Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently gave a short speech on her Christian religion which was both impassioned and cogent. Her allegiance is to the Jesus-affirming branch of the movement rather than the Roman-Empire influenced Old Testament ideas of the American Right Wing. That is, she affirmed the Gospel declaration that all humans are valuable, which was a defense against Roman ideas of hierarchy and stigma enforced by violence and deprivation, governed by an Emperor.
She said, "All people are holy and sacred", meaning that all deserve protection and love. I agree, but I use the same words for something different which is pretty confusing. I need a new word to describe the felt epiphany of something full of harmony and relationship with all that exists, not just humans and not just life and not just one planet. It can be produced by physical means, whether drugs or brain interventions, but only some people even realize that it exists unless they've read reports. To them it might seem crazy and, indeed, sometimes it is full of fear and horror as a bad drug trip.
"Epiphany is an “Aha!” moment. As a literary device, epiphany (pronounced ih-pif--uh-nee) is the moment when a character is suddenly struck with a life-changing realization which changes the rest of the story. Often, an epiphany begins with a small, everyday occurrence or experience." (Wiki)
"Satori, enlightenment. epiphany (noun) An illuminating realization or discovery, often resulting in a personal feeling of elation, awe, or wonder. Synonyms: enlightenment, satori." (Wiki)
Comparisons are to being struck by lightning. In movies such moments are often indicated by a ray of light striking the person. Sometimes there is a choir.
An epiphany is...
"a realization; an opening; a portal to the Divine; growing up; a magic moment that impacts you and changes you forever and you can remember it as vividly as you experienced it; a moment that changes the lens through which you view your life; our soul scratching around our head and giving us a signal to guide our lives with; a moment of descending light, open knowledge, and choice; a drastic shift in energy and change of perspective that happens in the form of a moment of clarity; something that gives you the strength to take a different direction or move forward and opens up everything; a sense of wonderment; a clarifying direction; and, that moment where you know your life is never going to be the same."
The contemporary way of talking about such intensities is to frame them as psychological or marginally rational. This discards anything supernatural and also discards the body. A lightning strike is reduced to a reading lamp. But this definition DOES admit that such a thing can happen and that it has a major impact.
Among clergy it might be named a "calling". There is great concern among those who name such a manifestation as to how to "discern" (the word seminaries use) whether it is real or not.
At the very least an epiphany asserts that there is a higher power than any human tyrant or government, no matter when or where. This is why resistance and revolution leaders value them and why Holy and Sacred are depicted in the Gospels. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez uses the words. She is saying that Holy and Sacred are designations beyond any administration or even the Rule of Law. I don't know what she would say about non-human life.
In the Christian paradigm there are three concepts: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. These are mostly political quibbling over monotheism that pushed into theology, but the Holy Ghost, sometimes depicted by the gender-fascinated as female, is connected to the idea of supernatural moments. It is sometimes seen as a "wind" that "bloweth where it listeth."
John 3:8 King James Version (KJV)
"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." (Bible Gateway)
This accounts for unexpected conversions in a person never before showing the inclination, but also may describe a "sea change" among populations without any real explanation of where the frame of mind came from. How does a paradigm change? What are the Forces on the people? It is powerful for an institution to claim and build on such a shift.
These ideas apply to any demographic, even tribes in remote places. But they would also be recognized by people in highly sophisticated settings that specialize in devotion. It is so basic as to be almost unconscious, and therefore is worth reflection. The following link is for an Aeon essay that is about an effort to get to "epiphany" but doesn't quite make it. Still, it includes some interesting thoughts, particularly in terms of motivation. (And I'd love to have seen Aldous Huxley doing "ecstatic dance"!)
I'm responding to Katz. "The first counterblast was made by the US philosopher Steven Katz in his paper ‘Language, Epistemology and Mysticism’ (1978). Katz pointed out that mystical traditions are actually very different. They are rooted in differences of language, symbolism and culture; if you try to remove ‘mystical experiences’ from that local soil and create a global synthesis, you end up with something stripped of much of its meaning. Christian mystics have Christian mystical experiences, Buddhists have Buddhist mystical experiences, and so on."
Instead of looking for the right "box" for epiphany, I'm interested in how to build a new holding structure drawn from any human culture through the medium of sensory experience according to the Valence of their lives. What is the paradigm of homeostasis in the time/place where that human is surviving?