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Mystic Spotting: A True Essay

Updated on April 4, 2017

Enemies of the Mind, Unite!

Are you a Neo-Mystic? Do you practice mysticism? Chances are, you do, but don't even realize it. It's okay, there is a cure! And it’s not prayer.

The Cult Classic

Sounds like some New Age Cult, doesn’t it? But it isn’t. It’s as old as the hills. And yet the Neo-Mystics, like the Neo-Nazis, claim its brand new. It even has that new factory smell, they say. To them, it's so cutting edge, they are not yet able to wrap their turbans around it. That's just how great it is. Hand me some Neo-Mysticism now, you might say. With green eggs and Canadian bacon, if you please.

The Mantra

The Neo-Mystic mantra? Just obey, do not think. Thinking is impossible. It's just knowing. Feeling deep within your non-being. That warm and fuzzy fairy tale of understanding. That whimsical wonderland of the oneness with the oneness. Can you hear it hum? Should you take the leap? Does introspection of introspection help one pass the time? Then perhaps, feeling the warmth of God or the spastic disjointed thoughts of the "grand unknowing" – if you are an atheist type of mystic – is your bailiwick.

Come one come all. Your mystic needs you not to think or perhaps to unthink.


Shorebird’s Definition

Now there are various definitions of associated with term mysticism. It has changed, morphed since the ancient Greeks built their monuments. Greece, for a time, was able to eject such anti-conceptualization as mysticism. But history tells us that until the Renaissance, few places on earth were not steeped in the throes of this ancient idea. For most of human history, reason and rationalism have been, shall we say, set aside in favor of "Feeling and Intuition du jour."

Always, there have been those who indicate that they alone hold the irreducible mental powers capable of transcending reason. That rejecting rational thought, dogmatically and pragmatically, was the path to some heretofore unheard of nirvana. A reasoning beyond the rational mind. Hallelujah!

Reason and the Law of Identity were cast aside as has-been notions, according to the Neo-Mystics. They ignored, of course, that human progress was made, not in the throes of mysticism, not by Popes or Kings, but by scientists, mathematicians and free-trade, to name a few – working and living in the three greatest ages of human history. The ages, predominantly of anti-mysticism or pro-reason.


The Big Three

You can even name these three major periods in human history, when mankind advanced the farthest. Ancient Greece, the Renaissance and the 19th Century.

Imagine that, only three times on this earth did mankind leap forward at incredible speed. All other centuries were dominated by age old-mysticism. Stagnant swamps, where thinking beyond the confines of dogma was punishable by imprisonment or worse. Power or prayer, were the orders of the centuries.

This is not to say that mankind became completely stagnant, during all of the other ages, but much was lost.

Medical science was stifled by religion, across the globe under the edicts of mysticism. Exploration was for conquest, rather than trade, according to the ConQuistadors. Kings and Popes fought for muscle and soul. Privilege of race and royal status surpassed productive ability and rational thought. This was the way of life, under the mystical empires of yore.

It was a pay to play routine.

Bad Penny

But mysticism, like some ancient virus, has always waited. It has never been fully rejected or unequivocally eliminated from minds of men. During these brief ages, where reason was the measure of reality, and achievement, the yardstick of progress, mankind has always devolved toward mysticism. Toward the rejection of his own mind. Toward obeying, not his own judgement, but the whims of the unqualified or the un-elected authority.

The supposed keepers of the one true rule of men? Arbitrary knowledge gained by the process anaerobic osmosis. This has been a history repeating, the fable: "Allegory of the Mystic -- Savior of souls -- Redux.”

Mysticism, to put it as simply as possible, is the idea that one can perceive some special reality. A reality beyond nature -- a super-nature -- by means of using one’s own thoughts or intellect. In some cases, the intellect is not actually used. Bits of bones, pig entrails, miracle stones, scriptures, “feeling” the wind -- are all ways in which the learned mystic “interprets” his universe. But remember, it is a private knowledge. You are not allowed to understand or question the sacred stones, if you catch my meaning.

But let us focus on the mystics of the mind, because let's face it, if you read tea leaves or bird intestines or “just know,” you have, at some point, intellectualized that they work. So it is your mind -- your ability to perceive reality -- that is in question.

These days, indeed, in any age, mysticism is prevalent and can be blamed for much ill in the world. It existed before Aristotle, Plato or Joe the Caveman, in some form or another.


In the name of...

In the religious vein, the atrocities committed in the name of the Christian Crusades or the current horrors being visited upon the world, in the name of Islam, by ISIS, is ample evidence of mysticism. The blind belief that either side is right or that both sides are right or that both are wrong. Hence, rationalism loses out and blood wins. The Gods fight it out through flesh, we are told by the mystic. He just feels it is true.

Neo-Nazis believe in mysticism. Assertions with no basis in reality are commonplace. The Aryan Race. That the Jews caused all of the problems in Germany. That Germany needed more 'breathing space.' All of these are formed not from the minds of reasonable men and women, rather they are disgorged from the mouths of mystics. Truncated platitudes offered up as supreme knowledge or that knowledge itself is a fool's errand.

Even Hitler advised that people will believe almost anything, if you repeat it long enough. It does not need to be true or have any basis in reality. The human becomes the Aryan drone, a mindless, but re-programmable, great ape. Millions die. Mystics at their worst.

At Ground Level

On a more basic level, the root of the mystic is more interesting to explore. His or her recipe for ruin is all too evident when one peels back the thin veneer of "unobtainium" over flimsy rotten balsa wood.

So what does it take to become a mystic? What ability must one have to abdicate one's own reality? It turns out there are no qualifications. All one needs to do is repeat a mantra of choice and never question internalized intuition. Just believe. Have blind faith. Convert reason to "I just feel it's true."

