Religious experiences

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William James 4 Characteristics of a Religious Exp


James identified one final aspect of a mystical experience and that is that the one who is having the experience feels a sense of losing control to this greater power and is completely overwhelmed. Often people assume completely different peronalities begin writing or drawing prophetic visions with no previous skill and speak in a completely different language than usual.


Most easily identifiable characteristics of a mystical experience. The fact the vast majority of mystical experiences are indescribable. An awareness theres something to be described but knowing there is no way of doing so.

Noetic quality

Something can be gained from them. Insights into unobtainable truths but not via intellect. Knowledge is gained through intuition and perception


Most last between a few minutes to 2 hours. Significance and effect are more eduring than the experience. Memory is clear and directly impacts life.

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