Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 607, February 13, 2011

"Happy Anniversary!"

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Twenty-three words or less
by Sov. Madison MacBear

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Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Ladies and Gentlemen, Sovereigns and Sentients:

And Now, for your Delectation and Delight, I shall attempt to confound Lucille Gallegos Kropotkin (and by proxy, El Neil) by defining, for the first time herein attempted, the difference between religion and mysticism in twenty-three words or less.

First, an introduction:

Religion and mysticism at first glance seem similar. They both start from an assumption that we humans are not the acme of life in the universe, and that higher forms of life are non-biological, non-computer-based, non-anything we would recognize from our daily life, and yet somehow with characteristics we would recognize as humane, if not human. Whether this is because God made man in His own image, or the Higher Spirit Beings are trying to interact with us Lower Life Forms, and thus have to translate their information into Forms We Understand, we can communicate with them, interact with them, and occasionally (or often) influence them to interfere (to our advantage) in our own life.

Under these circumstances, They may A) Break the actual laws of physics; B) Break what seem to us, in our Limited Understanding, to be the laws of physics while actually being only special cases of the Real Laws of Physics; or C)Break none of the laws of physics, but still arrange for events which determinism would label Infinitely Improbable.

The problem is, neither prayers nor Communing With Crystals is foolproof, nor works every time. Sometimes, They "do no miracles there because of [our] lack of faith." Sometimes, the answer to prayer is initiated through a chain of causality which could conceivably be explained by non-supernatural means. It is on these occasions that "deists who face down the auto-da-fé with high-caliber means of self-defense" say that there is no difference. However, there is the other set of circumstances, where miracles do occur. And that is where religion and mysticism differ.

And now, a definition of terms:

By "recognized scientific instrumentation, I mean those instruments which El Neil and those scientific researchers personally vetted by him and other "unafraid deists" would use every day, or at least recognize and vouch for the function of. Instruments which generally measure things in SI units and work by principles that are well-understood and describable by mathematical equations.

And Now, in twenty-three words or less...

"Religion's positive results are measurable by recognized scientific instrumentation. Mysticism's positive results are not measurable by recognized scientific instrumentation." Nineteen words by my count.

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