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Document Details :
Title: The Salmon of Knowlegde, The Cloud of Unknowing, and Other Accounts of Instant Knowing
Author(s): MCGLYNN, Michael
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 26 Date: 2016
This article considers the fourteenth-century treatise The Cloud of Unknowing as a description of instant, non-sensory cognition. The text has an ostensibly particular function as an instruction manual in Christian contemplation, but bears on a universal experience, that of quickly knowing without knowing how we know. To demonstrate the universality of quick knowing, the literary motif of instant knowing is briefly considered, and a survey of intuition and non-sensory cognition in cognitive science is sustained throughout. A case is made that the author-mystic’s experience of unknowing is not unrelated to some aspects of everyday cognition. A corollary argument is made that early religious and literary texts provide new meaning when viewed as ethnographically and empirically valuable (as opposed to recursive and indeterminate).