"The psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight"

Whats your thoughts on this quote by joseph campbell


I don’t think there are any real mystics. They’re either people who have deluded themselves or others.


It reminds me of this strange incident some 10 or 15 years ago. One of my country’s greatest writers had just passed away. In his greatest work, he played a lot with the symbolic, the religious and the metaphysical meaning of events. On the day of his funeral, he was paid respects with his body on a boat along the river of our capital city. As he went along the river, a full, bright and clear rainbow spanned the river from side to side. There are different ways to respond to such a sight, but what is really the rich human way to do so?

The very word ‘mystic’ seems to mean something like ‘one who closes, as in closing his eyes or mouth’ to keep a secret. So, mystics would seem to keep secrets. If they have some secret for navigating psychosis, I may not know it (edit: unless it is somewhere in my body of spiritual knowledge)

Since Joseph Campbell seems to have studied many different cultures, maybe he was referring to cultures in which psychotic people were allowed to experience and recover from their psychosis without medication, and eventually recovered somewhat with what is considered by some in that culture to be enhanced spiritual insight.

I think that the difficulty with that model in an affluent, modern, western culture is that if people are allowed to wander around psychotic, they are considered to be (and often are) interfering with the smooth operation of the big machine. They frequently have very counterproductive encounters with police, or they may operate or interact with heavy machinery such as cars or trains in very dangerous ways.

So, I don’t see how a modern, affluent western society could apply the wandering mystic recovery model to psychosis, as it seems to have been used in some other cultures.

It’s a similar saying to…

“There’s a fine line between madness and genius.”


I more or less grew up on stories of what you seem to refer to as “wandering mystics”. Both christian and vishuist saints, likely others as well, are described to have visions, communicate with apparently inanimate objects and having “unusual beliefs”.

I don’t believe for a second that those mystics were allowed to wander just as a form of treatment. The disturbed were locked up or otherwise disposed just as they are now. Those mystics acted differently to every schizophrenic I know of.


I think Joseph Campbell is gnostic looking for secret knowledge in everyday events by twisting meanings. Modern day Gnosticism isn’t obvious. Secret knowledge comes in the form of Mormonism, jehovah witnesses, and Scientology. So if you’re going to accept secret knowledge as wisdom pick one Joseph Campbell because you’re a modern day gnostic.

I think it’s possible that though the use of psychedelics some mystics could have gone into psychosis and returned.

Also, I think the percentage is 33% for those that fall into psychosis but come out of it naturally. This statistic is pre-antipsychotics. So for those people, it’s possible that they might dip into and out of psychosis.

As regards the integrity of their information, it’s possible that some insight could have been gained through psychosis. I certainly went through a lot of interesting stuff, permutated by some pretty horrific persecutory delusions.

As someone who has studied various spiritualities for years and studies under a teacher of mysticism, I think it all comes down to the same point: “you have control of your mind”. You have the choice to follow negative thought patterns or create new, positive ones. Hallucinations, if focused in a spiritual direction, can increase your awe of the universe and gratitude to be in it, but the most important part of a spiritual practice should ultimately be how to benefit those you love and the world at large. If hallucinations make this difficult, they should be ignored and blocked. Otherwise, nothing on our beautiful Earth will change. Psychosis is only spiritually beneficial if you are focusing on love and gratitude, otherwise, you will end up riddled with delusions thinking you are Gd’s literal gift to mankind. It will boost your ego. I’ve been there. I prefer serving other people and being stable a lot more. I am thankful for medications, positive attitudes, and my spiritual teacher. I would be spiritually delusional if not for all these things.

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The teachings I followed for years, when it came to the point where I was experiencing extreme versions of visual and sensational mind spirituality, have made me pretty much allergic to any form of spirituality other than briefly in different fields.
If I did not have schizophrenia. With past experience of extreme psychosis very long-term… I would be one of these beautiful people by now
Instead I have to leave it all behind and find something else to do
I just dip my toe in the water now

he probably wasnt psychotic enough lol.

If you are spiritual and go to the wrong psychiatrist they will diagnose you as psychotic. If you are spiritual and stay away from psychiatrists you will be enlightened.

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Indeed it tends to be that any kind of religiosity is now recognized in the West as a mental issue. However, there is still a difference between an acolyte that struggles to adhere to the doctrine of their religion, and a madman who thinks he is an archangel or incarnation of God or satan.

No, not really, unless you’re trying to imply that every believer agonises over his/her faith. And indeed, a true believer could not believe without contradicting himself that at least of those who claim a supernatural origin might be right.

Even Dawkings in all hs glorious intellectual vulgarity doesn’t believe that religious folks are literally crazy.

That’s unusually mystical for you!

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I love that quote. It was just what I needed.

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