Monday, October 08, 2018

Dark night of the soul

It's sometimes said that failure to experience the presence of God is normal because even saints and mystics like Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Mother Theresa sometimes (or oftentimes) suffered from the same sense of divine absence or abandonment. 

However, that's an artificial standard of comparison. To my knowledge, Catholic mystics aspire to having a continuous sense of communion with God, and practice spiritual techniques to cultivate that experience. But that doesn't represent normal biblical sanctity. It's more like Tibetan monks and whirling Dervishes who use psychosomatic techniques to trigger an altered state of consciousness. Likewise, psychedelic drugs. 

If successful, is that communion with God…or self-induced psychosis? 

1 comment:

  1. It's all rather subjective, isn't it? I would argue that since the spiritual world is real, even foundational to this world, then we need something more objective, not less, than what we employ to get along in the physical. And if it is foundational to this world, then everything we do physically is also spiritual.

    I think the reason people do this kind of nonsense is to take advantage of epistemological uncertainty to justify their own speculations, sometimes to place themselves in a position of authority and sometimes simply to find a way to feel better about the sin of this world without actually addressing it. We need not be saddled with epistemological uncertainty when we have been given objective revelation about the spiritual. We need not give authority to charlatans when we have the tools to discern them.