Just the fakes, please

To the mystic, factual evidence is not the test of reality or what is true. Both are fluid approximations, based upon some inner unknowable clockwork -- known only to the mystic.

If outwardly rejected by others, the mystic often resorts to snide comments, guilt mongering, or even holier-than-thou antics. By no means are these the only bags of tricks they offer. It is only important to know that they are tricks.

If not a trickster, the mystic can become a master verbal contortionist. Yipping, like a vicious canine at your ankles or twisting language so oddly, that one is considered myopic for not just believing. Understanding is believing and vice versa.

Consider the premise and it is often easy to unwind the conflated propositions offered by your local mystic.

Anger to Order

Chiding those who dare to unveil the fallacies of their beliefs, feigning peace of process and claiming some aversion to conflict, as a way of subverting the truth, is yet another dance of death, practiced by the mystic.

He probably knows that he has fallen through the ice and that his legs are past feeling, but never will he give up the ship. Instead, he will, for as long as he is able, ask you to avert your eyes whilst he regales you with stories that will enrapture your very soul, at the price of your capacity to think.

Mystics don't want to be challenged, but adored, obeyed and loved. Respect is also a requirement, but absent that, the mystic will demand obedience. Some might call them psychopathic, but that wouldn't necessarily be true because mystics can and do function normally. They are all around us. Unless and until you see one in action, the guy at the grocery store or the elderly women financial planner, you wouldn't know their capacity to compartmentalize. Separate their mental fictions from the absolutes of reality and chew gum and the same time.

Ah, the Pragmatic View

A pragmatic person who compatmetalizes his two worlds – fiction and reality – can be dangerous, however. These are like soldiers in war. When ordered by their officers to kill a hundred Jews with gas, knowing it is wrong – immoral – they do so anyway. They feel that they have abdicated responsibility and moral considerations to another, because they were instructed not to think. Sort of like an out of body experience. "It was not my decision," they might say. "I was just following orders," is the all time best excuse, ever. But better yet, “It’s not my fault.” You might answer, “but you turned the gas on.”

You are never excused for not exercising your rational judgement, however. Reality always kicks you in the butt. Hence, like soldiers who are jailed for following irrational orders, provided by the demanding commanders steeped in the mantra of the mystic, so to are the soldiers of mind called on the carpet of reason, when they decide to judge reality by the dream of super-nature.

As a way to overcome the weakness of their baseless positions, mystics also play games. Go figure.

They might act as the victim of ridicule to obfuscate the issues at hand. They might shut you out. Think of a child with his fingers jammed in his ears. They might try to drown you out with repetition. The mantra and not the reasoning. They are usually easy to spot. "Just believe me," they might say, even if they cannot validate it. "It just is" or one of my favorites, "I am that I am." Really? Is that the best you got?

Reality and the mind -- reasoning -- are to the mystic, as light in a dark room. A light to be avoided at all costs, lest they actually have to use their own brains.

Are You Awake?

The mystical anti-reality, instead, is based upon one’s consciousness, in its natural state. A possible, but not assured, waking state. In that state of “thinking” one perceives or imagines whatever one desires and the desire becomes the need – the real. Becomes the a priori so to speak.

In other words, as a mystic, one can theorize and imagine the universe, all or in part or even deny its existence altogether. A mystic, in the true sense of that idea, the epistemological sense, can do this without experience or observation. He or she simply uses the unidentifiable intellect. One just knows, sayeth the mystic.

The Tree Fell?

If a tree falls in the forest and your are not present, it does not make a sound, according to a mystic. Then again, it might. To the mystic, his consciousness manufactures an anti-reality on the fly. In this way, nothing is fixed and anything goes. Flexibility is a given. There are no hard and fast rules.

At a moment's notice, the mystic, like the chameleon, can change colors and blame you for not following his latest scheme. Some simply cannot see the Emperor's new robes, sayeth the mystic.

Are you reminded if the Wizard of Oz? That fiery face which Dorothy so skillfully unmasked?

The Amoeba was a Mystic?

Mysticism is a pre-Newtonian concept. It came about, I will surmise, some short while after the first amoeba swam earth’s oceans. Think about it. A simple existence. It could feel it’s way around and “just know” it was time to eat.

But seriously, mysticism is sort of heliocentric belief system, but instead of the universe being “sun-centered,” it is vaguely “consciousness” centered. I say vaguely, because many a mystic will argue that you can’t actually identify that which resides outside of nature, but only tap into the feeling-intuitive mind.

The debate has always centered around “realism v. anti-realism,” however -- or to put it differently, what we can know and how we can know it (epistemology).

René Descartes and Isaac Newton, for example, used different methods of reasoning. Different epistemological sets. Whereas Newton would observe and experiment, Descartes would utilize inductive thought to rationalize what can be true. Descartes used his intellect as the test of what is true, not his physical senses. Newton used the real world, his senses, and his reason. Do you see the difference? Which is more accurate?

Pure Energy

This is not to say that pure intellect is not usable. Indeed, imagination and reasoning can intersect at reality. The problem then develops in the application, the intellect’s ability to ignore reality -- to suspend belief -- forever. To divorce reality and claim that they have discovered truth.

At some point, one needs to place boots on the ground. He or she must validate the process of intuition by testing conclusions, in the real world -- to prove that these imaginary constructs actually exist. If they apply to the physical world. Else, one is a mystic or if you prefer, a Neo-Mystic.

As a non-mystic, you have to ask yourself, is your mind usable or not? Can you reason with this pink gummy cortex or not? Can you move your arm? Can you walk? Can you then understand that the various parts of your body have different functions, all based in the here and now? The heart pumps. The kidneys flush. The eyeballs see.

By extrapolation, does not your brain have a function? That function being thinking. That thinking being governed by what is real, based upon evidence and observation, perceived through the tools connected to your brains, such as your eyes and ears?

