Mystical Experience and Global Revolution


Since Marx first declared religion to be the opiate of the masses, institutions of religion and spirituality have often been resisted by scholars. The assumption of many seems to always be that religion is either a reactionary response to difficult realities or a mere illusion, delusion, or epiphenomenon of brain/social function. This paper looks at the "authentic core" of religious institutions, religious/mystical experience, and, using biographical examples from the literature, argues that far from being a reactionary holdout of our primitive past, human spirituality is, in fact, essentially revolutionary. It is suggested that, in the context of a growing global ecological, political, and economic crises, the revolutionary authentic core of religion and spirituality has to be examined, recovered, and even embraced as part of any local or global strategy of transformation.