Can “Spiritual Intelligence” Explain Mystical Experiences?

Can “Non secular Intelligence” Clarify Mystical Experiences?


Luminas_Art via Pixabay, free photo

Supply: Luminas_Art through Pixabay, free picture

A current research (Bitēna & Mārtinsone, 2021) argued that mystical expertise is a religious phenomenon related to psychological well being quite than one thing pathological related to psychological sickness as a result of it correlates with a measure of “religious intelligence.” Nonetheless, this argument appears tautological as a result of “religious intelligence” includes perception in religious phenomena related to having a mystical expertise. Moreover, the research discovered that each mystical expertise and “religious intelligence” had been associated to magical pondering, indicating that the previous could also be related to irrationality. Each mystical expertise and “religious intelligence” could share an underlying tendency to blur the boundaries between the inside and outer worlds, in order that what’s imagined could seem actual.

The enduring enigma of mystical expertise

Curiosity in mystical expertise in psychology goes again at the very least so far as William James’ 1902 ebook The Types of Spiritual Expertise. Mystical experiences are sometimes related to a way of transcending the boundaries of self, house, and time and turning into absorbed in one thing larger than oneself, which some individuals describe as turning into one with the universe. Those that bear such experiences usually understand them as totally profound. For instance, one well-known research discovered that experimental volunteers who had undergone a mystical expertise induced by psilocybin thought-about it to be one of the vital important occasions of their lives, much more than a 12 months later (Griffiths et al., 2006). (I mentioned this research on this publish.) Moreover, the identical research discovered that months after this expertise, the contributors felt they’d extra optimistic attitudes to life and themselves, that their relationships had improved, and had a way of elevated spirituality and elevated satisfaction with life (Griffiths et al., 2011). However, some options of mystical experiences resemble these present in psychotic states, resembling hallucinations and odd beliefs, and individuals who have them could turn into distressed and expertise consequent psychological issues. This has produced some debate about whether or not mystical experiences are pathological in nature or a characteristic of wholesome psychological growth (Bitēna & Mārtinsone, 2021).

Mysticism, “religious expertise,” and magical pondering

A current research (Bitēna & Mārtinsone, 2021) involving 299 Latvian girls[1] tried to make clear this problem by inspecting the relationships between mystical expertise and a measure of “religious intelligence” (I’ve mentioned this idea right here, right here, and right here) as a purported marker of psychological well being, in addition to with measures of psychopathology, together with schizotypy and psychotic signs. Schizotypy refers to tendencies that resemble these present in individuals with schizophrenia, though in a extra attenuated type. This research assessed each “optimistic” schizotypy, together with uncommon perceptions (e.g. seeing issues that others don’t) and strange beliefs (e.g., magical pondering, claiming to have supernatural talents resembling thoughts studying or telekinesis), and “detrimental” schizotypy, together with social avoidance and lack of regular feelings. Psychotic signs assessed on this research included delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech, thought, or conduct.

What’s “religious intelligence”?

“Non secular intelligence” on this research was outlined as “psychological capacities that represent consciousness in addition to the flexibility to efficiently apply nonmaterial and transcendent parts of 1’s existence” (Bitēna & Mārtinsone, 2021). To measure this purported capacity, the research used a scale with three dimensions: essential existential pondering (capacity to critically ponder the character of existence); private which means manufacturing (capacity to assemble private which means and objective in all the things); and transcendental consciousness (capability to determine transcendent dimensions of the self, of others, and of the bodily world throughout the regular, waking state of consciousness) (King & DeCicco, 2009)[2]. Mystical expertise was assessed utilizing a scale that included consultant statements like, “I’ve had an expertise wherein one thing larger than myself appeared to soak up me” and “I’ve had an expertise wherein a brand new view of actuality was revealed to me.”

Pxfuel, free photo

Supply: Pxfuel, free picture

Within the outcomes, there have been fairly giant optimistic correlations between the measure of mystical expertise and that of “religious intelligence” and its three element dimensions. Moreover, mystical expertise had average optimistic correlations with measures of optimistic schizotypy, significantly uncommon beliefs and perceptions, and with psychotic signs. Nonetheless, mystical expertise was unrelated to measures of detrimental schizotypy resembling social avoidance and lack of feelings. Total religious intelligence and its dimensions had comparable outcomes, as they’d modest optimistic correlations with uncommon beliefs and perceptions and to a lesser extent with psychotic signs. To evaluate which components had been most strongly associated to mystical expertise, the authors carried out an extra evaluation of a number of variables on the identical time that confirmed {that a} very great amount of variance in contributors’ scores on mystical expertise was accounted for by religious intelligence, with significantly smaller contributions from uncommon beliefs and perceptions, and an excellent smaller contribution from psychotic signs.

The true cope with “religious expertise” and mystical expertise

Primarily based on their outcomes, the authors concluded that mystical expertise could be seen as “a religious quite than a pathological phenomenon” (Bitēna & Mārtinsone, 2021). Though the outcomes present some fascinating findings, I consider that this conclusion is quite tautological and must be checked out extra critically.

First, the authors assume that “religious intelligence” is each a sound measure of some form of religious capacity and of psychological well being. Nonetheless, simply because mystical expertise is correlated with one thing claiming to be “religious” doesn’t set up something substantive. One problem is that a lot of the merchandise content material within the “religious intelligence” scale presupposes perception in religious phenomena which can be much like the sorts of experiences being tapped by the mysticism scale. For instance, the transcendental consciousness subscale contains gadgets like, “I’m extremely conscious of the nonmaterial points of life” whereas the essential existential pondering subscale contains gadgets like “I’ve usually contemplated the connection between human beings and the remainder of the universe.” Examine these with gadgets from the mysticism scale, like “I’ve had an expertise wherein a brand new view of actuality was revealed to me” and “I’ve had an expertise wherein all issues appeared to be acutely aware.” This stuff presuppose a religious imaginative and prescient of the world. Therefore, the very sturdy correlations between the measures of mystical expertise and religious intelligence could replicate that they’re measuring extremely related issues. To be honest, the private which means manufacturing dimension of religious intelligence shouldn’t be as overtly religious and focuses on adaptive functioning, with gadgets like “I’m able to discover which means and objective in my on a regular basis experiences.” Therefore, overlapping content material doesn’t appear to be such a problem for this dimension.

[1] Solely 9 males volunteered to take part within the research, so their outcomes weren’t analysed to maintain the pattern extra homogeneous.

[2] The unique religious intelligence developed by King and DeCicco additionally included a dimension of “acutely aware state enlargement” associated to the flexibility to enter altered states of consciousness at will. Bitēna & Mārtinsone don’t appear to have included this dimension of their research although.


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