How do people get out of their heads in western culture? Ecstasy – defined as the experience of going beyond your ordinary sense of self and connecting to something bigger than you – was marginalised and pathologized in western culture from the 16th century onwards. Since the 1960s, however, it has made a comeback, through counter-culture and the rise of charismatic Christianity. This project asks: is ecstasy always pathological, or can it be good for us and our societies? And how are contemporary psychology and psychiatry coming to appreciate ‘anomalous experiences’?
The Ecstasy strand is led by Jules Evans, a Research Fellow on Living with Feeling