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Title: Transcendent experience, process, and praxis within the 'Transcendence Movement'
Author: Beasley, Keith
Awarding Body: Prifysgol Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis investigates the nature and dynamics of transcendent experience: phenomena I have witnessed in many individuals, groups, and organisations. Transcendent experience is best described as an attitude or way of life that is fundamentally different to what could be construed as the ' normal ', conventional, and rationalistic attitudes that pervade the Western epistemological mind-set today as the most-if not sole-means to valuable knowledge and experience. This thesis does not seek to explain its features dogmatically and definitively-after all, such a phenomenon evades the reductive and totalising effects of rationalisation-but assesses a vast range of supporting literature to emphasise how it is manifesting itself across an equally vast and eclectic range of peoples. By examining evidence from contemporary personal accounts, historical case study, published biographical accounts, scholarly reports and personal anecdotes, a number of key characteristics and principles of transcendence are identified as underpinning their experiences. These principles include a commitment from the individual or group in question to embrace and practice 'ways of knowing' beyond rational cognition. There is a tendency for the subject to recognise themselves as involved in purposeful ways of knowing. This is seen as a recognition that the physical self is merged with a nature that is experienced by the subject as ' transcendent ' to them; that is to say, a nature that is described as 'divine ' or 'spiritual'. A further principle is the subject's openness to, and assimilation of, what is reported to be not one but multiple transcendent experiences. The benefits of these are construed to be a sense of belonging and a feeling of wellbeing-feelings, which it is claimed, could not be obtained through conventional ' rational ' ways of knowing. In short, these people seem to be living according to, or at least intent on working towards, a transcendent way of ' being', one that validates non-rational, possibly ' divine ' experiences as essentially ' human'. Other key characteristics of transcendent experiences are ascertained, including the role of suffering and emptiness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available