The writings of the French philosopher Georges Bataille (1897-1962) offer their own contribution to the descriptive phenomenology of mystical and numinous states, as well as a version of the modern secular or this-worldly mysticism variously anticipated by Jung and Nietzsche, and a highly original sociology and social psychology of transpersonal experience, influenced by Max Weber, that helps to open an area not widely developed in recent studies. At the same time, the trauma and personal difficulties in Bataille’s life serve as a stark example of the often distortive effects of spiritual metapathologies on inner development. Bataille’s views of ecstatic states as entirely an immanent human capacity, in which he was greatly influenced by Nietzsche, offer an opportunity to address larger issues of the “truth value” of mystical states in contemporary transpersonal studies.

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