A mystic labels the mind as being impotent. Take him or her at his word. If a mystic tells you something works, maybe it works, perhaps it does not work -- know that he or she has invalidated his or her own conclusions. They have not traveled beyond intellect. There is no such place.

The irreducible truth is, the mystic is wrong. He or she has failed the rationality test. Ask about the power of his rabbit's foot and you should get an earful. Oh come on, be open minded.

If a mystic advises that one's mind is evil, a malfunctioning organ at best and that one must be guided not by ability to reason, but by feelings, gut instinct, intuition, or even blind faith, then know one has crossed paths with an ancient idea. One has met again, the shaman.

History is replete with mystics. From the navel contemplating caveman to today's college professors. They have never left. It's a scourge, I tell you.

Can you feel me?

Witness the ancient ages where mysticism held sway. Ancient Egypt. Men and women were thought to be Gods. Ancient Rome. Might was right. Dominance and war, the measure of power. The Dark Ages or even the primitives who worshiped rivers, rocks and spirits of the animals.

All of these are systems based upon the idea the man's mind was and is unreasoning, untrustworthy and unless “you can just let go,” you will never understand. To the mystic, all one needs to do is not think. Everything was and is a mystery, always will be, so just feel your way through life.

Skeptical Interlude

It does not matter, however, if the mystic simply alters his persona – calls his or her belief system "skepticism" for example. Skepticism is the alter ego of mysticism. To state that the ability to know or to reason is not possible, is an attempt to do what? To be skeptical? No. It is to attempt to figuratively remove one’s own mind. To avoid responsibility. To abdicate rational judgement in favor of spiritual practice.

What is skeptic, as it applies to modes of thought, really attempting to do? Escape from reality itself. To advocate that nothing is really absolute. Not reality and certainly not that brick hurting toward one's skull.

Most of everything to the mystic is gray, not black and white. Never mind that gray consists of the absolutes of black and white.

So the difference is that a skeptic wants to avoid the responsibility of thinking, whereas the mystic advises that his or her consciousness is endowed with the seemingly supernatural ability to derive what is real, as mere assertion. Same difference. You arrive at the same train station. The sign says: "Welcome to Hell."

Dammit Man, it’s true I tell you!

And yet the battle rages. What happens when some men "assert" that they possess the supernatural ability to "know" the truth? That you cannot know what they feel? You will be unable to persuade them otherwise. Like the criminally insane mental health patient, any type of communication is often useless. Drugs just numb them a bit and keeps them docile. The problem remains.

At best, one can attempt to understand the mystic and refute, as publicly as possible, his or her anti-reality. At least then, you have hope. Maybe some young minds out there, those who have been told to just "shut up and do what you are told," are awakened to a new prospect. The ability and responsibility to think for one's self. Something the ancient Greeks began in earnest, thousands of years ago. Before that, mysticism was often the order of the eon. The Age of Reason never weathered the storms of popular mysticism for long, however.

Application Therapy

Historically, how do mystics ultimately apply their formulae? How, when not all men will become subjugated? There is only one way the arbitrary assertion of mysticism can win over the masses. Force. Think about that for a moment. Whim wins. Channel some Nietzsche -- the power of will wins -- not reason. Why do you think Hitler was a Neitzsche fan?

If the king or his government mandates public school prayer, then by God it shall be done. Would an atheist refuse to pray? At what cost? Can the medical doctor challenge the use of some ancient Chinese technique for healing, that has never worked, aside from placebo test verification, if a government health care organ demands that it be used? At what cost? The doctor's license to practice?

Pervasive Ear Mites

If mysticism is so bad, why does it still exist in the modern world? Why are their prisons? The reasons are the same, but at least the thief can be caught red-handed. Even this, however, will not guarantee a confession of guilt. In fact, guilt is part of the mystic's tool kit. He just reverses it. Turns the tables.

How do mystics flip it around?

The criminal mystic blames his parents. He is not responsible for his own actions. It was only an impulsive theft. "Nobody really owns the car I stole," he says. "The insurance company will pay for the diamonds," he offers. "I need the new radio and they don't." A favorite: “the devil told me to do it.” The result? He is forgiven his inability to think rationally, but jailed to ensure that he cannot practice his applied mysticism on others.

Another flip.

The college professor blames the white race for being white supremacist. He creates artificial labels, such as "value gaps" to explain that a vast gulf exists between the all pervasive white social structure, which he invents out of hand, and all blacks, omitting whatever does not fit his narrative or otherwise detracts from the oratory. The the professor liberally spices the message with religious overtones and “asserts” it is true, since blacks are worse off economically and whites can be mean. Evidence? Scant. Required suspension of belief? About 99%. Basis in reality? Highly questionable. Leap of blind faith needed? And how.

(Is this the state of education in America today? Certainly it is. The tides are turning back, my friends. Mysticism has always been there, but today it is rampant and pervasive.)

Another flip.

The cheating husband blames the unemotional wife. "That's why I need to go to bars and pick up chicks," he says. "You are a cold wench," he repeats. The husband "feels" his oats and he must be satisfied. "I just have to do this," he says. "And I don't know why." The wife cries, goes to counseling and sticks it out. Her burden is the guilt for not satisfying her husband’s unstated, unknown, insatiable needs. Her shame is for remaining with a man who treats her as an object, in the face of others, because God hates divorcees. Or is the husband just a jerk and a liar? Are mystics this way as well?

In these examples, nothing is based upon reality. Assertions are reality. The mystic is working the crowd, not unlike a good comic. With exceptions of course. It is not laughter the mystic is after, but abject shame. Irreconcilable guilt comes as an aperitif. You feel guilt he wins. You feel shame, he wins. You feel fear, and do nothing, he wins. You question his mental acuity, he cries foul. Depraved you are, for your refusal to accept your own ignorance.

