On the Actuality of Integrative Intellect‐Mystical Asceticism as Self‐Realization in View of Nicolaus de Cusa, Ibn Sīnā, and Others

Religions 15 (7):819 (2024)
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I argue for a transformative revival or actualization of the very core of an integrative, methodologically secured form of intellect‐mystical asceticism. This approach draws on traditional sources that are re‐examined from a systematic—synthetic and transcultural—philosophical perspec‐ tive and in light of the multi‐civilizational global environment of the 21st century. The main tradi‐ tional points of reference in this paper are provided by Nicolaus de Cusa and Ibn Sīnā, and I refer to a few others, such as Attar of Nishapur, in passing. In the beginning, I develop a basic concept of intellect‐mystical asceticism. It is distinguished from mystification, science, scientism, and modes of everyday communication and cognition. After that, I make the case for an updated, transcul‐ tural approach to intellect‐mysticism that can foster the internal (social) and external (environmen‐ tal) reintegration of the human noosphere and technosphere in future planetary development. In this context, a modern intellect‐mystical philosophical notion of “knowing non‐knowing” (wissendes Nichtwissen, docta ignorantia) is developed. It is inspired by Nicolaus de Cusa and contextualized from a systematic transcultural angle at the same time. Finally, I discuss the problem of the practical, or rather, ascetic realization of the related possibilities of intellect‐mystical self‐enfolding. Here, the preceding steps of the reflection are mapped onto an outline regarding distinct developmental stages of such a transformative intellect‐mystical practice in Ibn Sīnā’s Remarks and Admonitions (al‐Ishārāt wat‐Tanbīhāt).

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David Bartosch
Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai


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