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 Deism = Mysticism?

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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Deism = Mysticism?   Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:47 pm

I just saw the new movie, starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig: The Golden Compass. It's a science-fiction fairy-tale similar to Tolkien's Ring Trilogy. And it has one key theme in common with many alternate-reality fantasies: the moral of the story is that "mysticism makes you free, but pragmatism enslaves the mind". In this case, it's the Magisterium (a thinly-veiled version of the Catholic Church or any other totalitarian regime). Whereas the bad guys always recommend pragmatic don't-rock-the-boat solutions, the good guys are usually idealists and rebels. However, as in the Ring Trilogy (black vs white magic) and Star Wars (The Force vs the Evil Empire), there is no mention of God or gods, but only some mysterious "energy" or "substance" (in this case "dust") that represents the higher, better reality (i.e. ideality) that the heroes turn-to for help in combating the forces of evil.

Deism seems to be viewed by some people as a type of abstract, austere mysticism (God as impersonal, supernatural power), or a New Age religion (God as a lawful force of nature). But I prefer to think of Deism as occupying a niche midway between regimented, authoritarian religion and dis-organized, freethinking mysticism. I personally enjoy exploring the alt-realities of fiction, but I also like to come back home to good-old ordinary, version 1.0, reality.

What do you think: is Deism a boring form of mysticism, or a watered-down religion, or something else altogether? Can we explore the mysteries of the world without falling into the worship of mystery itself? Can we be idealistic enough to believe in a hidden-higher-reality, and still be pragmatic enough to believe in measurable-mundane-Science? As Deists, can we have it both ways?


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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:40 pm

Gnomon wrote:

What do you think: is Deism a boring form of mysticism, or a watered-down religion, or something else altogether? Can we explore the mysteries of the world without falling into the worship of mystery itself? Can we be idealistic enough to believe in a hidden-higher-reality, and still be pragmatic enough to believe in measurable-mundane-Science? As Deists, can we have it both ways?


Personally I am not a mystic. I believe the world, God, everything is rigidly logical. But I have no way to prove it given the limited tools available to me. And if I can't prove it I must consider the possibility I could be wrong.
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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:21 am

Mysticism is the antithesis of deism, at least with its emphasis on absorbing knowledge through an unspecified connection with the universe rather than reasoned thought. In fact, it is deism's reliance on reason rather than feelings (=blind faith) that sets it apart and off the chart for so many people. Thinking isn't nearly as easy as feeling whatever you feel like feeling.
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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:09 am

Since Deism is based on a methodology of reason it might make sense to first define reason.

Here's something I did a while back.


I think that a lot of people make the mistake of confusing reason with pure logic. IMO although reason includes logic, and logic is an important aspect of reason, reason ultimately transcends pure logic. Reason includes several other processes of thought including intuition, belief, and observation/experience.

So to answer the question I think Deism is a third way that transcends and includes aspects of mysticism (intuition) and religion (belief) however Deism interprets these things in a different and more developed way that includes logic and observation thereby creating a new, emergent, and dynamic category of belief.

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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:18 am

The Paineful Truth wrote:
Mysticism is the antithesis of deism, at least with its emphasis on absorbing knowledge through an unspecified connection with the universe rather than reasoned thought.

Who's to say that absorbing knowledge through a direct connection with the universe isn't a part of the process of reasoned thought? Unless you're a dualist then reasoned thought and and the material world are absolutely connected.

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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:06 am

Quote :
reasoned thought and and the material world are absolutely connected.

What does that have to do with mysticism? Of course we process our sensory input from the material world. But mysticism begs the question of some hypernatural connection for which there is no more evidence than there is for divine revelation. In fact, those considerations are exact parallels, and where deism (laissez faire, reasonable naturalism) rejects or discounts the likelyhood of one for a total lack of evidence, it must reject the other likewise.
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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:03 am

The Paineful Truth wrote:
Quote :
reasoned thought and and the material world are absolutely connected.

