..we neither discover an objective reality nor invent a subjective reality, but that there is a process of responsive evocation, the world ‘calling forth’ something in me that in turn ‘calls forth’ something in the world – Iain McGilchrist
Today, not many people in the precarious western world know what constitutes authentic Mysticism. Giving the matter thought, most minds drift east, to think of Hinduism, Buddhism, and holier-than-thou figures such as Parmahansa Yogananda, Sai Baba, the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle, and a host of other self-appointed avatars in orange robes, rolling beads, talking about the Atman, nirvana, mindfulness, reincarnation and the ending of attachment and desire. They teach their devotees about pseudo-mystical topics such as timelessness, selflessness, austerity, renunciation, service, devotion, meditation, and of course the big one – Karma.
Saying that none of this charlatanism is true Mysticism is to be greeted with head-scratching, raised eyebrows and kneejerk disbelief. To contradict what millions believe, and naysay the purpose of those sitting at their guru’s feet, doesn’t get you invited to many parties.
Above all, never mention the superiority of the western mystical tradition. Don’t bring up Blake, Swedenborg, Schelling, Goethe, Steiner, Spinoza, Whitehead, Rilke or Emerson. That ruins the fun of genuflecting before Big Daddy. The impenetrable “intellectualism” of these men can’t match the exotic wisdom of Oriental climes, right?
For goodness sake never let it be known that almost every eastern spiritual tradition originated in the west, with prehistoric visitors from Britain and Scandinavia. That is the heresy of all heresies. Don’t remind people that the Aryavartha – the Indian residence of the ancient western spiritual aristocracy – was the origin of the Vedas, Shastras, and most forms of Hinduism. Don’t mention that the astronomical positions of the sun, moon and other luminaries, as recorded in the Vedas, conform to positions which could only have been observed and charted in climes far to the north-west of India, the supposed scriptorium of said holy documents. No, we must never let it be known that Hinduism and Buddhism are cannibalizations and corruptions of a more august Pre-Vedic epoch, when the principles of high Mysticism were taught by adepts of purer, nobler sort.
The Nordic Sacae arrived later in India and introduced the Vedas, religious poems, which were at first transmitted orally but which were reduced to written form in Old Sanskrit by the Brahmans at the comparatively late date of 300 AD – Madison Grant
Despite the frauds of later antiquarians and historians, we understand that the world’s richest and deepest traditions, in many intellectual and spiritual fields, were born in Britain and Europe. This goes for the Mystical Tradition, and unbiased men of wisdom willingly acknowledge this irrefutable fact. The proofs confirming the existence of Spirit, searched for by so many, emanate from lands such as England and Germany. They are to be found in the works of William Blake, Nicolas Malebranche, George Berkeley, Friedrich Schelling, Georg Hegel, Alfred North Whitehead, and other sages whose work has been systematically ignored and misinterpreted.
In my video series Mysticism: Truth or Falsity, the underlying principles of western Mysticism are examined and tested for strength. Do they hold up sufficiently after centuries of Materialism and absurd reductionism? As I show, they certainly do. Great schools of modern philosophy have come and gone – Cartesianism, Behaviorism, Positivism, Pragmatism, Linguistic Analysis, and others, have largely fallen under their own weight. But in my opinion, Idealism and Mysticism are back with a vengeance. They have stood the test of time, and despite the prejudices of establishment naysayers, recent discoveries in neuroscience support their central tenets.
Of course, you probably haven’t heard much about this. You probably don’t know about the colossal meltdown happening in the corridors of philosophy and science. Papers have gone flying in the ivory towers, as the pervading, supposedly iron-clad ideologies of Materialism disintegrate in the light of new discoveries about the brain. You probably don’t realize that there has been a gradual, covert u-turn occurring, as the suits cunningly keep the lights burning while desperately climbing the walls and chewing the carpets. What can be done about the revelations of Ken Wilber, Bruce Lipton, Rupert Sheldrake, Richard Tarnas, Kevin Ward, Raymond Tallis, Anthony Peake, Michael Cremo, Iain McGilchrist, and their like, they bellow? Why are we unable to challenge their findings, or those of former dissenters such as Arthur Koestler, Ilya Prigogine, David Bohm and Karl Pribham, etc?
