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Homework answers / question archive / How does bringing awareness to these curated "maps" of our world—our unique constructions of reality and consciousness, cultivate healing and move us toward wholeness? How does this inform our understanding of what wholeness is? What about "What does it mean to be whole in your culture?" What does wholeness look like in your culture? Please read ALL

How does bringing awareness to these curated "maps" of our world—our unique constructions of reality and consciousness, cultivate healing and move us toward wholeness? How does this inform our understanding of what wholeness is? What about "What does it mean to be whole in your culture?" What does wholeness look like in your culture? Please read ALL


How does bringing awareness to these curated "maps" of our world—our unique constructions of reality and consciousness, cultivate healing and move us toward wholeness? How does this inform our understanding of what wholeness is? What about "What does it mean to be whole in your culture?" What does wholeness look like in your culture?

Please read ALL . Class Notes (attached)



Text: The Spectrum of Consciousness : Chapter 8: The Great Filter (pp. 213 – 231)


Beyond the Evolutionary Paradigm in Consciousness Studies Robin Brown

The Basic Nature of Altered States of Consciousness: A systems approach Charles Tart


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  • Week 6. Biosocial Bands & Associated Therapies This module addresses the following Learning Objectives: #6 - Understand the elements of the biosocial bands of the spectrum of consciousness and their influence on our perception of Self in relation to the environment; #9 - Explore the literature and varying views of the nature of human consciousness and development. This week we move our exploration into the depths of the influences of culture, language, and socialization on our understanding of Self as conscious beings. We'll explore the Spectrum of Consciousness's biosocial bands and the corresponding therapies that seek to heal the tertiary dualism of self vs. other. Here we move through the territory of our interpersonal dynamics, our relationship with the outer world, and our quest for meaning. We'll explore how the double binds inherent in the use of language cultivate unique internal conflicts within the mind, resulting in the formation of games we cannot win. Part of our exploration will include a more in-depth look at Jung's archetypal psychology and its implications on the primary assumption of the evolving nature of human consciousness. We'll look at therapies that aim to uncover unconscious territorial maps, awakening awareness of flawed assumptions in our conscious awareness, leading us further up the spectrum toward wholeness. Reading: Text: The Spectrum of Consciousness : Chapter 8: The Great Filter (pp. 213 – 231) Articles: Beyond the Evolutionary Paradigm in Consciousness Studies Robin Brown The Basic Nature of Altered States of Consciousness: A systems approach Charles Tart Video: • How Language Shapes the Way We Think (Links to an external site.), Lera Borodistky Topic: Our discussion topic for this week reflects how our culture, language, and relationships shape the nature of our reality. Tart states, "Modern psychological research indicates clearly that ordinary consciousness is a construction, not a given, and a construction that has a very large number of arbitrary aspects in it whose value is quite arbitrary and/or culturally relative" (p.46). How does bringing awareness to these curated "maps" of our world—our unique constructions of reality and consciousness, cultivate healing and move us toward wholeness? How does this inform our understanding of what wholeness is? What about "What does it mean to be whole in your culture?" What does wholeness look like in your culture? Present your thoughts in a post of 250 words. Respond to others in the class. THE BASIC NATURE OF ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS: A SYSTEMS APPROACH Charles T. Tart University of California, Davis Institute for the Study of Human Consciousness, San Francisco This paper is an edited version of a talk presented to a meeting of the AmericanAcademy of Psychoanalysisin Detroit, Michigan, May 4, 1974. When I was asked to speak at this meeting and discuss my theory of the basic nature of altered states of consciousness, I was quite pleased with the idea of being able to speak to a group who would be able to give me useful feedback from their expertise on the workings of the mind. Little did I know, however, that I would also be asked to perform a miracle, namely to cover the basic nature of altered states of consciousness in 30 to 40 minutes! I'm going to see what I can do with this kind of challenge, but I warn you we are going to cover an awful lot of ground very rapidly in order to get this overview. Hopefully, we shall have time in the workshop this afternoon for those who would like to go into various aspects of the theory in more detail. More detailed presentations of the theory and background