The Varieties of Religious Experience

The Varieties of Religious Experience

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by William James, Matthew Thomas James
     
 

First-rate study of spirituality documents and discusses a variety of religious states of consciousness, covering the meaning of the term "divine," reality of the unseen, religion of healthy-mindedness, sick soul, divided self and process of its unification, conversion, saintliness, and mysticism. Studded with richly concrete examples; a classic of its genre.

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Overview

First-rate study of spirituality documents and discusses a variety of religious states of consciousness, covering the meaning of the term "divine," reality of the unseen, religion of healthy-mindedness, sick soul, divided self and process of its unification, conversion, saintliness, and mysticism. Studded with richly concrete examples; a classic of its genre.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780486421643
Publisher:
Dover Publications
Publication date:
08/14/2002
Series:
Dover Value Editions Series
Edition description:
UNABRIDGED
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
253,430
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.26(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

LECTURE I RELIGION AND NEUROLOGY
  "Introduction: the course is not anthropological, but deals with personal documents"
  Questions of fact and questions of value
  "In point of fact, the religious are often neurotic"
  "Criticism of medical materialism, which condemns religion on that account"
  Theory that religion has a sexual origin but by the value of their refuted
  All states of mind are neurally conditioned
  Their significance must be tested not by their origin but by the value of their fruits
  Three criteria of value ; origin useless as a criterion
  Advantages of the psychopathic temperament when a superior intellect goes with it
  Especially for the religious life
LECTURE II CIRCUMSCRIPTION OF THE TOPIC
  Futility of simple definitions of religion
  No one specific 'religious sentiment'
  Institutional and personal religion
  We confine ourselves to the personal branch
  Definition of religion for the purpose of these lectures
  Meaning of the term 'divine'
  The divine is what prompts solemn reactions
  Impossible to make our definitions sharp
  We must study the more extreme cases
  Two ways of accepting the universe
  Religion is more enthusiastic than philosophy
  Its characteristic is enthusiasm in solemn emotion
  Its ability to overcome unhappiness
  Need of such a faculty from the biological point of view
LECTURE III THE REALITY OF THE UNSEEN
  Precepts versus abstract concepts
  Influence of the latter on belief
  Kant's theological Ideas
  We have a sense of reality other than that given by the special senses
  Examples of 'sense of presence'
  The feeling of unreality
  Sense of a divine presence : examples
  Mystical experiences : examples
  Other cases of sense of God's presence
  Convincingness of unreasoned experience
  Inferiority of rationalism in establishing belief
  Either enthusiasm or solemnity may preponderate in the religious attitude of individuals
LECTURES IV AND V THE RELIGION OF HEALTHY-MINDEDNESS
  Happiness is man's chief concern
  Once-born' and 'twice-born' characters
  Walt Whitman
  Mixed nature of Greek feeling
  Systematic healthy-mindedness
  Its reasonableness
  Liberal Christianity shows it
  Optimism as encouraged by Popular Science
  The 'Mind-cure' movement
  Its creed
  Cases
  Its doctrine of evil
  Its analogy to Lutheran theology
  Salvation by relaxation
  Its methods : suggestion
  mediation
  recollection'
  verification
  Diversity of possible schemes of adaptation to the universe
  APPENDIX: Two mind-cure cases
LECTURES VI AND VII THE SICK SOUL
  Healthy-mindedness and repentance
  Essential pluralism of the healthy-minded philosophy
  Morbid-mindedness-its two degrees
  The pain-threshold varies in individuals
  Insecurity of natural goods
  "Failure, or vain success of every life"
  Pessimism of all pure naturalism
  Hopelessness of Greek and Roman view
  Pathological unhappiness
  Anhedonia'
  Querulous melancholy
  Vital zest is a pure gift
  Loss of it makes physical world look different
  Tolstoy
  Bunyan
  Alline
  Morbid fear
  Such cases need a supernatural religion for relief
  Antagonism of healthy-mindedness and morbidness
  The problem of evil cannot be escaped
"LECTURE VIII THE DIVIDED SELF, AND THE PROCESS OF ITS UNIFICATION"
  Heterogeneous personality
  Character gradually attains unity
  Examples of divided self
  The unity attained need not be religious
  Counter conversion' cases
  Other cases
  Gradual and sudden unification
  Tolstoy's recovery
  Bunyan's
LECTURE IX CONVERSION
  Case of Stephen Bradley
  The psychology of characterchanges
  Emotional excitements make new centres of personal energy
  Schematic ways of representing this
  Starbuck likens conversion to normal moral ripening
  Leuba's ideas
  Seemingly unconvertible persons
  Two types of conversion
  Subconscious incubation of motives
  Self-surrender
  Its importance in religious history
  Cases
LECTURE X CONVERSION-concluded
  Cases of sudden conversion
  Is suddenness essential?
  "No, it depends on psychological idiosyncrasy"
  "Proved existence of transmarginal, or subliminal, consciousness"
  Automatisms'
  Instantaneous conversions seem due to the possession of an active subconscious self by the subject
