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Transrational, or "transrational reality," refers to the experience of objective nonpersonal, nonrational phenomena occurring in the natural universe, information and experience that does not readily fit into standard cause and effect logical structure; the kinds of experience that typically are labeled and dismissed as superstition, irrational, and, in the extreme, abnormal or crazy.[1] It differs from the ‘supernatural’ and the ‘rational’ in that it neither directly controverts nor affirms logical sense or reason. A transrational experience is not pathological. The transrational does not engage with the question of how to sensibly fit an experience into a rational framework, instead allowing the experience to remain as it was experienced or witnessed, uninterpreted by rational sensemaking or meaning-making. The experience is what it is and is taken on its own terms.

The concept was first conceptualized in this sense by Jungian analyst Jerome Bernstein in 2000,[2] however it had also been used to very different effect by Ken Wilber in his 1995 book, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality.

People are so afraid of being considered pre-rational that they avoid and deny the very possibility of the transrational. Others substitute mere pre-rational emotions for authentic religious experience, which is always transrational (Ken Wilber).


  1. [After an account of human communication with animals and stones] “Of course, many of us shudder when we think of some of our companions who do talk with inanimate objects or invisible friends. Yet even here, I think that psychologists’ scholarly prejudices have often overcome their common sense and analytical skills. The point is not whether people talk to animals and plants, but the validity of the messages that are given and received. In other words, people picking up gibberish should be given therapy. When a person is told, however, that a certain plant, used in a particular way, is excellent for curing boils, stopping bleeding, or reducing fevers—and the cure works—that is another matter altogether.”[3]
  2. “Grim omens…Premonitory dreams and waking fantasies prior to the events of 9/11”, and “synchronous experiences that saved their lives: people who reported inexplicable dread or sudden illness that kept them away from their jobs; people who ‘simply’ turned around and went home, inexplicably, before any of the events at the WTC or pentagon occurred.”[4]
  3. The common experience of waking just prior to an alarm clock ringing.
  4. Modern examples of animal communication (e.g. Anna Breytenbach).[5]
  5. See also Zaum.[6][circular reference]


  1. ^ Bernstein, Jerome S. Introduction. Living in the Borderland: The Evolution of Consciousness and the Challenge of Healing Trauma. London: Routledge, 2005. xv-xvi.
  2. ^ Bernstein, Jerome. "Listening in the Borderlands." The Salt Journal 2.2 (January/February 2000): 13-21. [The concept was first published, though not named, by Bernstein in this article, and was later coined “transrational” in lectures that year and in subsequent publications.]
  3. ^ Deloria, Vine. C. G. Jung and the Sioux Traditions: Dreams, Visions, Nature and the Primitive. Ed. Philip Joseph. Deloria and Jerome S. Bernstein. New Orleans: Spring Journal, 2009. 130.
  4. ^ Bernstein, Jerome S. Introduction. Living in the Borderland: The Evolution of Consciousness and the Challenge of Healing Trauma. London: Routledge, 2005. 174-5.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Zaum