In a sense, the mystic is a good con artist. Logical fallacies and invalid premises take a back seat when it comes to the full-blown mystic. He does not need logic, he needs "feeling." It reminds me of Captain Picard in Star Trek..."make it so!" Both are mere fictions of course.

Just Believe

Imagine this. You go to your religious building of choice. There, before you is that holy man in his beautiful and very ornate flowing red robes or perhaps a stylish gray pinstriped Italian suit.

You are told, by this man of the cloth, that your life is miserable, full of pain and devoid of promise. That you are of lowly stock, not fit, unworthy, sinful, here to serve others, and too rich. As if the list was not long enough.

The nice holy man continues. Women are second class slaves to men and vile, wanton, serpent courting flesh pots, to boot. As a prize, for your hell on earth, the holy man forbids you almost all of life's pleasures. You must toil, give away your money, grovel upon your knees or stomach, when at prayer, in His presence and never take pleasure in your accomplishments, as this is considered a sin. Be not proud, be humble in your station here. Heaven awaits. Paradise is just around the corner. Depending upon one’s brand of mysticism, spiritual virgins await, or just the late wife.

Now what can you do? If you work hard and treat women justly – as equals – you suffer the guilt and shame of your alleged weakness. If you dare to be proud that you have accomplished anything beyond prayer and sabbath, you are guilty. But do not worry. Salvation is next. Your soul will be saved. You will, hold the phone...die! Great, you say, sign me up! Put me down for Cloud 10!

Hey Bugsy

Like the Mafia, the religion of choice will protect you. Pay up. Give. Repent and you will be forgiven. It is called the blackmail racket. Being tithed unto death as the men of cloth spend your hard earned money to guilt others. To flood their coffers with gold as the flock grows, that the message of love and pain can reach still farther. Your reward is in heaven, remember. How do they know? They just "believe."

So if one rejects reality, as a mystic, does not one also reject existence? Yes.

Then what happens? Hatred. Destruction. Hatred of all things one values. Self-Esteem. Productive work. Peace. The gamit. You will be a pariah in a community of fervent "Holy Rollers" if you dare take the Lord's name in vain, for example. A blasphemer. Why? Because you did something the local Mafioso Preacher does not like; you denied him the power over your mind.

The destruction comes next. Witness ISIS. Witness North Korea where the irrational dictates of one man enslaves and starves millions and threatens billions more with real annihilation. Witness Venezuela, where bakeries are now run by the government, because they know what is best, without rational judgment, and with force. Might is right, sayeth the mystic. To hell with reason, just take it.

This is what any mystic must resort to on the national scale. On the local scale, say your "Holy Roller" neighborhood preacher or your "KKK" block party Knight, if you do not at least shut up, you will be noticed by that "evil eye." Yet another mystical concept born of hatred of the good for being good. The jealous rage against those who dare upset the tribal covenants created by the ancient mystics, interpreted by today's mystics, in books or seances, and adhered to by the guilt ridden flocks of followers, for fear of retaliation, to this day.

I know not what I know

So the mystic knows what is not known, but if pressed to reveal his secret knowledge, available only to him, he will never provide clear answers. It is, "I just know" or "It's obvious," or "I can't help but know." It is a way to place knowledge in the realm of the anti-real, while denying responsibility, if something bad happens.

But here is the "root" of it. Actually, the seed from which a mystic grows. The dirty soil of it.

The mystic declares that the consciousness has no identity. It is not real. That somehow, the mind and thinking, which takes place within that organ atop our heads, is akin to non-specific bacteria. There are no laws which govern our thought processes, according to a mystic. The brain is simply a "tabula rasa" void at any given moment. It works as if by magic.

If a mystic attempts to actually define consciousness, to identify the brain's processes, as not some miracle working "thing," he disqualifies his own consciousness. Contradiction is key. Believe, but do not think, and it is real for me and maybe you too, sayeth the mystic. But tomorrow is another dream.

Oddly, the only absolutes the mystic appears to support are the inner ramblings of his own purported special consciousness. A dreamy state of knowing nothing, but asserting anything. A emotional abyss, full of odd sensations, juxtaposed half-notions, ill-formed conclusions, non-observable phenomena -- and rambling diatribes.

Saying all of this is by no means a declaration of war upon the mystical mind. In a free society, one in which I support, any type of thought process should be allowed. In that same spirit, so to should any type of exposure of that thoughtless process be undertaken. If one side can better distinguish reality, that side has the option to point out the fatal flaws of the mystic and drop, without fanfare, the epistemological nuke.


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    • jgshorebird profile image

      Jack Shorebird 11 months ago from Southeastern U.S.


      These responses are not only to you. And you are most welcome not to respond, but since you did offer words of can I resist?

      First and foremost, I’m no psychologist, but I have met a slew of them in my life. Often I had to consult them before prosecuting a bad guy for a crime. One thing always seemed to ring true. Not one psychiatrist or psychologist ever agreed about a particular diagnosis, even after years of analysis. Meaning? It isn’t quite a perfected science yet. So I think you might have a rough go of it analyzing me from a distance, but have at it.

      Secondly, the “old” v. the “new”. It was a reference, I hope you understand, to those who subscribe to the philosophies of myth and not reason. I submit that there were three well known “reasonable” ages in human history. Ancient Greece, the Renaissance and the 19th Century. Not that these ages were by any means perfect, but look at what they gave us. I submit that “reason” -- a bent toward the real -- allowed mankind to grow.

      Third, relativism and altruism.

      Relativism from Google: “the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.” My point exactly. There is no truth or there are many. If Sharia Law indicates that women are essentially slaves to men in the Islamic “culture” then relativism says yes, that is true. Baloney. That’s why relativism is phony. Truth is the recognition of reality. Women slaves are not “reality.” Very old ideas. Not at all “progressive.”

