Mystical states

“Mystical states merely add a supersensous meaning to the ordinary outward data of consciousness. They are excitements like the emotions of love or ambition, gifts to our spirit by means of which facts already objectively before us fall into a new expressiveness and make a new connection with our active life. They do not contradict these facts as such, or deny anything that our senses have immediately seized. It is the rationalistic critic rather who plays the part of denier in the controversy, and his denials have no strength, for there never can be a state of facts to which new meaning may not truthfully be added, provided the mind ascend to a more enveloping point of view.”

“Mystical states indeed wield no authority due simply to their being mystical states. But the higher ones among them point in directions to which the religious sentiments even of non-mystical men incline. They tell of the supremacy of the ideal, of vastness, of union, of safety, or rest. They offer us hypothesis, hypothesis which we may voluntarily ignore, but which as thinkers we cannot possible upset. The supernaturalism and optimism to which they would persuade us may, interpreted in one way or another, be after all the truest insights into the meaning of this life.

W. James

The Varieties of Religious Experience

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