(Two Types of Mystical Philosophizing)
The fact that the names of two philosophers who lived and worked in such
different periods, under conditions of quite dissimilar cultures and civilizations,
share the title of this article is in itself enough to require clarification.
Nikolai Berdiaev, who belonged to a current of Russian philosophy that called
itself mystical, hardly needs to be presented to the reader. Muhyiuddin Ibn
`Arabi (1165-1240), the greatest mystic of the Arab Middle Ages, is known
as the founder of a philosophical conception that was later referred to as
the "unity of being" and enjoyed broad popularity among Islamic thinkers,
philosophers, and poets of the late Middle Ages.
First, there is the fact that any mystical philosophy is something that comes after, but never before, the always integral experience that may be called the subjective experience of Truth, the experience of a total joining of the whole of a person's being with the Truth, in which the ontological, epistemological, ethical, or esthetic aspects are always facets of some whole, more or less artificially discriminable after the fact -- facets of some unity within which they are all inter-twined and fused and within which one can only speak of them all together, of all of them at once. Mystical philosophy is the attempt at discourse a posteriori about an integral experience, where the experience, in accordance with the laws of discourse, is inevitably dissected and must inevitably be broken down into its several components. At the same time -- and the reader must always bear this in mind -- the recollection, the sensing of this integral experience, remains "outside the fame," outside the framework of philosophical discourse.