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Keywords:

  • aesthetics;
  • mysticism;
  • neuropsychology;
  • religion;
  • spirituality

An analysis of the underlying neurophysiology of aesthetics and religiousexperience allows for the development of an Aesthetic-Religious Continuum. This continuumpertains to the variety of creative and spiritual experiences available to human beings. This mayalso lead to an understanding of the neurophysiological mechanism underlying both“positive” and “negative” aesthetics. An analysis of this continuumallows for the ability to understand the neurophenomenological aspects of a variety of humanexperiences ranging from relatively simple aesthetic experiences to profound spiritual and unitarystates such as those obtained during meditation. However, it may be possible through aneuropsychological analysis to determine the similarities that exist across such experiences.Thus, certain parts of the brain may be functioning in similar ways during different experiences.It may be the case that the specific neuropsychological components of a given experience maydepend on the strength of the affectual response of the person and the ability to mark suchexperiences as significant. Further, even though similar structures may be functioning duringdifferent experiences, their inhibitory and excitatory interactions may be different. Finally, byconsidering the Aesthetic-Religious Continuum, we may eventually arrive at a betterunderstanding of how we experience and define reality.