Return to Mysticism
To the [mystic], as to an animal, the irreducible primary is the automatic phenomena of his own consciousness.
An animal has no critical faculty; he has no control over the function of his brain and no power to question its content. To an animal, whatever strikes his awareness is an absolute that corresponds to reality—or rather, it is a distinction he is incapable of making: reality, to him, is whatever he senses or feels. And this is the [mystic’s] epistemological ideal, the mode of consciousness he strives to induce in himself. To the [mystic], emotions are tools of cognition, and wishes take precedence over facts. He seeks to escape the risks of a quest for knowledge by obliterating the distinction between consciousness and reality, between the perceiver and the perceived, hoping that an automatic certainty and an infallible knowledge of the universe will be granted to him by the blind, unfocused stare of his eyes turned inward, contemplating the sensations, the feelings, the urgings, the muggy associational twistings projected by the rudderless mechanism of his undirected consciousness. Whatever his mechanism produces is an absolute not to be questioned; and whenever it clashes with reality, it is reality that he ignores.
Since the clash is constant, the [mystic’s] solution is to believe that what he perceives is another, “higher” reality—where his wishes are omnipotent, where contradictions are possible and A is non-A, where his assertions, which are false on earth, become true and acquire the status of a “superior” truth which he perceives by means of a special faculty denied to other, “inferior,” beings. The only validation of his consciousness he can obtain on earth is the belief and the obedience of others, when they accept his “truth” as superior to their own perception of reality.