Rational Mysticism

Rational Mysticism

By John Horgan (2003)

I read this book a few years back and had prepared a set of quotes from this book. Having read and reflected on these quotes several times, I thought of sharing the same with my friends through this blog.

1. If you say you are advancing towards God or the Absolute, and (you) are not growing in love and charity towards your fellow persons, you are just deluding yourself. – by Huston Smith, Ph.D., University of Chicago.

2. Religious institutions have caused a great deal of harm, particularly when they insist that “believers are superior and non-believers are inferior or evil”. That is where religion becomes a damaging force. – by Michael Persinger, Psychologists, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Canada (1999)

3. God is unnecessary for my living or loving or being comfortable. I am amazed by the marvels of nature surrounding me, but I feel no need to attribute them to a divine creator. We can decide that this is God-inspired. Or, we can decide that this is some kind of happening that is ‘beyond belief’. – by James Austin, Neurologist, University of Colorado, Health Sciences Centre. Denver (1998).

4. Why should I be afraid of dying? I was not afraid of being born – by James Austin (1998)

5. You have this divine source that has the propensity to create and project itself out. Then when you end up here as a separate unit, there is trouble, suffering and so on. All these propel us back towards the source. These two opposite forces are called ‘hylotropic and ‘holotropic’, (i.e.) centrifugal and centripetal. – by Stanislov Grof, Psychiatrist, John Hopkins University.

(LVN’s Comment: It is like a man-made fountain, where the same water circulates from the tank to the fountain and back to the tank.)

6. Many psychological problems are ‘spiritual emergencies’ that stem from a deep rooted yearning for spiritual meaning and consolation. Properly treated, these spiritual crises offer a tremendous opportunity for growth. – by Mrs Christina Grof, Patient, student and wife of Stanislov Grof (referred above).

(LVN’s comment: Can we call the Tamil Poet, Subramania Bharati, as a classic example)

7. Ancient Hindu texts, the Upanishads, claim that the only reality is the formless, infinite and eternal void, from which all things emerge and to which they return. All else, including your mortal self is unreal. We cannot die because we do not exist in the first place. The Upanishads promise us that when we really know this fundamental truth, we will achieve Nirvana, Bliss or Heaven. To ordinary men like me, seeing the world and myself as unreal, itself, felt more like hell. Those who are enlightened, blissfully enlightened, must somehow sidestep or push past this dreadful state. BUT HOW? – by John Horgan, Author of Rational Mysticism.

8. The ‘mysterium tremendum’ (the inner sanctum of reality) is not a thing we can possibly identify with, let alone become. It is not a deity, nor a force, principle, spirit nor a ground of being – it is not a thing at all. It is ‘wholly other’, ‘nothingness’ and the opposite of ‘everything that is and can be’. It is absence not presence. Our encounter with ‘mysterium tremendum’ can strike us chill and numb and fill us with an utmost grisly horror and shuddering. (the state that could be called ‘mysterium tremens’ ) Religions do not reveal the ‘mysterium tremendum’ so much, as they shield us from direct confrontation with it. – By Rudolf Otto, German theologian.

9 You may call it infinite or call it God, Allah, Brahman, Void or ’mysterium tremendum’. It is the nothingness from which we came and to which we must return. You may feel compelled to ‘guess the riddle’, to explain how a ‘finite human something’ emerged from ‘infinite inhuman nothing’. You may respond to such a vision with joy, madness, terror, love, gratitude, hilarity – or all the above at once. You may delight in the world’s astonishing beauty or despair at its fragility and insignificance. – by John Horgan, Author of Rational Mysticism.

10. If a miracle is defined as an infinitely improbable phenomenon, then our existence is a miracle, which no theory natural or supernatural will explain. Science can never answer the ultimate question: How did something came from nothing? Neither theologies can. Honest physicist will admit that they have no idea why there is something rather than nothing? – by John Horgan.

11. You know there is no reason for you to exist. The odds seem over-whelming, our miniscule human hubbub will be swallowed up by the emptiness whence we came. But the flip side of this mystical terror is joy. We should not be here. Yet we are here. How lucky we can get? – by John Horgan.

12. In my kitchen, we put garbage in bag that come in boxes of twenty. After I yank the last bag from the box, the box becomes garbage and goes inside the last garbage bag. There is a paradox lurking within this ritual.- by John Horgan.

13. FREE WILL – Our belief in free will has a social value. It provides us with metaphysical justification for ethics and morality. It forces us to take responsibility for ourselves rather than entrusting our fate to Jehova, Allah or Tao. We must accept that things will get better and better, only as a result of our efforts, not because we are fulfilling some pre-ordained supernatural plan. If ‘free will’ is an illusion, it is the one I need – that I need, even more than God. I have no choice but to choose free will. – by John Horgan, Author of Rational Mysticism

Please read and reflect.

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One Response to “Rational Mysticism”

  1. Chris Says:

    Just now found your blog brother. Wonderful gems you have put together. Bravo.

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