Altered States of Consciousness and Religion (1)
116 , 2015-03-31 , 東京大学文学部宗教学研究室
The characteristics of the experiences of heart moving, concentration, are almost the same as what Abraham Maslow calls ‘peak experience’. In all of them, we find ecstasy, the confusion or loss of normal senses, meditative concentration, ‘cosmic unconsciousness’, etc. These experiences occur in Altered States of Consciousness (ASC), as opposed to Normal States of Consciousness (NSC). John Dewey distinguishes ‘religion’, an institution requiring faith and practice, from the ‘religious’, which we find in all areas of experiences as ‘quality experience’. The former can be called religion, the latter ‘religion’'that includes the experiences of heart moving, concentration, ‘peak experience’. Toshimasa Saitō says NSC changes to ASC with malfunction of the action system that intends to adapt humans to their environment. Concretely, ASC occurs when the inner and outer impulses get below or above a certain level. Kenta Sakai, revising Saitō's argument, notes the compound character of human consciousness and argues NSC changes easily to ASC; he calls the state of being conscious of that change, ‘meditative states of consciousness’. That can be considered ‘religion’.