Mysticism over Reason?


Phillip K. Dick’s Exegesis raises some fascinating questions as discussed at the Stone (here).  Modern times have made mystical subservient to reason in much of the intellectual realm.  It would be easy to dismiss Dick’s insight as hallucination but what if there’s some truth?  Gnosticism could help Christianity arrive at truth even if there are significant areas of disagreement:

But the core of Dick’s vision is not quite Christian in the traditional sense; it is Gnostical: it is the mystical intellection, at its highest moment a fusion with a transmundane or alien God who is identified with logos and who can communicate with human beings in the form of a ray of light or, in Dick’s case, hallucinatory visions.

Dick’s gnosticism also allows us to see in a new light what is the existentially toughest teaching of traditional Christianity: that sin lies within us in the form of original sin… We are not wicked. It is the world that is wicked. This is an insight that first finds its modern voice in Rousseau.

  1. Assume that Mysticism and Reason exist along a scale and we each have a combination of what “feels right” (balance as in the Tao).
  2. Assume that there is an absolute scale on which exists such that you could determine Dick is relatively more naturally mystical than I am.
  3. In general the more mystical our nature is, the more we would gravitate toward a more mystical answer in the case of ambiguity and the rational toward reason (e.g. mystics would prefer art over science).
  4. Those with lesser faculties of reason would feel exploited by those more reliant on reason if the material world held them hostage.
  5. If we assume a sense of fairness and cannot identify each other’s level of comparative mysticism / reason, how could we fairly resolve conflict?  In other words, a Gnostic, if in doubt would say go with a more mystical/aesthetic solution.  A more rational nature would say, if in doubt rely on reason (science trumps art).  
  6. If mysticism requires expression of the true self over the ideal self as embodied by Christ, is the Christian tradition oppressive to the mystic by declaring him wicked through original sin?  What if sin were a necessary component to determining who we are?

Modern times strike me as reason gone amok at the expense of mysticism.  We have chosen Aristotle over Plato in the secular; Aquinas over Augustine in the moral order.  Science reigns supreme over art; the moral over the spiritual.  What if the tides turned and reason no longer reigned supreme?