Friday, November 11, 2005

Two Insights

Reading Islam by Armstrong it came to me that she has suffered from the same disability I noted in Joseph Campbell; they were both "frightened at an early age by a dissolute priest". The interesting thing about this observation is that it seemed to be the guiding impetus for the magnificently creative work that they performed for us.

Near the end of his life Joseph came to see what I'm saying here, I've already posted adequately about Campbell's experience, but if you're too lazy to check the link, I'll quote a brief excerpt from his statement in Thou Art That: "For a long time I had a terrible resentment against the Church .... then through my own study of mythology.."

Continuing with Islam I saw that the church and Islam had suffered very similar setbacks-- when the leaders of each movement chose worldly over spiritual power.

Finally, reading about the Sufis, I perceived that Islam, like Christianity, is divided between the 'mystics' (with their direct contact with the Above) and tradionalists (who give their weight to the authority of the past). Does this suggest to us something universal about human experience?


Twyla said...

I would say so, yes. It amazes me how similar different spiritual traditions are when viewed through the eyes of their mystics.

It speaks to me of a "splitting of the veil" that occurs when one encounters the Divine. I think God reaches out to each of us according to our culture, our ability to unpack our experience of the divine through the spiritual practices we are comfortable with.

Joe G. said...

Interesting question, Larry. I wonder if this pattern tends to be more present in the monotheistic traditions. This is pure speculation given that I know very little about eastern or politheistic traditions. But, there does tend to be the pattern, amongst the monotheistic religions, of the abuse of leaders, the split of the mystical from the mainstream, etc. Just ponderings...

Larry said...

Right, Joe. It would appear to be somewhat harder to perceive oneself as the special favorite of lots of God than of one. And they sort of dilute the tendencies of one another.

Mohammed of course rejected Christianity as polytheistic.

Larry said...