Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Necessity of Mystical Experience

Necessity of Mystical Experience

“Developing Plato's dualistic understanding of reality, Plotinus taught that true reality lies 'beyond' the physical world. This 'reality beyond reality' has no limits and so cannot be described by words, since words invariably have limits. Plotinus, again borrowing from Plato, calls this ultra-reality the 'Good' or the 'One'. The One/Good has no limits and is so supremely right that it overflows or 'emanates' to produce 'Intellectual-Principle' or 'Divine Mind' - nous. This Intellectual-Principle, in turn, overflows and 'Divine-Soul' emanates from it. This process continues as Divine-Soul generates the material world. The lowest level of emanation, at the furthest extreme from the One/Good, is the utter formlessness and unreality of matter. The goal of philosophy is to awaken individuals to the reality beyond the material world. But philosophy alone cannot take a person to the highest reality of the One. Only mystical experience can unite an individual with the One” ……….Baird & Kaufmann

Plato’s dualistic reality was defined in a relationship which existed between the world and fundamental forms. The reason why Plotinus is considered a Neo-Platonist can be seen from the process of how Plotinus while basing his foundation on Platonic philosophy of reality, defines a deeper and higher reality from which all different levels of emanations take place..
While in Plato’s thought the world and the forms were assigned equal weightage, Plotinus evolves a thought that is based on matter or the world as an emanation of a deeper and more fundamental reality which he goes on to define as ‘Intellectual Principle’ or ‘Divine mind’. This thought process is very much metaphysical and has its roots in Eastern mysticism’

Here I would like to quote Alan Watts and his take on “form being void”
“The Buddhist principle that “form is void” does not mean that there are no forms. It means that forms are inseparable from their context- that the form of a figure is also the form of its background, that the form of a boundary is determined as much by what is outside as by what is inside. The doctrine of sunyata, or voidness, asserts only that there are no self-existent forms, for the more one concentrates upon any individual thing, the more it turns out to involve the whole universe.”

The findings in modern science have revealed that the atom is 99.999999% void and that all fundamental sub atomic particles are strings of energy vibrating in different dimension. Gravity itself is not a force but a topology of space-time.

Man exists in a limited four dimensional world and his consciousness is moulded in this context of rationalism and Cartesianism. This is the reason Plato and his student Aristotle and later their followers such as Plotinus, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, had to have recourse to a dualistic construct of reality; one being the perception oriented objective reality and the second a generalized construct of the inscrutable as Forms, Soul, One/Good, God etc. Rene Descartes philosophy of mind went overboard in a clean sweep to eradicate all reality except the mind and all its derivative.
Epistemology based on rationalism and empiricism is inadequate in the search for fundamental realty. A merging of the analytic and synthetic knowledge acquisition process was attempted by Immanuel Kant.

“Kant tried to show that there was a pre-existing mental apparatus and there was a physical world. He placed both in a noumenal world. For Kant, noumenal reality was a marriage of the mental and the physical; both were ultimately real but unknowable.” ………….“Critique of Pure Reason” by Immanuel Kant

The arrival of scientific enquiry into the nature of the microcosm that lead to the development of quantum mechanics and the nature and role of consciousness as fundamental reality and that all observations resulted in an objective reality.

The inadequacy of grasping reality through the mind though subtly understood by these leading philosophers and this is why Plotinus points out that philosophy alone is insufficient to grasp this higher reality but man requires a mystical experience where in the higher reality which is part of his own makeup is evoked to provide an experience this higher reality within his consciousness.

This renewed search through mystical experience or the deeper probing of the process of consciousness and its role in precipitating reality is a part of the evolutionary trend of the human species.

Love to you all