What does that have to do with mysticism? Of course we process our sensory input from the material world. But mysticism begs the question of some hypernatural connection...

Of course you are starting out by assuming that there is a material world to provide sensory input. Although I personally don't disagree with that assumption there is reason to be skeptical of it. There is a certain amount of faith involved with the belief that the material world really exists. Afterall the only thing that we can really be sure of is the existence of our own consciousness. Everything else may just be an elaborate dream.

Mysticism doesn't start out with the assumption that the material world is fundamental to consciousness. It instead starts off with consciousness as being fundamental to nature, and according to this perspective, the way to access the most fundamental aspects of nature is through consciousness.

So it's not that there's necassarily some hypernatural connection between consciousness and the material world. It's that consciousness is an integral part of, or foundational to the material world.

The Paineful Truth wrote:
...for which there is no more evidence than there is for divine revelation. In fact, those considerations are exact parallels, and where deism (laissez faire, reasonable naturalism) rejects or discounts the likelyhood of one for a total lack of evidence, it must reject the other likewise.

Deism isn't Positivism nor are deist beliefs necassarily limited to exoteric or objective knowledge. Deism has never been about rejecting personal experiences and revelations that are accessible to everyone.

From "Christianity as Old as the Creation", by Matthew Tindal
Quote :
A. ...Natural Religion; which, as I take it, differs not from Revealed, but in the manner of it'­s being communicated. The one being the internal, as the other the external revelation of the same unchangeable will of a being, who is alike at all times infinitely wise and good.

B. Surely, Sir, this must be extremely hetrodox. Can you believe that Natural and Revealed religion differ in nothing, but the manner of their being conveyed to us?

A. As heterodox as I may seem at present, I doubt not, but by asking you a few questions, to let you see, I advance nothing in either of these points without Reason; and in order to it, I desire to be informed, whether God has not, from the beginning, given mankind some rule, or law, for their conduct? And whether the observing that did not make them acceptable to him?

As you can see, Deism is about free thought and the rejection of beliefs that are based primarily on special revelation, authority, scripture, tradition, and dogma. Although the mystical tradition includes gurus that claim special esoteric access to "higher" truths these mystics to not represent all of the mystical tradition.

Gautama Buddha is an example of someone who was not only an accomplished mystic but also an advocate of free thought and reason. In other words esotericism can most definitely be considered a type of free thought and IMO is perfectly compatible with Deism.

Whether you (or I) agree with the validity of the different interpretations of mystical knowledge is an entirely different issue.

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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:01 pm

I completely agree with Painful Truth, on this one. In my opinoin Reason requires a heavy dose of skepticism in it (combined together they generate an empiric episteme); otherwise, there is no way of knowing anything for sure. Mysticism on the otherhand asks us to believe in something that cannot be verified objectively, but only in the community of peers (sangha) as Wilber would put it. The problem with this is that if there is no objective way of ascertaining the "reality" of mystical experience, then all that we have is insanity being validated by insanity, in an insane asylum, where everyone is insane.

Also, Aaron, in the last couple of chapters of SES, Wilber specifically tackles the Deist point of view as "flatland" and how the German Idealists tried to go above and beyond it. And of course, he conveniently forgets, and not withstanding the Jedi Knights, that whenever mysticism has come to dominate the world it has always been in through authoritarianism. Just look at the Caste system of India--a unique outcome of that mystical civilization; or the modern unified Germany that spawned both Communism and Nazism that took inspiration from the writings of the mystic Idealists such as Schelling, Hegel, Feurbach, Nietzsche,and Marx.

Of course, that in itself is not a refutation of mysticism or Idealism--just because they produce undesirable effects does not mean they must be wrong ideas--but the point is precisely that incorrect epistemic and ontological views inevitably produce vicious systems of politics and ethics.

