Religious Experiences


"The confidences of a 'psychical researcher'." Autograph manuscript, signed, [1909]. b MS Am 1092.9 (4545)

In this essay, published in the American Magazine in October, 1909, James wrote: “Out of my experience, such as it is (and it is limited enough) one fixed conclusion dogmatically emerges, and that is this, that we with our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest. The maple and the pine may whisper to each other with their leaves. . . .But the trees also commingle their roots in the darkness underground, and the islands also hang together through the ocean’s bottom. Just so there is a continuum of cosmic consciousness, against which our individuality builds but accidental fences, and into which our several minds plunge as into a mother-sea or reservoir.”