      Altruism. Again from Google: “the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.” One can never be selfless. Everything one does, unless one is irrational, is for oneself. If you sacrifice your life for your spouse, is it because you feel less value for your own life? Or is it that you could not live without him/her? Is it because ultimately, you would be unhappy? My, what a selfish thing you do!

      But altruism is yet another “escape from morality” word sold on the streets as love potion. Old world religious concepts born of self-sacrifice, repentant service to others, but ultimately, self-destruction. The question many forget when faced with that hidden valueless word is this: do you have a right not to sacrifice yourself for others? Old school says nope.

      Compassion? Fine. Loving. Great. Individual choice? Absolutely. But altruism?

      Now this is downright odd. You indicated “... existential fear dictating to mind to design an arsenal of survival strategies for life in the herd.”

      Not sure why you got that impression. I’m not with the herd. Look around you. Islam, Christianity, mysticism are akin to group-think. If anything, I am a part of minority herd. And we don’t see each other often. Not even on Sundays. Yours has always been, for thousands of dark years, the immoral or amoral majority-herd. Full of self-righteous shaman and philosopher kings.

      All of history is not “based on conflict.” Conflict is the result of dictatorships and enslavement. Land grabs and looters. Muscle and religion. Might and “right.” Just look to one of the longest periods of “less war” in world history. Dominated and based on capitalistic trade. From the end of the Napoleonic Wars until 1914.

      Collective conscious. It’s an imperfect notion. Mainstream thought is potentially herd-thought. Common sense I’ll agree with. I have never heard that bees have a collective “brain,” only that they dance a lot.

      I’m not defeating evil, just clarifying that some of your propositions are indeed, outdated and outmoded. They are not new. Neither is the use of “reason,” but mysticism goes back to the caves.

      Enjoy your boob tube.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 11 months ago from Canada

      jgshorebird---Looks like we both have strange ways to say "thank you, good-bye", as if challenging the other to prolong the word game for a bit.

      Well, it's Sunday morning, and I got nothing better to do after my qigong meditation and practice than to write a "little" post scriptum to my yesterday's marathon comment.

      In psychology we talk about projection syndrome, when someone projects onto others what they notice wrong about themselves.

      This would refer to your saying that my thinking is "old", and yours is "new". Quite the contrary my friend. (Gee, I wish I could say your name, see your picture, so I don't talk to an image of a scrambled-something just because it may be "dangerous" to expose to public who we are!)

      Nothing in relativism or mysticism is against "morality"---on the contrary, when yanked out from the stiffness of survivalism crowned by our fight-flight mechanism in our animalistic part of brain, we can emotionally afford to be extremely altruistic, compassionate, and loving.

      This is "new thought", my friend, and yours is "old", actually ancient---pregnant with existential fear dictating to mind to design an arsenal of survival strategies for life in the herd. The same fear that generates "intellectual arrogance".

      It's almost comical how you are wiggling out of this fact that the whole history is based on conflict, instead of searching for ways where some coherence free from animalistic tendencies might establish some harmony.

      What do you really mean when you say that "collective consciousness has not been verified?" Ever heard about the word "paradigm"? Ever heard about "mainstream thought"? Just like in other species, there is this tendency to tune into a "general", "common sense" reality. That's why in a swarm of bees none of them bumps into each other.

      Your mentality is heavily tuned into it, with its old, very old "heroics" of defeating some evil. And, from that attitudinal disadvantage you just can't grasp the "new" that insists on harmonizing this damn herd of ours. It's like a philosophy that without a conflict we would have no opportunity to show our morality.

      Your world is rusty and drowning in sweat, tears, and blood of human suffering perpetuated by that same intellectual arrogance you are talking about. I wish you would be mentally capable of seeing the difference between that old world, and the new, progressive one that's tearing down the cobweb of old morality which always includes a victim.

      Being brainwashed by the negativisms of daily news which keep playing on human fear and profiting from it---people are kept in the prison of their own minds. Is it you who just said something about the "poison"---while ascribing it to mysticism?

      Well, here we come to our square-one again, at which we can't see things with the same pair of eyes. There is a paradox in all this---while we are expressing our opposite views, it is not meant to "convince" but merely to strengthen our own positions. We are using each other as a sparring partner.

      Has it ever occurred to you during our discussion that two sparring partners can't shake hands in agreement as long as they are keeping those gloves on?

      Well, I am hanging up mine. Of course, you will write another portion of your intellectual punchers, while not seeing that I am not in the ring anymore. You may find me watching something funny on TV. Willing to join for a laughing duet?

    • jgshorebird profile image

      Jack Shorebird 11 months ago from Southeastern U.S.


      Thank you for the mental workout. Perhaps it is time to let this one go. However, each time I respond to your hubs -- and you actually do not not delete them -- and you respond to mine, I learn something.

      Some parting thoughts...

      There is no verification (currently) of a "collective consciousness." None. To state that one exists betrays something. I call it mysticism.

      The fact that I interpret a brick as being red and hard, but you interpret is as being pink and stone-like, does not negate its absolute reality. You are talking "style" and not "principle."

      As to relativism. A opposition to hard and fast rules. Being moderate, flexible, "not rigid," and against "dogma." It is a form of pragmatism, but pragmatists are not necessarily "moral." It's a what ever "works for now" doctrine. Arrogance on the intellectual level. It reminds me of Kant's idea that if we perceive something, it cannot be real.

      My Canadian friend, I just think you are wrong in some areas. That you brought the old world to the new. A kind of intellectual baggage that has encased Eurasia for a millennia. Welcome, to the resurgence of the New Age of Reason! (Not.) The Americas rejected "reason" about a hundred years ago.

      To me, and this was my point many times, intellectual poison can lead to disaster. It's not about thinking differently. It's the absence of a coherent process. If we listened to every random conjecture, yes, one day that monkey might just play the piano well.

