Prophecy - Psychological Understandings

Psychological Understandings

The phenomenon of prophecy is not well understood in psychology research literature. Psychiatrist and neurologist Arthur Deikman describes the phenomenon as an "intuitive knowing, a type of perception that bypasses the usual sensory channels and rational intellect."

“(P)rophecy can be likened to a bridge between the individual ‘mystical self’ and the communal ‘mystical body’,” writes religious sociologist Margaret Poloma. Prophecy seems to involve “the free association that occurred through the workings of the right brain.”

Psychologist Julian Jaynes proposed that this is a temporary accessing of the bicameral mind; that is, a temporary separating of functions, such that the authoritarian part of the mind seems to literally be speaking to the person as if a separate (and external) voice. Jaynes posits that the gods heard as voices in the head were and are organizations of the central nervous system. God speaking through man, according to Jaynes, is a more recent vestige of God speaking to man; the product of a more integrated higher self. When the bicameral mind speaks, there is no introspection. We simply experience the Lord telling us what to do. In earlier times, posits Jaynes, there was additionally a visual component, now lost.

Child development and consciousness author Joseph Chilton Pearce remarked that revelation typically appears in symbolic form and “in a single flash of insight.” He used the metaphor of lightning striking and suggests that the revelation is “a result of a buildup of resonant potential.” Pearce compared it to the earth asking a question and the sky answering it. Focus, he said, feeds into “a unified field of like resonance (and becomes) capable of attracting and receiving the field’s answer when it does form."

Some cite aspects of cognitive psychology such as pattern forming and attention to the formation of prophecy in modern day society as well as the declining influence of religion in daily

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