ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf

200. General Characteristics of Mysticism. -- What we have said will explain certain general traits that characterize all science based on mysticism. The higher planes of mystic contemplation, enveloped as they are in vague mysteriousness, lend themselves easily to the garb of imaginative and poetic description. Hence the mystic's liking for allegory, personification, parable, symbolism, in his writings. Again, since the mystic's highest aim is union of the soul with God, if he happens to be a philosopher he is sure to concentrate his attention on psychological and moral questions. Furthermore, the spirit of the mystic will pervade his philosophy through and through, giving it a peculiar tone and flavour all its own: following the advice of St. Augustine, he will study the interior man; and he will readily accentuate the dualism of soul and body, and the conflict the soul must sustain to free itself from the trammels of sense. Finally, the more exalted mystics display a haughty contempt for philosophy and philosophers. They regard these as demented creatures who are astray as to the meaning and value of human science: an evident exaggeration of an equally evident truth. These mystics dethrone reason and set up in its place affective, sentimental faith.

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