Jump to content

Welcome to FutureTimeline.forum
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

The Future of Mysticism

Mysticism India Buddhism Conversion Experiences Psychology Philosophy Christianity Islam

  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,215 posts

When I was younger, I would here the word "mysticism" bandied about so much that I came to some rather incorrect conclusions regarding to what the word refers. From context alone, one might conclude that it is only about magical thinking, or being fooled to believe in one religion or another. At this stage of my life I have become convinced that a deeper more historically founded meaning of the concept is needed.

 

Part of the confusion is the way moderns sometimes want to define and describe God.  "He" is seen as having very human qualities, a man with a white beard who in the past constantly interfered with historical processes. A being who operated beyond the constraints of physics. One who could break the laws of physics at will because "He" made those laws. 

 

Yet, this is a very limited, very narrow view of God.  In fact many theologians of the past explicitly reject or at least did not stress these aspects of God. For some of them, an encounter with "God" could be a very terrifying experience, hence the phrase "God fearing."  

 

Mysticism is often tied into a belief in God. Yet, I would argue that it is not dependent upon a belief in God.  It has its own legs so to speak. It points to something like the Tao in ancient China.  Followers can be too busy using the Tao to argue about whether it exists.  Mystical experiences can be the same way. They can point to a psychological reality that cannot be doubted.  It is only in trying to utilize language to describe a mystical experience that profound error can and does creep in. Indeed, a common theme among mystics of many different religions and  philosophies is that mysticism points to something beyond language. It points to powerful emotional experiences for which language can do no justice.  

 

Theologians and philosophers often write of mythos and logos. To try and understand the mystical experience through language is to try to understand mythos through logos. By its very nature, it is doomed to failure. 

 

What perhaps may not be doomed to failure is to understand how the human mind works. Specifically, the role of symbolism.  Here, we can look at the mind the way Freud examined our dreams.  In our dream state, the mind often contemplates the world through symbols.  Some times a cigar may just be a cigar, but more often the images in our dreams constitute a sort of language  of symbols.  A sometimes garbled language  that we can only partially comprehend in our waking state. 

 

Symbolism - the use of metaphors, similes, and parables, can be thought of as a process by which we utilize knowledge of something that we think we understand, and apply that knowledge to something that may be just beyond out grasp. We use this symbolism both for our own understanding and to communicate with others. We say that an electron revolves around the nucleus of an atom implying that there is something similar in that to the way planets revolve around the sun. Christ, in his teachings, made heavy use of parables to illustrate lessons he wanted to teach about basic truths in our lives.  One does not need to believe in His divinity to appreciate the wisdom wrapped up in some of those lessons.  

 

Language used in describing the results of mystical revelation can function on the same way. Still, such language is prone to misuse and misinterpretation.  So, through the ages observer after observer has described deep mystical encounters that they have had in their lives.  Such descriptions were often made in accordance with particular customs and understanding peculiar to the person making the description.  So much so that plenty of room for argument and doubt emerged.  History has been a process of emphasizing the differences between these states of revelation, while a comparative few have noted striking similarities.

 

If there is to be a future for mysticism, it is perhaps lodged in a better understanding of those similarities, and in overcoming differences that often emerge.  In that, there is plenty of room for science to co-exist.  In fact, science merely helps to enrich language and thus helps us to creep forward in our understanding of shared insights concerning the more profound truths of the world. For some, this may seem a hopelessly utopian endeavor. Yet nowadays, mere human survival into the future can also seem like a doomed utopian endeavor. The alternative would seem to be despair and a collapse into cynical selfishness.  A collapse that leads nowhere.  


  • Outlook likes this

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#2
PhoenixRu

PhoenixRu

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 422 posts

Language used in describing the results of mystical revelation can function on the same way. Still, such language is prone to misuse and misinterpretation.  So, through the ages observer after observer has described deep mystical encounters that they have had in their lives.  Such descriptions were often made in accordance with particular customs and understanding peculiar to the person making the description.  So much so that plenty of room for argument and doubt emerged.  History has been a process of emphasizing the differences between these states of revelation, while a comparative few have noted striking similarities.

 

If there is to be a future for mysticism, it is perhaps lodged in a better understanding of those similarities, and in overcoming differences that often emerge.  In that, there is plenty of room for science to co-exist.  In fact, science merely helps to enrich language and thus helps us to creep forward in our understanding of shared insights concerning the more profound truths of the world.

