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Of capsules and carts: Mysticism, language and the via negativa

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While a surprising number of people, both religious and non-religious, have had deep and significant mystical experiences, scholars have reached little agreement about their cause and character. Many analyze mystical experiences as if they are formed by the same linguistic processes that shape ordinary experiences. This paper shows that this is based on a misunderstanding, for these experiences result from letting go of language. The paper concludes that we need to think about mystical experiences - and what they have to teach about consciousness and reality - in a new light.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Program in Religion, Hunter College of the City University of New York, 695 Park Avenue, New York 10021, USA., Email:

Publication date: January 1, 1994


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