April 17, 2017

My life experience has led me to philosophical mysticism

Julian Baggini interviewed physicist Lawrence Krauss in the Guardian on “Philosophy v. Science: Which Can Answer the Big Questions of Life”.

Baggini suggested that "We have no reason to think that one day science 
will make it unnecessary for us to ask 'why' questions about human action to which things such as love will be the answer." He asked Krauss: "Or is that romantic tosh? Is there no reason why you're bothering to have this conversation, that you are doing it simply because your brain works...
In September, 2010, my wife Kathy and I were in Australia for a conference on “Hegel and Religion” at the University of Sydney. Our friend Sebastian Job sent my paper for the conference to Alan Saunders, the host of the “Philosophers’ Zone,” which is a regular program on ABC Australian National Radio. While we were in Sydney, Saunders taped two interviews with me about Hegel. He’s a skillful interviewer, so the interviews will give listeners an idea both of the variety of opinions that there are...
An ambitious and interesting series of online interviews is taking place currently under the rubric, “Beyond Awakening.” Yesterday my wife Kathy and I heard the host, Terry Patten, interview Jean Houston, the influential writer on human potential and founder of “The Mystery School.” Jean Houston spoke inspiringly about the current widespread interest in spirituality of all kinds, about various stages of mysticism, and about the increasingly active role that women are playing, worldwide, in...
Last weekend (Oct. 22-25, 2009), my wife Kathy and I participated in the first international Science and Nonduality Conference, in San Rafael, California. “Nonduality” is an English word deriving from the Sanskrit “advaita,” which is the distinctive concept of the most influential school of spiritual thought and practice in India, Advaita Vedanta. Originating with Shankara and others around 800AD, Advaita’s central doctrine is that Brahman (or “God”) and Atman (“Soul”) are not, as we might...
Prof. Robert R. Williams has done me the honor of writing an extended review (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Jan. 14, 2006) of my Hegel’s Philosophy of Reality, Freedom, and God (Cambridge University Press, 2005). I’m grateful for the positive comments that Prof. Williams made about my book (“a difficult but important book … original … provocative, challenging”). In what follows, I deal with many of the objections that Prof. Williams raised against aspects of the book’s argument. He raised...
A philosopher named Simon Critchley has an essay about Obama, entitled “The American Void,” in the November issue of Harper’s Magazine. It’s a classic example of the despair, together with incomprehension of ordinary human experience, that are characteristic of a generation of academics who have immersed themselves in Marx, Nietzsche, and their intellectual descendants.

Critchley says that in promoting the idea of a common good, Obama “dreams of a society without power relations, without the...
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an Hour.
(Blake, “Auguries of Innocence”)

People think of the Romantic Poets, together with the German Idealists and the American Transcendentalists, as pursuing an “impossible dream.” There’s support for this judgment in the fact that two leading Romantics, Wordsworth and Coleridge, recanted their youthful views, and others died young and in apparent disarray...
I’ve become increasingly conscious, over the last decade, of the difficulty of combining an interest in politics with an interest in spiritual connectedness. As you can see from my postings, I’m committed to spiritual connection as my primary goal. I think I’ve made it clear that this isn’t just a theory, it’s by far the most rewarding practice, the most rewarding experience that I’ve had in my life. I can see no point in “compromising” it. Sure, I need to make a living and finish raising my...
...For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
How does Love relate to the “deepest kind of thinking” that I described in the previous posting, which leads to inner freedom (the ability to “be oneself”)? Many people suppose that they could have complete personal freedom, inner as well as outer, without treating other people in any particular way. Without necessarily treating them morally (for example), and certainly without loving them. We suppose that tyrants and other villains can be criticized for their immoral actions, but not...

Some of my heroes are Plato, Jelaluddin Rumi, G.W.F. Hegel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Virginia Woolf. These are people who had an inner life that they took pains to share with the world. In fact, they help us to see that our innermost world is inherently shared, so that we’re connected with each other in a profound way that we’re often not aware of. This discovery is what love, God, and ecstasy are about.

Together with a bunch of scholarly articles, I’m the author of
Hegel’s Philosophy of Reality, Freedom and God (Cambridge University Press, 2005), which you can purchase from the publisher, from, etc. This is my account of G.W.F. Hegel’s philosophical mysticism. To sample it, you can download a chapter or more from my “Writings” page. My “Manifesto for Philosophical Mysticism,” on this site, gives an overview of what I think it’s all about. The page on “Internet Resources for Philosophical Mysticism, and Some of Its Opponents” is an essay on God and transcendence and what I think I’ve learned from Plato and Hegel about these subjects (with many links to other people’s sites). Other introductory discussions are in my blog, and in the sermon on Emerson and the chapter from my second book, The God of Love, Science, and Inner Freedom, both in Writings

For details of my academic activities, you can download my c.v. from the Writings page, below.

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