by Chris Clarke
Published by Imprint Academic,
May 2005, ISBN 1845400127 £17.95
Overview by Author
(Click on author's name for brief biographical information and chapter summary - or scroll down)
Subject of Chapter
Professor of Applied Music
Validating subjugated ways of knowing.
Writer, artist, cultural theorist. Founder of A.I.M. (Artists in Mind).
Creativity as the immune system of the mind
Writer and psychologist
Mystical Experience as a Way of Knowing
Interacting Cognitive Subsystems – the twofold mind
Attachment Mechanisms and the Bridging of Science and Religion
Teacher and mystic
Mysticism and Integral Consciousness
Associate Professor of East-West Studies
Revisioning Transpersonal Theory
Matte Blanco's symmetric logic and mystical theology
Professor of Mathematics
Logic and paradox in science and in life
Scholar of Mysticism and Sufi Murshid
The Mysticism of ‘Ordinary’ and ‘Extra-ordinary’ Life in Sufism
The sensory world as the ground of knowing.
Awareness and attention: is there knowledge beyond the sensory?
THE SOCIAL CONTEXT
Professor of Applied Music at King Alfred's College,
This will examine ways of knowing that have not been validated by the dominant culture drawing on the work of Michel Foucault. It will look at the need for balance within the self and within the wider society between the valuing of such areas as process/product, challenge/nurture, the individual/the community and the embodied/the disembodied. It will see how particular dominant value systems pushed to extremes turn sour but how in right relationship with those value systems which are subjugated they retain their integrity. It looks towards a genuinely inclusive society in which various ways of knowing are valued.
Creativity as the immune system of the mind and the source of the mythic
was a lecturer in the School of Fine Art, Art
History and Cultural Analysis at Leeds University and then Fellow in
Design at Loughborough University. Artist, cultural activist and writer
cultural and metaphysical thought, particularly in the fields of
peoples and the nature of the “outsider”. He has written, from
experience, on Native American and Aboriginal culture, the arts of
The Chapter traces the author’s personal journey of discovery, which he summarises as follows:
I have always been concerned with the elitist status of both the arts and academic life. My particular research was in areas of what can be identified as being towards the “other”, the “marginalised”, the “outsider”, and, it would seem, the “unforgiven”. Writing articles and organising tours of artists and works by non Western artists and scholars, I was drawn to the spiritual and political in both the sacred traditions and the struggle for cultural survival, aspects which so often merged in a desperate longing for “self determination”.
I began to
take students into
I have a developing concept that “creativity is the immune system of the mind”, that creativity has a natural tendency, an inclination, when stimulated and encouraged towards a heightened sense of “self-realisation” in the individual. This is, I believe a process of clarification of the relationship between self and the world, (e.g. self and body, self and environment, self and God etc.), and that this need manifests in diverse ways through the construction of language and symbols. The capacity to construct a symbolic language which clarifies and externalises perceptions of self is particularly evidenced when people are in a spiritual and emotional crisis either individually or collectively. This process is perceived as a mythological process, advocating the construction of sanctuaries in which individuals and groups can explore their relationships with the world (knowledge) without analytical judgement or censorship.
Soul's Sanctuary: Mystical Experience as a Way of Knowing
a licensed psychologist who has taught at the
college level, worked in residential treatment, and worked in schools
students aged preschool through adult. As a Cadbury scholar at Pendle
listened to many people’s stories of their experiences of God and
about one hundred of them. many of which came to influence the
she was creating. She presently leads art retreats, facilitates
programs at the
The chapter analyses the way in which repression has grown within our societies as a result of the partition of knowing between a science and an institutionalised religion which both cut out the Spirit. Those who are open to Spirit are labelled as “abnormal” and a continually narrowing definition of “normal” has evolved that has supported major changes in our political, economic, and psychological realities. We have moved from educating children from a basic of valuing democratic principles to educating them to be unquestioning consumers. We have supported a move from valuing equality toward massive resources being placed into the hands of a few and the profit motive as the guiding principle. The shift to a more narrow definition of normal underlies the creation of greater realm of deviance; pathology and criminality increases as our tolerance and acceptance of differences decreases. Intolerance and the profit motive have united in the recent past to usher in despair as the modus operandi; it is time for a different way of knowing to emerge.
She explores how the valuing of mystical experience as a way of knowing can shift reality in major ways. That of the Universal within each person connects with the larger Reality of which we are all a part. No longer can the profit motive be the bottom line. No longer does reality lie in the shadow world of changing appearances but in the seeking of eternal truths. The valuing of diversity, reflection and personal stories can have major impact on psychology and education. The box of our Reality becomes bigger and can hold more of us; souls expand. Connection with the Creation Spirit (creativity in a broad sense) serves as the bridge between individuals and the divine/universal/God; a language is provided. War becomes impossible. The profit motive must bow down and take its rightful place.
