Posted: Oct 16, 2014 4:24 am
by Kafei
Will S wrote:Kafei - You give me a problem! How am I to say how I respond to your message without giving offence?
For there are two options. Either you are saying contains important truths which are, for the present anyway, utterly beyond my comprehension -- just as my cat can't comprehend calculus. Or you are simply stringing fine-sounding words together, but not actually saying anything.

The bottom line is that I simply cannot make any sense at all of your message. If the fault is mine, then is there anything else you can say which might bring me (and others too, I suspect) a glimmering of understanding? :angel:


No offense taken. I admit that a lot of this mystical rhetoric can sound a bit amphigoric, but the reason for that is because if you've not had a religious experience, then you haven't shared that point-of-view, and therefore cannot intuitively derive the meaning from rhetoric at first glance. This is because you've nowhere in your background to relate to the experience, and so the words can often fly past you. That's why it's somewhat of a challenge of those who've had this experience to attempt to transduce it into words or concepts for others, who've not had this experience, to try and grasp it intellectually. However, I'm in agreement with William James, he said while the revelations of the mystic hold true, they're nevertheless only going to be something for others to consider, but not truly be beheld by others unless they were to have the experience for themselves.

What should be made clear and usually isn't is that a "mystical experience" is truly a phenomenon in consciousness. I don't believe you have to believe in any religion to get it, it can happen to potentially anyone. However, most people, atheists and theists alike, because they've never had such an experience really don't know how to think about it. I spoke about it at Atheist-Nexus.com, to give you an example, and a woman commented on mystical experience, and now I believe I can safely assume that she's not had such an experience, and so assumes it's something else. Here's what she said:

The mystical experience is very much a feature of Homo sapiens. There exists a sense of wonder, just seeing water turn into ice or gas, or watching sunrises and sunsets, or the different features of the sky! Then, when one observes birth and death, a more mystical event does not exist as far as I am concerned. None of these involves a god/s. Nature, with all its diversity, presents wonder upon wonder.


You see, she defined it as an intense sense of awe, the sort of awe one might receive when standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, and looking out towards the landscape, etc. That's not what people are talking about when they talk about "mystical experience," that's what the person who's never had a mystical experience assumes it might be, you see.

I used an example in an earlier post in this thread in attempt to somewhat explain this phenomenon, and I also left a link to a Reddit post where I elaborate on it much more extensively, but I'll try and see if I could summarize something here, but I do recommend you read the first post I left on this thread, and if you can check out the Reddit link whenever you've the leisure time to do so. This experience is a colossal altered state of consciousness that if it were to happen to you, you'd have no doubt that what you were experiencing is vastly different from your ordinary state of consciousness. It is not a "personal experience" per se, but is rather described as impersonal or transpersonal in that there are motifs within the experience that cannot be reduced to the individual. The experience is, nevertheless, filtered through the unique personality of the individual. And most people tend to reach for profound metaphors, they tend to reach for the most profound concepts they know in order to describe this experience. So, for instance, if you're religious, you may believe you met God at the height of this experience; if you're a UFO nut, you may inclined to believe that you've fused consciousness with the extraterrestrial; if you're an atheist, you might reach for a mathematical diction as in, "I glimpsed a higher dimension." In either case, something transcendental, extremely profound, and interconnected is intuited by the individual.

Alan Watts, of whom I quoted verbatim in the previous post, the soup of words that you thought to be meaningless, and I'll link the source here. This idea of God not as entity, but as a plenum. You have to listen out for the "final Self." He had this idea that was an extension of Aldous Huxley's (of which he was good friends with) of a Perennial Philosophy. That Jesus, Muhammad, Gautama, etc. were all mortal men who sometime in their lifetime, by whatever means, had this phenomenon in consciousness occur. Then, when they began to speak about their experiences, alas each one of them became the founder of a religion. He points out that because of the geographical area Jesus may have traveled about, there could have been no way for him to be influenced by eastern religion or philosophy. He may knew a bit about Egyptian and Greek mythology, Hebraism, but most likely was not familiar with Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, etc. And because of this, his experience would be filtered through his cultural, religious, and social influences whereas if he were born in India, and had this experience, and announced, "I and the father are one," then a Hindu would have simply replied, "Congratulations! At last, you've found out!" Because Hindus know that this experience is a potential in us all, they knew, more or less, that it has to do with engaging in these altered states of consciousness. This is what "samadhi" is, this is what "moksha" is, "nirvana" in Buddhism, etc. Well, I'll post the link where Watts speaks on this topic below.

Alan Watts - The Perennial Philosophy