Seeing in Visionary and Mystical Experience: A Perceptual and Cognitive-Semantic Account

In: Cognitive Semantics
Kurt StockerDepartment of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences, Chair of Cognitive Science, ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland;

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According to Stocker (in press), seeing in visual experience (visual perception and visual imagery) is organized by Talmyan concept structuring. Here, it is proposed that during seeing in extrovertive visionary experience and extrovertive mystical experience, this visual concept structuring is largely or totally suspended—except for the perspective point (pp), which seems to remain in place in all human seeing. Complemented with cognitive-semantic analysis, characterizations of extrovertive visionary experience draw from the writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley, and characterizations of extrovertive mystical experience additionally from the theologian Rudolph Otto and the philosopher Walter Stace. It is also examined how well extrovertive visionary experience and extrovertive mystical experience are captured with altered-state-of-consciousness questionnaires. Potential benefits for the mind from temporary suspension of Talmyan concept structuring are discussed.

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