This is rather like saying to a Christian, “I prefer the term ‘Good Person,’ but the vision is the same.” It makes nonsense of BOTH terms. Some (but not all) Christians are good persons, and some (but not all) good persons are Christians.

In the same way, some (but not all) animists are mystics, and some (but not all) mystics are animists. For example, though I call myself an animist, I’m certainly not a mystic. And John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila would certainly deny that they were animists, once you were able (with great difficulty, I would imagine) to make them understand what an animist is.

John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila were CHRISTIAN mystics, Krishnamurti was a THEOSOPHICAL mystic, Maitripa was a TANTRIC YOGIN mystic, and doubtless many aboriginal shamans were ANIMIST mystics. To say that “the vision is the same” for all these is, I feel, distinctly to miss the point, which is that, though all shared the practice of mysticism, what makes them distinct was precisely their vision.

ID: 484
posted: 28 Aug 2000
updated: 28 Aug 2000