Postmodernism and the Absolute in Mysticism

Is there an Absolute? Postmodernism says no. But perhaps there is more nuance to reality.

I agree with the general postmodernist idea that absolutes are “unknowable” in the traditional sense of knowing. But I disagree that this means there is no Absolute, or that there is no objective Truth that can be experientially “known” (often associated with “God” or the “Divine”).

I suggest it just can’t be known by the intellectual rational mind, our everyday state of consciousness which is inextricably welded to the relative subject-object duality of the finite body-mind individual person.

To “know” the Absolute, the Objective, the Real, the Divine, means transcending this everyday state of consciousness, transcending subjectivity, transcending ego, transcending “self,” transcending duality, and for consciousness itself to realize itself in oneness with that Absolute Truth.

That is why it is called a self-transcendent or mystical experience. It is ecstatic, from the Greek ekstasis, meaning “standing outside one’s self.” One transcends their very sense of being a “self,” of finite being, of ego particularity.

The subjective sense of being our “self” is no more, and we see beyond all dualities to the nondual One behind them all, which gives rise to them all, which manifests itself through them all. And to our utter shock and awe, we realize we are that One. Or perhaps better, the One is the One, in which we are.

How could we be separate from it? That would be a duality, relative, and not absolute.

The Absolute stands alone in itself, without relation to anything else because it contains everything within it. It is not contingent upon any other being, because it is the source of all being.

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It is also enstasis, meaning “standing within one’s Self,” the contemplation of one’s true Self that is the Whole of all Being, the basis of what it means to “be,” to exist, to be conscious.

Many have pointed out the ironic self-contradiction inherent in the absolutist postmodern position of the lack of absolutes and objective truth. It seems that the only way postmodernism may make sense is by not taking itself absolutely either.

There may be an Absolute, but perhaps we just can’t know it in our everyday state of consciousness and rational mind.

To go out of your mind at least once a day is tremendously important. By going out of your mind, you come to your senses. And if you stay in your mind all of the time, you are over rational, in other words you are like a very rigid bridge which because it has no give, no craziness in it, is going to be blown down by the first hurricane.

-Alan Watts

The intuitive [transrational] mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

-Albert Einstein

What do you think? Are there absolutes, or an Absolute, and is it possible to know it? Why, or why not?


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