scroll to top
Stuck on your essay?
Get ideas from this essay and see how your work stacks up
Word Count: 9,809
WHAT DOES MYSTICISM HAVE TO TEACH US ABOUT CONSCIOUSNESS Revised version of the paper delivered to Towards a Science of Consciousness 1996 Tucson II April 1996Draft for Tucson II Conference ProceedingsRevised version appears in JCS 5 No2 1998 pp 185-201Robert KC Forman Program in Religion Hunter College CUNY695 Park Avenue New York NY 10021 USA Email RForman383aolcom In this article I would like to bring the findings of my somewhat unusual but increasingly accepted field mysticism to the discussion for I think they may offer some helpful insights about consciousness Why When a biologist seeks to understand a complex phenomenon one key strategy is to look to at it in its simplest form Probably the most famous is the humble bacterium E coli Its simple gene structure has allowed us to understand much of the gene functioning of complex species Similarly many biologists have turned to the memory of the simple sea slug to understand our own more kaleidoscopic memory Freud and Durkheim both used totemism which they construed as thesimplest form of religion to understand the complexities of religious life1 The methodological principle is to understand something complex turn to its simple forms Mystical experiences may represent just such a simple form of human consciousness Usually our minds are an enormously complex stew of thoughts feelings sensations wants snatches of song pains drives daydreams and of course consciousness itself more or less aware of it all To understand consciousness in itself the obvious thing would be to clear away as much of this internal detritus and noise as possible It turns out that mystics seem to be doing precisely that The technique that most mystics use is some form of meditation or contemplation These are procedures that often by recycling a mental subroutine2 systematically reduce mental activity During meditation one begins to slow down the thinking process and have fewer or less intense thoughts Ones thoughts become as if more distant vague or less
@Kibin is a lifesaver for my essay right now!!
- Sandra Slivka, student @ UC Berkeley
Wow, this is the best essay help I've ever received!
- Camvu Pham, student @ U of M
If I'd known about @Kibin in college, I would have gotten much more sleep
- Jen Soust, alumni @ UCLA