Sensing the self in spiritual experience
V. Hari Narayanan ()
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V. Hari Narayanan: Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur
Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, 2021, vol. 20, issue 1, No 3, 25-40
Abstract The paper seeks to argue that the feeling of being part of a larger whole, considered to be a major feature of spiritual experience in some traditions, amounts to a change in the way the self is pre-reflectively understood. Further, the paper argues that some recent developments in the study of cognition support the case for such a revision in self-conception, and this can be used to build up a secular understanding of spirituality. The paper proceeds by making use of Abraham Maslow's account of peak experience along with some accounts of both ancient and contemporary forms of spirituality to argue that the feeling of being part of a larger whole amounts to a significant shift from the separative self-conception implicit in everyday behavior. Subsequently, it is argued that some extant theories on cognition point at the illusory nature of separative self-conception.
Keywords: Spiritual experience; Self-conception; Free will; Metaphors (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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