So you’ve been convinced – but that doesn’t make it so for all of us.
I have my own views of God, and its not a pink unicorn, even though most of the basis of my views of God are based on the God of Jesus, not so much the God of Abraham or the God of Isiah [or even the God of Job – blech!]. It’s also what I believe to be a more pragmatic God, but I could go for years talking about my view of God without getting myself anywhere.
If God knows all things known, if by some strange, unlikely fate, we were alone in the universe, God knows only all things that humans know and are capable of knowing, which includes current knowledge, long lost knowledge, and future knowledge yet unknown.
But I don’t “know” that either – and just found it an interesting thought of mine to share.
Perhaps there’s a damned good reason for it. :->
You’ve never experienced an “awakening” then.
I don’t know much at all about Buddhist things or Born-Again things or any other kind of sudden revelation.
But I know that its true, and if you pull back just a tiny bit [just like those damned stereograms that I can’t see yet] and defocus, WHAMMO! The picture is right in front of your face, leaping off of the page!
[so my friend who can now see Stereograms tells me!]
In my personal experience, things have happened to me, based on errors on my part, that taught me lessons. Sometimes they were minor, tiny little awakenings, bursts of enlightenment. Didn’t you ever suddenly realize something?
For example, I waited for a ride to work a year or so back. I had taken a bus to Irvington, NJ, and had to wait for a ride to Morristown, NJ (where I was working at the time). It was freezing cold outside, and I had to wait 55 minutes, before the bus came on the way back when I wasn’t picked up.
Three days in a row we missed each other, and couldn’t figure out why – until we realized that she was waiting at a different corner, four blocks away for me.
I realized, after the third day of waiting in the freezing cold, what *I* had done to my previous employer when I had not shown up for work on some Mondays, or going to the smoking room for 5 minutes every couple of hours.
I was “leaving him in the cold”, just as I was being left in the cold.
Whammo! I changed my ways since then, and never turned back.
That’s a tiny form of enlightenment.
Big forms of enlightenment are when you realize your place in the universe. Describing it is impossible. All I know is that I am less significant in the scheme of things than I had ever imagined, and far more significant in the scheme of things that I would have ever dreamed possible.
I don’t claim to be anything near a mystic or a scientist, but I think I understand your confusion, and I understand why they laugh.
You just have to step back from yourself a few steps, and if you’re ready, its right there, in clear view.
Good question. Its the same phenomenon that affects Born-Again Christians.
The experience of being Born-Again – I had it described to me by a few at a weekend filled with 800 mainly-methodist kids who want to to into ministry (ages 16 – 25), down in Virginia.
They see things with such a clarity and such openness, that it stuns them, and they can’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to be that way. Ever see two born-again christians meeting each other for the first time? Its as if they have known each other for their entire lives.
Many folks laugh at them as “kooks”, and I admit, I used to laugh at them as well. But I now understand – the experience of being born-again WORKED for them. They are now at peace with themselves, and they want to share what they went through with others. Now, I can only listen to it for a few hours before I need to leave the room for a couple of eons, but that’s because, for the most part, they no longer know how to convince “regular people”. They are saying, “Come to where we are now, trust us, and you’ll like it – more than any peace you can ever imagine”.
Its not my way, though, and I refused to go through the process that one claimed would “open my eyes”. He got pretty close to “getting me”, though – at one point, I was in tears, as he tore apart everything I ever understood by simply reading the right scripture at the right times. From the experience, my beliefs are 20-fold stronger, though, as I came through, beliefs intact. I’m glad it works for him, but its not for me.
There’s a giant giant downside of some kinds of optimism.
My friend T, I only recently realized, is far more optimistic than I am. Everyone thinks I’m an total optimist, and T is a total pessimist – but its the other way around.
For example, T packed valueable glassware in such a way that made it safe if he was to move it, but if anyone else was to move who didn’t know glass was inside, it would break.
Well, my m’s b moved his stuff from one side of the garage to the other, and now some of his glassware (including a few valuable stained glass windows) is completely shattered, most of it unrepairable. Now T wants to sue him (although I have my doubts that he will – I just kept my mouth shut, though).
I realize now that I am somewhat pragmatic. When you pack things up, pack for the worst, hope that nothing goes wrong. If he had wrapped the glass in newspaper, or NOT packed valueable stained glass windows along with more glassware underneath (cups, even china), nothing would have gotten broken.
But he is the optimist – far moreso than I. He believed that everything would turn out fine, just the say he did them. The words out of his mouth speak of other people’s wrongdoings – sign of someone who hopes that everyone will act as he thinks they will – but doesn’t know how to deal with it properly when people don’t act in the manner he hoped.
I suffer the same problem with my m, myself and my friend T – I find myself criticizing them when I should not criticize them at all.
I always thought fear of dying was the motivation for action – for accomplishments – for being a workhorse even. Not a quality of a true mystic – but perhaps I’m mistaken here.
It can. If you’re able to latch onto the rationalistic side of mystics, and hold your argument all to the end, you will defuse them, although I doubt you’ll win them over. You’ll just leave a person confused, upset and angry. Sounds somewhat sadistic – the image that comes to mind is talking to a widow after her husband has died. She talks about him moving onto heaven, and someone “debunks” it right then and there.
If someone is acting superior for having an enlightened experience that you haven’t, then they are no better than you are for “debunking” people. The difference between “you’re missing out, maaan” and a sustained attack of someone’s belief system is rather great, however, and you are trying to force them to believe in your “rationalism” – the view of the world that you believe is the correct one.
Doesn’t sound terribly fair, my friend.
We are not objective beings and we cannot think completely objectively.
If that were the case – then these arguments wouldn’t take place. We wouldn’t feel the need to convince others that we are right.
Perhaps its because you aren’t speaking for yourself, but attempting to speak for all. Mystics or not, I can see their disagreement, even if only by principle.
Many rationalists themselves admit to a significant gap between the average person and those who study the matter seriously. I fail to see the different between a rationalist and a mystic then – it sounds more like arrogance, which mystics and rationalists alike are allowed to possess.
Whom is better than who?