Mysticism pp 375 378

The lasting authoritativeness or conviction of the true reality of the experience and the sense of the profound significance of the content are at least closely related to, and perhaps enhanced by, the totality and intensity of the response. This Knowledge at the level of intuition and insight is felt to require no proof at a rational level by the experlencer,115 There is a feeling of being totally grasped and dealt with by ultimate reality. James calls this passivity.116 The intensity and totalness is cuch as to leave no doubt to the experiencer of hi3 participation at a very deep and basic level which although non-rational and even non-verbal is most convincing.117 The unshakable certainty of the objective reality of the experience persists even after the experience is over. Stace discusses in detail the validity of the claim to objective reference, but we are concerned here only with the fact that the mystic is convinced of the objective reality of the experience of what to him is ultimate

"There is no certitude to equal the mystic's certitude." (Underhill, Mysticism, p. 331.)

116"...the mystic feels as If his own will were in abeyance, and indeed sometimes as if he were grasped end held by a superior power." (James, og. sit., p. 372.)


Category Vis Paradoxicality Rational statements about, descriptions of, and even Interpretations of the mystical experience tend to r be logically contradictory when strictly analyzed. Such paradoxical language is universally found in the writings of those who have had mystical states of consciousness when they try to describe their experiences.119

Examples of paradox have been mentioned in the typology above as a basic part of the mystical consciousness. In the experience of internal unity there is a loss of all empirical content in an empty unity which is at the same time full and complete. This loss includes the loss of the sense of self and dissolution of individuality, yet something individual remains to experience the ii^Stace, op. cit., pp. 67-68, 134-206.

119James, op. cit.. pp. 408-412. Suzuki feels that persons who experience satori "are always at a loss to explain it coherently or logically." (Op. cit., p. 103.) Stace argues that mystical paradoxes are meant to be true paradoxes (i.e., both sides although contradictory are really truo descriptions by those who reported what they actually experienced and are not due to confusion or un-clearness (od. cit.. pp. 257-276). The extensive use of figures of speech and paradox is one of Clark's characteristics of the mystical experience (fip. £JL£., pp. 273-74). Stace would agree but would insist that much of what might at first be thought to be figure of speech or metaphor is unity. The "I" both exists an© does not exist. External unity is experienced through the empirical multiplicity of the external world with the insight that all is One. There may also be a paradoxical transcendence of space.120 The vacuum-plenum or negative-positive paradox has three aspects: the One or Universal Self is both unqualitied and qualitied, both impersonal and personal, and both inactive and active.

Category VII: Alleged Ineffability

The impossibility of adequate expression in words or unintelligibility of the mystical state of consciousness has been stressed as a main characteristic by writers on mysticism.121 A distinction must be made between the time during the actual experience and afterwards. During the experience of either internal or external unity, there in fact true description which is by nature paradoxical

£it.,pp. 299-303). This point is discussed further in the next section.

l20Stace maintains that this paradox of identity in difference gives rise to pantheistic philosophical interpretations of mysticism. For example, the contradictory propositions that the world is identical with God and that the world ' is diBtinct from God ¿re both asserted to be true (op. clt., pp. 212-21Bff).

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