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Dictionary of EHE-Related Terms: An Experiencer's Guide
Rhea A. White
(2nd ed., July, 2000)
copyright©2001 EHE Network, Inc.
These are terms that we have devised in an effort to clarify the nature of exceptional human experiences (EHEs). This dictionary also includes some psychological or sociological terms we have adopted and use in a special way in connection with EHEs.
The immediate and long-term behaviors, feelings, meanings, insights, realizations, and outcomes described by EHEers as a result of reflecting on and potentiating their experiences. Different types of EHEs may yield similar aftereffects and outcomes, such as empathy, inner peace, courage, changed identity, and sense or even conviction of interconnectedness.
Anomalous Experience (AE).
An experience that cannot be explained in terms of physics, psychology, sociology, or other accepted discipline is considered anomalous. Often it is dismissed by recourse to various applications of the law of parsimony. Failing that, it is passed off as likely due to chance or possibly as a delusion of the experiencer's or even as a hoax. Our position is that the "prove it or forget it" approach either dismisses an anomalous experience on the one hand, or whether or not it is published, files it in a drawer or cabinet, so to speak, on the other. There is usually no interest evidenced in the potential meaning of the experience because until it is proven that it actually happened, there is no point in looking for its meaning. Our view is that if the experiencer is left with a feeling that there is meaning hidden somewhere in the experience, it is worth taking the time and trouble to try to draw out that meaning and see where it leads even if it is not possible to rule out all counterhypotheses. We think it is likely that the basic meanings revealed by these experiences, once they become potentiated into EHEs, is the key to the evolution of consciousness and also to saving planet Earth because of the types of changed consciousness that are associated with EHEs.
Anomaly of Personal Experience (APE).
An anomaly of personal experience is a first-time experience. Because it is the first of its kind and often unexpected, it can be as mind-boggling as any genuine anomalous experience. Imagine what the natives thought when they first saw Columbus's ships-they could not recognize them as ships, for they had no words or concepts for such large objects floating in the water. They seemed like great sea beasts. Or take runner Mike Spino's college training run when he reached a speed far beyond any he had known. Although initially he didn't think he could keep up with the 6-mile schedule his coach had set for him, by the second mile he felt he was going so fast he felt that he must have be cheating somehow. "It was like getting a new body that no one else had heard about" (Spin, 1971, p. 224). When it was over and his coach told him his running time was phenomenal when matched against his past marks, Spin says he couldn't even speak "because for awhile I didn't know who I was. Was I the one who had been running or the ordinary Mike Spin? … I sat down by the roadway and wept" (p. 225). Having glimpsed his "larger" self by means of this anomaly of personal experience, Spin's life course was set. He has devoted his life to practicing and teaching spiritual running. (Quoted from M. Spin, "Running as a spiritual experience." In Jack Scott [Ed.], The Athletic Revolution [pp. 222-225]. New York: Free Press, 1971.)
Experiences playing golf were among the seminal EHEs that led me (Rhea White) to the concept of exceptional human experience. Spin did not break the mile record in his run. I did not break any records in golf-except my own. But that is what an anomaly of personal experience is: seeing, thinking, doing, hearing, feeling, sensing something you know you personally have never experienced before, even though many others have. It can make you feel very alone and also very special. In a society where people tend to want to be like others only better, such experiences give one a glimpse of what it means to be individual and unique.
Of course, there are anomalies of experience that hold for the entire human species. Any time a world record is set in sports or a new theory in physics is set forth that meets the tests set by the theorist's peers or a new invention comes into the world, there is "something new under the sun." Imagine the awe and wonder when the electric light was invented! Anomalies of personal experience, whether they are individual firsts or firsts for the species, can be powerful exceptional human experiences because they open mind, spirit, and body simultaneously.
Classes of Experience.
We have identified nine general classes of Anomalous, Exceptional, and Exceptional Human Experiences (which one it is depends largely on the degree of meaning inherent in the experience and the extent to which the experiencer can realize it). They are called Death-Related, Desolation/Nadir, Dissociative; Encounter, Exceptional Human Performance/Feats; Healing, Mystical, Peak, and Psychical Experiences. (Each is defined separately here.)
These are physical, physiological, psychological, and spiritual secondary qualities, facets, and characteristics of experiences reported by EEers and EHEers about-their experiences, which go beyond simply labeling the type of experience. Different concomitants. (Examples are time slowing down or seeming to stop, scalp tingling, mental clarity, vivid imagery, electrical effects, unconditional love.)
