The following excerpt is from a paper by Dr Muhammad Mahroof Shah* who publishes books and papers on mysticism and related subjects. The full paper is published by Academia.edu:
“Eclipse of Transcendence in Modernist Poetry: Agha Shahid’s Critique of Theodicy, Muhammad Maroof Shah – Modern Art as Portrayal of Wasteland of Spirit
“Modern man’s distrust of the traditional theological and metaphysical narratives and postmodernism’s incredulity towards all metanarratives – in short the absence or death of traditional God in the postNietzschean world – implicates the death of traditional man and his world of meaning and consequent alienation, pessimism, nihilism and relativism.
“The post-renaissance and post-enlightenment modernity culminating in the Nietzschean-Freudian-Sartrean worldview is bedevilled by nihilism and pessimism.
“Modern literature is a painful record of modern man’s agonizing search for a (lost) soul, for alternative gods, for meaning in a supposedly meaningless universe, for dealing with the absences, the silence and nothingness at the heart of existence and reconciling with his absurd Sisyphean predicament.
“Modern literature is an extended elegy on God’s death. It depicts the loss of faith in human relationships, consciousness of human sin and finitude or fall and its various manifestations, man’s unsuccessful battle with the evil within, incomprehensibility of the universe and thus its opaqueness and density, failures of various kinds, vanity of all things and actions and getting “farther from God” and “nearer to dust.”
“Life without genuine transcendence is hell or limbo and that is where modern literary works are set …”
Dr Shah does not pull his punches!
However, I infer the good doctor takes for granted we can do something about our suicidal human straying from spiritual Reality, our distracting, worthless worship of religions, ideologies, and doctrines.
Nothing in my recurring spiritual experiences of Reality ever suggested that is possible. Nor is there any historical evidence we have ever been able to make it so.
(Initiates of a wisdom school were reminded by their Master that though they were mainly spiritual they still had the human responsibilities of being sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, neighbours, citizens, and patriots, for instance.)
Consequently, in my posts to this Blog I have gone only as far as I’m willing to go to comment on, or get involved in, the merely spiritually inconsequential mind stuff of human life, as Dr Shah apparently does.
But my interest was aroused because my spiritual experiences convince me the human condition is in better hands than ours. Spiritually undeveloped human effort doesn’t matter.
From my experiences it’s clear Reality created all things, including us and is still creating us to Its purpose.
Reality does not need, seek, accept or allow human interference or help.
All Is Well.
*Dr Maroof Shah has a Masters degree in Philosophy, and a doctorate in “nihilism and post modern literature”. He is an international author, columnist and prolific essayist. His interests include “explorations of the interface of religious philosophy and mysticism.”
A superb quote, he hits the nail on the head.
“we can do something about our suicidal human straying from spiritual Reality”
We can try. We can certainly try. I have been pondering this subject for some days following my recent visit to the wonderful Carolingian basilica at Vezelay and a powerful quote from John Donne I heard last week at a family funeral.
I don’t think we should throw the baby out with the bath water. In my belief, there is a beautiful truth to which most religions point. And as you yourself have often said, the founders of religions were true mystics.
The fact that all religions become corrupted by dull dogma, greed and a need to dominate should not put us off from the basic truth they all seek – “reality”.
And to this day there are genuine seekers and mystics housed in religious settings. Most of whom seek to affirm the truth to be found in all religion – the original mysticism, which is so evident when you pare away the accretions of centuries on nonsense.
Other, otherness, meaning. Reality.
“… as you yourself have often said, the founders of religions were true mystics.”
The founders of religions may have been mystics by reason of their mystic experience of Reality but as you say in effect, the accretions of the minds of human followers that had not had the revelation soon smothered the founders’ purity of intent with mere human lust, anger, greed, and attachments … even to this day.
Yet Reality goes on undisturbed. Reality does not need, seek, accept or allow human interference, worship or help.
So we may stray but we cannot stray far.
We may not believe in Reality but Reality believes in us, in each of us, no matter what …
If you care, really care, be in the world but not of it. You’ll get it …
All Is Well.
Bring us, O Lord, at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven,
to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light;
no noise nor silence, but one equal music;
no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginning, but one equal eternity;
in the habitations of thy glory and dominion, world without end. Amen
He got this description of the mystic experience of Reality right from a human, sensory point of view except for the word ‘music – ‘Music’ never came into my experiences.
Otherwise this is an attractive outer decription of the mystic experience of Reality’s ineffable difference from something beyond human experience.
How did he know this? Was he a mystic?
A cursory search shows him described as the “leading metaphysical” poet of his time but that word’s a general explanation that doesn’t seem to include mysticism as we know it.
As ever, Anthony, you are a delightful inspiration. Thank you.