What is the source of philosophical thought? Why do we ask fundamental questions about human existence? Early philosophers like Socrates, whose ideas and practices were shamanistic, believed that rational thinking was rooted in and fed by non-rational experiences, such as visions, dreams, trances, ecstasies, mystical encounters, and other experiences of wonder that excite our curiosity and imagination. But modern Western philosophy largely rejected this older view, holding instead that genuine philosophical analysis can only arise through the purging of all such “extra-rational” inﬂuences that interfere with our use of reason, logic, and observation via the physical senses. This paper outlines a new research project, to be undertaken by the author in concert with The Monroe Institute®, that is designed to explore the question of how experiences of “wonder” relate to processes of philosophical-type thinking, and in particular how this question is addressed by TMI program participants.
Following is an edited and condensed version of Dr. Felser’s presentation at the Professional Seminar, a progress report on his long-term study of Exceptional Human Experiences (EHEs), Becoming Our Own Guinea Pigs.
Jeff Robertson shifted from real estate development and sailing to personal growth and transformation in the early ‘90s. His current business, Essential Adventures, offers personal growth workshops that intend heart-centered transformation. Jeff divides his spare time between writing, playing the market, and perceiving the magic that surrounds us.