The persistence throughout history of intense religious experiences testifies to its importance in understanding human nature. In examining phenomena such as case histories of religious conversions, the lives of saints, the mystical experiences of “cosmic consciousness,” and reincarnation, William James makes a case for the existence of real power or powers external to particular consciousnesses. He argues that due to the incommensurable variety of these experiences, no specific meaning can be attached to them that could support any one established religion over any other.
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