Posted by: Xhyra Graf | 10 January 2007


Qualia or the Subjective Quality of Experience within Creative and Religious Practice

Probable Verbiage:

The research focus is the subjective quality of experience, specifically within religious and creative experience. Special attention will be paid to the Numinous and Mystical within Religious Experience and the artist’s experience during the creative act that since Michael Csikszentmihalyi coining of the phrase has been commonly referred to as “Flow.”  The commonalities and dissonances between both types of experiences will be explored, synthesized and then cross-referenced to concepts within Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science. 

These types of experiences are both highly subjective and traditionally viewed as primae facie objectively inaccesible; what will be subsequently referred to as ‘wholly’ subjective.  Empirically minded persons especially, think of religious experience as highly questionable and creativity research is a nascent field that is rarely approached from the subjective point of view.  More so than the garden variety experiences of looking at a landscape, having a conversation or remembering, the subjectivity of these experiences stand as exemplars of the difficulties that can be associated with subjective experience. However, these experiences are not uncommon, even seeming to correlate across social and cultural boundaries. 

Religious Experience, even the wholly subjective portions, has wide-ranging literature.  Although proper research on and delineation of the most subjective and intriguing portion of the creative experience is historically poor, this research will narrow in on portions of the Creative Act because it is reasoned to be the more rationally and experimentally accessible than the Religious Experience; in fact, there is already some understanding of the Creative Experience within psychology or psychoanalysis and existing creativity research.  Unfortunately, these are steeped in the current paradigm of a solely ‘objective” approach to investigating human experience that at bottom holds that subjective experience has no veracity or correspondence to reality.*

*Evidential Force



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