Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER Publication date: May 1998
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I want to go back to the home base now.
NEIL WRITES: In Crisis and Renewal, it was my intention to indicate that by utilizing a view that was more inclusive of a broader range of biographical and background information, Lane's thesis in his book, seemed narrow at best. I have attempted a view that incorporates the recurrent and central themes of this tradition in order to better understand the mystery of succession. I applied reasoning that begins with the experience of the path as described by some of its well known modern exponents, and seeks to find the meaning of historic processes from within the logic of that experience. This is empiricism in a nutshell, ie; reasoning from experience. Lane has categorized the difference between our views as mystical/inflationary vs. reductionistic. What he means is that my view is airy-fairy ("imaginary", "mystical", "inflationary", "childish") vs. his that is grounded and rational. This is notably similar to the manner in which he applies his categories of guru succession rhetoric in The Radhasoami Tradition to Kirpal Singh, ie; to diminish and dismiss. In my view, the mysticism of Sant Mat deserves a central place in any discussion of this tradition. ------------------------------------------------------------ LANE REPLIES: Reductionism does not mean (as Neil wrongly infers) that we have to dismiss or diminish something that is true and evidential on some higher level. No, only those things which CAN be reduced or explained by a simpler line of explanation fall under reductionism's purview. Certainly one can imagine any host of experiences or ideas or worlds that could not be reduced or explained away. Occam's Razor doesn't mean that all truths are simple. It means that with all things being equal opt for the simpler explanation first (provided that it really does explain the given phenomena). I am all for mysticism's claims being proven true, but I won't succumb to such transpersonal hopes when the evidence is LESS (not more) than forthcoming. As for "dismissing" or "diminishing" Kirpal's or Neil's claims, I have this naive confidence that Truth (no matter what form it may take or not take) will eventually win in our discussions. Thus, only those arguments can be dismissed or diminished which ARE INFLATED. The outside reader will at least have MORE information and MORE interpretations in which to make his or her appraisement. To summarize once again my view: The gurus (all of them under discussion) are much more human than we usually acknowledge. We can see such humanness quite clearly in succession disputes. Where Tessler sees (and reads) a mystical context, I see instead a very human and political context. Now it may certainly be true that there is something transrational or transrational in Sant Mat, but such a divine rupture (if it were true) will be better served by our skepticism than by our wholesale belief. In other words, the transrational (whether it be in the form of gurus or teachings or experiences) should be able to withstand the assaults of reason. To the degree that it cannot (and I am suggesting that much of Sant Mat Can NOT), then Occam's Razor and Hume's Maxim and good old common sense will amply illustrate THAT. It doesn't take a neurologist to see that much of what passes as spiritual discourse is merely political jockeying.