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 ortouched, 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.