People often reference Buddha, but the reality is that Siddharta was not a mystic when he became enlightened/buddha. His enlightenment lead towads his renounciation of mysticism. We don't know anything about his life, given that even the older Pali texts of Theravada were recorded some three centuries after his demise--we can't even be sure he existed; but if you take away all the magic and miracles from the annecdotes collected around him, all that you have is an Atheist/Agnostic former renouncer that renounced renouncement: An ex-mystic that realized that the mysteries of life are not revealed by transceding the mind/body but by humbly living in the mind/body.

Is it a wonder that he refused to answer any otherwordly question. Unlike Zen where any question about the nature of reality is countered by another counter-logical question, Buddha gave us a noble silence for an answer. And that can only mean two things: He did not have the answer to questions regarding transcendence and that he knew well that people are not ready to accept that there is no answer to such questions. In otherword, only a rational mind can appreciate the limits of reason and the creation of paradox (Kantian antinomies) when reason tries to tackle ultimate questions. Where reason humbly silences itself, that where mysticsm begins to make bold claims; in other words:
Only fools stepin where the angels fear to tread.
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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:08 pm

Averroes wrote:
I completely agree with Painful Truth, on this one. In my opinoin Reason requires a heavy dose of skepticism in it (combined together they generate an empiric episteme); otherwise, there is no way of knowing anything for sure. Mysticism on the otherhand asks us to believe in something that cannot be verified objectively, but only in the community of peers (sangha) as Wilber would put it. The problem with this is that if there is no objective way of ascertaining the "reality" of mystical experience, then all that we have is insanity being validated by insanity, in an insane asylum, where everyone is insane.

I'm not arguing the validity of mysticism here. That's a completely different discussion. What's at issue here is the compatibility of Deism and mysticism. IMO, based on the writings of historical deists I would say that the two are absolutely compatible and the tool of the deist mystic is Reason (capital "R").

Averroes wrote:
Also, Aaron, in the last couple of chapters of SES, Wilber specifically tackles the Deist point of view as "flatland" and how the German Idealists tried to go above and beyond it.

Yes, well I think Wilber's description of Deism was somewhat limited to the likes of the French deists like Voltaire and the American deists like Paine and Jefferson. Also, SES was written before the modern deist revival which has seen an expansion of deistic thought. In light of this deistic revival I would argue that the idealists such as Hegel, Fichte, and Schelling were in fact deists, and more specifically panendeists.

Averroes wrote:
...And of course, he conveniently forgets, and not withstanding the Jedi Knights, that whenever mysticism has come to dominate the world it has always been in through authoritarianism.

I've heard Atheists make the same arguments in regards to "god belief", and although there is a lot of truth in that argument neither "god belief" nor mysticism require authority for their existence.

Averroes wrote:
People often reference Buddha, but the reality is that Siddharta was not a mystic when he became enlightened/buddha. His enlightenment lead towads his renounciation of mysticism.

I guess that depends on one's definition of mysticism. I would argue that he renounced pre-rational mysticism for rational and even perhaps trans-rational mysticism.

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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:57 am

Aaron wrote:
Quote :
The Paineful Truth wrote:
.
Quote :
..for which there is no more evidence than there is for divine revelation. In fact, those considerations are exact parallels, and where deism (laissez faire, reasonable naturalism) rejects or discounts the likelyhood of one for a total lack of evidence, it must reject the other likewise.


Deism isn't Positivism nor are deist beliefs necassarily limited to exoteric or objective knowledge. Deism has never been about rejecting personal experiences and revelations that are accessible to everyone.

Please note that I said divine (supernatural) revelation. The only revelations accessible to everyone are natural ones, if they exist at all. I'm very open to Intelligent Design and think that we may be starting to get somewhere with it. But that's revelation through scientific, reproducible, natural evidence, not some unverifiable supernatural supposition for which there is no evidence.

Quote :
Gautama Buddha is an example of someone who was not only an accomplished mystic but also an advocate of free thought and reason. In other words esotericism can most definitely be considered a type of free thought and IMO is perfectly compatible with Deism.

