Theoretical Approaches to Connection

From The SpiritWiki

There are three general approaches to the study of connection experience, an reductionist approach, an adaptive approach, and a transformative approach.


The reductionist approach reduces mysticism, often in a normative and dismissive manner, to neurological/psychoanalytic phenomenon (i.e. an infantile state).

Theorists who take a reductionist approach: Sigmund Freud

The adaptive approach frames connection experiences as healing.

Theorists who take an adaptive approach:

The transformative approach frames connection experiences as capable of leading to profound personal, psychological, sociological, political transformations. [1]

Theorists who take a transformative approach: Romain Rolland


  1. Parsons, William B. The Enigma of the Oceanic Feeling: Revisioning the Psychoanalytic Theory of Mysticism. Cambridge, MA: Oxford University Press, 1999.