Mystical Moments and Unitive Thinking

Overview

Merkur proposes an alternative to the traditional psychoanalytic explanation of mystical experiences as regression to the solipsism of earliest infancy. He does this by viewing unitive thinking as a line of cognitive development, and mystical moments as creative inspirations on unitive topics. Utilizing classical self-reports by Christian, Jewish, and Muslim mystics, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, and modern Western peak experiences, Merkur argues that experiences of mystical union are manifestations of a broader ...
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Overview

Merkur proposes an alternative to the traditional psychoanalytic explanation of mystical experiences as regression to the solipsism of earliest infancy. He does this by viewing unitive thinking as a line of cognitive development, and mystical moments as creative inspirations on unitive topics. Utilizing classical self-reports by Christian, Jewish, and Muslim mystics, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, and modern Western peak experiences, Merkur argues that experiences of mystical union are manifestations of a broader category of psychological processes that manifest in scientific and moral thought, as well as in mysticism. Unconscious as well as conscious, unitive thinking is sometimes realistic and sometimes fantastic, in patterns that are consistent with cognitive development in general. Mystical moments of unitive thinking may be considered moments of creative inspiration that happen to make use of unitive ideas. Building on the psychoanalytic object-relations theory that the self is always in relationship with an object, Merkur argues that the solipsism of some varieties of mystical union always implies unconscious ideas of a love object who is transcendent.
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Editorial Reviews

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Proposes an alternative to the traditional psychoanalytical explanation of mystical experiences as regression to infancy, by viewing unitive thinking as a line of cognitive development, and mystical moments as creative inspirations on unitive topics. Draws on classical self-reports by Christian, Jewish, and Muslim mystics, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, and modern Western peak experiences, and argues that the solipsism of some varieties of mystical union implies unconscious ideas of a love object who is transcendent. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791440636
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1999
  • Pages: 188

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Some Varieties of Mystical Union 1
2 Unitive Experiences and Unitive Thinking 27
3 A Theory of Unitive Experiences 51
4 Unity, the Transcendent, and Death 71
5 Unity as Metaphor 95
6 Euphoria and Desolation 111
7 The Integration of Spirituality 125
8 The Meaning of Miracles 139
9 A Theory of Revelation 153
Books Cited 159
Index 185
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