By G. William Barnard
"Crossing limitations" is a vital and critical booklet within the examine of faith that addresses the current starting to be curiosity within the historical past, philosophy, and phenomenology of mysticism. The booklet represents the excessive point of unique, occasionally radical, yet liable pondering mysticism now being performed by means of the easiest minds within the topic. What, if whatever, does the magical need to do with the moral? Why do mystical traditions so usually dramatically move the moral limitations arrange by way of a specific society? "Crossing limitations" explores severe concerns similar to those via a sequence of unique essays at the mystical traditions themselves (from Kabbalah to chinese language faith) and on probably the most urgent theoretical concerns and theorists (from Bergson to Schuon) of the twentieth-century examine of faith.
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Additional resources for Crossing Boundaries: Essays on the Ethical Status of Mysticism
Huxley is of another order,—the attempt, however bungling and inept, to make contact with God through what Catholics call the normal channels of grace” (xv). Clearly, Huxley’s book had made a potential mockery of this entire tradition, for if he were correct, “then it follows that the vision of God is a natural concomitant of mania, that it can be induced by drugs, and that since the vision makes nonsense of common morality, let alone of the virtues of humility and charity, then the picture of God which we derive from the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth must be false” (124).
In a concluding section, Schweitzer turns his attention again to the structural weaknesses of both Indian orientalism (best represented by Vivekananda) and its allegedly ancient mystical ethics. Such Indian thinkers, Schweitzer tells his readers, “work with the fiction that Indian thought alone is capable of profundity and piety” (254–55). “They do not undersand that mysticism only fails to make headway in European thought because it cannot comply with the demand of ethical world and life affirmation” (255).
This distinction is an important one, for it restricts the discussion of mystical ethics to the social and the interpersonal and denies to us any recourse to the subjective or psychological effects of mystical experience as an “ethical” outcome. Schweitzer’s argument (which is very close to my four-point position enunciated below) is essentially structural and paradoxical, for it posits a basic logical incompatibility between monistic-mystical thought and social or dualistic thought,25 even as it insists on both the ontological truths of the former and the practical and human necessity of the latter.
Crossing Boundaries: Essays on the Ethical Status of Mysticism by G. William Barnard