WAYS OF KNOWING: THE VIEW FROM THE INSIDE
Attachment Mechanisms and the Bridging of Science and Religion:
The Challenges of Anthropomorphism and Sect-ism
has been a clinical neuropsychologist for roughly
18 years after graduating from
This chapter attempts to connect science and religion by critically dismantling fundamentalist notions about faith as anthropomorphic. Anthropomorphic notions of God as a person obscure potential bridges between mysticism and what science is now revealing about nature as a recursive hierarchy of emergent properties, but anthropomorphisms also provide insights into the underlying attachment mechanisms informing much of religious searching. Attachment is seen as a biological mandate for hominid brains, the source of our deepest comforts and joys, and the loss of which drives our deepest pains and sorrows. Comparative religious studies have often times been hampered by attention primarily to the cognitive forms of various religions, with relatively little attention to these underlying affective themes, which this talk tries to summarize the terms of a fundamental affective common ground for religious and spiritual searching that is derivative of basic attachment mechanisms. Reverence and awe, as a finite if powerful hominid brain confronts an infinite natural world, are argued to be the affective core of spirituality. Those deeply interested in spiritual perspectives have throughout the ages been often torn between deep hope and equally deep worry. This perhaps has never been more true, given that we are now perched on a precipice of an unprecedented ecological disaster reflective of the deep failure of traditional faiths in a technological age in which nature is seen as an "object" to be manipulated and mastered instead of "the ground of being". A reverence for the mysteries of nature and appreciation for what science is now revealing in terms of a hierarchy of emergent properties (as opposed to positivistic scientism) are argued to be deeply compatible with the core of religious mysticism, emphasizing the "oneness of all things". Recent scientific findings showing a frightening rate of increasing ex-speciation and impending loss of vast biological diversity argue that time is short for those from humanistic traditions and perspectives to slow a frightening geopolitical momentum towards disaster. This momentum is driven in part by harsh in group/out group distinctions that human beings seem to excel at, a tendency mirrored in and reinforced by religious "sect-ism". Deeper appreciation for the underlying affective themes in religious searching, vs. the current much more divisive focus on the cognitive forms, is seen as one potential antidote.
“There is a crack in everything: that’s where the light gets in” (Leonard Cohen): a cognitive science based exploration of the two ways of knowing.
is a Clinical Psychologist, currently working for
the NHS Community Trust in
Ways of Knowing and the Quest for Integration
Lyn Andrews is a school teacher whose life was transformed by a profound spontaneous mystical experience. Her chapter was invited not only for the importance of the integrated vision of the world that she expounds, and which has important practical implications for her own life, but also for her engaging account of the way she worked to make sense of her personal experience.
Lyn Andrews describes from a personal perspective her own spontaneous mystical experiences, and their background, arguing that mysticism is related to increasing self awareness and subtle changes in consciousness, which together, might be partly or wholly responsible for the different ways of knowing, and thus paradox. Her approach is distinctive for the way in which her experience gives her a way of integrating many of the aspects of science and mystical insight that are described here into a greater whole in which many of the paradoxes are understood to be the creative, integrative nature of reality. She examines in the light of this the distinctions between hierarchical and evolutionary aspects of integration, and the relationship between splitting and integration as seen through the literature that relates most closely to her own experience.
Spiritual Knowing: A Participatory Understanding
Associate Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies,
Francisco, and Adjunct Faculty at the Institute of Transpersonal
Both contextualism (in its post-modern sense) and absolute realism depend on the basic splitting of the world into “subjective” and “objective” on which both the Cartesian and Kantian philosophical traditions are based. We can replace this split by an understanding of ourselves and the world in terms of participation. In this picture, spiritual knowing is a participatory event: It can involve the creative participation of not only our minds, but also our hearts, bodies, souls, and most vital essence. In this chapter, I describe these basic features of spiritual knowing, and show how a participatory understanding offers new perspectives for our approach to interreligious relations, spiritual epistemology, and the very idea of spiritual liberation. Finally, against the modern anxiety that tells us that if we cannot find universal truths we are doomed to fall into a self-contradictory vulgar relativism, I argue that the participatory vision paves a middle way between the extremes of absolutism and relativism. Though I stress the plurality of spiritual worlds and truths, I argue also that the participatory vision also brings forth a more relaxed and fertile spiritual universalism that passionately embraces the variety of ways in which we can cultivate and embody the sacred in the world.
Ignacio Matte Blanco and the Logic of God
Mathematics at Oxford and subsequently
theology at Oxford, Mirfield seminary and Union Seminary, New York,
specialising in Philosophy of Religion. He was ordained in the
England and from 1977 to 2001 was Vicar of St Giles' church,
Camberwell. He was a founding member of the
The psycho-analyst Ignacio Matte Blanco’s concept of two logics in the human mind will be described. Of these, one is the classical logic prevalent in conscious thinking, the other is the logic of the unconscious which is often in contradiction to the first logic. Matte Blanco called this symmetric logic. The co-existence of the two logics explains many anomalies in human thinking, particularly when thought is influenced by the emotions. In the depth of the unconscious symmetric logic is paramount and the thinking – or absence of it – that results is closely parallel to the writings of some mystical theologians, particularly those in the neo-Platonic tradition.
