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Book Cover for: Mysticism, Simon Critchley


Simon Critchley

A probing, inspiring exploration of mysticism not as religious practice but as a mode of experience and way of life by one of the most provactive philosophical thinkers of our time.

Why mysticism? Evelyn Underhill defined mysticism as "experience in its most intense form," and in his new book the philosopher Simon Critchley poses a simple question to the reader: Wouldn't you like to taste this intensity? Wouldn't you like to be lifted up and out of yourself into a sheer feeling of aliveness, both your life and those of the creatures that surround you? If so, it might be well worthwhile trying to learn what is meant by mysticism and how it can shift, elevate, and deepen the sense of our lives.

Mysticism is not primarily a theoretical issue. It's not a question of religious belief but of felt experience and daily practice. A rough and ready definition of mysticism is that it is a way of systematically freeing yourself of your standard habits, your usual fancies and imaginings so as to see what is there and stand with what is there ecstatically. Mysticism is the practical possibility of the achievement of a fluid openness between thought and existence.

This is a book about trying to get outside oneself, to lose oneself, while knowing that the self is not something that can ever be fully lost. It is also book about Julian of Norwich, Anne Carson, Annie Dillard, and T. S. Eliot, and how writing and poetry can help to show us the way there. It is a book full of learning, puzzlement, pleasure, and wonder. It opens the door to mysticism not as something unworldly and unimaginable, but as a way of life. Mysticism as activism: start now.

Book Details

  • Publisher: New York Review of Books
  • Publish Date: Sep 10th, 2024
  • Pages: 256
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.81lb
  • EAN: 9781681378244
  • Categories: EssaysMysticismSubjects & Themes - Religion

About the Author

Simon Critchley is a philosopher and writer. He was born to a working-class family and participated in Britain's emerging Punk scene after intentionally failing his school exams. He later enrolled in the University of Essex where he studied philosophy. He has written over twenty books, including works of philosophy and books on Shakespeare, Greek philosophy, David Bowie, football, suicide, and many other subjects. He currently serves as the Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School in New York.
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