From: Alex Ferguson <abf_at_cs.ucc.ie>
Date: Sat, 1 May 2004 06:24:07 +0100

> From: Chris Lemens <chrislemens_at_yahoo.com>
> Alex Ferguson, replying to my statement that I never
> said that a kung fu character is necessarily Mystic:
> > And if a character with such a practice _does_
> > think they're on a mystical path, are they or
> > are they not "deluded"?
> Not enough information to decide. Being deluded or
> true is not dependent either on the character's belief
> or his Kung Fuiness. Even more so because you can
> travel forever on a mystic path and never get nearer
> to your goal, but when you give up the goal, you may
> achieve it.

OK, this is fair enough, at least if you extend a broadly like amount of credence or skepticism when the question is posed in terms of "some bald guy sitting on top of a mountain never speaking, eating, or sleeping whose disciples praise him for his utter renunciation of all things".

> > One approach might be to use less loaded
> > terminology. If we wree to talk in more
> > practice-oriented oriented terms, like
> > "Asceticism", or "Renunciate" rather
> > than "Mysticism" and "Mystic", we might
> > have fewer cross purposes.
> I pretty much agree. I agree that "failed" mystic is
> a loaded term.

"Failed" isn't loaded, it's "already went off at half cock". "Mystic" is loaded, because it has the senses of "experience of the transcendent", and of a "absorption into ultimate reality as a _goal_", each of which is almost at right angles to what I suspect we actually mean in such discussions, to wit a particular type of religious or personal practice. Well OK, probably we actually mean all three, in varying proportions, but recognising the distinction might help clarify things.

> "Travelling a mystic path" is the more
> useful game term, because it implies that the
> character sheet may have unusual magic on it,
> representing mystical insights.

I think a "mystic in the third sense" would (often) have those, yes. A "mystic in the second sense" might just have a number telling you how close he is to "absorption into ultimate reality", or some personally significant state en route (enlightenment, or whatever). (Obviously you can be a mystic in both these senses at once, don't get me wrong.) A "mystic in the first sense" though is just any character you like with a sufficiently deep religious experience.


--__--__-- Received on Sat 01 May 2004 - 06:24:36 EEST

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