Mystical Society: An Emerging Social Vision by Philip Wexler

By Philip Wexler

In Mystical Society Philip Wexler, a well known serious theorist with a history in social psychology and a unique curiosity in spirituality, examines the revitalization of spirituality manifesting itself in society and in schooling. Describing what he calls "cultural adjustments towards the sacred," he records a cultural shift, caused via technological and societal adjustments, towards a brand new mysticism. Wexler explores the that means for this new spirituality for our day-by-day lives, for social idea, and for schooling. From the pervasiveness of a religious vernacular to the mixing of religious practices into our hugely individualized and technologized lives, Wexler lays out the facts for a growing to be stream, after which attracts parallels to sessions of mystical revitalization from the previous. during this dialogue, he attracts at the paintings of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, in addition to from modern social thought.

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Society: InformationaUsm, Mysticism, Revitalizatkm 27 Such accounts are cultiiralist. They abstract individual and cultural symbolic dynamics from any larger, systemic organization of technology and societal structure. Yet they yield observations similar to our deduction from the social structural analyses of informationalism. Both cultiiralist and structuralist types of analysis identify parallels between shared discourses and individual experiences of being. But how do we link the public and the private, the collective and the individual, the discursive and the existential?

The emergent way of being may be seen as a debounded, fluid self, unmoored from stable coordinates of time and space and embarked on an inner quest for connection beyond the isolated individual. This way of being is induced by the societal structure of informationalism. Weber's "innerworldly mysticism" may become no longer a minor social phenomenon that we can see only "pianissimo" in society. Rather, innerworldly mysticism becomes a more general, socially normative practice. This possibility was already adumbrated by Robertson in his incisive review of Weber's concept of innerworldly mysticism.

Through unthinking worship, the repetition of empty symbols, the only God served is self-contempt. (1971, P . 223) T h e relation between religion, power, and self is evident. Religion, we might say, is a technology of self-destruction. Weber Although religious practice can obviously follow the disempowering path described by Marx, a histotical alternative is finding an identifying, empowering relation between self and sacred, instead of a projective disempowerment in the self-sacred telation. During a cultural movement of resacralization, self-capacity can be replenished rather than exhausted, as it is in the traditional Marxist model of alienation.

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