HamuROOKis' Irrational Precept response

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HamuROOKis' Irrational Precept response


I want to discuss the rationality/irrationality of one of the precepts, namely "13. The claim that mystical experiences can give us knowledge."

While I will agree that it is completely irrational about a mystical experience giving new and objective knowledge, there are some types of knowledge that they can give someone. Note though that the knowledge is completely that of the experiencer of himself or herself.

Depending on how one came about the "mystical" experience, it might tell the one who had it, or show them vividly, what they think or feel about a particular issue or topic. There are many topics which we may not be really sure how we think on the matter. In some of these, the religious people have it easy: They are given a pre-packaged set of ways they SHOULD believe about some things under all circumstances. In real life, the answers are rarely that simple. The mystical experience can give someone, for lack of a better word, permission, to explore their real thoughts and feelings without the guilt of actually thinking for themselves in a forbidden way.

Another thing that these mystical experiences can give someone is how they, themselves, view themselves and the world around them. Like dreams, they are in symbols, and those symbols only work for the person who has them. Thus, no religion can ever possibly work psychologically for anyone except its founder. If we try to use or "force-fit" someone else's symbols, we will get nothing, and will be lying if we claim that they give us something - much less anything like objective truth. For the one who actually had the experience, they might (and often do) view them as TRUTH and go on a crusade to try to convince others of that truth. Given enough persuasion or force, others will appear to be convinced. A strange thing about human kind is that somehow many people view Truth to be a matter of popular opinion. We see it with religion, and we see it in the fallacious arguments about how "dogmatic" science is. Unfortunately, it's the way a great number of people think.

Can a mystical experience give information about yourself? Of course. It can show you that you are really unhappy with your job, that you really don't like your mother, that you really like your mother "too much", that you would be happier working as a farm hand than you would be working as an accountant, that you dislike the color yellow, or any such thing. Can it give you information about an invisible friend who is looking out for you and anyone, and wants particular things? No. Can it help you to believe in an invisible friend that a particular person finds comforting or consoling, or a deceased loved one is still "there"? Sure. It's not true, but it might make somebody feel better. Can it be such a powerful experience that one feels compelled to convince or force others to believe what they saw and "know to be TRUE"? Definitely. History is littered with sets of followers of such competing mystical experiences believed to be True and killing each other over it.