Title page for ETD etd-01102007-103120


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Minnaar, Cornelius Lukas Jacobus
URN etd-01102007-103120
Document Title 'n Filosofiese verantwoording van mistiek (Afrikaans)
Degree MA (Philosophy)
Department Philosophy
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof A J Antonites Committee Chair
Keywords
  • mysticism
Date 2000-09-01
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
AFRIKAANS: Sover ons kennis strek stam die woord mistiek uit die Griekse misteriekultusse en is in die vyftiende eeu deur Jean de Gerson gedefinieer as ervaarbare kennis van God deur die omhelsing van verenigende liefde. Tans word dit aangewend om die volgende aan te dui: (1) In onmiddellike gewaarwording van die Absolute of Goddelike (2) teoretisering aangaande die gewaarwording (3) die vervlakte betekenis as die misterieuse.

Wat die geskiedenis van mistiek self aangaan, word blyke daarvan aangetref in die Indiese tradisie (Djainisme en Jogha, Boeddhisme, Hindoelsme), Egipte (Osiris-kultus), PersiŰ (Zoroastrisme), Sjina en Japan (Taolsme, Neoconfucianisme, Boeddhisme, Sjintolsme), Juda´sme (Ou Testament, Philo, Therapeutae, Essene, Kabbalisme, Gassidisme), die Griekse tradisie (Sjamans, Klassieke Filosofie, Stolsyne, Misteriekultusse, Neoplatonisme), Gnostiek, Hermetiek, Christendom (Jesus, Paulus, Kloosterwese, vroeŰ Kerkvaders, Oostelike Ortodoksie, Rooms-katolisisme, Protestantisme), Islam (Soefisme), Afrikagodsdienste. Ook die peri ode Renaissance tot 1996 word kortliks bespreek.

Uiteenlopende studiemetodes word in die mistiek aangewend. Borchert se be-invloedingstudie, die Kantiaanse benadering van Katz, die fenomenologiese benadering van Pike, mistiek as 'n element van religieuse gemeenskappe en tradisies van McGinn, die vergelykende metode van Gilbert en wetenskaplike eksperimentele navorsing word bespreek. Die outeur wil so fenomenologies as moontlik bly en ook vergelykend werk volgens Gilbert.

Wat eksperimentele navorsing betref word daar tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat hallusinogeniese middels alleen nie 'n egte mistiese gewaarwording kan veroorsaak nie. Heelwat navorsing is gedoen oor alfa- en thetagolwe wat tydens meditasie deur die brein geproduseer word. Daar kan nie meer aangevoer word dat Zen en mistiek slegs vorms van selfhipnose is nie. Neurofisiologiese navorsing in verband met mistiek dui daarop dat spesifieke strukture in die brein die mistiese toestand bemiddel.

Wat die verband tussen filosofie en mistiek betref, wil filosofie soos mistiek die wese van dinge en hulle verhouding tot die laaste grond verstaan in die lig van rede-idees en deur middel van die wette van die verstand begryp. Spekulatiewe mistiek ag hierdie middele alleen egter as ontoereikend, maar kan net so min daarsonder klaarkom as 'n gees of siel sonder Ĺn liggaam. Dit wil die grond van aIle dinge deur vereniging met die Grond verkry, wat ook die ware wese van dinge na vore sal laat kom, en glo dat dit eers dan die wese van alle dinge verstaan, en in die taal van die denke kan vat. Die mistiese gewaarwording lŕ op 'n synsvlak wat nie net na onder met stelselmatige denke aaneenloop nie, maar dit ook transendeer.

Die filosoof Heidegger is vir die spekulatiewe mistiek van besondere belang aangesien sy lewensloop duidelik aantoon dat om 'n antimetafisiese houding in te neem jou nog steeds nie in staat stel om die Syn of Absolute in 'n filosofiese net te vang nie, aangesien net taal al klaar metafisika is. Die outeur steun meer op Hegel wat ook misties ge´nspireer was maar aan metafisika bly vashou het.

Daar bestaan positiwistiese kritiek dat die mistiek kenteoreties nie houdbaar is nie, maar volgens die outeur is mistiese kenning bo alles intu´tiewe kenning en lŕ in 'n gebied waar die gespanne subjek-objekverhouding tot 'n mate, maar nie totaal nie, getransendeer is.