The common denominator of these experiences is death. Included are experiences in which there is a sense of a separation of the physical from the nonphysical self, particularly occurring prior to, during, or after your own or another's death, and memories of being between lives or before a new birth. Also included are encounters with persons or animals known to be dead or claiming to be so, some verifiable, some not; or from persons or animals who have died but the experiencer was ignorant of that fact when the deceased were "seen." This group also includes experiences of dying or actually being "dead" medically as in near-death experiences, as well as strange experiences associated with the moment of death, such as clocks stopping and pictures falling as a person is dying at a distance, and after death, such as various forms of apparent communication with the dead, involving seeing, hearing, smelling, and touching.
Used in connection with exceptional experience, this term refers to various ways in which an experiencer goes out of the way not to potentiate the meaning of his or her experience . There are many ways of doing so. Some of these are belittling it, denying it, repressing it, making fun of it, or not dealing with the fears it may initially arouse. In effect, the experiencer creates a narrative about the experience that distances it from him- or herself by putting the experience down in some way. Maslow's word for this is desacralizing. The opposite happens when an experiencer potentiates an exceptional experience into an exceptional human experience by realizing its hidden meaning. See also Potentiation.
Marghanita Laski in her book Ecstasy (Indiana University Press , 1961) discusses desolation experiences as the opposite of ecstatic or peak experiences. Maslow, however, sees desolation/nadir experiences on the same continuum as peak experiences and as involving an interrelationship between light and dark. In Yin-Yang symbolism, one is constantly becoming more while the other becomes less. It has been my experience (White) that experiences of great desolation may precede peak experiences, though it may take some period of time for this to happen. In a sense, feeling desolate puts you in touch with the depths and heights of self unguessed in ordinary life the same way that a peak experience does. Desolation and nadir experiences can also be seen as a stage in a developmental growth process, as when the dark night is viewed as an integral part of the mystical process of becoming one with the divine. Also, experiences of desolation and nadir experiences are often associated with disaster, abuse, life-threatening illness, and devastation, which in turn can trigger exceptional experiences and often come to be viewed later as saving graces. There are several examples of this in the section on EHE Portraits. In any case, desolation and nadir experiences are associated with EHEs, and some serve as direct triggers of EEs/EHEs. Some research on this has been carried out and has been abstracted in our journal, but much more work needs to be done.
Experiences in which the experiencer is not in his or her daily frame of consciousness when the experience occurs, as in automatic writing or channeling or dowsing, primarily because he or she has induced the altered or dissociated state in order to increase the likelihood that an exceptional experience will occur.
The experience of being able to identify and see as if from within at least one other worldview than that of the mainstream dominant culture. Double vision confers an acuter awareness of and more objective comprehension of the limitations of the accepted worldview than is available to those who accept its reality unconsciously and unthinkingly.
EE see Exceptional Experience
A relatively short written essay/report describing a personal EE, the circumstances under which it occurred, and the concomitants of the experience, but with little or no attempt to look beyond the experience to its meaning and significance. Often the experiencer will volunteer that it is the only experience of its kind that they have ever had. Some people report having had only one EE, whereas others report having several. Some even say it was the most important experience of their lives, but they rarely elaborate on why. From our viewpoint, that is the most important aspect of the experience. Written correctly, an account should contain as many details as can be recalled about what happened that was objectively observable as well as what they experienced subjectively, whether it be thoughts, physiological responses such as goosebumps or feelings of the numinous or uncanny, and what they think is the significance of the experience. If the experiencer has no idea, the account should state this.
EEer see Exceptional Experiencer
EHE see Exceptional Human Experience
A report of an EE that either immediately or subsequently, spontaneously or through attention and effort, proved to be a life-changing experience for the individual. Not only is the experience described in detail, including the circumstances and subjective aspects of the experience, but also its aftereffects. In order to be an EHE account, the aftereffects must involve a change in the experiencer that entails the realization of more of his/her human potential than ever before. Usually the person feels prompted to change his or her life in some way and sees him or herself and reality in a new way. This should be described in detail, relating the changes to the experience where possible.