In my opinion, the time has come for the world to know exactly what has been going on. These are exceptionally important matters, affecting each of us on so many levels. Additionally, I am personally motivated to make sure that with all the recent paradigm-busting going on, the great sages of the past are not forgotten. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, being brought forth by modern-day mavericks that wasn’t already discovered and enunciated by brilliant intellects of previous centuries.
Students of the western mystical tradition know that Hegel, Schelling, Steiner and other German Idealists were indebted to many earlier sages, such as William Blake, Jacob Bohme, Justin Martyr, Meister Eckhart, Nicolas Cusanus and Isaac Luria. The Idealists of the eighteenth century made no secret about their indebtedness. Sadly, as years passed, and as men turned from being lovers of wisdom to cravers of the power knowledge gets them, citation all but ceased. Many a sage’s seminal contribution has been airbrushed from history. Even when their ideas are acknowledged, we tend to find them drastically misinterpreted and misrepresented.
So is it with authentic Mysticism. The disciples of scientism and Materialism deface it repeatedly. It is dirty work, but they are well suited to it. It’s work that must be done, since their entire rotten edifice depends on deception and chicanery. The world must never be informed about the true tenets of Mysticism, and never allowed to discover how empirical and rational they are.
In my program Mysticism: Truth of Falsity, the deceptions are removed, allowing us to see what precious and profound treasures lie concealed and largely forgotten. In future presentations on philosophy and the western magical tradition, the story will be disclosed further. As said, it’s a great saga that must receive the attention of as many unbiased, conscientious people as possible. The future of the wayward west depends on this knowledge being contemplated by awakened souls, lest they believe instead that eastern charlatans, dispensing various techniques of self-mortification and autohypnosis, be equated with mystics of Blake’s calibre.
My program follows on from a magnum opus on the symbolism of the Major Arcana. Throughout my earlier Path of the Fool series, which took over three years to complete, the central principles of Mysticism and Idealism were also explored, leading to some mega revelations about spirituality, existence, identity, time, sexuality, consciousness and meaning. However, despite the depth of the series, it was obvious that no single program can delve into all the details about this mighty subject. So, the great work continues.
The lies of Materialists and the disciples of scientism come under attack from various sources and minds. I carefully explore these perceptive attacks throughout my program. When deeply contemplated we find them overcoming the apparently impenetrable fortifications of the physicalists. We find them decimating the arguments against mystical thought purveyed by Neo-Materialists such as George Lakoff, Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and others of their brood.
Of course, I am not speaking about tired old religious rebuttals to their arguments. In my opinion religious thinking has done more damage to authentic Mysticism than science. Let us not forget that the obscenities of religion caused the rise of materialist science. To give the latter its fair due, it was a necessary reaction against an imperious demagoguery that espoused its own brand of antihuman, antinatural dogma. I do not come from that invidious club, nor from from academia, and am, therefore, neutral and free to inquire deeply into matters of philosophy without concern about hassle and censorship from “upstairs.”
The scientific demagoguery and haughty contempt for Non-Materialist ideas and traditions is gruesomely apparent in the works of Berkeley professor and champion of Neo-Materialism, George Lakoff. In Philosophy in the Flesh, he contemptuously sweeps aside every world tradition except for his narrow brand of Materialism. All of it must be “revisioned,” he writes. It’s all rubbish, is what he means. Throughout this propagandist book he repudiates and scoffs at his nemesis. It might be acceptable, except that the book’s content – meant to be his devastating intellectual critique of the Non-Materialist worldview – fails to do the job. Sorry, George.
