Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DU PREL: The Philosophy of Mysticism

It is not always the business of philosophy to split hairs, and to devise subtle problems. The weightiest problems are just those which are hidden by their every-day character, or behind unwarranted presuppositions, of which we are unconscious, only because we are continually making them.

Such a problem it is which I would suggest in the following work—the questions whether our Ego is wholly embraced in self-consciousness. The affirmative answer to this question, the most proximate and constant of human problems, is evidently a mere presumption, and not less so because carried on through our whole life. Moreover, this presumption is not only logically unjustified, but is also – as will be shown – erroneous. Analysis of the dream-life leads to a negative answer to the question propounded; it shows that self-consciousness falls short of its object, that the Ego exceeds the self-consciousness.

If, however, we are more than that of which our self-consciousness informs us, and indeed not in the sense of a pantheistic dissolution, but with preservation of individuality, then it is evident that the question of the soul has been falsely stated. Instead of succession of the here and the beyond, we have their simultaneity, that is, the simultaneity of two Persons of our Subject.

[Excerpt from Carl Freiherr du Prel, The Philosophy of Mysticism (1889). The work was mentioned by Iqbal in his paper 'The Doctrine of Absolute Unity' (1900).]


  1. There is a helpful Wikipedia analysis of Allama Iqbal's Asrar-e-Khudi (Secrets of the Self). This one book is so full and deep. I keep finding there is more and more to learn. Perhaps there is some overlapping with these comments by du Prel?

    "In Asrar-e-Khudi, Iqbal has explained his philosophy of "Khudi," or "Self." Iqbal' s use of term "Khudi" is synonymous with the word of "Rooh" as mentioned in the Quran. "Rooh" is that divine spark which is present in every human being and was present in Adam for which God ordered all of the angels to prostrate in front of Adam. But one has to make a great journey of transformation to realize that divine spark which Iqbal calls "Khudi". A similitude of this journey could be understood by the relationship of fragrance and seed. Every seed has the potential for fragrance within it. But to reach its fragrance the seed must go through all the different changes and stages. First breaking out of its shell. Then breaking the ground to come into the light developing roots at the same time. Then fighting against the elements to develop leaves and flowers. Finally reaching its pinnacle by attaining the fragrance that was hidden within it..." (more on this in that wikipedia entry)

    Toward the end of that article find:
    "...Iqbal condemns self-destruction. For him the aim of life is self-realization and self-knowledge. He charts the stages through which the "Self" has to pass before finally arriving at its point of perfection, enabling the knower of the "Self" to become the viceregent of God."

    1. Thank you for this CN.Your explanation of fragrance and seed is truly remarkable!