An EHEer's in-depth written essay/report and personal story in which his or her life is not told primarily in terms of objectively verifiable events but by her or his exceptional experiences, especially those that became EHEs. Moreover, the writer makes a conscious effort to draw an invisible inner line connecting the experiences even if they were very different and occurred several years apart and on the surface were not unconnected. This exercise not only can lead to insight, self-discovery, and meaning, but it can connect life experiences in a meaningful way such that a sense of life purpose and the potential for self-actualization is glimpsed or more deeply affirmed. It can also lead to the recollection of other EE/EHEs one has forgotten. In an EHE autobiography, you try see the line of your life as exclusively as possible in terms of your exceptional experiences. You must try to think of your life not as a chronological series of events, activities, and relationships, but as a number of subjective experiences that are likely to relate to the basic meaning and intention of your life.
Once an experiencer knows what types of EEs/EHEs he or she has had and learns the history and lore of that experience or those experiences and meets others who have had the same or similar experiences, a sense of connection develops. First, it centers on those ahead of you who become your teachers and guides. Then, as you gain experience yourself, it extends backward to those new to the experience who depend on you for guidance and information. It also stretches back in time to those experiencers who are no longer alive but whose writings or other communications still inform the living. Many experiencers feel the need to describe their own experiences for present and future generations, thus extending the chain into the future. This chain of people associated with a specific type or types of EE/EHEs is what we mean by the EHE chain. It is a term we do not often use in writing about EHEs, but it is a major aftereffect of some experiencers' EHEs. Parapsychologist William G. Roll has adopted the Iroquois Indian term long body and uses it for the sensory and nonsensory trail that follows a person through life on earth, becoming increasingly longer as he or she lives. It involves all that he or she has come into contact with physically and includes traces of its impact upon that person. This "long body" or patches of it is perceivable to psychics and specific memories are associated with certain objects the person used or loved and associations to it can be discerned via psychometry. Similarly, the EHE Chain can be conceived as all of the experiencers back through history who have had a specific type of anomalous experience and realized its meaning for themselves and sometimes for others who did not have the actual experience. This chain can be drawn on by experiencers today and will be there for experiencers in the future. Although they may draw strength and wisdom from it in nonordinary ways, the record is also there in writings, published and unpublished, and more recently, audiotapes, videotapes, and now CD ROMs and web-sites. The realization of the existence of the chain to which each type of EHE you have had is a part provides a powerful timeless sense of connection with these others who have shared the same experiences you have, each in their unique ways and circumstances, even as yours is unique, but there is a large residue of sameness that remains. Many experiencers have died because of their experiences, and others have become famous because of them. Awareness of the EHE chain gives the experiencer a strong sense that there is a history here, and that he or she and others living now are continuing the chain so that those who will follow in the future will be able to draw upon it, at least for wisdom and moral support, and who knows, perhaps in more direct ways we cannot explain yet can imagine, feel, sense and benefit from.
It is not unusual for EEers or EHEers to have several different types of EEs/EHEs. However, in some cases people tend to have several experiences of the same or similar type. This is called an EHE cluster, because the same type of experience seems to cluster around the same experiencer. They can be looked at as a group of experiences encircling the experiencer, who is at the center. They may present different facets of viewing a given topic or component of the experiencer's personality or aspect of his or her life or they may connect various points of meaning not previously thought to be related. Or they may call attention, repeatedly, to things the experiencer has ignored, but as a result of the inexplicable cluster of experiences, it is no longer possible to ignore. There are other possibilities-each one tailored to the individual experiencer's situation.
Interview with a person known to have had one or more EEs and/or EHEs about the details of their experiences and their aftereffects. The aim of the interview is to obtain information on as many as possible of the specific points listed under EHE Account and EHE Autobiography.
A sense of process can be conferred by EHEs, especially when inner and outer events come together in a meaningful way and over a period of time, thus indicating a graduated, evolving, evolutionary, internally reiterative series of stages that are initiated by EHEs. This eventually results in the sense that one is involved in an ongoing process that is happening both within and without and that is moving the experiencer in the direction of actualizing his or her human potential. Often it culminates in the creation of a Project of Transcendence (PT) and even in finding one's vocation and a sense of belonging. Our research accounts suggest five (5) stages may be involved: Initiatory Experience, Search for Reconciliation, Between Two Worlds, In the Experiential Paradigm, and A New Way of Being in the World. The latter usually involves living out some aspects of some experiences in some way, as in a vocation or a PT. It is likely that highly advanced experiencers will encounter still other stages beyond. These still need to be mapped. (I, that is, Rhea White, can only do so at second hand, as I have not gone beyond this point.)