On what basis can you say that he was an accomplished mystic, or a mystic at all, other than because he said so as would any prophet or shaman. His association of it with free thought doesn't validate it. And esotericism implies special revelation of knowledge not available to all, an assumption with which I, as a deist, most profoundly disagree. There is no evidence for it, but plenty of evidence that there are those who will say anything if it elevates their stature and influence.
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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:47 am

The Paineful Truth wrote:
On what basis can you say that he was an accomplished mystic, or a mystic at all, other than because he said so as would any prophet or shaman.

On the same basis that I can say that Thomas Paine used reason. I think it's evident in they're words and teachings.

The Paineful Truth wrote:
His association of it with free thought doesn't validate it.

No, but it's shows that not all mystics are necassarily authoritarian.

The Paineful Truth wrote:
And esotericism implies special revelation of knowledge not available to all...

That's how it's generally understood in the west based on the broad history of pre-rational, mythic esotericism and to a type of equivocation that has been attached to it. The literal translation of esoteric simply means "inner" knowledge. It's been taken to mean both inner personal knowledge and inner group knowledge. Either definition is valid however the second meaning is almost always implied which in unnecessary.

Strictly speaking phenomenology is a type of esotericism however there is nothing that states that phenomenology requires "special" enlightenment available only to a narrow circle of people. Anyone who looks within themselves at their thoughts and/or emotions is practicing phenomenology and esotericism. This type of inner knowledge or self-knowledge is completely compatible with Deism provided the interpretation of this inner knowledge is rationally based.

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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:51 am

I agree with Painful in that I am not a mystic. I am a Deist because I am a rationalist. But rationalists can be just as awe struck by the world as any mystic.

I remember looking at the Andromeda galaxy through my telescope and it suddenly hitting me just what it was I was seeing. Then I looked up at the Milky Way over head and realized in a very visceral way that I am a part of a galaxy too. And understanding the science behind it all just made it that much more meaningfull. It was a truly amazing experiance.

As to whether or not mystics can be Deists. I don't know. The question reminds me of the one raised by the first Christians when they asked if gentiles could be members of their church.


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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Sat Dec 15, 2007 10:23 am

Aaron wrote:
The Paineful Truth wrote:
On what basis can you say that he was an accomplished mystic, or a mystic at all, other than because he said so as would any prophet or shaman.

Quote :
On the same basis that I can say that Thomas Paine used reason. I think it's evident in they're words and teachings.

It isn't the same. Paine can show others how he reasonably reached his conclusions. Mystics can't.

Aaron wrote:
The Paineful Truth wrote:
His association of it with free thought doesn't validate it.

Quote :
No, but it's shows that not all mystics are necassarily authoritarian.

I never thought of most mystics as authoritarian.

Aaron wrote:
The Paineful Truth wrote:
And esotericism implies special revelation of knowledge not available to all...

Quote :
This type of inner knowledge or self-knowledge is completely compatible with Deism provided the interpretation of this inner knowledge is rationally based.

But that's the whole point, there is no rational basis for such inner/self-knowledge. If you have evidence or proof for your inner knowledge, then it is no longer inner knowledge. If you intuited the exact closing prices for the Dow Jones industrials for tomorrow, that would be proof. Or if Columbus could have drawn a map of where the Americas were before he "discovered" them, that would be substantial evidence if not proof.

I know of no mystic predictions/revelations that aren't more likely to be coincidence, imagination or just plain obvious--even to the mystic, who, without substantial evidence or proof, couldn't himself be sure if he was guessing or not.

I say again, there is no difference between a mystic and a prophet. They both rely on unfounded and/or manufactured revelation.
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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:15 pm

Aaron wrote:
IMO, based on the writings of historical deists I would say that the two are absolutely compatible and the tool of the deist mystic is Reason (capital "R").

I guess that depends on one's definition of mysticism.


