The Truth and the True

Jaspers and Heidegger appeal to me because I am a mystic who has had mystical experiences: spoken in Tongues, hung over the Abyss, fallen into ecstasy of Nothing, felt the Abiding Presence of the Other, heard the rushing Silence. Each thinker provides a way of thinking my experiences. I do not look to them to confirm or justify or explain the mystical. Rather, they struggle with me in my exploration.

But I am also a philosopher. I must interrogate my experience and seek to communicate it with others.

If a friend wants to dialog with me about my mystical experiences, I am happy to do so. When I do, I sincerely hope they will not take what I say as empirical knowledge. Let me state it clearly: Whatever occurs in Transcendence, it will never be demonstrable nor ever have the characteristics of objective fact.

Talking about such transcendent experiences strains the limits of language. Since such events are not repeatable nor falsifiable, they cannot provide information for shared decision making.

Why would anyone think that a mystical happening–a personal revelation–should be the basis for community decision? It is a profoundly singular occurrence which at best should make me MORE careful about what I say and how I advise others to choose the paths they may follow.

I’m not sure why such experiences should be thought by anyone as discounting or making unimportant scientific discoveries, either.

The mystical does not trump science.

First, because it is not a competition. Second, because Truth is singular and the True is communal. Every advance in science is an advance toward better information and demonstrable knowledge, a greater broadening of the True. Why would I not want that? Why would I not want to expand the network of shared facts? In what insane order of reality would Truth ever seek to hide the True or would the True not lead to a search for greater Truth?

We should seek to make our dwelling with each other in what we share in common. And a great part of the commons is the unknown. You know this is true even if it is not THE truth. And because so much is unknown, we should explore our own selves, each other, our communities, and our world.

Truly, it is these explorations that are the gathering we call World. Let us gather together.

One comment

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more – fantastic post. If only your words could somehow strike a nerve with fundamentalists religious types.

    “We should seek to make our dwelling with each other in what we share in common” – these words could change our world if spirituality ceased being a competition.

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