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Guidelines for Exceptional Human Experience
Two referees in addition to the editor review the articles in Part I of Exceptional Human Experience. The referees are usually selected from among the Editorial Advisors listed on the title page of each issue, but sometimes outside specialists are consulted. The advisors were chosen because of their sound academic knowledge of EHEs and their openness to experiences. Experiential accounts and EHE autobiographies are not refereed.
We follow a modification of the American Psychological Association's Publication Manual (4th ed.), but if you cite a journal article or book or chapter, as long as you provide complete information (for book: author(s) and/or editor(s), title, subtitle, place of publication, publisher, copyright date and if a book chapter, the inclusive pagination; for a journal or magazine or newsletter, the author(s), title of article, full journal/newsletter title, volume, issue number, month/season, and inclusive pagination), we will arrange it according to our style. It is very important to give page numbers for all quoted materials, even if they are phrases, not sentences. Manuscripts should be typed or word-processed in double-space format. We do not indent the first line of references as recommended by the APA's 4th edition. Either use a hanging indent or no indent at all. In the latter case, put a blank line between references. Indent all new paragraphs of text and do not separate paragraphs by a blank line. Please submit three copies of articles, two for the referees and one for the editor.
Much more important than the format is the content of what is written for EHE. Our main interest is in descriptions of any of the many kinds of EHEs (see List of Potential EHEs) and of their meaning for the experiencer. We are also interested in articles on how best to approach and describe EHEs and their aftereffects (i.e., methodological articles, such as a phenomenological approach, metaphorical approach, literary approach, etc.). We are also interested in theoretical articles about exceptional experiences, especially those that view them from the vantage point of another discipline (education, sociology, anthropology, literature, biology, psychotherapy, nursing, etc.) or that point to their relevance to global problems, such as the environment, abuse, lack of reverence for life.
However, we must issue an important caveat here. We are not interested in theoretical articles that do not connect directly to or are not in congruence with the insights inherent in a particular exceptional human experience or exceptional human experience in general. This means we are not interested in any metaphysical schemes or rational arguments, no matter how cogent, unless they are about exceptional human experience or outgrowths of exceptional experience, or unless the author directly connects the ideas to exceptional experience (his or her own or those of others) in some way or other. Our rule is that if you want to write about exceptional human experiences, what you write must be informed by such experiences. This is because we feel one thing that is wrong with the Western worldview is the emphasis on thoughts divorced from experience. We share our thoughts with others but rarely do we honor the experiences that gave rise to them by sharing them as well. We have privileged rationality so highly that much of the time we are not even aware of the experience(s) that gave rise to our thoughts! That is why we emphasize the exceptional experiences-they are less easy to forget-though they often lend themselves to repression. We also are privileging exceptional experiences because they give rise to exceptional thoughts-"exceptional" in terms of the mechanistic worldview.
To cite an example of what we don't want: The editor is very interested in a specific exceptional human experience called the literary experience, which refers to certain literary passages or works that as a whole or part induce an EHE. As long ago as 1921 a man named Mordell wrote a dissertation on the capacity of literary works to induce a trance. In his entire book he does not give one example! Presumably he could not have set forth his ideas if he did not have literary experiences himself or studied those of others. But due to the prevailing mind-set, it was deemed worthwhile only to present the distillation of ideas that resulted from those experiences; the experiences themselves were considered superfluous. Yet it was the experiences that connected the observer/participant to the subject, the others, and to life itself.
Exceptional Human Experience is interested in (a) the experiences themselves, (b) the aftereffects of such experiences, and (c) articles that show the connection between the two. Sometimes ideas come fortuitously, often by synchronicity and serendipity. We welcome such ideas, as long as the serendipitous or synchronistic experiences are described in detail as well as the ideas they gave rise to. We are not interested in ideas alone separated from their origins. We believe the best way to communicate ideas to others through writing is to connect them to one's own experience or that of others. Then people can see how you arrived at your ideas. Because we are convinced that the primary import of EHEs is that at some level we are one, if the experience of another is described, we are free to build on that experience ourselves, even though we may not have had it ourselves.
In fact, one form of exceptional experience we call a vicarious EHE, because it occurs when listening to or reading about someone else's experience. The aftereffects of a vicarious EHE are usually not as dramatic as firsthand experience, but they can be very compelling and long lasting. Ideally, we would like everything published in EHE to be a vicarious EHE for at least some of our readers.
Usually literature is the medium considered to be capable of inducing an EHE, or epiphany, and we include it in our list of exceptional experiences under the heading of literary experience. It is closely allied to the aesthetic experience in art. Our aim in EHE is to present in the form of a prose account about exceptional experience or a methodological paper about ways of learning more about EHEs or a theoretical paper aimed at shedding light on EHEs that are sufficiently described so that they can induce a vicarious EHE. Many of the books reviewed in EHE do this for the editor, who reviews them. Examples are Grace and Grit by Ken Wilber and Beyond My Wildest Dreams by Kim Carlsberg. One quality that seems necessary is to emphasize the personal meaning of the subject matter. We hypothesize that by presenting your own unique door to exceptional experience you will communicate to others in a direct fashion not possible by simply rationally marshaling and organizing facts and presenting ideas that result from doing so. Our third founding hypothesis is that by presenting our unique exceptional experiences to others, which can be a very scary experience, we activate the self we all are and a sense of communion and communication is kindled in this way that is otherwise not possible. Because we are all different, we are the same!
Any article written in this unique personal way on any aspect or approach to exceptional experience is one we would like to consider publishing.We realize this is not a standard editorial requirement, so all we ask of authors is that they (a) try to comply, and (b) be willing to accept the editor's guidance in pointing out where they have not made the connection clear, and (c) be willing to revise their manuscripts until it is clear. If authors cannot relate their ideas to any specific EHE, they should try to relate it to published or unpublished experiences of others.
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