But it’s homo mysticus too isn’t it? We are a thinking man, but perhaps at this stage of development a new species has emerged – a mystical Man, who knows his place on Earth but also knows his place in Heaven. This is most certainly what the ancient Chinese believed. No doubt what they believed in the mystery schools in ancient Greece and the secret priesthood societies of ancient Egypt. Were they all wrong?
A new era has dawned here, with this explosion of information – our new Digital Era – with the explosion of computing power and data storage availability. With this massive dissemination of esoteric knowledge all across the globe available for anyone with even a passing interest. Where what used to be in the shadows can no longer be due to the ubiquity of cell phones and cameras which show pictures of atrocities to the world in real time.
Mystical Man has arrived, and I should think that he is here to stay this time.
One door closes and another one opens… That’s an alchemy thing isn’t it?
This idea of mysticism runs pretty elemental to this work, let’s spend a bit of time defining it – how we look at it relative to the project at hand and whether or not it deviates from the “standard” definition. For our purposes we’ll be working with the idea that mysticism denotes the belief in the reality of unity of consciousness which connects all living things – devoid of a godhead, or gods but just in definitional terms – for the deities (theos), and the myths and tales surrounding them (mythos) are nonetheless an integral part of mysticism given that this is how the discipline, if we may call it that, takes root in the mind (psyche).
And this is primarily the architecture that we’ll be espousing here – that the psyche, in order to integrate the truth, the reality of the mystical experience, which we also experience when we dream to a certain extent, embeds its truth within the mythos, and theos, rites and rituals, so that the truth of “full” experience, which includes the mystic, dream like realms of reality, can be manifest in our lives, in us really.
This implies that religion is inherent to man, and that in turn God (religion really) is created in man’s image – or perhaps more accurately, the two are interdependent.
But the historical context is important here – Eliade has a work on the Sacred and the Profane which talks about the need in pre-historical times, or the prevalence of is perhaps a better way to put it, this idea of the sacred which permeates all life, and that the cultural mythos is used, in conjunction with rites and rituals which enact the same, in order to “sanctify” places, or mark out stages of life (birth, adulthood, marriage, death, etc). It’s almost a psychological superposition of the mythos onto “real life”, and at the same time embedding within it meaning and purpose – within the context of the mythos and theos structure of the given society.
In pre-history, mysticism was not a field of study, or an odd or strange occurrence, it was intrinsic to the worldview of these ancient peoples. In a sense, it can be looked at as a psychological crutch of sorts, given the lack of knowledge relative to how things truly work (how things truly are??) post enlightenment and in modern times with the advent of technology, space travel, etc. This was the way to inject meaning into life where so much was not understood.
This is the standard line relative to Western progress and the Age of Science. And there is truth to it no doubt. But one of the results of this way of thinking – two actually was 1) everything became so reductive now that holistic worldviews were the exception rather than the nor (eg particle acceleration) and 2) anything that escaped scientific explanation (near death experiences, the experience of various illuminative states, UFOs (as per Kripal), ability to see future events, etc.) has in a way fallen into this “mystical” bucket as it were. The result being that it has almost become synonymous with the paranormal but that term has connotation relative to scientific study specifically, and is more broadly defined than mysticism per se which is typically a psychological phenomenon (what isn’t?).
In our obsession with breaking things down into neat intellectual parts that can be modelled, “fully understood”, we have lost a major component of knowledge – the one that is embedded in prehistoric mythos – namely that everything is mysterious and sacred. In rejecting Religion Science has cast out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.
We need meaning, meaning at a very deep and profound psychological level to not only root us in reality, but also help us understand our role in this mad play we find ourselves in. This narrative is fundamental to our consciousness, to our ability to understand and assimilate ideas about ourselves and our place in the world that when a framework – religion itself – is abandoned, it will be replaced by something else. And we can see what happens when that something else is either unintentional or is bereft of a sound intellectual foundation. It’s worth understanding this if for no other reason to fully appreciate the narratives that underpin our self-consciousness and guide our behavior in an increasingly complex world.