In an earlier book on the same subject, Metaphors We Live By, the kid gloves are on. Lakoff and his co-author weren’t so sure of the public and academic reaction (or the sales), and decided to downplay their obnoxious dogmatism. But when the follow-up was prepared, it appears that Lakoff and his publishers were no longer as apprehensive. Lakoff was recast as a Goliath sent out to wield his academic club and bash skulls. He went from a smiling, cuddly, cardigan-wearing Berkelean prof, to Frank Nitti “the Enforcer” in two shakes. What’s new? some of you say. That’s right, I agree. These types can’t really help it. Despite the wreckage around them, they’re not about to call it quits and gracefully depart the world stage. Philosophy in the Flesh makes hilarious reading because of the author’s sophomore crowing. The earlier book makes better reading, even though its central arguments about reality and consciousness are painfully weak and unsustainable. (I show how and why in the program.)
We should know by now to distrust institutionalized ideologies. As said, the proprietary tone adopted by Lakoff and other Materialists should be enough to reveal their gang colors and distinguish them from thinkers of a more sincere, sensitive kind.
Indeed, truly penetrating thinkers – such as Blake, Schelling, Goethe, Rank, Croce, Barfield, Whitehead, Heidegger, Tillich and Merleau-Ponty, etc, realize that man is in his essence an Aesthetic being. In light of this, the philosophy of Aesthetics must be positioned above Metaphysics, Epistemology and Ethics. Traditionally, it has always been tacked on the end, in fourth place. What devastatingly folly, and what disaster this error has wrought for the world.
To encounter the depths and rich complexity of the cosmos, we require ways of knowing that fully integrate the imagination, the aesthetic sensibility, moral and spiritual intuition, revelatory experience, symbolic perception, somatic and sensuous modes of understanding, empathic knowing – Richard Tarnas
I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of imagination – what the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth – John Keats
When we do the crucial inversion, the lower three branches of philosophy suddenly take on a remarkably profound complexion. In fact, everything changes. Our worldview and insight into every esoteric matter upgrades and our understanding of reality becomes vividly clear at last. I show in my program just how Aesthetics and Mysticism are connected. My teachings in this regard are consistent with those of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Benedetto Croce, Martin Heidegger and Otto Rank, showing that not only is man to be considered an Artist, but also as a work of Art, in the highest heroic sense.
With this truism about the supreme importance of Aesthetics grasped and deeply contemplated, we find ourselves able to undertake the deconstruction of scientism and Materialism. We know why they came into existence in the first place, and why they have plagued humankind. We see why a posthuman world beckons, and why billions of dollars are awarded to the high priests of cybernetics and artificial intelligence. (No matter that Hubert Dreyfus, Raymond Tallis and others have shown conclusively that computers will never replace brains, computation being fundamentally different from thought and knowledge.)
Let’s not doubt that the deconstruction of scientism must proceed at all costs. The advocates of antihuman technology are forging ahead to establish their demented dystopia despite the facts. They are completely embalmed inside their materialist worldviews, and won’t nobly concede defeat. They’ve been making hay as the masses labor under misapprehensions about Non-Materialist ideas and traditions. The senior hive-minds – the “architects of control” – are psychologically drugged by the power of their self-appointed roles as world saviors. As Blake pointed out, they are victims of “Single Vision and “Newtonian Sleep.” To demolish their “Satanic Mills” takes a special kind of insight and skill. It is essentially apophatic work.
Of course, deconstruction isn’t mere destruction. Something wholesome and human must be put in the place of what is obliterated. Deconstruction also requires considerable reverence for the past, and the recognition of the legacy of great sages who labored throughout the centuries to counter Materialist demagoguery. Again, I don’t necessarily refer to religious thinkers. Religion and materialistic science are, in this context, simply two sides of a worthless coin – a counterfeit currency. It’s a case of Tweedledum versus Tweedledee; two hideous twins who very much depend on each other for their identities.
No, I think of the greats of the British, German and European mystical tradition, whose insights are implicitly present within the work of eminent thinkers such as Hegel, Schelling, Goethe, Steiner and Whitehead, etc. We sorely need a science and a culture based on their invaluable teachings, something in accord with nature’s true nature.
