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Audio-6 Liester & Alsum - The Re-mystification of Visions

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Mitch Liester & Steve Alsum - The Re-mystification of Visionary Experiences: Understanding the differences between visions & hallucinations

Visions and hallucinations are related but distinct phenomena. For thousands of years, visions were cherished as a doorway to transcendent realities. During the Enlightenment, with the age of reason, and with social and religious changes in Europe, the place of visions became demystified and demonized. Positive Science, a central element in the "cultural air" of the Western World, determined that the use and place of visions were for the "childhood" phase of humankind development, but now with the age of science, we have outgrown our need for them. With the birth of the field of psychiatry, visions came to be viewed as pathological and were incorrectly characterized as "hallucinations." The demystification and pathologizing of visions results in unnecessary suffering in the individuals who have these experiences and contributes to social ills in their communities. Historical factors leading to the demystification of visions are examined. Five types of death-related visions are presented. Strategies for re-mystifying visionary experiences are offered. Finally, the consequences of demystifying and the benefits of re-mystifying visions are discussed.

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