So the mystic realm is one of mystery, and one of wholeness, and in this sense we try and recover some of the older, more inclusive aspects of the term to reflect this notion of the sacred which permeated life in prehistoric times. But it also implies the fundamental belief that not only is the world one, but that we are one with it, and as conscious beings can directly experience not just the world in relation to our (embodied) selves but that we also can experience the world in relation to our spiritual, mystical selves – homo mysticus. That this latter element of consciousness is just as important as the former, or at least as important in a different domain, and to properly understand reality, it must be understood within the content of ontology – being itself – and it must be understood as the dialectic of the inner and outer worlds coming together to produce harmony.
Figure 48: Taichi symbol, yīn-yáng.
This is Descartes’s res extensa (outer world) and res cogitans (inner world) dichotomy. Certain laws govern each of the worlds no doubt but a proper understanding of not just the world itself but as beings within this world must take into account the truth of each world but also the truth inherent to the symbiotic and fluid relationship between the two worlds as we go through life.
Quantum mechanics teases this truth out, but not in the way most people tend to look at it – even the so called professed modern-day mystics. It clearly shows that once connected particles remain connected with each other despite standard classical boundaries of space and time, and that at the smallest scales, there is no difference between matter and energy. Everyone chasing around after a grand unified theory seems to be missing the boat – a) there isn’t one and b) truth comes in various forms and c) reality truly is mysterious and is best understood through mystical experience which sits above (implicate order) the various intellectual frameworks which describe it. Religion being one ironically.
So a thesis here is that man is mystical by nature, homo mysticus, and the connection between the eternal, and the terminal, must be drawn out in order that man, homo machina, can optimally function in this world. Everything is sacred, whether we believe it or not (Pirsig’s Quality) and understanding this will help us design more competent models (mythos) to best deal with the challenges that confront us in modern times. The daunting and existential ones primarily (we speak about these at the end of Theology Reconsidered).
So how should we look at Psychology then if we are mystical beings, most properly and best understood as such?
Well as Vivekananda tells us, this world is the gymnasium for the Soul and as such this body and mind, this biological system that we have been implanted into you night say, is designed specifically for (spiritual) ascension.
This is a very important point here, one flows form the other – if we are mystical, if we hold that as a fundamental assertion given all available information and knowledge (and I believe it’s overwhelming at this point), then we must look at the struggles of life, and the design of our psyche, in a very different light.
Science, and medicine then, need to re-align and move towards this new way of thinking. It’s no longer acceptable to just treat the body if it manifests a disease, the whole complex – and most certainly the life circumstances and relationships and family and such, must be looked at in searching for root cause and must be fully understood to determine the solution to said malady.
In the mystical literary tradition, if we may call it that, we are confronted with this relationship between madness, psychological breaks or fissures, and creativity not necessarily as the normal course of business but almost like the normal course of business.
This work for example, is nothing less – why else would you get up in the middle of the night for a year and write such things? For no thought of gain to yourself but only because you think there might be one poor soul, maybe 10 maybe 20 maybe more that needs to get whacked over the head with the truths that I am expounding upon herein. I certainly don’t that these flashes of insight, these sources of madness, are tied to these fits of writing. Why else would I be whispered a secret if not to get it to the hands of someone who could use it.
There is no salvation for me my friends, this spiritual journey is not for awakening – for me I press a mountain of bricks between Truth, Full Awareness and Knowledge, and this physical form (aka Juan Valdez). For when we even have but leaks in this dam, the clarity of knowing that the physical reality we are confronted with is just such a. Small piece of the metaphysical puzzle.
And this knowledge is fire. And it burns. Make no mistake about it. And your old ways of being may not, most likely will not, align with this new truth and if you do not turn toward it, your body will burn with disease and suffering like you have never seen. This is how it works. Be careful what you wish for.