EHEer see Exceptional Human Experiencer
The experiencer is confronted with something that is actually there but is awesome and wondrous, such as a high a mountain peak or a clock that stops at the moment someone at a distance dies, or is not supposed to be there, such as a UFO or a Marian apparition,
EP see Experiential Paradigm
Exceptional Experience (EE).
An anomalous experience that has a personal appeal for the experiencer so that he or she cannot brush it away or forget it even though there may be a normal explanation for it, albeit one that does not convince the experiencer. The EE is the mid-stage between an anomalous experience or anomaly of personal experience and an exceptional human experience.
Exceptional Experiencer (EEers).
An individual who has had any kind of EE.
Exceptional Human Experience (EHE).
Umbrella term to cover those EEs for which experiencers have been able to potentiate their sensed but hidden meaning, consciously realizing it, sometimes after long work and hard effort, not without risks. Usually this realization results in a transformed identity, lifeview, lifeway, and/or worldview of the experiencer, at which point the EE becomes an EHE. The changes are in the direction of realizing/actualizing the experiencer's full human potential.
Exceptional Human Experiencer (EHEer).
An individual who has potentiated several of his or her EEs, that is, realized the human potential implicit in each one. This, in turn, has or is or will transform his/her perspectives on self, life, and worldview.
Exceptional Human Performance/Feats.
Activities that extend the limits of what a person has been accustomed to doing or that are beyond the reach of what humans are expected to be able to do. They can be anomalies of personal experience for the performer, or they can serve as encounter experiences for spectators, evoking feelings of awe and wonder. This is one reason sports events are so popular. For example, a TV commentator at the 100th U.S. Open Golf Championship, which was held in 2000, said that what was so exciting about the play of Tiger Woods was not simply the steadiness of his exceptional play but the fact that we have come to expect that at any given moment, we will witness him making shots no one has ever seen before or even conceived of trying, and succeeding superbly. This is an example of a vicarious EE engendered by watching an exceptional human performance. Maybe the older generations watching will never duplicate such feats, but for aspiring young golfers, Woods is setting new limits that they will attempt to surpass when they themselves join the ranks of professional players.
Experiential Paradigm (EP).
A worldview that is based not on physical data and logic but on the sum total of one's EHEs. Its tenets must be experienced to be known. These experiences eventually lift a person into a whole new way of perceiving reality. He or she is no longer enmeshed in the old worldview but can see it as if from outside. At the same time, the EHEer is aware of being in a new worldview that is based on heart knowledge and inner being that rests on a personal sense of connection with the entire creation. See also Plateau Experience.
Experiences of healing that are beyond the bounds of allopathic medicine or that can only be explained as spontaneous remissions as well as experiences that integrate and energize mind and soul to an extent the experiencer had not previously known.
An EHEer's personal realization of his or her place in the grand scheme of things. It is an outcome of the EHE process in which the experiencer realizes that he or she is connected with all life and has a unique viewpoint, contribution, and purpose in that scheme. Once this sense of connectedness becomes part of your daily experience, it ushers in a new way of viewing your life. You sense a continuity underlying your life from birth (and for some, before) to death (and sometimes after). You also come to think of your own life as part of the life of the planet Earth and all of existence from the beginning as well as that of the universe at large. This new view of your life that is engendered and informed by one or more EHEs is called a lifeview. It is similar to worldview, except the personal element is featured-your own individual place in the scheme of things-as part of the whole and as the whole in the part.
This a way of life or lifestyle adopted or created by an EHEer for purposes of living in harmony with the lifeview and worldview that he or she became aware of when the meaning of one or more EHEs was realized. EHEers learn to look for additional experiences, and with this increased attention they see more connections and come to feel as though they have found their path in life, that they are doing what they are "meant" to do in the way they were "meant" to do it. Similarly, by this stage they know other EHEers and are still more motivated to change their lives in ways these others have done in their own ways. Then it can be said that they have found their lifeway. In addition, to finding their unique way of being in the world, EHEers generally make life changes that are in line with ways of promoting health, the well being of other humans and other species, and the preservation of Earth.
An experience that connects the experiencer throughout his or her being with something previously considered to be other or outside oneself or even nonexistent, such as God or Goddess or the divine, but also it could be an animal, a neighbor, a field, or a place that somehow, as a result of the experience, feels like "home" or is identified with the experiencer in some way as if it were intimate and familiar. It could even be a criminal or a person previously considered to be an enemy. There is a pronounced sense of greater connection, sometimes amounting to union, with the divine, other people, life-forms, objects, or one's surroundings, up to and including the universe itself. A sense of ecstasy or of being outside of one's skin-encapsulated ego self, is often experienced.