      When there is no objective reality, only estimates, only fluidic states of being, then anything goes. There is no right or wrong. No good or bad, just a washed-out gray of estimates. Truths are flexible. Dishonesty, amenable -- if it works.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 11 months ago from Canada

      jgshorebird---O.K., so far we have established that we can't agree over what is "reality". There are certain parameters within the collective consciousness that we traditionally use as criteria in evaluating what is real and what is unreal.

      But they are tied to our default interpretation of the factual (not interpretive) reality, like agreeing that blue is blue, and green is green; and to axiomatic interpretations of some exact sciences like mathematics, physics, chemistry, and whatever else. Outside of that---hardly anything else is "absolutely real".

      So, you tend to see something in its absolute status, while turning the blind eye to its relative value suggested by different possible angles of viewing---and it's just fine with me, as long as you are not expecting the rest of humans to see it that way.

      The fact that other humans can see those same things from those other angles ultimately means that your "reality" is relative, not absolute. Of course, unless you say that "only" your way of seeing is the correct one.

      We won't play with words here to confuse absolute with factual. Of course, people are people, and emotions are emotions, and that is factual reality---however, life is not based on that, but on our interpretations of it, on the way how we subjectively process that factual reality.

      Your intellectual taste doesn't make anything "real". Your life path is not a life path that every human "should" either approve of or follow. Your version of sentimental attachment to humanity is not the only one possible. ---And mine is not either for the same matter.

      When people talk about absolutes they are preaching, while life is begging for a relativistic treatment, so that we stop bumping into realisms of individual differences. Nothing in the universe is suggesting uniformity, and even our material world is composed of some over hundred chemical elements. Culture would be swallowed into a black hole if it insisted upon sameness in interpreting---which would translate to "absolutes".

      So, at our best, you and I can conclude that your version of reality doesn't look much like my version of it---outside our default collectivistic agreement that blue is blue and green is green.

      Just like different chemical elements have different roles in the overall creative scheme, so you may have an inner call to be an "activist", or "evil-fighter"---but to expect me to see much in that call would be like expecting Beethoven to write rap music.

      So, to make it sound as polite as possible---my friend---no one is called upon to preach to the others what they should focus on in their particular lives, what roles they should assume in the dynamics of human coexistence.

      If my inner call is the one of mysticism, meditation, self-exploring, searching for new mental technologies to process factual reality, sinking with an altered consciousness into realms of quantum, expanding my sense of spiritual freedom...I don't really need your blessing to keep doing it.

      As for myself, I honestly don't care about your emotional investments in the political arena, in matters of justice, whatever---you are the one responsible for it, I am not; and if I ever said anything "against" your ways, it was only to share with others that it was not "my way"---and why.

      So I won't "get even" for your calling me names like "appeaser" and insinuating that I have no "guts to speak up", and alike. I am consciously choosing to stay nonresponsive to that. In my book, it's called "creating my own intimate reality based on pro-activeness as opposed to re-activeness".

      Those names are your deliberate mind constructs, and they are merely doing something to your brain and your endocrine chemistry since they are occurring within your personal space. They do something to your stress hormones, your blood acidity, and your blood pressure, and your sympathetic hyperactivity.

      Whatever you choose to be "real" or "absolute" to yourself, let it be---I'll stick to my relativism. As far as I can see, that's the only rational way to resolve our intellectual differences---by letting them be.

      Now, if you don't mind (and even if you do)--- I think that we might as well terminate this discussion, which may only bring up some more paraphrasing at both sides. If we could not agree so far, there is no chance that we have some "spare" and more effective words to make ourselves more convincing. The very prospect of it is increasingly becoming more and more ridiculous.

      In some more sophisticated terms---we are bound to keep kicking some crap back and forth ad nauseam, which is not my idea of having a good time. I value my time. When you reach 72, you will as well.

      So, thank you for the pleasant conversation, and I sincerely wish you happy hubbing. - Val

    • jgshorebird profile image

      Jack Shorebird 11 months ago from Southeastern U.S.


      No absolutes? Let me put it this way: that is real which makes a difference. In other words, reality is an absolute. Life and death are absolutes. Whether you go to the store to purchase cigarettes, is not an absolute. Your hubs are absolutes. Whether your hubs mean anything, is not an absolute.

      You are not an appeaser in the military sense. I meant that in response to you apparently not seeing that certain religions are more than just religions and can be a threat to free peoples anywhere. And yes, the Islamic Sharia Law folks, in my book, are bananas.

      I defend humans, not just emotions. Emotions are a part of us, whether we like it or not. I do not consider them evil, but almost like reflexes. A burst of anger when a fool points his loaded weapon at you on the firing line. A sense of wonder at the stars in the sky. Can emotions be wrong? Sure. But they are not all in error. Fear is also a great motivator, as is love. But you know all of this.

      I didn't pin mysticism. It has been on the books a long time. I just reminded some.

      Sure, we keep discovering ourselves -- all time. But this does not necessarily unmake what we knew or were before, does it?

      I could never imitate anyone. Gandhi and Jesus are not my heroes. I will not deny my humanity.

      Do I make mistakes? Heck yeah. Thing is, I will admit it. Unfortunately, labels must be placed. Not name calling, necessarily, but a verbal prod now an again get the "emotions" going.

      Going emotionally ballistic over things one can't control or change? I can't control you. Don't have the desire to control anyone. It would defeat my volunteerism mentality.

      Can I change or help change the future? Sure I can. I've done it.

      I got a petition going in Florida once. To keep one guy in prison longer. It worked too well. In fact, it ended up keeping all the prisoners (violent ones) in Florida prison for months past their release dates. It got so bad that the prisoners wanted to kill the guy I focused on and eventually, they did. After a time, the release dates were reinstated and those who had been held up were released. How many lives were saved? Unknown. But one thing was certain, the bad guy was gone for good.

