Mysticism - according to William James and Walter Terence Stace


William James

American psychologist, William James defined mystical experience according to four consistent qualities - as outlined within his Edinburgh University lectures, and his 1902 book 'The Varieties of Religious Experience'.

Passivity - The event sees the individual losing control to a power that is ferior, namely in that of God. This may be expressed in alternative personality states or prophetic speech. The individual often feels "as if he were grasped and held by a superior power".

Ineffability - The experience is personal and cannot be adequately expressed through words. Alfred Tennyson, a poet - and subsequently someone of remarkable ability to express himself through language - referred to his religious experience as "a state utterly beyond words". This nature of religious experience also explains why Hildegard of Bingen represented hers largely through artwork and illustrated manuscripts.

Noetic Quality -


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