The Struggle of Intellectualizing Spiritual Experience

A propos Mercury retrograding this week...

Sometimes it's convenient to package meaning into dense intricate sentences, which can only be unpacked after having participated in rigorous training usually of the reading and writing sort. It can be a complete system head to toe, or it can be a loose set of terms and definitions without which the text in question reads like garbled nonsense. I saw a lot of this in my short course through academia; increasingly specific subsets of definitions and presuppositions nested within larger ones until they were encompassed by the outer shell of study ie comparative religion, women's studies, documentary film theory.

It happens necessarily in very technical fields of human activity like the medical sciences, or engineering research for example. It can also happen in deep philosophical, religious, and metaphysical discourse as well.

This unpacking requires an initial investment of time and learning, in order to glean meaning from the text. How can one discern if the initial investment will be worth the effort? What I noticed in my own experience is that people invest a lot of time and effort (and money) and identity into learning a specific framework and its subsequen