Prof. Dobbs on A. Dugin's Philosophy

Professor Evgeny Torchinov

Dear Chaverim,

In his post dedicated to the problem of creationism and manifestationism Prof. Dobbs made a critical note regarding the traditionalist / universalist notion of the only tradition. He pointed that the likeness of different religious or mystical traditions is not the same as their identity.

Historically and phenomenologically Prof. Dobbs is certainly absolutely correct but nevertheless there exists one problem which must be elucidated in this respect. I mean the problem of the mystical experience and its linguistical expression, that is the problem of verbalization of some very special ("transpersonal") states of mind. I take liberty to note that we are not able to judge the mystical experience as such (if, certainly, we ourselves are not the subjects of this experience). We only can judge its descriptions made by mystics.  But it is obvious enough that such descriptions are subjects of divergent socio-cultural and linguistical influences. The verbalization of the mystical experience is closely determined not only by the experience as such but in a great degree by some extra-mystical factors: by social and cultural milieu of the mystic, his / her religious and philosophical predispositions, his / her native language with its morphological, syntax and lexic specifics, etc. Therefore we can suppose (sic!) that one and the same state of mind (or one and the same psychic experience) of two mystics belonging to different confessions will obtain two different vebalizations and explanations with the accordance to the doctrinal contents and religious and philosophical vocabulary of the religions those two mystics belong to. For example, one and the same experience can be interpreted as the realization of the identity of Atman and Brahman by a Hindu, as experience of Shunyata or as a kind of nirodha by a Buddhist, as fana-baqa by a Sufi, as  devekut by a Jew or as a communion with uncreated Divine energies by an Orthodox Christian. But it is one and the same experience. Here I can recommend you for reading a very interesting article: Forman, Robert. 'Of Capsules and Carts': Mysticism, Language and the Via Negativa. In: Journal of Consciousness Studies: controversies in science and humanities. Vol. 1, No. 1, 1994. Pp. 38-49.

In a novel of Czech writer Karel Czapek "Factory of Absolute" everybody obtains the possibility to communicate with the Divine substance but it caused new wave of religious wars and persecutions of the heretics: Pope proclaimed this Substance to be God Father, Patriarch of Constantinople -- Holy Ghost, Dalai Lama -- Dharma Body of the Buddha, etc. All people felt just the same but they used different words to designate their feelings. And these words caused wars and cofusion. The same idea was expressed by Jalaladdin Rumi in a parable about four friends -- a Turk, an Arab, a Persian and a Greek who decided to buy grapes but began to quarrel because each of them called grapes in his native languages. A sage put an end to this quarrel when he bought grapes for the friends.  Thus they realized that they wanted to obtain one and the same thing.

note: see also the parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant [M. A. Kazlev]

I think that unique mystical experience of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is of extreme importance here: Sri Ramakrishna realized the goal of Vedanta as a Hindu, the ideal of Christian holiness as a Christian and the highest righteousness of Islam as a Moslem. And in all these three cases his top experience was the same.

I agree with Prof. Dobbs that Alexander Dugin's opposition of creationism and manifestationism is too rigid, and in my previous post I tried to demonstrate the predominance of the intermediary patterns in the history of religions. But it is quite obvious to me nevertheless that rationalistic scholastic cataphatic theology (Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas, Moslem adherents of Qalam / Kalam) had a distinct tendency to creationism, personalism and transcendentalism while mystical apophatic theology (medieval German mystics, Kabbalists, Sufi, Byzantine mystical theogicians and Hesychasts) prefers to speak about Godhead in more
emanatinist / manifestationis, impersonalist and immanentist terms. And even such a Christian Russian mystical philosopher as Vladimir Solovyev (who had strong Gnostic and Kabbalistic sympathies) wrote that he hoped than in future even teachers of religion in primary school would not teach that God created world from nothing.

I understand that all these questions are extremely complicated and very subtle, and I hope that we will continue to discuss them in the spirit of "Sobornost" (the Russian word designating the spirit of joint work of cooperation and colaboration).

Raising up Holy Sparks together,


previousA. Dugin on Manifestationism vs. Creationalism - Professor Evgeni Torchinov

previousComments on Prof. Huss's Post - Dr Bryan Griffith Dobbs

posted on the Donmeh mail list
Thu, 28 Oct 1999

About the author: Professor Evgeny Torchinov is a Buddhist, a scholar of comparitive religion and oriental philosophies, a published author, and professor at the Faculty of Philosophy at St. Petersburg State University

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