Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Mystical Experience

Version 1 : Received: 4 March 2022 / Approved: 8 March 2022 / Online: 8 March 2022 (05:09:57 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Bronkhorst, J. Mystical Experience. Religions 2022, 13, 589, doi:10.3390/rel13070589. Bronkhorst, J. Mystical Experience. Religions 2022, 13, 589, doi:10.3390/rel13070589.


This paper proposes to study mystical experience by contrasting it with “ordinary” experience, i.e., with standard consciousness. It emphasises the construed nature of standard consciousness and the role that the mutual connectedness of mental contents plays in its construction. It then shows that removal of the factors that are responsible for the “making” of standard consciousness accounts for the principal features of mystical experience; these features are therefore mainly negative. The understanding of mystical experience as the suppression of factors that contribute to the construction of standard consciousness, along with a discussion of the mechanism that makes this possible, permits answers to some frequently asked questions, such as: why is mystical experience ineffable? what is its epistemic status? does it have implications for our understanding of mind, consciousness, and self?


mysticism; experience; absorption


Social Sciences, Psychology

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