Does Theory of Mind Adequately Explain the Mystic’s God?

Let’s assume for the sake of discussion that Theory of Mind adequately explains why many — perhaps even most — non-mystics believe in this or that god.

Is it true then, that Theory of Mind also explains why many — perhaps even most — mystics believe in this or that god? Or does the god of the mystic have a different origin from the god of the non-mystic?

Last, if Theory of Mind adequately explains why many or most mystics believe in god, then how does Theory of Mind account for the mystical experience of god?

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5 thoughts on “Does Theory of Mind Adequately Explain the Mystic’s God?

  1. This could also be formulated as an epistemological question — how is it that the mystic knows the existence of the divine (or the nonbeliever does not)?

  2. I’m not quite sure about what “mystic” means to most people. Must a mystic have actually experienced the monistic Unity that is the hallmark of the experience?
    I suspect most ‘mystics’ are just aficionados of some New-Age philosophy or active members of a Sufi or Zen community.

    Those who actually experience the expanded consciousness and subject-object unity of the mystical experience have transcended any personalized God. Should they choose to use one in their everyday life and interactions with others I’d suspect this was purely a convenience.

    The theory of mind, to my thinking, better explains the non-mystic’s perception of an intentional and personalized super-entity.

    • Good to see you, Sey! Thank you for posting!

      “I’m not quite sure about what “mystic” means to most people. …
      I suspect most ‘mystics’ are just aficionados of some New-Age philosophy or active members of a Sufi or Zen community.”

      I agree, Sey. It seems the word “mystic” has a very wide range of meanings which depend on the individual using the term. Moreover, those meanings are often contradictory, or at least, bear no relation one to the other.

      “Must a mystic have actually experienced the monistic Unity that is the hallmark of the experience?”

      I most often use the term “mystic” to refer to someone who has actually experienced that Unity. And sometimes I use the term to refer to someone who has dedicated themselves to at some point experiencing that Unity. But that’s about all I use the term for.

      “Those who actually experience the expanded consciousness and subject-object unity of the mystical experience have transcended any personalized God. Should they choose to use one in their everyday life and interactions with others I’d suspect this was purely a convenience.

      The theory of mind, to my thinking, better explains the non-mystic’s perception of an intentional and personalized super-entity.”

      We are in complete agreement, here.

  3. 1. It does not explain the existence of atheists.
    2. It’s quite a leap from applying you theory of mind to an inanimate thing, which is there to be observed, to applying it to something that isn’t even there. I think you need some extra explanation for taking that hurdle.
    3. There is another brain capacity we have: recogising faces. We’re damn good at it because a whole section of the brain is dedicated to it. Yet is has not led to anything more further-reaching than us recognising faces in clouds, treebark and rock formations, and saying: “hey, that looks just like…”

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