1st Edition

Kama Muta Discovering the Connecting Emotion

By Alan Page Fiske Copyright 2020
    410 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    410 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book describes a ubiquitous and potent emotion that has only rarely and recently been studied in any systematic manner. The words that come closest to denoting it in English are being moved or touched, having a heart-warming feeling, feeling nostalgic, feeling patriotic, or pride in family or team. In religious contexts when the emotion is intense, it may be labeled ecstasy, mystical rapture, burning in the bosom, or being touched by the Spirit. All of these are instances of what scientists now call ‘kama muta’ (Sanskrit, ‘moved by love’). Alan Page Fiske shows that what evokes this emotion is the sudden creation, intensification, renewal, repair, or recall of a communal sharing relationship – when love ignites, or people feel newly connected. He explains the social, psychological, cultural, and likely evolutionary processes involved – and how they interlock.

    Kama muta is described as it manifests in diverse settings at many points in history across scores of cultures, in everyday experiences as well as the peak moments of life. The chapters illuminate the occurrence of kama muta in a range of contexts, including religion, oratory, literature, sport, social media, and nature. The book will be of interest to students and scholars from a number of disciplines who are interested in emotion or social relationships.

    Supplementary notes can be found online at: www.routledge.com/9780367220945

    Part I: The Feeling

    Chapter 1: Cuteness and Cosmos  

    Chapter 2: The Sensations

    Chapter 3: Universal Narrative Prototypes of Reunion, Culturally Adapted to Evoke Kama Muta

    Part II: The Basic Theory, and Everyday Experiences

    Chapter 4: Homo movens: What Evokes Kama Muta Experiences, and What Motives Emerge?

    Chapter 5: Compassion, Heroism, and Victory

    Chapter 6: Strategic Evocation of Kama Muta

    Part III: Getting Deeper Into It

    A Pivotal Idea: Kama Muta Is a Long-run Cause of the Cultural Practices that Evoke It

    Chapter 7: How Not to Reify Words

    Chapter 8: The Arts of Kama Muta  

    Chapter 9: Disasters, Memorials, and Mementos

    Chapter 10: The Kama Muta Experience Is Generated by A Culturally Tuned Psychological Mechanism, The Psype

    Part IV: Religion

    Chapter 11: Mystical Religious Experiences

    Chapter 12: Hinduism and Buddhism

    Chapter 13: Islam

    Chapter 14: Kama Muta in Pilgrimage and Pain

    Chapter 15: Millennia of Meanings of Christian Tears

    Chapter 16: The Locus of Kama Muta in Religion

    Part V: The Big Picture

    Chapter 17: Psychological, Social, Cultural, and Evolutionary Dynamics of Kama Muta

    Chapter 18: The Joys of Knowing Kama Muta

    Chapter 19: The Adventures of the Unknown

    Glossary of Theoretical Constructs


    Alan Page Fiske is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.