Does Eddie Butler’s Changeup Provoke Mystical Experience? by Carson Cistulli July 16, 2013 Embedded here is footage of right-handed Colorado prospect Eddie Butler striking out Boston shortstop prospect Xander Bogaerts prospect by means of an excellent 90-mph changeup during Sunday afternoon’s Futures Game in New York. Having inspected it (i.e. the footage) at some length, the reader might have occasion to enter a state unfamiliar to him. “Is this what’s known as a mystical experience?” that same reader might ask. “Quite possibly,” is the answer. For the reader’s convenience in discerning the presence of same, here are the four qualities native to mystical experience as described by William James in his seminal work The Varieties of Religious Experience: 1. Ineffability — “[I]ts quality must be directly experienced; it cannot be imparted or transferred to others. In this peculiarity mystical states are more like states of feeling than like states of intellect. No one can make clear to another who has never had a certain feeling, in what the quality or worth of it consists.” 2. Noetic quality — “[M]ystical states seem to those who experience them to be also states of knowledge. They are states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority for after-time.” 3. Transiency — “Mystical states cannot be sustained for long. Often, when faded, their quality can but imperfectly be reproduced in memory; but when they recur it is recognized; and from one recurrence to another it is susceptible of continuous development in what is felt as inner richness and importance.” 4. Passivity — “[W]hen the characteristic sort of consciousness once has set in, the mystic feels as if his own will were in abeyance, and indeed sometimes as if he were grasped and held by a superior power. Some memory of [the experience] always remains, and a profound sense of [its] importance. [It modifies] the inner life of the subject between the times of [its] recurrence. Sharp divisions in this region are, however, difficult to make, and we find all sorts of gradations and mixtures.” *Credit to Mike Rosenbaum of The Golden Sombrero for making the GIFs that originally appeared in this post.