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Epiphany (feeling)

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As a feeling, an epiphany is a sudden realisation or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has "found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture," or has new information or experience, often insignificant by itself, that illuminates a deeper or numinous foundational frame of reference.

The word's secular usage may owe some of its popularity to James Joyce, who expounded on its meaning in the fragment Stephen Hero and the novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916). Referring to those times in his life when something became manifest, a deep realisation, he would then attempt to write this epiphanic realisation in a fragment. Joyce also used epiphany as a literary device within each short story of his collection Dubliners (1916) as his protagonists came to sudden recognitions that changed their view of themselves or their social condition and often sparking a reversal or change of heart.

For the philosopher, Levinas, epiphany or a manifestation of the divine is seen in another's face, see face-to-face

Epiphanies have also made possible the existence of technology and the sciences. Famous epiphanies include Archimedes' realisation of how to estimate the volume of a given mass, which inspired him to shout "Eureka!" ("I have found it!")


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ca:Epifania
pt:Epifania (sensação)
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