 

But other hand, science can also rationally explain (and thus completely destroy) these cases of "spiritual experience"...

 

Of course, I'm not an expert in psychology or anthropology, i just draw conclusions from what i read. In one book I've recently read -"Monkeys, neurons and soul" by Alexander Markov - author makes an interesting assumption that we (humanity) are on the verge of another mental revolution that will reshape our worldview. The first two revolutions were:

 

1) Heliocentrism - the idea that human race does not take any special place in this universe. Sounds trivial, but our ancestors hardly accepted it.

 

2) Evolution of life - the idea that human race wasn't designed and created by some superior intelligence but emerged accidentally, as result of long natural process. This was even more "humiliating" than heliocentrism and still doesn't completely accepted by common people.

 

Eventually, religion accepted both heliocentrism and (with many reservations) evolution: "OK, so be it... a good theory, it explains the origin of our bodies, but says nothing about our souls..."

 

The third revolution will start after the creation of "theory of consciousness" - complete, rational, materialistic, experimentally verifiable explanation of what our "soul" is and how it works. Maybe not tomorrow, but already in not so distant future... and as soon this will happen, there will be no more place for any mysticism. Science will create not only the proper language to describe this "spiritual experience", but mercilessly explain how and why this happens (if happens).

 

This may become the fatal blow to religion. Of course, even after this theory you will still be free to believe in whatever you want. But your faith will no longer peacefully coexist with your new knowledge and you'll have to make a painful choice. It may take another few generations for common people to grasp the new idea and accept the philosophical consequences. I suspect people's minds will furiously resist, even more than they resisted to heliocentrism and still resisting to evolution. But eventually...



#3
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,215 posts

 

 

But other hand, science can also rationally explain (and thus completely destroy) these cases of "spiritual experience"...

 

 

Rationally explain...yes, completely destroy?...the jury is still out on that.

 

 

 

2) Evolution of life - the idea that human race wasn't designed and created by some superior intelligence but emerged accidentally, as result of long natural process. This was even more "humiliating" than heliocentrism and still doesn't completely accepted by common people.

You might be surprised at how some forms of mysticism can easily coexist with this idea.

 

 

 

Eventually, religion accepted both heliocentrism and (with many reservations) evolution: "OK, so be it... a good theory, it explains the origin of our bodies, but says nothing about our souls..."

 

 

 

...but perhaps it does say something about our souls...

 

 

 

The third revolution will start after the creation of "theory of consciousness" - complete, rational, materialistic, experimentally verifiable explanation of what our "soul" is and how it work

 

 

Exactly...also known as "mysticism".

 

 

 

This may become the fatal blow to religion. Of course, even after this theory you will still be free to believe in whatever you want. But your faith will no longer peacefully coexist with your new knowledge and you'll have to make a painful choice. It may take another few generations for common people to grasp the new idea and accept the philosophical consequences. I suspect people's minds will furiously resist, even more than they resisted to heliocentrism and still resisting to evolution. But eventually...

 

 

...and here we are on common ground.   ;)


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#4
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,215 posts

 

 

 

The third revolution will start after the creation of "theory of consciousness" - complete, rational, materialistic, experimentally verifiable explanation of what our "soul" is and how it work

 

 

Exactly...also known as "mysticism".

 

 

....at least that is one possibility for the future of "mysticism".  

 

As to the mystics of the past, much depends upon who exactly one is talking about.   A part of the situation has been the that many times the line is blurred by mystics between the internal self and the external world.  Other mystics have insisted on the notion of an encounter with a God that may, or more critically, may not exist in the "external" world.

 

Yet another complicating factor is that of how much can humans really comprehend reality.  We live in an era when our knowledge of the external universe seems to be expanding at geometric rates of progression.  Theologians like Tielhard de Chadrin have even been encouraged to conjure up notions such as the Omega point.  

 

https://en.wikipedia...iki/Omega_Point

 

 

(Wikipedia) Teilhard's theory was a personal attempt in creating a new Christianity in which science and theology coexists. The outcome was that his theory of the Omega Point was not perfectly scientific as examined by physicists, and not perfectly Christian either. By 1962, The Society of Jesus had strayed from Spanish Jesuit Priest Francisco Suarez's philosophies on Man in favor of "Teilhardian evolutionary cosmogenesis". Teilhard's Christ is the "Cosmic Christ" or the "Omega" of revelation. He is an emanation of God which is made of matter, and experienced the nature of evolution by being born into this world and dying. His resurrection from the dead was not to heaven, but to the noosphere, the area of convergence of all spirituality and spiritual beings, where Christ will be waiting at the end of time. When the earth reaches its Omega Point, everything that exists will become one with divinity.