Nonetheless homo mysticus needs to know – if we are to be mystical after all, we must know how to do this properly. To live in this world but to see it as the gymnasium of the Soul, and as such require some basic rule changes regarding civility and social discourse, and our relationship with planet (as well as each other) of course, means that we must have a different perspective on how we are to approach this life and what the warning signs might look like that we should avoid.
This work, like any engineering book really, is about the nature of this reality – and understanding what it is, and how it works, we should be in a much better position to align ourselves with it. As I have said before, this is a spiritual optimization problem – if we are designed for ascension and if we are but ripples in this vast, unending Cosmic Quantum Energy Field then we must look to philosophical systems of the East more closely as this is precisely what they posit – Yoga, Vedanta, Buddhism.
These aren’t religions, these are scientific disciplines and should be treated as such. These are empirically valid intellectual domains along with Physics and Chemistry. If that academic inversion is not made, and quickly here (as it stood in antiquity I might add) then we are left with just part of the picture and as such part of us will atrophy.
This is how we usher in the era of the mystical man, homo mysticus, by forcing this inversion. First within ourselves and then by extension into society and the world at large. It’s happening as I write this. Folks just need a little help with the metaphysics of it all. They need a little jolt of truth to push them up into this new reality, pull them up you might say – a pushing and a pulling from both sides. This is what we are here to do.
If we look at some examples then, of psychological breaks in the literary tradition two very prominent examples come to mind – Pirsig and Nietzsche. Kripal can also probably be included on this line, as Eliade, Blake, Huxley, Jung, certainly Vivekananda, and really countless others. Their writing is an outpouring of knowledge from a fissure in the dam of reality. That’s what we’re dealing with here, and it is the job of the (mystical) writer to sort out how best to express these truths and still hold onto your connection to the physical world you might say.
This is a real problem for homo mysticus, it is certainly one of the main reasons why we have so many people in prisons and mental institutions here. The money that can be made off peeling these people away from society and placing them in these institutions is massive as most know. A reform is desperately needed here. But this reform must be based upon an intellectual structure that recognizes the mystical realms of existence, the hyper dimensionality of being, the existence of the Soul.
This grounding you might call it, is an essential part of being human. The human form cannot function properly without it – this is the root chakra, the one that keeps us tethered to this world which must be balanced along with all the other (major) chakras. This means dealing with family and friends and school and work and all of that stuff – dealing with it, finding your place within its structure, giving back to society in a meaningful way, that aligns with your Soul and your place and stature, and capabilities of course.
If all of our advice for this grounding lays outside academia, it lacks rigor. It is left to be used and manipulated by gurus and teachers with all sorts of training, and lack thereof, as well as all sorts of spiritual capabilities for delivering such training – teachers literally take on the karma of their students. This is a law, one cannot be a good teacher, help their students advance, without such capabilities.
Do you think this is not done at a cost? Do you lack the proper understanding of the strength of the spiritual foundations that must be laid before this type of activity can be commended? This is what the spiritual disciplines are for in the monastic traditions, and they must be held to. Householders as they are called are no doubt held to different standards (thank God) but there are standards nonetheless. The rules are laid down as guard rails for you, guard rails for everyone.
So when these experiences come, these doors of perception are opened (as they were in the hippie and free love movements of the 60s and 70s chemically through the use of hallucinogenics like LSD and psilocybin for thousands of people), you must have some spiritual foundations, a support system around you, such that they can be properly absorbed and synthesized and expressed properly and responsibly. Power comes when you advance along this path – do not confuse the map with the territory here – and this power must be used responsibly.
Furthermore, one’s physical form, the mind body system, can only handle so much energy given its state of development. Supporting more energy flows, greater connection to the source, more resonation, more tuned if you will, requires a retooling of the mind-body system itself so it can handle the extra charge.
This requires an adjustment inside in morals, ethics, values etc and it requires an adjustment outside, the external world, such that the being can be properly integrated, in a healthy and productive way, assimilated you might say, after the leveling up of the aspirant.
It’s a shifting in consciousness that is quantized (because all of reality is basically), it jumps from one state to another, not gradually necessarily but in a rapid movement that requires re-alignment of the whole system in question – the family unit, the professional one, etc.
