In Dispirited one of the claims that I make is regarding the way mysticism is presented. I will get to what I write in the book shortly – but wanted to note that in the talks on the book I have been giving, I have been asked is there is evidence for my assertions re this presentation of mysticism. I thought it was obvious – and part of our common cultural currency, so didn’t feel too worried…
The view I am talking about is the narrative that claims that all faiths are drawing on the same (or variations of the same) Noumenous experience (though they don’t always use Otto’s term), which has been distorted by the institutionalisation of formal religion. But some have always seen through this, to the common experiential core that they believe underpins all faith. These few have known a dangerous truth – which threatens political strucutres and might unite allf aiths - and so mystics have long been persecuted.
Familiar? [I hope so... The book contains a longer version, of course]
I did however ensure my view that this is widespread was accurate. It is. http://timeless-wisdom.blog.co.uk/2010/03/05/world-mysticism-8120212/ for example talks of
The Hidden History of Mysticism runs like a thread through all religions but belongs
to none of them
It is finding a spiritual basis for human unity beyond ‘partisan’ religious divisions
To build bridges to a common understanding of a common human spirituality is the way
TO UNIVERSAL TRUTH
This is only one example, of course, but seems to perfectly capture that narrative I was trying to describe. One of the themes in Dispirited is that the ‘partisan’ divisions are exactly what matters: this is how we inch towards actual truth (as opposed to ‘universal’?) – though arguing and really disagreeing, not disavowing disagreement in the name of some hidden, ineffable, asserted underlying commonality..