Monday, August 17, 2009

Huxley, part 2

Particularly relevant to the recent discussions on RD.

And of course if anyone does not want to formulate this process [of spiritual growth/experience] in theological terms he does not have to; it is possible to think of it strictly in psychological terms. I myself happen to believe that this deeper Self within us is in some way continuous with the Mind of the universe, or whatever you like to call it; but you don't necessarily have to accept this. You can practice this entirely in psychological terms and on the basis of a complete agnosticism in regard to the conceptual ideas of orthodox religion. An agnostic can practice these things and yet come to gnosis, or knowledge; and the fruits of knowledge will be the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, and peace, and the capacity to help other people. So that we see then, there is really no conflict between the mystical approach to religion and the scientific approach, simply because one is not committed by it to any cut and dried statement about the structure of the universe. One can remain completely an agnostic in regard to the orthodox conceptualizations of religion and yet, as I say, come to the gnosis and, finally, exhibit the fruits of the Spirit. And, as Christ said in the gospel: The tree shall be known by its fruits.

Poignant, no? And rather timely. I love that guy.


  1. Hi, Kelly-

    This is all very nice, with one error, which is that all this leads to something called "knowledge". What it leads to is cultivated feeling, to love. Which is the hope of humanity. But it is not knowledge. Confusing it with knowledge just sends us right down the rabbit hole again of having "more" knowledge, or more "accurate" knowledge, or mine-is-better-than-yours knowledge. Or indeed completely made-up knowledge, as in the case of theology.

    With appreciation- Burk

  2. Burk~
    I guess you'd have to read it in context - Huxley was very much a mystic, and so to him "knowledge" did not mean intelligence or something the brain acquires through reasoning, but an understanding that involves the whole of someone's being - more like ken than knowledge. He was much against the "conceptualization" of religion, and knew that merely "waxing philosophic" on God was not the same as "religious contemplation" of God.
    You'd very much enjoy his later works, I think. As he said himself: "Immediate experience of reality unites men. Conceptualized beliefs... divides them."


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