Mysticism - Faith or Fact?

A friend of mine posted a link to part 1 of this video (this is part 2), which is an interview with Ayn Rand and Phil Donahue. He asks her if she is an athiest, to which she replied “Yes.”. Phil did a tisk tisk noise, and she responded “I could do the same to you, you know?”, which followed with laugher.

Phil: You don't approve of religion because?
Ayn: Because it's mystical, because it's based on faith. Not on reason and facts.

This made me think…I still to this day, using my own mind, do not hold things to be true based on arbitrary assertion. Typically when someone says they have ‘faith’, they have a belief in an arbitrary assertion. This is dangerous. Very dangerous.

But if a person doesn’t know something to be true, yet has enough experience or knowledge that they can trust that something might be true…this can be called ‘faith’, of which I can say I have regarding there being more to life than…well the pursuit of material gain, or satisfying sexual urges. I have faith that I can somehow attain the same sense of life I once had when I was in my youth. The same feeling of freedom, joy, and interest in the mystery of the world, instead of being a tired old curmudgeon that see’s the world as a big math problem that has been mostly solved, where the honest and humble are trampled and left in the dust of the cut throat.

Note: Something anyone must understand about Ayn Rand is her history. She came from Soviet Russia where the majority supported forced altruism, where you had no choice, the government was going to take your money and everything you owned for the “good of the people” as a whole (collectivism). She is not against private charity, or your personal decision to help those in need.

She’s against any sacrifice by force/coercion.

The Mystic

I want to further clarify something I learned from Howdie Mickoski recently. I used to think that mysticism was the result of men trying to explain the universe they did not truly understand, only to create a sense of security for themselves in the universe, or to explain what happens to us after we die (out of fear of an unavoidable non-existence). I myself would rather accept a point of non-existence rather than lie to myself with some story of a “Christian” heaven.

Ancient schools known as ‘mystery schools’ were created to teach the ways of attaining this knowing of that which is beyond our mental reasoning/conceptual capacity. It is not because they wanted to be secretive that they are called ‘mystery’ schools, but because of the nature of what is taught that ‘mystery’ is the word used. “Mystery” is related to the Greek word ‘Myein’.

A mystic is one who searches for the answers to such questions as who am I, what am I, what is God, or what is the universe? They seek out these answers through acquired knowledge, personal experience, and altered states of consciousness where they attempt to reach the truths beyond the physical world. The experience of mysticism is beyond words. It can never be explained, but the explanations entice others to follow a similar path and experience similar beauty. Mysticism is not religion, yet at the heart of all religion is mysticism. It is not concerned with beliefs, doctrines or rules, but knowing, love, and the realization of a deeper reality.”