Mysticism presumes that what really matters is beyond words. We cannot possibly transmit truth, but we can fellowship in our shared truth via human communications. That requires a certain shared contextual language and culture. Our context militates against mysticism, but we agree to use the imagery of our culture against itself. We pretend to share in the culture only so we can tear it down, at least in the sense that we agree not to take it too seriously in its claims about itself. We use it with a knowing wink.
There is a mythology in our culture that human greatness matters. The concept in itself is abused. Even if we accept for a moment the pretense of objectivity as a goal of our cultural vehicle, “greatness” is defined as holding personal significance to a substantial number of other people. It’s contextual, of course. We could say that someone is a “great man” within the context of some discussion, knowing that his greatness won’t easily translate outside that particular realm. But the whole idea is to preempt any need to examine the fellow in any detail, just presume he’s approved and start paying attention to what he says and does.
It’s a form of certification, a license to hold attention. I don’t want one of those, so don’t ever tell someone I’m a great anything. Tell people you love me — or hate me, or don’t give a damn. All that other person needs to know is wrapped up in the context of your personal affection for me. There is nothing objective about this because I can do nothing at all for anyone from the grounds of objectivity. The whole point of my sense of who I am is to combat the myth of objectivity, so a part of that is combating the myth of human greatness. If you’re going to pay attention to me, it’s because something totally subjective calls your name.
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