Although I come from a decidedly rational, non-mystical wing of the protestant Christian tradition, I have always been interested in Mysticism. Part of the fascination, I suppose, came from its inherent individualism, as opposed to the group focus of conventional religion. Another thing that intrigued me, was that these people seemed to be smugly enjoying powers and pleasures that were denied to me in my mundane little world. Although I have experienced a few weird sensations, and a lot of puzzling situations in my life, I have never felt a need to interpret any of them as mystical, or occult, or transcendental. I haven't even had one of the ordinary (in my neck of the woods) transformational "religious experiences".

My most authoritative and definitive source of information about Mysticism, from the inside, is the 1911 book by the scholarly mystic Evelyn Underhill: MYSTICISM, The Development of Humankind's Spiritual Consciousness. She starts out with a skeptical review of some of the common, popular aberrations from True, Genuine, Mysticism. She says that, "Mysticism . . . has been claimed as an excuse for every kind of occultism, for dilute transcendentalism, vapid symbolism, religious or aesthetic sentimentality, and bad metaphysics." Her approach to the subject seems to be quite rational, but it also accepts the existence of an Alternate Reality as an axiom. She refers to the rare true mystic as, " . . . a curious and definite type of personality; a type which refuses to be satisfied with that which other men call experience . . . to deny the world in order that it may find reality." But here's the tip-off to the specific motivation of the mystic, "Their passion appears to be the prosecution of a certain spiritual and intangible quest: the finding of a 'way out' or a 'way back' to some desirable state in which alone they can satisfy their craving for absolute truth." [my emphasis] I must admit, that I am also driven by a quest for truth, but whenever anyone has a craving for anything "absolute", I tend to stand out of their way. Because they will stop at nothing, including self-deception, in order to possess their heart's desire.

The religious sect that I was indoctrinated into as a child was unassuming and innocuous by comparison with today's fiery Fundamentalists. But, like the Amish and other separatist sects, they were careful to distinguish our "true" religion from the perverted religions of "the world". We even avoided calling ourselves a "denomination", with its implication that those other apostate sects were also on the one-true-path. With a background like that, I am understandably suspicious of any claims to absolute truth, or ultimate knowledge, or The Way. But even so, I cannot help but admire the "true" mystics of the world, by comparision with the zombie-like, rank & file followers of popular, organized religions.

First, as an Agnostic, and now as a Deist, I have abandoned my futile search for Ultimate Truth, and my feeble attempts at Transcendent Experience. That's not because I am any less Idealistic, or truth-oriented, but because I have realized, rationally, that the only ultimate Truth is G*D. And the only thing transcendent is G*D, period. Hence, If you want Truth and Transcendence you must become G*D. Otherwise, you must learn to live in a world of relative truth and earth-bound experience.

I can understand why Idealistic mystics have always been dis-satisfied with the mundane, material world G*D created for us. I have no problem when they use their God-given imagination to create a fictional alternative universe where the God-imposed limitations are loosened. But then they abuse their pictorial powers by having the audacity to label their human creation "True Reality" [see Reification]. Maybe that's why I feel like I've been left behind in my lower-class ghetto of Un-Reality. Crying or Very sad
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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:13 pm

I think there's a lot of confusion in the west about mysticism in a similar way that there's a lot of confusion in the west about meditation and what it's ultimate purpose(s) is.

There seems to be a limited view that equates all forms of mysticism and meditation with a type of pre-rational shamanism. (And the popularity of the "New Age" movement hasn't done anything to help with this wide spread confusion.) While that view is true, mysticism does have it's roots in pre-rational shamanism, it is only partially true. Mysticism comes in many forms from shamanistic mysticism, to rational mysticism, all the way to trans-egoic "nondual" mysticism. It seems that the main defining feature of all these forms of mystical experience is the objectification of the subject or "the inner self".

The importance of mystical experience is up for debate. Some are of the opinion that it's possible to gain knowledge of the objective world or even the transcendental through meditation and the mystical experience. Others blow mystical experience off as just a mental illusion. I tend to fall somewhere inbetween.