Matte Blanco was deeply interested in the work of Nicolas of Cusa and his concept of God as both the Absolute Maximum and Absolute Minimum will be discussed. This concept will be explored in relation to symmetric logic. A concept of God will be derived from this whereby God may be seen both as the nothingness at the depth of the Unconscious and also as the whole universe when seen from the perspective of symmetric logic – God as Nothing and God as All things. This is not, as it might seem, a simple pantheistic notion, since symmetric logic is essentially uniting, and in the limit everything is seen as one. It will be claimed that this too was the vision of Nicolas of Cusa and that this concept is compatible with orthodox Christian doctrine.
The logic of “both/and”
Professor of Applied Mathematics and Dean of
the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Southampton, where he
is now a
Visiting Professor. He has published 3 books on General Relativity and
on relativity, astrophysics, cosmology, the foundations of quantum
biomagnetic imaging, the physics of consciousness and ecotheology. He
a member of the
THE NATURE OF THE SPIRITUAL PATH
“Ordinary” and “Extra-ordinary” Ways of Knowing in Middle Eastern Mysticism
co-chair of the Mysticism Group of the American Academy of religion
(www.eial.org/AARMysticismHome.htm) and co-directs the Edinburgh
Advanced Learning in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is an independent scholar
religious studies, spirituality, and psychology, and author of several
including Prayers of
the Cosmos (1990),
Desert Wisdom (1995), The Hidden Gospel (1999), The
Meditations: A Shared Practice of Peace for Christians, Jews and Muslims
(2003) and a re-edited edition of Lex Hixon’s Heart of the Qur’an
(2003). He holds a Ph.D. in religious
studies and psychology from
This chapter first examines the epistemologies inherent in ancient Semitic languages and suggests that classical ways of knowledge and interpretation involved in attempting to understand and/or evaluate spiritual experiences in the Bible, Qur’an and the other literature of Middle Eastern spiritual traditions may be inappropriate to them. This argument draws on the psycholinguistic work of Boman (1960) on Semitic languages, of Bergson (1913) on non-Western ways of construing time and space and of Reason and Rowan (1981) on ways of constructing new paradigm inquiry strategies. This leads to the author’s formulation of a “hermeneutics of indeterminacy” (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002) as a way of reading Biblical and Quranic texts that arise from spiritual experiences and a way of understanding transliminal states of consciousness today (referencing Clarke (2000) on “spiritual” and “psychotic” experiences).
The chapter then proceeds from the general to the particular by investigating the ways in which various classical Sufi writers attempted to articulate the relation of ‘ordinary’ to ‘non-ordinary’ states of awareness. In this regard, it compares classical Sufi descriptions of a mystical state (hal) and mystical station (maqam) with modern and post-modern concerns about a “mysticism of everyday life.” The experience of a hal denotes a state of grace that descends upon a Sufi practitioner, but which is only temporary and facilitates a new “station” in life that represents the ability to bring a visionary state into everyday life (Nasr 1991, Schimmel 1975, Ernst 1997). This functional dialectic can be usefully compared to various concepts of in the writings of humanistic psychology (Maslow 1968, 1993; Reich 1948, 1949). In both the classical Sufi terminology and practice, as well as that in the evolving theories of humanistic psychology, one finds the attempt to contextualize “everyday life” itself within a mystical framework, that is, not only is there a mysticism of everyday life, but everyday life itself is seen in an extra-ordinary way, as a type of mysticism in itself.
The Eclipse of the Sensuous
David Abram, cultural ecologist and philosopher, is the author of The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World (Vintage, 1997), for which he received, among other awards, the Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction. An accomplished slight-of-hand magician who has lived with indigenous sorcerors in Indonesia, Nepal, and the Americas, his writings have appeared both in academic journals and in such publications as The Ecologist, Tikkun, Orion, Wild Earth, Resurgence, Parabola, and Environmental Ethics, as well as in a host of anthologies. David Abram lectures and teaches widely on several continents; he has also been named by The Utne Reader as one of a hundred leading visionaries currently transforming the world.
Awareness and Attention
is a Fellow of the Centre for the
Interdisciplinary Study of Religion, Birkbeck,
This paper defines particular aspects of awareness and attention and suggests that the interaction between them functions as a prerequisite for knowledge of any kind, including that which we call scientific or mystical. As such, it signals a non-hierarchical approach to human ways of knowing and, as implicitly prelinguistic, allows for paradoxical expressions of what is known.
The interaction between awareness and attention will be discussed under the following headings: