Interpretive Proposals

    Basic Information about Mystics and Mysticism in World Religions
  • Who's Who in the History of Mysticism
    [A hyperlinked guide by Bruce B. Janz. Chronologically arranged entries on leading figures in Western tradition. Mainly Greek philosophers and Christian mystics, but also some Jewish and Muslim mystics. Brief glossary and bibliography of academic studies.]

    Preliminaries: Contexts and Contentions

  • Defining Mysticism
    [Extracts from the writings of William James, Arthur Deikman, Andrew Greeley, Abraham Maslow, Kenneth Wapnick, David Lukoff, Robert Ornstein, and Ralph Hood.]
  • Definitions of Mysticism
    [Definitions proposed by Robert S. Ellwood, Evelyn Underhill, and Jess Hollenback.]
  • Key Debates
    [Papers, rejoinders, and miscellaneous resources for the study of consciousness, including mysticism and consciousness, provided by the Journal of Consciousness Studies. These papers are basic, but not introductory. Some of them are difficult and of little direct relevance to mysticism. However, others (such as Robert K. C. Forman's What Does Mysticism have to Teach Us About Consciousness?) are directly relevant and important.]
  • Mystic Experience and Two Modes of Consciousness
    [Extracts, comments, and questions based on and adapted from the research of Arthur J. Deikman, M.D.]
  • Starting Points
    [A brief and undeveloped thought-experiment that invites the reader to consider where they are starting and where they are hoping to go with their own inquiry into mysticism. Extracts from the writings of Thomas Merton, Colin Wilson, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi are provided as a basis for thinking about alternative ways to study mystics, mystical experience, and mysticism.]
  • What is Spirituality?
    [A brief statement, posted to encourage contemplation and discussion, by Paschal Baute of Lexington, Kentucky, USA.]
  • Ken Wilber Online,9546/yid,6028810
    [A writer of major significance for understanding the basic implications of mysticism, whether or not one agrees with him.]

    Comparativist, Essentialist, or Universalist Interpretations

  • General Theory of Religion
    [The first two paragraphs describing this theory clearly indicate the intent and method used by theoretician Arlen Wolpert: "The essence of religion is experienced during the peak or unitive experience, known variously as mystical union, born again, satori, wu-wei, samadhi, fana, devekut, ecstasy, etc. The way of science is the use of a formalized conceptual system to analyze and comprehend phenomena. For at least the past 200 years the primary formalized conceptual system in science has been differential equations. // The general theory of religion utilizes Forrester-style system dynamics and its nonlinear differential equation feedback techniques. This method is used to accurately model and simulate the changing horizon of my inner states (e.g., cognitions, perceptions, imagery, and emotions) during the purgative period which immediately preceded the unitive experience. This has resulted in the structure of a religious experience, a science of religion, and a science of consciousness. It will be shown below that these results clarify the blessed essence of religion and provide the framework for future scientific investigations."]
  • Mysticism and the Perennial Philosophy
    [A brief summary statement of a perspective that assumes that mysticism is the core of religion and that world religions tend to converge at the esoteric or mystical level. This kind of interpretive preference is sometimes called Primordialism or Essentialism.]
  • Science Without Bounds
    [An online electronic book by Art D'Adamo that proposes "A Synthesis of Science, Religion and Mysticism."]

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