 

Teilhard reaffirms the role of the Church in the following letter to Auguste Valensin. It is important to note that he defines evolution as a scientific phenomenon set in motion by God – that science and the divine are interconnected and acting through one another.

 

I suppose one might completely dismiss this line of speculation as being irrelevant because God does not exist and therefore it is impossible that anything can "emanate" from God.  Others might counter that in this scheme of things, God resides in the noosphere.  So God is no thing.  Along these same lines, others have at least hinted that "God" is in fact a product of the human imagination. A concept that has a certain evolutionary implication in that the description and understanding of "God" may very well change over time.  Of course, others insist that God is immutable. Perhaps in the same way that gravity can also be said to be in certain ways immutable. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#5
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,215 posts

So what is the nature of this "noosphere" as discussed in my previous post?

 

https://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Noosphere

 

 

 

(Wikipedia) The noosphere (/ˈnoʊ.əsfɪər/; sometimes noösphere) is the sphere of human thought. The word derives from the Greek νοῦς (nous "mind") and σφαῖρα (sphaira "sphere"), in lexical analogy to "atmosphere" and "biosphere". It was introduced by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in 1922 in his Cosmogenesis. Another possibility is the first use of the term by Édouard Le Roy (1870–1954), who together with Teilhard was listening to lectures of Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky at the Sorbonne. In 1936, Vernadsky accepted the idea of the noosphere in a letter to Boris Leonidovich Lichkov (though he states that the concept derives from Le Roy. Citing the work of Teilhard's biographer—Rene Cuenot—Sampson and Pitt stated that although the concept was jointly developed by all three men (Vernadsky, LeRoy, and Teilhard), Teilhard believed that he actually invented the word: "I believe, so far as one can ever tell, that the word 'noosphere' was my invention: but it was he [Le Roy] who launched it."

 

…Teilhard perceived a directionality in evolution along an axis of increasing Complexity/Consciousness. For Teilhard, the noosphere is the sphere of thought encircling the earth that has emerged through evolution as a consequence of this growth in complexity / consciousness. The noosphere is therefore as much part of nature as the barysphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. As a result, Teilhard sees the "social phenomenon [as] the culmination of and not the attenuation of the biological phenomenon.”  These social phenomena are part of the noosphere and include, for example, legal, educational, religious, research, industrial and technological systems. In this sense, the noosphere emerges through and is constituted by the interaction of human minds. The noosphere thus grows in step with the organization of the human mass in relation to itself as it populates the earth. Teilhard argued the noosphere evolves towards ever greater personalisation, individuation and unification of its elements. He saw the Christian notion of love as being the principal driver of noogenesis. Evolution would culminate in the Omega Point—an apex of thought/consciousness—which he identified with the eschatological return of Christ.

 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#6
caltrek

caltrek

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,215 posts

Science Says Happiness Can Change Your Brain

 

https://www.alternet...ange-your-brain

 

Introduction:

 

(Alternet) After 2,000 years of practice, Buddhist monks know that one secret to happiness is to put your mind to it.

What is happiness, and how can we achieve it?

 

Happiness can’t be reduced to a few agreeable sensations. Rather, it is a way of being and of experiencing the world—a profound fulfillment that suffuses every moment and endures despite inevitable setbacks.

 

The paths we take in search of happiness often lead us to frustration and suffering instead. We try to create outer conditions that we believe will make us happy. But it is the mind itself that translates outer conditions into happiness or suffering. This is why we can be deeply unhappy even though we “have it all”—wealth, power, health, a good family, etc.—and, conversely, we can remain strong and serene in the face of hardship.

 

Anyone who takes the trouble to stabilize and clarify his or her mind will be able to experience pure consciousness.

159746251a60945034cde64a962a8b5f84c1f29b

The Dalai Lama speaks at a panel discussion in Washington, DC, February 20, 2014


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Mysticism, India, Buddhism, Conversion Experiences, Psychology, Philosophy, Christianity, Islam

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users