>Notes on Mysticism and Writing

June 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

>The following are lines I like from Don Cupitt’s Mysticism After Modernity:

Perhaps religion could not exist among human beings until they had reached the point where they could make the distinction between “normal” and “altered” consciousness? (20)

The reason why mysticism not only is but has to be a kind of writing is that only in writing, only in secondariness, can one thus do several things at once in such a sweet and disarming way. Do we make the point successfully here? Secondariness is much more complex and powerful than the old appeal to a primary and founding experience. Mysticism is protest, female eroticism, and piety, all at once, in writing. Writing, I say, and not “immediate experience,” that Modern fiction. Many or most mystics have been persecuted by the orthodox, but whoever heard of someone being persecuted for having heretical experiences? To get yourself persecuted, you have to publish heretical views; and at your trial for them your judges will need evidence of them in writing. Indeed, unless mysticism were a literary tradition of veiled protest, we’d never have heard of it. (62-3)

Perhaps we should picture angels as having bodies of glass? (68)


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