Do you suppose it’s possible to be an agnostic and a mystic at the same time?

I don’t necessarily have an answer for this question, I’m just asking.

If a person says that reality is not contained by strictly scientific and reductionist language, but must take account of metaphor and other ways of talking about the world to get the whole picture of the world’s truth, does that make one a mystic?

If one acknowledges that the existence of the universe as such, and with consciousness in it, is spectacularly dumbfounding, and may not be ameniable to a strictly reductive explanation, does that make one a mystic? 

I’m not advocating navel-gazing here. The ontological mystery (the mystery of being) is all around us—and in us. You don’t need to look far to bang into its perplexity.

But does that make me a mystic for saying so?

What is it that atheism is so determined to tamp down here?

I understand the critiques of bronze age myths, and the critiques concerning the incoherence of a good, anthropomorphic God imagined by the traditional monotheisms, but why deny the ONTOLOGICAL MYSTERY as such?

What’s at stake here?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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1 Response to OXYMORON Watch: Can a Mystic ALSO BE an AGNOSTIC?

  1. wistle says:

    Yes. It is possible. In fact, I would say mysticism — a belief in the unspeakable — is a form of not knowing for the following reason. If you could speak your feeling of God you would know it, but if you can’t speak it you don’t know it in a rational sense. You know it in a gnostic sense.


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