      Public Outcry. That was me. But you'll not find my name anywhere. I wrote the petition for a "friend." She took it to the governor with enough signatures.

      Am I a sucker for little girls who die of abuse, having to eat soap until they vomit and crap and die? Emotionally? Darn straight. Unemotionally, I found a way, even if by accident, to make sure the bad guy never did it again. I used absolute paper, with absolute ink and asked for thousands of absolute signatures. I think I "absolutely" changed the world then.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 11 months ago from Canada

      jgshorebird---O.K., let's give it another shot, just for sake of a little verbal sport, and out of curiosity where it's going to take us.

      For starters, my friend, there are no absolutes in life, and everything is a matter of perspective and context. Using labels on people is a pretty pathetic method of debunking this truism. See for yourself :

      You nonchalantly call me an "appeaser"---and here I am opposing your ideas big time. How is that for appeasing? Furthermore, I am a passionate pacifist---but half century ago I was an army drill sergeant, and in certain situations of defense I could still kill without blinking. Are we still talking about "appeasing"?

      So, what's all that about defending "our being emotional humans"? Again, by itself it means close to nothing, because Chopin must have been quite "emotional" when he composed his nocturnes---and so is also every tenant of a looney-house. In other words, being "emotional" about a global issue doesn't mean something to be necessarily proud of. We need more cool -heads these days than hot-heads to deal with our problems.

      You tend to generalize way too much, my friend. In your selective method of interpreting mysticism you are pinning all kinds of crap to it. It doesn't hurt me in any way, I am simply stating a fact. You have every right to see whatever you choose, as long as you know that other people may have a totally different opinion---and even personal experience--- which you may not have in that field.

      Everything about ISIS is a story told in a selective way. There is always another angle of seeing things. Let's try one---without making it necessarily "my"position:

      Namely, you bomb the crap out of people for more than a decade---on account of certain "weapons of mass destruction"(???), million people get killed, mostly civilians---so what did you expect? Middle East sending you a medal for humanness?

      I am not a politician or a political amateur, and I won't go into all those things that are done "in the best national interests". None of my business, and it will never be. You can make it your business if you wish, I am not a normative dude telling people what to think.

      Above all, I am not calling you any names and labels just because I don't agree with you. For the simple reason because I don't know you. On the other hand you seem to know a lot about me to call me this or that. My friend, be realistic, chances are that you don't even know yourself---how could you know me.

      For we keep discovering ourselves all our life---in most cases even dying without really getting to the bottom of who we are. Labels don't help, trust me at least this much.

      So, let's cool it with all this generalizing about "what I am", "what Canada is", "what mysticism is"...and alike. A little relativistic approach will do.

      My "not emotional responding" is not a proof of my being a heartless s.o.b.---but a simple matter of my pretty effective stress management, which tells me not to go emotionally ballistic over things that I can't control.

      I am not telling you to imitate me in that respect. I'll end this one the same way I did the previous one---to each their own. Be well, and don't believe a word of what I am saying---just don't expect me to join you in your views.

    • jgshorebird profile image

      Jack Shorebird 11 months ago from Southeastern U.S.


      Just saw this response. For some reason it came up as spam. But I approve as many as Hubpages allows.

      Curious challenge and label -- as enemy maker. I caught bad guys in a former life. Many hated me too. That's okay. But I don't create bad guys or bad philosophies. Besides, the good guys are always outnumbered right?

      In this case, I don't think you are a bad buy, just wrong on certain mystical topics. Many of us south of you, do cherish the right to disagree and to do so in any fashion we choose, absent physical force -- ideally. Names will never hurt you, remember?

      As far as protests having changed the narrative, look around you. ISIS protests freely with bombs and Canada, heck even America, trembles. Wars are begun. Martin Luther King's efforts ended with desegregation. The Boston Tea Party helped create America.

      So I'm not sure what your issue is. One must sometimes toss away despotic yokes to live freer, even if it is painful. Even if it makes you "emotional" at times. Humans are alive. They have emotions.

      We are told, in America, don't discriminate against race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual preference etc. If I mention that that women is lazy, technically, I have committed sexism. How far shall we go?

      We should never stop a turban or KKK symbol or rebel flag -- via a legal process. But, if a religion-government (Islam) tries to subdue a government with Sharia Law, for example, why would you not get "irate?" Do you hold that all non-Muslims should be slaves? That women are second class? Or do you simply ignore "reality?" Or say that -- "oh, goodness, we only have nice moderate Muslims here. And besides, Christians have a nasty past as well!"

      Just keep appeasing, my friend. See what happens if you don't regrow a set. See what happens when Swedish politicians dare talk against Allah. Oh, no -- turn that TV off!

      And like I said before, you can never convince a mystic to see reality. Why bother? Because other people read this. They can judge.

      And you are right. We do not know many things. What gravity really is and so on. A caveman would grovel at your feet as a lesser god, if you lit a match. But now we know what a match is and how it works. Not how many atoms are in it etc., but we are still learning. That learning does not negate reality. It simply shows a continuum of intelligence. The emotional human yardstick you so despise.

      You look at that yardstick and say, "this is no good! I can't know everything now!" Knowledge is therefore questionable. Learning, a fallacy? Ergo, I must look inward and just "know." Does it make you "feel" better to be at peace with your peace, at the expense of your mind? Just go along and get along? Appease?

      To state that we do not yet know something or all of it, as an escape, is just that, an abdication of your mind. It becomes a dog eat dog world then. No rules. Just who holds the most "power." As Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche implied, the "will to power."

      Poetry and fiction aside, mysticism applied to reality is the vain emperor's new clothes.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 11 months ago from Canada

      jgshorebird---Well, you almost left me speechless. You seem to know everything there is to know about mysticism, about Canada, and I was probably wrong when I titled my article "Personality Issues Cannot Be Removed Politically".

