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Mysticism and Science: Radical Reason


Sometimes inspiration can come from the most uninspiring source. I was given a Bible a few days ago. He was a nice Christian Baba in Port Hardy. His talk of spirit and divine powers of healing along with the wild look in his eye has led me to the conclusion that he was a kind of Christian mystic. I wasn’t prepared to be rebuked for following the devils path when it came out that I followed yoga and Indian philosophy. The last thing I expected was to be told to believe what he believes because he is right and the rest of us are wrong. At the heart of his argument, of course, was great ignorance not only about what I believe, but what Hindus and Muslims believe (for it seemed to me that he initially equated yoga with Islam). In any case, he at least correctly identified me as a seeker of spirit.

He spoke about a few of his own moments of doubt, which of course reminded me that Jesus also had his doubts as he was spread out on the cross wondering why his father had forsaken him. Perhaps I’ve also asked this questions a few times recently. How is it that someone with such great blessings is forced by the hand of fate to live hand to mouth in some of the most isolated backwards parts of this earth. Of course as I write this I also have to acknowledge that I quite like such places, but I’m rarely there for the joy of being there; and perhaps I have on occasion chosen the place, this does not mean I have chosen the circumstance. In honesty, however, we have to accept that even our choies are guided by that same powerful hand of fate since the place from which the choice initially arises is that same place from where the most unexpected occurrences of destiny arise.

Doubt is generally a result of not receiving the fruits that we think are our due. “I’ve done what you’ve asked,” we cry out to the heavens, “why have I not received the fruits of that activity?” We doubt because suddenly cause and effect doesn’t seem to be working how we think it should. It’s like expecting that when we germinate a whole bag of seeds that every one of them will sprout to give equal fruit, when what we actually find is that each seed is slightly different in itself as well as finding a slightly unique piece of ground to inhabit. It’s like a fallacy of the sun which we see rise every day taking this as proof that it will rise again tomorrow. Meanwhile it’s postulated that sometime before sunrise of some long distant tomorrow the sun is likely to either explode of burn itself out. What happened yesterday cannot be proof of what will happen today.

This is the kind of hard logic that is followed by mystics! We’re often considered unreasonable when in fact it’s often the most reasonable people who have built up their knowledge upon a most unreasonable basis. I can hear the choir of reason singing out for me to be more reasonable as it’s unlikely the sun will disappear before tomorrow. But if we follow this logic thru to tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, then tomorrow will certainly come someday. So, we get “primitive” people worshiping the rising sun; ushering a new day with praise for the elements of fire, earth, air, and water while those who are being more “reasonable” in following modern customs are waking up to go to work, worshiping their bodies with various chemicals and synthetics before heading out the door to consciously pollute the elements of our existence for some “higher cause” of “managing the unmanageable” as they seek to save the world by using the very reason which is destroying it.

But I suppose if’ we’re truly reasonable then we cannot condemn people for their karma and before the end of the day we have to accept that even this earth which seems to be condemned by our karma has it’s own karma. Of course there is nothing wrong with suggesting that people be the change they wish to see in the world, nor do I wish to discourage those environmental crusaders from their fight, but we should not have great expectations from our activities. Some fights will be won while others will be lost, we will not get one thing that we don’t have coming to us, nor will we lose anything that is not owed by us. The job of a crusader is to crusade; the job of a protector is to protect, the job of a writer is to write; it is not our job to expect results from these activities.

It’s seems that the older I get, the more I get this sense that I am the centre of the universe. Of course it doesn’t help that everything seems to arise from from within myself, even those holes that seems to come over me like a storm have obviously been dug by me very slowly over a longer period of time than the ones I can easily recognize to have dug myself. If karma were instantaneous I don’t suppose it would take long before it took care of itself and washed the world clear of it’s toxicity; but then there would be nothing and since I cannot even contemplate such a fate, I have to assume it would be a bad thing though I doubt anyone would notice. As barber shop philosopher recently said, it’s not illegal if you don’t get caught. Such logic, which, if followed, suggests that the tree does not in fact make a noise if there is no one there to hear it.

This is kinda how magic works. Magic and miracle are not opposed to reason, they merely follow a more radical reason then most “reasonable” people follow.

The fellow who gave me the bible spoke of listening to spirit and doing it’s bidding as a way of discovering the truth of the what he described as the conduit to the father which was left by the son (Jesus) when he died on the cross. This conduit is the holy spirit. The father, the son and the holy ghost all seemed to out there somewhere in the air perhaps and it spoke to him directly telling him what to do. He didn’t seem to think that there should be anything between this voice of god and himself. He criticized my use of astrology for discovering the future despite our discussion the day before about various means of coming to the same place and the various paths taken by the many great men who have walked this earth before us. Since he follows the Christian path I was not surprised to hear that he believed love to be the only true path to god; but since I thought him a mystic, I was surprised to hear that he believed all the other paths (science, breathing, activity) to be paths to hell.

We often seek to contrast spirit and reason but there is no true distinction. Spirit perhaps delves a little deeper and doubts a little more leaving behind the many “reasonable” assumptions (like the rising sun) that allow us to take the very world we depend on for granted while we get on with the practical activity of getting by in this world, but the truth is that no true scientist can ignore these things any more than the mystic. The profound sense of doubt drives both to go in their respective directions and in the end they come to the same sense of awe that can’t be named or categorized or described to anyone who has not witnessed such awesomeness. Both will agree that at the heart of this universe is a mystery that can only be experienced thru that sixth sense that was once described to me as sentiment.

Of course every path has a language of it’s own. Every culture has it’s own word for god just as every culture has it’s own word for people. How many times have I read some account of traditional people whose word for themselves means, quite simply, “the people.” If we go back into history far enough there is little need to distinguish these people from those people because it’s unlikely there were any other people. People are people where ever you go. This is a kind of radical reason that few can follow. Instead they see these people as being different from those people, and suddenly all people are not created equal so that it seems other people are not people at all. This is another misuse of reason if it can still be called reason at all.

“Show me” is what the scientists and the mystics say while those trumpeting the supremacy of “reason” are busy telling them how things are. When I talk about mysticism, magic, miracle, spirit or the gods of this or that many people think I’m speaking a language other than reason. Many of these stories are descriptions of how people experience the world, facts are something else entirely. The only true facts are actually tautologies; most of what we consider facts are merely probabilities, hypothesis’, or agreements about the way things are when in fact, even the facts are in a state of flux making them capable of contradicting even themselves.

I never felt any competition of beliefs between myself and the fellow who gave me the bible. It never occurred to me that his belief or description of his experience of this life might be wrong, but I did feel disrespected. I felt like he saw me as less of a person than himself which suggest that perhaps I wasn’t a person at all in his eyes but rather some object top be conquered in brought into the kingdom of Christ. It’s these sorts of beliefs that I find completely unreasonable; contrary to anything I’ve ever experienced and contrary to the doctrine of love so much touted by the followers of Christ. So for the sake of love, for the sake of all that is good and holy and true in this world, let us all try to be just a little more reasonable, perhaps then some space will open up for true magic to happen.