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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Sun Dec 16, 2007 8:55 am

Aaron wrote:
I think there's a lot of confusion in the west about mysticism in a similar way that there's a lot of confusion in the west about meditation and what it's ultimate purpose(s) is.

Yea we all seem to have a different definition of mysticism. Mine is simply taken from the root word which means unknowable. Not unknowable in the "I'm a finite being and I can never analyze all that dat before I die" sense. But fundementally unknowable even if you had forever to investigate it.

So what is your definition of mysticism?
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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Sun Dec 16, 2007 11:14 am

stretmediq wrote:
So what is your definition of mysticism?

I think the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy does a pretty good job of describing it here.

Quote :
The term ‘mysticism,’ comes from the Greek μυω, meaning “to conceal.” In the Hellenistic world, ‘mystical’ referred to “secret” religious rituals. In early Christianity the term came to refer to “hidden” allegorical interpretations of Scriptures and to hidden presences, such as that of Jesus at the Eucharist. Only later did the term begin to denote “mystical theology,” that included direct experience of the divine (See Bouyer, 1981). Typically, mystics, theistic or not, see their mystical experience as part of a larger undertaking aimed at human transformation (See, for example, Teresa of Avila, Life, Chapter 19) and not as the terminus of their efforts. Thus, in general, ‘mysticism’ would best be thought of as a constellation of distinctive practices, discourses, texts, institutions, traditions, and experiences aimed at human transformation, variously defined in different traditions.

I would subscribe to the later definition of the term. Mysticism offers us an opportunity to take a look at the world from a different perspective, one that is outside of normal egoic states of consciousness. IMO, it helps us to see and perceive things that are normally missed. Like I said, approaches to mysticism range anywhere from shamanistic (native american mysticism), to mythical (hindu, christian, etc.), to rational (Spinoza, Hegel, Einstein, etc.), to trans-rational (Emerson, ?).

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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Sun Dec 16, 2007 2:54 pm

I can see how mysticism defined as "hidden" may be compatable with rationalism. But once something is "found" by that definition can it still be called mystical?
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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Sun Dec 16, 2007 4:57 pm

Good point. Perhaps things that were "hidden" and considered mystical 100 years ago are just seen as rational now and perhaps some of the things that are seen as mystical now will be considered completely rational 100 years from now.

I think Einstein was as example of a rational mystic that used a type of mysticism rather than pure empiricism or logic to formulate his hypothesis.

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."

"When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge."

"The most important function of art and science is to Awaken the cosmic religious feeling and keep it alive."

"The only source of knowledge is experience"

"I maintain that cosmic religiousness is the strongest and most noble driving force of scientific research."

"The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. The religion which based on experience, which refuses dogmatic. If there's any religion that would cope the scientific needs it will be Buddhism...."


This one doesn't really pertain to mysticism but it's a great quote anyway and I think it sums up the foundation of most deists belief in god.

"The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books---a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects."

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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Sun Dec 16, 2007 6:15 pm

Aaron wrote:

I think Einstein was as example of a rational mystic that used a type of mysticism rather than pure empiricism or logic to formulate his hypothesis.
On another forum I have had to defend my use of "Metaphysics" to describe Information, because that term in recent history has been associated with Magic and Mysticism and Spiritualism. But the original meaning of the word simply referred to ordinary non-physical things, such as ideas.

However, due to its historical associations with schizophrenic mystics, I would prefer to use the non-mystical terms: "Theoretical" and "Deductive", or even "Intuitive", rather than "Mystical" to describe Einstein's methods in his search for truth. As Walter Isaacson noted in his biography of AE, "In other words, Einstein wanted to assert that he had produced a theory that was deduced from grand principles and postulates, not a theory that was constructed by examining physical data."

To some, that may sound like Mysticism, but to me it is more akin to the methods of Greek philosophers when dealing with questions beyond the reach of current empirical methods. The distinction between Philosophy and Mysticism is tricky, but necessary, if we are to avoid making a religion of occult Mystery in favor of a science of overt Reality.

