The Varieties of Religious Experience | Study Guide

William James

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The Varieties of Religious Experience | Glossary

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apprehension: (n) understanding; the grasping of a difficult concept; the sensing of a momentous meaning beneath the surface of things

asceticism: (n) religious practices that deny comfort to the body or even punish it, for the purpose of strengthening the body and/or mind or quickening religious apprehension

automatism: (n) actions, such as movement, speech, or writing, that appear to occur outside of conscious, voluntary control

contemplation: (n) in Christianity, the stilling of the mind to facilitate union with God. In Eastern religions it involves thinking about aspects of scripture or divine knowledge

conversion: (n) in Jamesian thinking, the process by which the divided self of the twice-born is made whole through the experience of divine apprehension or a vision of God

Divinity: (n) a generic term for superconsciousness, either as God or god-like, or as the conscious principle on which the manifest world depends

ecstasy: (n) rapture, exaltation, or great joy that takes a person outside of themselves or their ordinary way of experiencing the world

meditation: (n) in Christianity, thinking about aspects of scripture or divine knowledge. In the East it involves quieting the mind to facilitate union with the Divine or yogic states leading to samadhi (spiritual absorption)

once-born: (n) in Jamesian thinking, the people who choose an optimistic religious path and do not suffer doubt about sin

pantheism: (n) the view that God is identical with the manifest world and that nothing exists outside of God; the view that God and the universe are the same

prayer: (n) verbal or silent invocation of a deity or the principle of Divinity, for the purpose of asking either for material or spiritual favors, expressing gratitude or other strong emotions, or receiving comfort, wisdom, or solace

psychopathic: (adj) in Jamesian thinking, tending to abnormal or highly neurotic behavior; having a divided self or religious obsessions; being tortured by subconscious thoughts breaking through into the conscious mind

spiritualism: (n) also called spiritism; religious practices in which people commune or attempt to commune with the spirits of people who have died or with other nonmaterial entities

subliminal: (adj) in Jamesian thinking, interchangeable with subconscious; pertaining to the parts of the mind beyond the margins of the conscious mind, which are unavailable to awareness in a conscious, waking state

subconscious: (adj) in Jamesian thinking, interchangeable with subliminal; pertaining to the parts of the mind beyond the margins of the conscious mind, which are unavailable to awareness in a conscious, waking state

theopathic: (adj) pertaining to religiously inspired neurosis or psychosis

twice-born: (n) in Jamesian thinking, people who suffer doubt or worry about the sin and evil in themselves or in the world and who must go through a conversion process to become psychologically and spiritually whole

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