chapter  11
16 Pages

What To Say: Reflections on Mysticism after Modernity

ByGeorge Pattison

Whatever its virtues, the word ‘mystical’ also covers a multitude of philosophical sins. Many recent – and, for that matter, not so recent – commentators see it as especially delinquent in respect of its entanglement in some basic confusions about the interrelationship between language, experience and selfhood. One thing that is especially striking about such critics is that they represent a range of otherwise disparate ideological positions yet are united in their resistance to the idea that the ambiguous, evasive or paradoxical language of ‘the mystics’ is to be understood as the mirroring in language of an extra-linguistic experience in which the normally reliable structures of the self and its world were suspended or even obliterated.