These men taught that determinism is an absurd falsity, that a spiritual will set the laws of nature into motion while extending free will to human consciousness. They knew that a world of matter doesn’t exist, and that the apriori capacities of mind certainly do not originate from worldly experiences and encounters. They knew that nature is sacred, why external light is a worthy synonym for mental wisdom, why minds are inside bodies, and that perceptions aren’t passive. They knew why two-dimensional perceptions are transformed into three-dimensional images by the brain, and why neurons know where to go and what to do without perceivable directives. Such men were able to account for duality, and why opposites are inevitable factors internally and externally. They also knew the difference between ethics and morality, conscience and law, shame and guilt. They knew why we presume nature something separate from mind, why supernatural realms and an afterlife were accepted without logical proof, and why body and world were deemed cages of spirit. They knew the true nature of time and memory, and the reason for man’s everlasting search for “truth.” More importantly, the sages of old knew exactly why men are victims of self-deception. It’s a malignant condition which Blake referred to as the “Mind-Forged Manacles.”
From this toxic psychological condition come the dire institutions of indoctrination. From these bastions of groupthink come the high priests of scientism, programming the minds and hearts of those under their tutelage. In their classes and books we find no mention of Schelling, Schwaller de Lubicz, Malebranche, Blake, Whitehead or Emerson. The works of such thinkers is heavily plagiarized and revamped, or consigned to the academic dustbin. In place of it we are assured that the brain is nothing more than a programmable machine, and that the universe is also a mechanism to be understood by intellect alone.
Throwing off this nonsense, and questioning every part of it is nigh on impossible today. It takes too much time, time best spent having fun. It requires reading and profound contemplation, and that’s poison today. We prefer that other people ask the deep questions. We look to the “expert” to explain mysteries that puzzle and disturb us. Because of this capitulation, a state of decay abounds throughout academia and the world at large. Some very deviant people have found the seats of learning vacant of great minds. As professor Allan Bloom and other social critics long ago realized and warned, the navigators who seized the helm of western education are steering headlong toward a precipice from which there is no return. It was apparent to Bloom that their interest isn’t in education at all, but indoctrination. Tell me he was wrong, if you dare.
It is not an inconsequential distraction to examine the principles of Mysticism to see if they remain firm and true. It’s not frivolous to dust off old tomes of distinction and delve into their wisdom. It’s been my job and duty for over thirty years. I mine these treasures and present the greatest concepts in clear, modern language that everyone can understand and embody. I’ve gone through the works of the world’s most eminent western thinkers and abstracted that which makes most sense to present-day readers seekers.
A central premise of my personal philosophy is that there is no problem facing us today that doesn’t have its solution already at hand. History should be synonymous with Truth. Indeed, history is the repository of truth, an Aladdin’s Cave of solutions and wisdom ignored at our peril.
As I compose my programs and books on these and related subjects, I am profoundly aware of the psychic wounds which underlie consciousness, and what it takes to heal them. I am also aware of the future world inherited by the young. Regrettably, every postwar generation has shown its expertise at embodying and replaying the colossal error of the past, none of the wisdom. Thankfully, however, error doesn’t compromise wisdom for those with their hearts in the right place. If it were otherwise, we’d have no choice but to deem all the sacrifice and industry of our predecessors wasted. Is Shakespeare, Cervantes, Byron, Hardy, Shelley, Bronte, Dore, Dali, Beethoven, Mozart, Kepler, Copernicus, Heidegger, Rank, Rand and every other author, artist, inventor and champion of ideas, to be dumped out as useless? Give way to that notion and you sign the death warrant of humanity. It is to this vile vision that we must resolutely cry NO…IT SHALL NOT BE!
The hardest work has already been done by illustrious ancestors, so as long as we respectfully turn to their superlative guidance, there is hope for the future. And we have one fail-safe proof of any feasible theory or design for humanity’s betterment. Implement it well, and come back in fifteen years to see if there is any improvement in the world’s state. I dare say that the solutions presented throughout my series on Mysticism will transform existence for the better, personally and socially, in far less time.