Die aanname van Ĺn ware ooreenkoms tussen mistiese gewaarwordings, religieus sowel as nie-religieus, stel ons in staat om Ĺn verskeidenheid in die lig van algemene kategorieŰ te beskou sonder om hulle te reduseer tot blote identiteit. Die outeur stem saam met ondersoekers wat meen dat dit redeliker is om alle mistiese gewaarwordings as verwant te beskou as om dogmatiese afgronde tussen hulle te stel. Sewe tipes mistiese gewaarwordings word onderskei, naamlik die ongedifferensieerde; die drie introvertief gedifferensieerdes: met intu´tiewe spieŰling van denkkategorieŰ in mekaar, met intu´tiewe insig in rasionele probleme, en met innerlike sintuiglike voorstellings; die twee ekstrovertief passiewes: met of sonder fantasieverskynsels; en die ekstrovertief aktiewe. Die kortste beskrywing van die mistiese gewaarwording waartoe die outeur kon kom is dat dit 'n ongewone, dikwels kortstondige, maar besonder oortuigende, intu´tiewe bewustheid van die Absolute of hoogs sinvolle is wat voorafgegaan word deur 'n sekere aanloop en daarna inspireer tot geestelike kreatiwiteit.

Wat die psigoterapeutiese evaluasie van mistiese gewaarwordings betref, kom psigologie tot die gevolgtrekking dat hulle nie die uitsluitlike voorreg van neurosevry indiwidue is nie maar psigiese fenomene in hulle eie reg. Van Jung se vier funksies van die psige oorheers die intu´tiewe by die mistikus. Die ander drie kan egter in enige kombinasie of relatiewe sterkte voorkom. Die religieuse element is altyd aanwesig. Die mistikus is meestal 'n religieuse intu´tiwis met 'n radikaliserende neiging en (volgens Underhill) 'n 'bewussynsdrempel van buitegewone mobiliteit'. Dikwels heg hy of sy nie veel waarde aan ingegrifte konvensies op religieuse, sosiale en ander gebiede nie. Paranormale en psigofisiese fenomene gaan soms met mistiese gewaarwordings gepaard, maar vorm nie 'n essensiŰle deel daarvan nie en word dikwels deur die mistikus ge´gnoreer.

Sekere fisici het in die twintigste eeu begin erken dat menslike bewustheid 'n rol speel in die fisiese heelal. Sommige filosofiese denke wat deur die kwantummeganika ge´nspireer is, is dus nou in ooreenstemming met ouer idees van die spekulatiewe mistiek. Hierdie fisici se interpretasie van die heelal het nou oorgegaan van meganisties na organies. Die rol van die mistiese gewaarwording in die lewe van die natuurwetenskaplike navorser word na vore gebring.

In die hoofstuk oor kuns word geredeneer en aangetoon dat mistiese gewaarwordings deur middel van artistieke vaardigheid uitgebeeld kan word, en wat hiermee saamgaan, tot watter tipe uitsprake en gevolgtrekkings daar aangaande kunswerke met 'n mistiese inslag, of vermeende mistiese inslag, gekom kan word. Kunswerke wat moontlik mistiese gewaarwordings in sommige persone sal opwek word bespreek.

Die verhouding tussen die teoloog en die mistikus is nie altyd goed nie, aangesien laasgenoemde bang is dat hy deur statiese vorms van God vervreem gaan word, terwyl eersgenoemde weer vrees dat sy gesagsposisie ondermyn gaan word. Die numineuse of heilige kan baie vryer van die onheilspellende wees as wat Rudolf Otto dink, aangesien dit slegs die begin van opposisie tussen die goeie en bose laag in die νους-vlak is. Dit is egter in hierdie religie, hierdie heilige eenheid in veelheid, waar mistikus, teoloog en lidmate mekaar soms vind.

Die mistikus is oor die algemeen ge´nteresseerd in gemeenskap met God en nie in kommunikasie nie. Tog moet sy dit kan doen indien sy haar gewaarwordings wil meedeel. Mistiese taal is 'n poging om die onuitspreeklike te verwoord, is kenmerkend paradoksaal, en maak baie gebruik van beelde, vergelykings en simbole. Die mistikus soek gedurig na nuwe beelde en ontken oues. Mistiek is nie hoofsaaklik 'n vorm van doktrinŕre denke nie, maar veral 'n getuienis. Elke voorwerp om die mens behoort volgens die mistiek beskou te word as 'n simbool van die wŕreld se ewige Grond. Die hele persoon is by mistiek betrokke, ook die hartstogte en begeertes.

