Religion and the Appresentative Mindset

Michael D. Barber 1
  • 1 Saint Louis University, , Saint Louis, United States of America


Following Alfred Schutz’s “On Multiple Realities,” the religious province of meaning, like the provinces of phantasy, dreaming, and theoretical contemplation, differs from the “world of working,” everyday life’s form of spontaneity, because its tension of consciousness is more relaxed. The relative passivity characterizing the religious province, which depends on a benevolent transcendent accompanying everyday projects and overcoming the distance between the believer and itself, appears also in religion’s release of subliminal processes (e.g., in religious dreams) and in its reliance on passive syntheses. Such syntheses occur in appresentative pairing and apperceptual transfers among diverse symbols and between symbols and the transcendent. Consequently, the religious province becomes a very important site for the “appresentative mindset.” In addition, the peculiar epoché of the province is symbolically induced when the very symbol (e.g. temple or ritual) that serves as the gateway into the province and separates it from the “profane” world of everyday life also appresents the transcendent. The unrestrained reliance on appresentative pairing within the religious province overflows its boundaries as the mundane events of everyday life come to appresent the transcendent. The release of subliminal processes and unreflective, passive synthesizing, however, requires critique through theory, Levinasian ethics, and legal and social restraints.

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Open Theology is an international Open Access, peer-reviewed academic journal that welcomes contributions written in English addressing religion in its various forms and aspects: historical, theological, sociological, psychological, and other.