itself. The difficulties I meet with in order to realise my existence are precisely what awaken and mobilise my activities, my capacities.."GASSET"..For enjoyment and innocence are the most modest things: neither want to be looked for. One should have them-but one should look rather for guilt and pain!.."NIETZSCHE"..The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart.." CAMUS
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Postby Bob » Thu Jan 08, 2004 5:47 pm

Marshall wrote:
Bob. Please correct me if i'm wrong, but at one point you alluded to mystics shunning authority; and now we are to accept mystics only from established religions?

No, but if someone is talking about a subject as openly as I have done, naming and quoting sources and very clearly not meaning the likes of David Koresh or Jim Jones or other maniacs, and my opposite discusses with me without stating the kind of people they have in mind, where does this all lead to?

Had we at the outset been talking about this kind of person, then I would have interjected with my examples to show that Mysticism can also have a respectable face. This is what I would expect from others vice versa. After all Matt can state:
The well documented ancient mystics are going to be the ones who had something useful to offer.

Which well documents my attempts to be clear about what I'm talking about. Where else would Maslow have come from, if not from a discussion that is not talking about Koresh and Jones?

Shalom
Bob
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
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Postby Bob » Thu Jan 08, 2004 6:08 pm

Matt wrote:
Look at it from the other perspective, name all the philosophers that have been utterly wrong and had many follow their philosophies, who now have nothing to offer us.

I fail to miss the point. Those Mystics that I have mentioned talk to us today from a long time ago and haven't failed to be a source of enlightenment to me. My own mystical experience is again enlightening - for me. Who is going to have a problem with it? Some have answered my posting by saying they enjoyed my insights or those of the quoted Mystics. That has made it worth the while.

I think that whilst we can talk about these things, ask questions, state that we are not impressed or come up with some point of view that opposes the hypothesis presented, we can't dispute when someone say's he has been enlightend by something. You can ask them to explain, give alternative explanations or parallel experiences, but simply to dispute for the sake of it without backing it up seems somewhat blunt to me.

Matt stated:
A satanic priest can be a mystic, according to the definitions of http://www.dictionary.com

If you are referring to the "occult rites and practices", occult means "hidden" as used in medicine. "Occult bleeding" means inner bleeding that no-one can see and is symptomised by an anaemic condition. By that, occult practices could also be used to describe a private party.

Shalom
Bob
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
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Postby Marshall McDaniel » Fri Jan 09, 2004 3:29 am

I think the good and the bad exist within any religion, philosophy, or ideology and i clearly understand your desire to acquaint us with the 'good' mystics. I have had many useful insights from this dialogue.
"..All life is the struggle, the effort to be itself. The difficulties I meet with in order to realise my existence are precisely what awaken and mobilise my activities, my capacities.."GASSET"..For enjoyment and innocence are the most modest things: neither want to be looked for. One should have them-but one should look rather for guilt and pain!.."NIETZSCHE"..The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart.." CAMUS
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Re:

Postby Bob » Thu Apr 28, 2022 10:25 am

Marshall McDaniel wrote:I think the good and the bad exist within any religion, philosophy, or ideology and i clearly understand your desire to acquaint us with the 'good' mystics. I have had many useful insights from this dialogue.

I found this dialogue nearly twenty years ago in the spirit of ILP as we discovered it, and surprisingly, I haven't changed much in my attitude, although since then I have been through a lot professionally and since retired.

I am also returning to the path I was on back then, which confirms my feeling that we move in circles in life.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
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