  "The value of conversion depends not on the process, but on the fruits"
  These are not superior in sudden conversion
  Professor Coe's views
  Sanctification as a result
  Our psychological account does not exclude direct presence of the Deity
  Sense of higher control
  Relations of the emotional 'faith-state' to intellectual beliefs
  Leuba quoted
  Characteristics of the faith-state : sense of truth ; the world appears new
  Sensory and motor automatisms
  Permanency of conversions
"LECTURES XI, XII, AND XIII SAINTLINESS"
  Sainte-Beuve on the State of Grace
  Types of character as due to the balance of impulses and inhibitions
  Sovereigh excitements
  Irascibility
  Effects of higher excitement in general
  The saintly life is ruled by spiritual excitement
  This may annul sensual impulses permanently
  Probable subconscious influences involved
  Mechanical scheme for representing permanent alteration in character
  Characteristics of saintliness
  Sense of reality of a higher power
  "Peace of mind, charity"
  "Equanimity, fortitude, etc."
  Connection of this with relaxation
  Purity of life
  Asceticism
  Obedience
  Poverty
  The sentiments of democracy and of humanity
  General effects of higher excitements
LECTURES XIV AND XV THE VALUE OF SAINTLINESS
  It must be tested by the human value of its fruits
  "The reality of the God must, however, also be judged"
  Unfit' religions get eliminated by 'experience'
  Empiricism is not skepticism
  Individual and tribal religion
  Loneliness of religious originators
  Corruption follows success
  Extravagances
  "Excessive devoutness, as fanaticism as theopathic absorption"
  Excessive purity
  Excessive charity
  The perfect man is adapted only to the perfect environment
  Saints are leavens
  Excesses of asceticism
  Asceticism symbolically stands for the heroic life
  Militarism and voluntary poverty as possible equivalents
  Pros and cons of the saintly character
  Saints versus 'strong' men
  Their social function must be considered
  "Abstractly the saint is the highest type, but in the present environment it may fail, so we make ourselves saints at our peril"
  The question of theological truth
LECTURES XVI AND XVII MYSTICISM
  Mysticism defined
  Four marks of mystic states
  They form a distinct region of consciousness
  Examples of their lower grades
  Mysticism and alcohol
  The anæsthetic revelation'
  Religious mysticism
  Aspects of Nature
  Consciousness of God
  Cosmic consciousness'
  Yoga
  Buddhistic mysticism
  Suf
  Christian mystics
  Their sense of revelation
  Tonic effects of mystic states
  They describe by negatives
  Sense of union with the Absolute
  Mysticism and music
  Three conclusions
  (1) Mystical states carry authority for him who has them
  (2) But for no one else
  (3) "Nevertheless, they break down the exclusive authority of rationalistic states"
  They strengthen monistic and optimistic hypotheses
LECTURE XVIII PHILOSOPHY
  "Primacy of feeling in religion, philosophy being a secondary function"
  Intellectualism professes to escape subjective standards in her theological constructions
  Dogmatic theology'
  Criticism of its account of God's attributes
  Pragmatism' as a test of the value of conceptions
  God's metaphysical attributes have no practical significance
  His moral attributes are proved by bad arguments ; collapse of systematic theology
  Does transcendental idealism fare better? Its principles
  Quotations from John Caird
  "They are good as restatements of religious experience, but uncoercive as reasoned proof"
  What philosophy can do for religion by transforming herself into 'science of religions'
LECTURE XIX OTHER CHARACTERISTICS
  Æsthetic elements in religion
  Contrast of Catholicism and Protestantism
  Sacrifice and Confession
  Prayer
  Religion holds that spiritual work is really effected in prayer
  Three degrees of opinion as to what is effected
  First degree
  Second degree
  Third degree
  "Automatisms, their frequency among religious leaders"
  Jewish cases
  Mohammed
  Joseph Smith
  Religion and the subconscious region in general
LECTURE XX CONCLUSIONS
  Summary of religious characteristics
  Men's religions need not be identical
  "The science of religions' can only suggest, not proclaim, a religious creed"
  Is religion a 'survival' of primitive thought?
  Modern science rules out the concept of personality
  Anthropomorphism and belief in the personal characterized pre-scientific thought
  "Personal forces are real, in spite of this"
  "Scientific objects are abstractions, only individualized experiences are concrete"
  Religion holds by the concrete
  Primarily religion is a biological reaction
  Its simplest terms are an uneasiness and a deliverance ; description of the deliverance
  Question of the reality of the higher power
  The author's hypotheses:
  1. The subconscious self as intermediating between nature and the higher region
  2. "The higher region, or 'God'"
  3. He produces real effects in nature
POSTSCRIPT
  Philosophic position of the present work defined as piecemeal supernaturalism
  Criticism of universalistic supernaturalism
  Different principles must occasion differences in fact
  What differences in fact can God's existence occasion?
  The question of immorality
  Question of God's uniqueness and infinity : religious experience does not settle this question in the affirmative
  The pluralistic hypothesis is more conformed to common sense
INDEX

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