WHAT do the Christian mystics want ? Were we to ask them that
question, they would give us the traditional answer. But it should
not be assumed that it would name fully and exactly the forces that
drive them on. The motives assigned for action are often mere
justifications for promptings very imperfectly understood. We are
all distressingly like the unfortunate asylum patient impelled
in and out of season to wash his hands. He washes them " because
they are dirty." Yet, the psychiatrist is aware of other promptings
hidden to the patient.The mystics say that they want " God." That is a convenient
traditional way of naming their goal. But what is it that urges them
on, what do they really want when they want " God " ?That is our present problem. We began to seek an answer to
it in the first chapter where we inquired into the effects of drugs used
by the non-civilized to make him divine. We shall continue in the
present chapter, and here with special reference to Christian
mysticism.* * *The behaviour of the mystics, like that of everybody else, is
instigated by innate tendencies to action and by needs that express
themselves in forms determined mainly by experience. The
tendencies and needs that come to expression with especial intensity
in our group of mystics may be listed as follows:
THE MOTIVATION OF CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM
|1. ||The tendencies to self-affirmation and the need for self-
|2. ||The tendencies to cherish, to devote oneself to something
or somebody. These tendencies come to their most perfect expression
in the parents' relations with the utterly dependent child but,
strange as it may seem, they appear even in man's relations with God.|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: The Psychology of Religious Mysticism.
Contributors: James H. Leuba - Author.
Publisher: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner.
Place of publication: London.
Publication year: 1925.
Page number: 116.
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