Friday, September 22, 2017

Of, Mystics, Yogis and Dervishes

whirling dervishes at Rumi Fest (photo: Diaz, CC-BY-SA)
When you start to think about transcendentalism in any form then you’ve got to figure there’s something wrong with reality. Why would anybody be concerned about other worlds, if the world they were living in were pleasant enough? Baptists who speak in tongues, dervishes, yogis who walk on nails and those believe in the notion of communicating with the dead partake of spiritual practices that to one extent or another derive from the attempt to deal with harsh conditions or traumatic circumstances. This is not to dismiss transcendent or even paranormal matters. Without the crucifixion and martyrdom of Christ, Christianity would have been deprived of its catechism. Without the enslavement of the Jews in Egypt and the opening of the Red Sea that allowed the Jews to journey to the Promised Land, there would be no Book of Exodus. Trials and tribulations have produced a rich literature that has provided solace for legions of other sufferers throughout the history of mankind. Analyzing  etiology might appear to be patronizing to   followers of those practices which place an emphasis on attaining higher states over the kind of I/Thou ethics of those systems which emphasize behavior in this world. However, it’s a little like saying that concepts like parallel universes and the multiverse, which are byproducts of astrophysics, merely exist to satisfy urges for escape from the world we live in. Right now it’s science fiction, but so was Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days when it was first published in l873.

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