The history of psychology reveals that some researchers held spiritually inclined views towards such phenomena. Charles Mesmer and his followers of Animal Magnetism, for instance, believed that a mysterious, universal cosmic fluid connected all elements of the universe, to include healer and patient.
The “magnetizers” believed that this fluidic substance could be channeled and directed among individuals, the net result being a kind of communication through a fluidic medium of thoughts, emotions and sensations.
This rapport could become so intense that patients sometimes became obsessed with their healer. The condition apparently became even more pronounced when the mystical rapport-at-a-distance had an erotic, sensual component.
The pop singer Bjork perhaps similarly speaks of a mysterious “sex without touching” in her album Post (1995).
Look at the speed out there
It magnetizes me to it
And I have no fear
I’m only into this to
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
I wish I’d only look
And didn’t have to touch…
How can I ignore?
This is sex without touching
I’m going to explore
However, it’s difficult to know what alleged mystics are really talking about due to the essentially interior nature of their experience.
But this isn’t just a problem with the inner life of the mystic. Some philosophers of conventional perception contend that a similar problem arises with statements about external reality. For instance, the ‘color inversion’ problem of philosophy asks whether one person’s perception of the color ‘x’ is another’s perception of the color ‘y.’ Until advanced neurological transplants become commonplace, we’ll probably never know. And even then, we still might not.
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