I have been reading this book about the history mysticism titled, appropriately enough, “Mysticism – Its History and Challenge” by Bruno Borchert. I realized that, as much as I might like to be remembered as a bit of a mystic, there is a fairly good chance that hundreds of years from now, no one would even know that side of me – that I would be a forgotten mystic. And that is because, unlike in days past, when mystics, or those who wrote about them, recorded their thoughts and deeds on paper to be preserved for the ages, I do ALL of my writing these days on the computer – on this blog. If I were to croak, and this site were to be taken down, or forgotten, or maybe there was a big CME that wiped out all computers (you get the point), there would be no record at all of my experiences and exploits. Zero, zip, nada. I truly would be the forgotten mystic.
Now of course there is a chance that I would be remembered by some people, and that information would be passed down verbally. There are many native trives, especially the Aborigines, who have rich oral traditions and pass down the wisdom of thousands of years through songs and stories, many or most of which are never written down. But their culture is built around that, and so the people in it have a proclivity for so doing. And while most families in western cultures have some form of verbal history, it’s not nearly as rich or informative as those other cultures.
And honestly, would it matter anyway? Not to minimize myself or my thoughts and writings, but let’s face it – millenia have passed, and we have quite a few written accounts of mystics, many systems, religions, philsophies, etc that have been created, and is the world any better for it? The entire world? Perhaps not. But I for one know that I very much appreciate the writings and teachings of those who have gone before, if for no other reason than the comfort it gives me to know that others have walked this challenging path and encountered the same challenges, pain, loneliness, and dark nights of the soul that come with it.
And perhaps the forgotten mystic is really an archetype – one that symbolizes the cultural amnesia we seem to have regarding mysticism. There was a time when a scientist could be a mystic too – in fact, many were. But these days, it seems as though one must choose. And the minute you choose mysticism, you forego ALL authority or respect whatsoever regarding any scientific topics. You are branded a “New Age kook,” and relegated to the philosophical kids table to discuss football, reality TV and other ‘safe’ subjects with the other non-scientifically-minded people.
So the forgotten mystic is really every mystic from days past who is not remembered for the entirety of who he or she was. It’s you, me and everyone else who blogs about their mystical insights, all while the possibility that no one will ever see or read them looms over them. It’s that little (or big) voice inside each and every human being that asks “Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? Where do we come from, and where do we go when we pass from this life?” It’s all of us – all who have been, are, and will be; those who remember, and those who have forgotten; those who care deeply, and those who do not; those who read this, and those who don’t. May none of us be forgotten – may we all remember that forgotten mystic inside ourselves and in each other.