What good is a spiritual awakening if you end up in a massive divorce, leave a few kids without a father, end up homeless and are a total drag on society? This is patently negative experience, not just for the individual but for the family unit and society writ large too. We as a society need to shift to understand the true nature of Self such that we can optimize these outcomes rather than have them be a massive disruptive force as they have been for way too long now.
Much of this line of thinking follows Kripal, or at the very least is inspired by his work in this area – specifically around the notion of a mystical writing tradition (Serpent’s Gift 2007 which may be his best work) and his ideas connecting the Freudian psychological tradition with mysticism in the study of Ramakrishna (Kali’s Child 1995, certainly his most controversial).
Psychological breaks do not necessarily produce mystical experiences, but mystical experiences are coincidental with psychotic breaks. Psychological breaks are determined by one’s inability to properly and healthily integrate with society without harming themselves or others. This is the definition of sanity (literally healthy) and conversely the definition of insanity.
Given a proper understanding of the nature of reality, and therefore the very purpose of being, we must account for, establish the necessary intellectual foundations for, these other dimensions of reality which supersede this one.
I use this word here supersede to align this intellectual mindset with quantum mechanics which tells us that there exists a superposition state of a particle prior to its measurement, or act of observation effectively. The Soul is like this to the man. Mystical man you might say is the superposition of man. This is the very definition of the Soul. Ātman of the Upanishads. This is He.
This of course explains the ascetic monastic traditions, as the institutionalization of spiritual disciplines that are designed for the very purpose of creating these psychological breaks where the infinite is revealed. The forcing of a spiritual break and as such the forcing of a spiritual rebirth. But at least these traditions know, or they are supposed to know, that Baptism is by fire.
Or put another way (and again we follow Kripal here with his mind as filter idea) this is what Yoga is designed to do – snap the veil of the mind back for a moment, establish some clarity with the source directly, and then re-integrate such knowledge. Of course hallucinogenics do this chemically, and as such should be handled responsibility and under the guidance of someone trained in such Sciences for all the re-integration problems I am citing here.
Note of course that Yoga, as does Buddhism and Christianity and all major religions, provide for basic moral and ethical frameworks that apply to all human beings, all people on God’s green earth. Spiritual aspirants are held to higher standards, not lower. This is a law. If it is violated there is hurt and destruction in its wake. Examples abound in the guru business.
The vessel must be constructed to handle certain energies, it must have the capacity to not just experience these higher realms, these higher vibrational frequencies, but to absorb and integrate them – to hold them effectively. To charge themselves as well as others around them effectively. To be a beacon of light in the darkness.
If we can do this effectively, understand these truths and reformulate our society and academy around them, we will have indeed evolved to homo mysticus.
 By Gregory Maxwell – From File:Yin yáng.png, converted to SVG by Gregory Maxwell., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=364239.
 The disciplines we refer to here are – Quantum Mechanics (nonlocality), Psychology (collective unconscious), Theoretical Physics (Multi-Verse theory, String theory – multi-dimensionality), QED (Quantum electrodynamics), Math (sacred Geometry), UFO and ET Phenomenon (multi-dimensionality), NDE (Near Death Experiences, multi-dimensionality), Mysticism and Religion (multi-dimensionality). All of these fields point in the direction that this world is not what it seems to be at face value. Each of them individually might constitute a theoretical dead end or reflect some sort of rational fallacy, all of them together combine to provide a massive intellectual structure that underpins homo mysticus.
 He outlines this theory’s history quite nicely in Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge, Bellevue Literary Press 2019. Pages 46-53, a chapter entitled “A Very Short History of the Filter or Transmission Thesis”. The basic idea here is that the mind (really mind-body) is best understood as a filterer of information and energy. This psychological inversion allows for proper understanding of mystical states not as paranormal, or other worldly phenomenon, but as that part of reality for which our specific mind-body system was not designed, or at least not wholly designed, to interact with or experience – sense really.