      It turns out that there is nothing mentally unhealthy about first creating a lot of enemies and then being a hero by speaking out freely against them.

      I don't know what's wrong with this Canadian culture, we let these guys in turbans walk around imagining that they are harmless. How dare we? To make the matters even more crazy, imagine, we even have our minister of defense wearing a turban.

      As for mysticism, I will do exactly what I am "supposed to do" as a member of a "spineless society"---I'll give up trying to make you see my point. I never tried to convince you that you were wrong, and to set the right tone to all this---let me call you "friend". I hope you could use a friend, feeling so surrounded by enemies.

      Politics is a good entertainment---to me. My challenge from the bottom of my article still stands: I want to hear from anyone who has succeeded with their "free protesting" to make a change, any change other than further messing their emotional health.

      I hope this request is "rational" enough. I admit, I am too deep into being "irrational", so I simply can't understand anything of what you presented as an argument above.

      Oh, by the way, since you are so much into "hard science", you probably know that the force of gravity is still only a theory, and no one knows yet what electricity is, and the very model of atom is not proven, and...oh, well, why bother.

      For my bottom line, we obviously won't get anywhere with this kicking the crap back and forth, so, please, don't feel ignored if I don't respond to anything new that you might add to this little game of words.

      I wish you all the best---which means all the enemies you can handle, since that's where you can only find your true identity, in ranting against them. Just kidding---I truly wish you all the best.

    • jgshorebird profile image

      Jack Shorebird 11 months ago from Southeastern U.S.

      Appreciate your time Larry.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 11 months ago from Oklahoma

      Always an interesting take on things.

    • jgshorebird profile image

      Jack Shorebird 11 months ago from Southeastern U.S.

      Vladimir Karas --

      Mysticism is not a teaching, but an absence thereof. It is a kind of brain washing. But you nailed it. It is certainly charging the "imaginary" windmill. It is also the enemy of rational thought.

      But I expected this response from some -- actually many. Think of all the religious people I just "alarmed." I'm am sure they also disagree. The radical Islamist is cringing right about now.

      (I understand in Canada, you are not even allowed to voice a negative opinion about Islam. It's a no-no. Is that why you defer judgement? Are you afraid of the repercussions if you speak freely? That someone's feelings might get hurt? I find this recent development in Canada quite telling. Your culture is being brow beaten. It is "shut up," lest you offend a nut who will then blow up a train station.)

      And Mysticism is much larger than occultism, but the occultists can be mystics.

      And conflict is usually between the mystics, not rational people. It is the mystics who can't get along. They often attack the rational people. The most peaceful eras in history were far less mystical, in the way I use that term.

      Remember, the Nazis practiced mysticism. Radical Islam was founded in mysticism. Even Teddy Roosevelt (a past US president) subscribed to Aryan mysticism. They were a violent batch. Even your PM honored the death of Fidel Castro, a brutal dictator. Is he playing politics or just daft?)

      Rational, reasonable people, who see the world as it is and how it could be, are generally far more peaceful. Mystics want to remake the world in the name of some dogmatic mantra. They often gravitate toward the currently un-explainable as evidence of mysticism. When they are told later that things like "air" really exist and "thunder" is not God at the bowling alley, methinks a sort of depression sets in.

      But you are correct, thus far, it has been difficult to escape the real.

      Your statement about Quantum Physics is interesting. Of course, you are aware that the physicists, since 1927 at least, have not agreed that the real is unreal, based upon Quantum Theory. The experiments regarding ghostly particles are presently being challenged. The point being, we are still figuring things out, so don't jump to conclusions, just yet. Knowledge takes time. It is not automatic. You really have to work at it.

      Be calm and carry on. There are probably reasonable and rational explanations for the things we do not yet understand. And again, I'm not saying that people should not fantasize.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 11 months ago from Canada

      Senseless paranoia and pathetic alarmism. Mysticism is simply teaching that we should all cool it and stop charging against some imaginary windmills Don Quijote-style, seeing enemies in everyone and everything.

      Mysticism is not occultism. But really, what's the use; people wound up to perpetuate conflicts can't find peace. Someone peaceful has the same chances of explaining peace to such folks, as they would have of describing the taste of strawberries to someone who never tasted them.

      Let the people decide who is more "dangerous"---someone proposing a calm and original thinking, free of garbage which brought the mankind into this state of chronic conflict---or someone seeing only "sound reality" in the inescapable realisms of this status quo.

      Let's get educated in quantum physics a bit---just for the heck of getting a hint how unreal is everything that we have seen as real with our programmed limitations. But, maybe "neo-physicists" are also to be compared to "Neo-Nazis". Maybe danger is lurking from every size and style of free thinking. Maybe it's all just "mantras...illusions...magic spells...witches..." Let's everyone run for a cover!!!"

    • jgshorebird profile image

      Jack Shorebird 11 months ago from Southeastern U.S.

      Thanks RoadMonkey. The idea is really not mine, but meant to illustrate what a lot of philosophers bandy about. The term mysticism is certainly not a perfect one. I use it as a catch all to show the fictional world and the real world and how both seem to be as interchangeable in the human mind.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 11 months ago

      Interesting. I would call myself the rational scientific mind, however, I am not sure the word "mystic" should be used for what you describe here. I agree that what you have described exists (though not with all the points you use to illustrate it), however, although I have no interest in mysticism, my husband does and his descriptions of actual mystics and mysticism do not match your description. So what word would I use? Difficult. I describe it as gut feelings and prejudice but have never thought of a single word or phrase to encompass all of this. To me, a lot of this is to do with laziness and fear on the part of following sheep and the desire for power on the part of "leaders". My son uses the word sheeple (sheep people). I think this could run and run.