Re: Purported mystical "knowledge"

From: Joe E. Dees (
Date: Sat Sep 16 2000 - 22:39:18 BST

  • Next message: Lawrence H. de Bivort: "Re: Purported mystical "knowledge""

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    Subject: Re: Purported mystical "knowledge"
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    From: "Robert (Bob) Grimes" <>
    Organization: Grimes & Grimes Consulting
    Subject: Re: Purported mystical "knowledge"
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    > Folks,
    > Unfortunately, when I hear the terms "mysticism" or "spirituality,"
    > there is a great tendency for me to equate it with religion, even though
    > it may not be appropriate. I can handle "spirituality" as I do consider
    > myself "spiritual" in the sense of appreciating non material concepts
    > and relationships where they do not respond or are seem, at first,
    > inaccessible through the scientific method. Still, I do realize that
    > such concepts are products of material processes and, perhaps, probably
    > products of material processes where not understood in that manner.
    > Still, memes are memes and I realize that my identification reactions to
    > words are perhaps one of the biggest weaknesses in language. Still,
    > when I see a list of some words, for example:
    > existential and hermeneutic phenomenology, genetic epistemology,
    > semiotics, autopoiesis, etc., etc., (yes, I added one...)
    Not everyone is philosophically inclined, but the terms I proferred
    (and I did NOT include autopoesis) represent the main trends in
    20th century philosophy. Hardly mystical, and all grounded in
    experiential awareness. People like Edmund Husserl, Martin
    Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Maurice
    Merleau-Ponty, Aron Gurwitsch, Paul Ricoeur, Alfred Schutz,
    Claude Levi-Strauss, A. J. Greimas, Jean Piaget, Charles Sanders
    Peirce, Umberto Eco, Thomas Sebeok, Ferdinand de Saussure,
    etc. have had meaningful, concrete and relevant things to say; you
    should try to read them some time.
    > I get an almost uncontrollable reaction to reject whatever they are
    > talking about. That is irrational and I would be the first to admit it
    > but experience is a teacher that is hard to reject. I consider myself
    > as partially into the "consciousness movement" but not when I see those
    > words. I cannot figure why one would have to create a whole new
    > vocabulary where it could be expressed in "normal" language unless they
    > are attempting to avoid such "word identification" and subsequent
    > "semantic reaction," i.e., semiotics as compared to semantics...
    Semantics is a subdiscipline of semiotics (as are syntactics and
    pragmatics). Why would you compare a whole with a part?
    > Yet, I do not believe that, statistically, that is the reason.
    > Unfortunately, my experience with compositions using those words has
    > been dismal and disappointing as most have ventured into the "mystical"
    > in the manner in which I use this word, i.e., having no relation to the
    > physical or physiological world in which we, as physical animals, live
    > and prosper or, in other words, more closely resembling "magic." Those
    > who see "consciousness" as some collective "energy field," separate from
    > the body and its neurotransmitters, hormones, etc., still appear to me
    > to be talking "mysticism or magic" in the manner in which I use those
    > words and in which most religious thinking, again in my opinion, also
    > falls.
    Actually, the main trend in cognitive science these days is
    emergent materialism, which states that consciousness is an
    emergent complex dynamic and recursive patterning that is
    supported by the substrate axons, neurons, synapses and their
    neurotransmitting electrochemical modus operandus comprising
    the material substrate brain. See Daniel C. Dennett, Antonio
    Damasio, Jerry A, Fodor, Roger Sperry, Stephen Pinker, Karl
    Pribam, Michael Gazzaniga, etc.
    > Still, today, where we lock people up who see "Saints, Angels," etc., we
    > allow over 50% of the population to walk free who believe in E.T.s and
    > flying saucers. My opinion of the reason for this is that the same type
    > of person who believes in E.T.s and flying saucers, as opposed to saints
    > and angels, knows that they would be locked up for seeing saints or
    > angels but not for the former, and are the same physical types who used
    > to see the latter...
    > Notice that I did not use the term "UFOs" for the simple reason that the
    > terminology no longer refers to "unidentified flying objects" but to
    > vehicles from outer space (or some extraterrestrial place). Having seen
    > flying aircraft prior to their announcement (secret weapons of World War
    > II) I had no problem in identifying them as man made craft and guessed
    > immediately their source. Of course, the presence of jet engines was
    > extremely interesting and puzzling but it was obvious that they were
    > weapons of war than had not been revealed publicly.
    > The same is not true of some of the concepts and ideas currently being
    > "seriously" discussed by folks with tremendous educational "exposure."
    > Please pardon me for diverging into what I consider some of the pitfalls
    > of language...
    > Also, please forgive me if this is considered, in any way, a direct
    > criticism of others on this list... I can assure you it was not so
    > intended....
    > Cordially,
    > Bob
    No problemo. I most definitely am not a mystic. In fact, mystics
    generally have a distaste for us philosopher types, who insist on
    asking them annoying questions like "what do you mean when you
    say..." and "how can that be true when this, which directly
    contradicts that, is irretrieveably the case..."
    > --
    > Bob Grimes
    > Jacksonville, Florida
    > Man is not in control, but the man who knows he is not in control is
    > more in control...
    > Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore....."

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