Nadir Experience see Desolation/Nadir Experience
A written or spoken telling of events to another from the narrator's individual perspective and the unique aspects of his or her experience. The reader or listener does not question the narrative. It is accepted and valued as it stands with the understanding that the story is colored, flavored, and generated from within the perspective of the narrator. Our research at EHEN often involves studying written narratives, such as the EE Account, EHE Account, and the EHE Autobiography.
From the experiencer's viewpoint, his or her account of an experience in effect is a narrative he or she both reports and creates. The narrator consciously and deliberately may start the tale by recalling an experience but after awhile, as he/she calls on heights and depths and even consciousness states he or she is usually not in touch with, the tale can begin to take the narrator to new and sometimes unanticipated places in reality and in self. From the viewpoint of traditional scientists, this is fabrication, confabulation, tampering with "reality." From our perspective, which places the meaning of an experience first, it is part of the process of both reaching out to hidden meaning and letting the sometimes palpable sense of meaning provide the words, which consciously the experiencer does not have. In fact, one aim in narrating the experience is to end the narrative knowing more about self and reality, based on the experience, than the narrator did when he or she began. Experiencers can take an affirmative stance toward their experience or one of dismissal and denial. The former tend to potentiate the meaning of their experiences, whereas the latter tend to depotentiate their experiences and sometimes even themselves.. See also Depotentiation; Potentiation
An anomalous experience, whatever else it may be, is an encounter with the Other. This is a blanket term for anything considered to be different from or alien to the perceiver or experiencer. The experiencer tends to not understand the Other because he or she can feel no empathy for or sense of unity with the Other. By granting at least a provisional reality to an anomaly, however, if it is a genuine EE eventually a sense of meaning will lead the experiencer on, and if it is potentiated and becomes an EHE, the experiencer will come to know what it is to embrace the Other, which now turns out to be his/her own self, plus more. In an EHE the experiencer not only discovers the More in the Other but also in him or herself.
Term coined by Abraham Maslow for a wide variety of experiences whose core consists of those that are at the very limits of what Euro-American culture considers "normal." Most belong to the category of anomalies of personal experience rather than anomalous experiences. Although many of them are purely subjective, this category also includes many forms of exceptional human performance that are not considered beyond the bounds of possibility but that are unique to the experiencer. Maslow pointed out that many peak experiences are mystical experiences. Often they take the form of "personal bests" that extend the known limits of mental and physical apprehension and comprehension and execution as well as going beyond previous limits of emotional depths and heights. They also include "personal firsts" in the areas of thinking, feeling, knowing, learning, and performing for the first time. Also included are "normal" encounters with the exceptional such as with a holy person, a teacher, a mentor, or a charismatic individual, holy places, such as temples, mosques, cathedrals; or places associated with ancient events like the plains of Marathon, the fields of the Olympiad, the Great Pyramid, and the ruins of Mayan and Aztec temples. Most common, but not the least wondrous, is the experience of being in love and performing or being the recipient of or simply witnessing gratuitous acts of kindness and other altruistic behaviors. Running a sub four-minute mile and tying your shoelaces for the first time are both extensions of and enhancements of your being. Being carried away by music, rhetoric, reading, art, witnessing wondrous feats can all lead one to the brink of and sometimes over into an EHE. A person who extends the boundaries for the whole species, such as running the first four-minute mile or walking on the moon in some way immediately potentiates that act for the entire human species, at least those members who know about the feat. It becomes a part of our human potentiality, and realizing human potentiality is what EHEs are all about.
Abraham Maslow identified a longitudinal form of peak experience, which he called a plateau experience. In such experiences, what previously had been the "heights" or "peaks" of experience have become every day experiences, and they are experienced as very serene and over extended periods of time. Maslow wrote that in the plateau experience one perceives "under the aspect of eternity and become[s] mythic, poetic, and symbolic about ordinary things. ...There is nothing excepted and nothing special, but one lives in a world of miracles all the time" (p. 113; in S. Krippner [Ed.], 1972, Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 4, 107-120). Maslow observes that although the plateau experience includes elements common to peak experiences, such as "awe, mystery, surprise, and esthetic shock," they "are constant rather than climactic" (in Krippner, 1972, p. 113).