Nie aIle mistiese weŰ wil hŕ dat die mens voor alles eers 'n diepgaande sedelike verandering moet ondergaan nie. Enige voorwaarde om by die Absolute uit te kom, neem die plek van die Absolute in. Die mistiese gewaarwording maak eerder ware goeddoen moontlik. Heidegger sien die moderne nihilistiese toestand as die skokkende afwesigheid van 'n god, maar is volgens die outeur ook positief in die opsig dat dit nogtans ge´soleerde indiwidue dwing om op hulle eie die beste van hulle geestelikheid te probeer maak. Wat sosiale hervorming betref, moet ons, volgens Radhakrisjnan, indien ons wil ontkom aan die chaos wat veroorsaak word deur die ontwikkeling van tegnologie, 'n nuwe orde gebaseer op die mistiese gewaarwording, wat die gemeenskaplike kern van religieŰ vorm, vind. In Suiwer mistiese kultuur sal egter volgens Borchert ook Ĺn arm en beperkte kultuur wees. Volgens Maslow sal ons, indien ons die waardes wat sterk met mistiek saamhang as 'n meerdere onderwysdoel aanvaar, 'n groot florering van 'n nuwe soort beskawing sien. Wat die mens se fisiese omgewing betref, kan wetenskaplike gevolgtrekkings aangaande die onderlinge verbande tussen dinge volgens Zimmerman nie uit sigself na die 'medelye'of na die 'sorg' om 'dinge in vrede te laat' lei nie. Wat nodig is, is direkte insig in die verwantwees van dinge, 'n insig wat die innerlike struktuur van die een 'persoon' wat die gawe van insig ontvang het transformer. 'n Fenomenalistiese ontologie en die leer van anatma verskaf volgens die outeur nie 'n goeie basis vir die kritisering of bekamping van die tegnologiese ontsluiting van entiteite nie.

Die hoogste sin kan deur 'n enkele kragtige mistlese gewaarwording aan die gefrustreerdste bestaan verleen word. Dit is die doel van die hele ewolusieproses. Dit beteken ook dat die mistiese gewaarwording sy eie sin en doel is en gekenmerk word deur ase´teit.

Die Perenniale of Intu´tiewe Filosofie is 'n ander naam vir filosofiese spekulatiewe mistiek. Ofskoon dit altyd in begripmatige vorm geklee is, binne 'n bepaalde tyd manifesteer, en relatief tot ander uitinge daarvan staan, val die hoofklem altyd op die Absolute wat alle tyd en begrip transendeer. Die leidende filosofiese uitgangspunt waarvan dit in die twintigste eeu gebruik gemaak het, is die van Plotinus se νους, die eerste uitstraling vanuit sy Absolute of 'Een'.

ENGLISH: As far as we know, the word mysticism originated in the Greek Mystery Cults and, in the fifteenth century, was defined by Jean de Gerson as experimental knowledge of God by the embrace of unitive love. Today it is used in the following ways: (1) an immediate awareness of the Absolute or Divine (2) theorizing concerning this experience (3) superficially, to mean the mysterious.

With regard to the history of mysticism, evidence of it is found in the Indian tradition (Jainism and Yoga, Buddhism, Hinduism), Egypt (Osiris Cult), Persia (Zoroastrianism), China and Japan (Taoism, Neoconfucianism, Buddhism, Shintoism), Judaism (Old Testament, Philo, Therapeutae, Essenes, Cabbalism, Hassidism), the Greek tradition (Shamans, Classical Philosophy, Stoics, Mystery Cults, Neoplatonism), Gnosticism, Hermetics, Christianity (Jesus, Paul, Monasticism, early Church Fathers, Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism), Islam (Sufism), and in African religions. The period from the Renaissance to 1996 is also discussed briefly.

Various study methods are used in mysticism. Borchert's diffusion study, the Kantian approach of Katz, the phenomenological approach of Pike, mysticism as an element of religious communities and traditions of McGinn, and the comparative method of Gilbert, as well as scientific experimental research are discussed. The author tried to follow, as far as possible, the phenomenological approach, but also used Gilbert's comparative method.

As far as experimental research is concerned, the conclusion is drawn that hallocinogenic agents, on their own, can not cause a true mystical experience. Considerable research has been done on alpha and theta waves, which are produced by the brain during meditation. The belief that Zen and mysticism are merely forms of self-hypnosis is no longer valid. Neurophysiological research concerning mysticism suggests that specific structures in the brain mediate the mystical state.

Regarding the relation between philosophy and mysticism, both strive to understand the essence of things and their relation to the ultimate ground in the light of the ideas of reason, and to comprehend them by means of the laws of thought. Speculative mysticism, however, considers these means on their own to be inadequate, while not always recognizing that they are in fact as necessary to it as a body is to a spirit or soul. Speculative mysticism wants to attain the ground of all things by uniting with the Ground, a happening which will also let the true essence of things come to the fore. It believes that only then will it understand the essence of all things, and be able to express it in the language of thought. The mystical experience is on a level of being which is not only continuous with the systematic thinking of a lower level, but also transcends it.

Heidegger is of particular importance to speculative mysticism because his life story clearly shows that to adopt an antimetaphysical attitude still does not enable you to entrap Being or the Absolute in a philosophical net, as language alone is already metaphysics. The author relies more on Hegel, who was also mystically inspired but never tried to abandon metaphysics.

Positivistic criticism accuses mysticism of being epistemologically untenable, but the author maintains that mystic knowing above all is intuitive knowing and reposes in a realm where the tense subject-object relationship is to a certain extent, but not completely, transcended.

