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|1 pages

The feeling

chapter 1|23 pages

Cuteness and cosmos

chapter 2|23 pages

The signs and sensations

part II|1 pages

The basic theory and everyday experiences

part III|1 pages

Getting deeper into it

chapter |3 pages

A pivotal idea

Kama muta is a long-run cause of the cultural practices that evoke it

chapter 7|29 pages

How not to reify words

chapter 8|27 pages

The arts of kama muta

chapter 9|13 pages

Disasters, memorials, and mementos

part IV|1 pages


chapter 11|10 pages

Mystical religious experiences

chapter 12|15 pages

Hinduism and Buddhism

chapter 13|7 pages


chapter 14|4 pages

Kama muta in pilgrimage

chapter 15|22 pages

Millennia of meanings of Christian tears

chapter 16|10 pages

The locus of kama muta in religion

part V|1 pages

The big picture

chapter 18|11 pages

The joys of knowing kama muta

chapter 19|12 pages

The adventures of the unknown