Note: It appears that Maslow's plateau experience in essence is similar to what we call living in the Experiential Paradigm (EP), in which one becomes one with the flow of life, not separate from it. The term "plateau," however, connotes being on one level, whereas in the EP one is in touch with everything everywhere all at once, the fullness of being, which it seems to me (White), is a long-term multidimensional experience rather than a plateau. Nonetheless, it is clear in his definition of the plateau experience that Maslow was not referring to anything boring. It appears to be a nonlocal, nonlinear world, and not our accustomed linear one. Usual life has become the Tao, where Tao is the "EP" or the "plateau." It is also similar to David Bohm's implicate order.
This term, used in connection with exceptional experience, refers to the ability of an EE to potentiate higher human potential if the experiencer responds to it in an open, welcoming, curious, and inquiring manner with a view to understanding its meaning, thus "potentiating" the EE into an EHE by realizing the former's potential meaning. The opposite is depotentiation, in which one responds to an EE by ignoring, denying, minimizing, or rationalizing it away, and thus reducing it to an experience that can be dismissed more easily. See also Depotentiation.
Project of Transcendence (PT).
After cultivating and nurturing EHEs, they may lead to a new way of being, living, and connecting in the world. This may lead to fresh insights concerning one's life purpose and "calling" that involve aspects that transcend the experiencer's ego and everyday activities and bestow a sense of grace and of doing and living as one is uniquely "meant" to do. Projects of Transcendence can be avocational, such as a specific art or craft or recreational activity (e.g., a sport), or they can be genuine callings, such as nursing, farming, studying marine mammals, veterinary work, or any number of old and new ways of making a living that is personally and cosmically meaningful. They are activities that extend over a period of time, possibly a lifetime, with built-in opportunities that enable the experiencer to grow more and give more back to life, which in turn is continually pushing the limits from within and without to new depths and heights of experience. This is because, in our view, it is the evolutionary impetus to growth and in humans, the extension of consciousness to new levels inwardly and outwardly, that is at the base of EHEs. These projects are almost always initiated by an EHE which, if assiduously followed, will lead, at the lower end, to engagement in a meaningful activity, and at the higher end, to a discipline that will fully engage the person over a long period of time, possibly a lifetime. During the course of the project the person becomes aware of a deep connection or even a oneness with a deeper self, other people, other life forms, the Earth, the Universe, and the sacred. As part of this ongoing process, more EHEs will likely be experienced. These Projects of Transcendence have existed since earliest recorded times. Every one of the world's religions is a Project of Transcendence, as is every art and craft. A Project of Transcendence is usually initiated by a call to transcendence, or what used to be known as a calling, or sense of vocation. That call is itself a form of exceptional human experience. In the past the lore concerning each art or religious discipline was carried by institutions, whether they were monasteries, guilds, or schools. Within these institutions each person was likely to have a spiritual director, master craftsman, teacher, or mentor to offer guidance concerning their exceptional experiences. One of the best modern descriptions of these projects is Inevitable Grace: Breakthroughs in the Lives of Great Men and Women: Guides to Your Self-Realization by Piero Ferrucci (Tarcher, 1990). He describes the major ways of being in the world and finding unity, which he calls the ways of beauty, action, illumination, dance and ritual, science, devotion, and will.
We can learn about Projects of Transcendence in many ways. We can read or see films or listen to tapes or talk to persons who participate in certain activities we feel an affinity to which we are drawn. And we can read biographies and autobiographical writings about/by persons who have engaged in long-term activities that partake both of interactions with the world and with others in a way that involves "soulmaking." All these ways are both based on and can give rise to further EHEs that continue the process of becoming one with everything that is. They lead the experiencer into awareness of the EHE process and ultimately, the Experiential Paradigm.
Varied experiences whose core consists of a sense of personal interaction with other people, life forms, objects, and environments in ways that cannot be explained by known sensory, perceptual, or mechanical means, or by rational inference.
PT see Project of Transcendence
The reigning authoritative perspective of how the world works as defined by the mainstream culture. Current Western culture is based on deterministic science and Judeo-Christian tenets. Issues of "common-sense" are based on these "realities." This view tends to see exceptional experiences at best as "anomalies," but the preferred is to explain them away. This is why such experiences force us to augment or even move beyond the current worldview so that it may incorporate more of what was once considered "other." The Experiential Paradigm, for example, is based on oneness and interconnectedness rather than separation. This promotes a reverence for all life rather than the view that any life form, including certain groups of humans, is open to exploitation, use, and abuse by other humans.