Firstly, my apologies for being away. I’ve been rather busy lately.
I have always been fascinated with mystical experiences. It turns out that quite a few people have them. We just don’t hear about a lot of them because they are private and personal, and most folks tend not to share such matters openly. It also doesn’t help that we live in a fairly skeptical world with respect to spiritual or religious experiences.
So, I found the following article extremely interesting, for a number of reasons. Here’s the relevant excerpt:
“The reaction to the book changed Podhoretz’s life. He started looking for academic positions, and he began drinking when he was at home alone, almost a fifth of Jack Daniel’s a day, his stepdaughter later told Jeffers. He had a contract to write a book on the nineteen-sixties—he had hated the Beats, and he regarded the counterculture as the legacy of the Beats—and he went to Yaddo, the writers’ colony in Saratoga Springs, where he had written much of “Making It,” to work on it. Writers’ colonies are not where you ideally want to be if you have a drinking problem. One day, a fellow-colonist, the critic Kenneth Burke, told Podhoretz that he needed to straighten out. So Podhoretz got in his car and drove, a little under the influence, to a farmhouse he had bought in Delaware County, and it was there, in the early spring of 1970, that he had a vision.
As he told the story to Jeffers, he had finished his writing for the day. He was walking outside, carrying a Martini and feeling content, when it happened. “I saw physically, in the sky, though it was obviously in my head, a kind of diagram that resembled a family tree. And it was instantly clear to me that this diagram contained the secret of life and existence and knowledge: that you start with this, and you follow to that. It all had a logic of interconnectedness.” Not quite Allen Ginsberg’s “Sunflower Sutra,” but strangely close. The vision lasted thirty seconds, and when it was over Podhoretz realized what the diagram was telling him: “Judaism was true.” He did not mean the ethical teachings of Judaism; he meant Judaic law. He vowed to change his life.
To all appearances, he did. He stopped drinking, he began interrogating friends about their spiritual condition, and he transformed Commentary again, this time into the scourge of left-wing permissivism and progressivism.”
Of course, the materialist scoffs at such tales. They typically posit that it is the result of a frenzied mind or is a mere product of biochemical splooshes in the cerebral cortex. It’s interesting to me, though, that such biochemical or purely naturalistic events in the brain can lead to such radical spiritual changes. But of course, the secular humanist won’t concede to any notion of there being a “spiritual” thing at all. The best they will do is admit that there is perhaps a thing such as “consciousness” but we just don’t really know what that is. Yet.