Even AE himself seemed to be wary of associations between his intuitive-but-logical speculations and those of logic-bending visionaries:

"What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very
imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of "humility." This is a
genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism"
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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:41 pm

Yes, I read that. Like I said. I think it goes back to the way mysticism has generally been understood in the west. The word comes with a lot of bagage. It's seems that even a rational mystic like Einstien didn't understand that mysticism could exist beyond the pre-rational.

I think that many people have trouble with the word god for the same reasons.

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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:45 am

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."--Einstein

But intuition isn't necessarily mysticism. I think intuition, like dreaming of an answer to a question or an epiphany, are merely the brain's way of taking a short cut that we may or may not understand or, at the time, be able to show how the answer fits the question. But ultimately there will be a rational connection found. And we rarely catalog erroneous dreams and epiphanies.

That's not mysticism, it's merely an incomplete understanding of how the brain works--which perhaps might be how our brains are more like a quantum computer than a digital one.

Also, intuition can just be another word for educated guess. Einstein believed intuitively, that God doesn't play dice with the universe. I believe he is turning out to be right on that one after all, but he didn't like uncertainty merely because it didn't fit in with the Grand Big Picture he had developed for the universe--and even the nature of God.
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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:59 pm

Daniel Dennet has a theory called the multiple drafts theory that says the brain acts like a computer that has many sub-circuits running in parallel. These feed a master control program that works like a sequential processor.

We are only aware of what the master program is doing but all the sub-circuits are busy analyzing data and putting them together in different ways. When a meaningful connection is found it is sent to the mcp and we experiance an AHA! moment.

This is what happens when we suddenly remember something we couldn't recall earlier like someone's name. I think it is the same mechanism that allowed AE the intuitive insights he had.

Whether this is what actually happens has yet to be proved but I think it explains alot. Like when a schizophrenic hears voices its probably just a circuit "bleeding" over like when you hear two stations at once on the radio.

I don't think explaining it diminishes it though. In fact I think it demonstrates the phenomenon is real.
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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:28 pm

Greetings to all:

I personally like the quote about the library and the child, but wonder if another child, who comes upon the same books, doesn't think of and imagine a story in which each book is just a doorway into another world. There are cartoons where we are invited into worlds within such books, and although these are fantasies, mightn't these fantasies be mere examples of those things which some cannot see, but that others, who look with their own eyes, might see and experience just as plainly as those who do not?

I guess I define mysticism as something which is plainly there, but that only some may see, but that others do not. I, for example, learned from Lobsang Rampa the talent of seeing what Kirlian photography can also plainly "see." I am partially sighted, but I see more colors of fire than other "fully sighted" people cannot. In reality, I know (not believe) that all colors in the rainbow are present in fire, but until diabetes altered my perceptions of sight, couldn't see them. Such is life.
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PostSubject: Re: Deism = Mysticism?   Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:08 pm

As Aaron has stated, the definition of mysticism is skewed in the West. I would put much of the blame upon the early Roman Catholic Church, since discrediting all other forms of belief was vital to the success of the new government-sponsored religion.

I am a member of AMORC (Ancient Mystical Order of the Rose Cross) better known as the Rosicrucians, but I still consider myself a Deist. This is a form of mysticism that is compatible with almost any religious belief one might hold, and we have members who continue to be active in their churches. I found that fact troubling at first - how can one become enlightened and still believe in one's old religion? - but I have been told by other members that the knowledge gained from Rosicrucian teachings allows them to interpret their church's teachings in a way not usually expressed by their ministers.

The principles of Rosicrucian mysticism is based upon the teachings of the ancient Egyptian mystery schools - "mystery" meaning that these precepts were only passed on to select students. The masses have always had their watered-down religious teachings, while a select few studied on a deeper level (think about monks, for example).

Everything presented in our teachings is accompanied by a practical experiment. No one is expected to accept anything they can't prove for themselves. I'd call that rational mysticism, wouldn't you?
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