This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

The temperaments and their corresponding weaknesses

While the jnana will emphasize the objective aspects of the mystical way, proceeding as he must through intellection, the passional man or bhakti will emphasize the aspects of ‘longing’ and tend to conceive of the journey in subjective terms, and here we can point to the common imagery of the lover longing for the beloved.

Each of these are valid, and the weaknesses of each are implicit in the aspects of the mystical way that they ignore: the jnana will tend to fixate on doctrine and knowledge of God and will easily neglect to put these realities into practice, and may neglect method altogether as below him. This of course has disastrous consequences, since, although St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that virtue is not directly related to contemplation, it is how we dispose ourselves to it, and to allow oneself to be indisposed to contemplation of the truth is completely undermining to the jnana.

On the other hand, the bhakti will fixate on the subjective aspects of the journey and may tend to ignore doctrine, insisting on the sufficiency of their ‘personal relationship’ with Christ, and in many cases by fueling the passions due to an incorrect identification of passion with mystical experience itself. Additionally, the bhakti will be far more likely to deny the legitimacy of the jnana on the grounds that it is ‘coldly intellectual’ and lacks love, merely because the love of the jnana has a different appearance, for love expressed by a jnana may be unrecognizable to a bhakti, since it is produced via a different mode of spiritual realization.

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