The supposition of a true resemblance between mystical experiences, religious as well as nonreligious, enables us to see a variety in the light of general categories without reducing them to mere identity. The author agrees with investigators who are of the opinion that it makes more sense to regard all mystical experiences as related than to posit dogmatic chasms between them. Seven types of mystical experiences are distinguished, namely the undifferentiated; three introvertive differentiated - intuitive reflection of thought categories within each other, intuitive insight into rational problems, and inner sensory representations; the two extrovertive passives - with or without fantasy phenomena; and the extrovertive active. The shortest description of the mystical experience which the author can offer is that it is an altered, often brief, but eminently persuasive, intuitive consciousness of the Absolute or the highly meaningful which is preceded by a certain preparation and inspires consequent mental creativity.

As regards the psychotherapeutic evaluation of mystical experiences, psychology is coming to the conclusion that they are not the exclusive privilege of individuals free of neuroses, but psychic phenomena in their own right. Of Jung's four functions of the psyche, in the mystic the intuitive predominates. The other three may, however, manifest in any combination or relative prominence. The religious element is always present. The mystic is more often than not a religious intuitivist with a radicalizing tendency and (according to Underhill) a 'threshhold of uncommon mobility'. Often he or she does not identify with ingrained religious, social and other conventions. Paranormal and psychophysical phenomena sometimes accompany mystical experiences, but do not form an essential part of the experience and are often ignored by the mystic.

Certain twentieth-century physicists started acknowledging human consciousness as an integral part of the physical universe. Therefore some philosophical thought, stimulated by quantum mechanics, is now in accordance with older ideas of speculative mysticism. These physicists' interpretation of the universe has now changed from mechanistic to organic. The role of mystical experience in the life of the scientist is divulged.

In the chapter on art it is argued and shown that mystical experiences can be brought to life by artistic skill and, furthermore, to what kind of utterances and conclusions concerning works of art with a mystical or supposedly mystical impact this sometimes leads. Works of art which could possibly evoke mystical experiences in some persons are discussed.

The relation between theologist and mystic is not always of the best, as the latter is wary of static forms which may estrange him from God, whereas the former fears that his authority may be undermined. Otto's numinous can, according to the author, be far freer from the ominous, since the latter only appears with the commencement of opposition between good and bad on the lower level of νους It is, however, in this religion, this holy unity in multiplicity, that mystic, theologist and church members are sometimes reconciled.

Generally speaking, the mystic is interested in communion with God and not in linguistic communication. Yet she has to be able to communicate if she wants to share her experiences. Mystic language tries to give word to the ineffable, is characteristically paradoxical, and often makes use of imagery, metaphors and symbols. To counteract petrification, the mystic continually looks for new images and denies old ones. Mysticism is not above all a form of doctrinal thinking, but rather a confession. According to mysticism everything man encounters should be seen as a symbol of the world's eternal Ground. The whole person is involved in the mystical. This includes passions and longings.

Not all mystic ways prescribe that man initially undergoes a profound ethical transformation. Any precondition to reach the Absolute takes the place of the Absolute. Rather the mystical experience makes it possible truly to do good. Heidegger sees the modem nihilistic state as the shocking absence of a god. However, according to the author, this is also positive in the sense that it nevertheless forces isolated individuals to try to make the best of their spirituality on their own. Concerning social reform, according to Radhakrishnan, if we want to escape the increasing chaos caused by the development of technology, we must find a new order based on mysticism and the mystical experience which form the common core of all true religions. A purely mystical culture would, however, according to Borchert, also be a poor and limited one. According to Maslow we would, if we accepted as a major educational goal the values which are closely bound up with mysticism, see a great flowering of a new kind of civilization. Concerning the physical environment of humankind, scientific conclusions demonstrating the mutual relationships between things can not, according to Zimmerman, by themselves lead to the 'compassion' or the 'care to let things be'. What is needed, is direct insight into the interrelatedness of things, insight that transforms the very structure of the one 'person' gifted with the insight. A phenomenalist ontology and the doctrine of anatma do not, according to the author, provide a good basis for criticizing or resisting the technological disclosure of entities.

By a single powerful mystical experience the greatest meaning can be conferred on the most frustrated existence. This is the meaning and purpose of the entire evolutionary process. It also means that the mystical experience is its own meaning and purpose. Its main characteristic is aseity.

Perennial or Intuitive Philosophy is another name for speculative mysticism. Although always clothed in conceptual form, manifested within a certain span of time and standing relative to other expressions of it, the main emphasis is always on the Absolute which transcends all space and time. As a basic philosophic principle the Perennial Philosophy in the twentieth century made use of Plotinus' νους the first emanation of his Absolute or 'One'.

ę 2000, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Minnaar, CLJ 2000, ĺn Filosofiese verantwoording van mistiek, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-01102007-103120/ >

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