Going straight to Trump is a bold way of testing mysticism. ;) I’ve written a lot about Trump on Medium, because I think Trumpism illuminates a lot that would have been kept under wraps had Hillary been elected instead. I thought you were going to go the Jungian route and say that Trump represents the American shadow, so a mystic might have some path to encompass even that which seems monstrous, within a unified (monistic) perspective. In any case, Trumpism certainly shows that the mystic is in need of a theodicy.

I’d just like to clarify that my point about the difference between nature-as-wilderness and our artificial refuges can be taken in normative and in purely-descriptive directions. That is, that distinction is helpful in understanding the facts involved in the broad sweep of history. Then there’s the question whether one is better than the other (nature or artificiality). I agree that engaging with nature is healthy, especially since our brain adapted to survive in the wilderness, so walking in nature has been shown to clear the mind, improve breathing, and so forth.

We have to confront the question, though, as to why we left the wilderness to live in civilizations. There are advantages and disadvantages to either way of life, but I suspect there were existential stakes in making the move from the wilderness to big cities. Behavioural modernity is facilitated by the artificial environment, which is to say that those cities enhance the perception that people are different from animals, since the two appear to live in different worlds. The animal kingdom is far from the kingdom of God, as it were; indeed, Darwin showed that animals aren’t as “innocent” as we’d prefer to think.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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