data can be found elsewhere (Tart, 1970; 1971a; 1971b; 1974; 1975a; 1975b). In a dozen years of reading the literature on states of consciousness, conducting extensive researches into hypnosis, sleep, dreams, and marijuana intoxication, with minor excursions into psychedelic drug phenomena and meditation, I have been struck over and over again by the degree of disorganization in this field. It's as though we have ten thousand miscellaneous pieces of data, a few pieces hanging together here, a few pieces hanging together there, and many pieces not seeming to connect with anything else. What I have mainly tried to do in the last few years, and what 1 shall share with you a theoretical framework The basic nature of altered states of consciousness: A systems approach 45 this morning is to create a theoretical framework, a paradigm, that will give some coherency to the isolated bits of data in this field and provide a useful framework for asking further q uesdons. I had originally thought of this as a theory, but I found it's of wide enough scope to be more in the order of a metatheory. Only recently I discovered the difference between a 'theory' and a 'metatheory': a theory is easily disprovable if the facts don't check out against it, but a metatheory is an obviously sensible sort of way of thinking about a field that is not easily destroyed by a few inconvenient facts, and thus carries less risk for its proponents! a psychological framework The theory 1 will give you today is a psychologicalframework, since that's the basic nature ofthe phenomena of altered states of consciousness.I shall let others try to relate it to physiological data eventually, but this framework is perfectly compatible with both physiological and behavioral data, as it is primarily a systems approach,and as the particular units from which one builds systems can be varied according to what one likes to believe is 'fundamental',I feelno need to 'physiologize' psychology in order to make it 'scientific', so I shall be happy to keep it on the psychological level. THE CONSTRUCTED NATURE OF ORDINARY CONSCIOUSNESS a questionable assumption I want to begin by reminding you ofthe questionableness of an assumption that is almost universally made by professionals in this field, one which is implicitly and emotionally made even when it's not intellectually accepted, namely the assumption that our ordinary state of consciousness is somehow the 'best' or 'optimal' state or organization of consciousness that a human being can have, and that all altered states of consciousness are somehow inferior or pathological variants of this. Modern psychological research indicates clearly that ordinary consciousness is a construction, not a given, and a construction that has a very large number of arbitrary aspects in it whose value is quite arbitrary and/or culturally relative. Figure I illustrates a concept I call the spectrum of human potentialities. Byvirtue of being born a human being you have a certain kind of body and nervous system operating in the environment of spaceship earth. That means there are an untold number of thousands of potentials which could be developed in you. Everyone, however, is born into a particular culture, and we can view any human culture as a group of people who have, through various historical processes, decided that some of these human potentialities are good and so to be encouraged, others are bad and so to be discouraged, and 46 Journal of TranspersonalPsychology, 1976, Vol. 8 ,No.1 ____ !It.ACCEPTANCE, ,. ---0 CULTIVATION REJECTION, SUPPRESSION ---"t'-- NOCONNECTION Figure 1; Spectrum of human potentialities. many others simply have not been heard of. So culture A in Figure 1 selects certain human potentialities for development, the ones shown with arrows, and blocks others, the ones shown with hexagons. Culture B makes different, possibly partially overlapping, selections from the spectrum. Both cultures ignore many potentialities. This should remind us that the 'normal' state of consciousness any adult ends up with is culturally relative, and represents only a small fraction of the potentialHiesopen to a human being. As we are all too aware, of course, each local culture tends to think of its particular selection of human potentialities as the best possible and likely to regard other cultures as 'primitive' or semi-human. Now let us change the labels in Figure 1 to make this a spectrum of experiential potentialities, the various potentials for different kinds of conscious experiences. We could again take the selection foci as two cultures, but this time let us consider them as two states of consciousness in a given individual. (I shall later define the concept of a state of consciousness more specifically, but here we will use the term generally.) State of consciousness A, which might be our ordinary state of consciousness, develops and uses some human potentials and rejects others. State B has a different gamut of selections and rejections. Insofar as an individual is dissatisfied with his life in state A, he may find some of the potentials available in state B, but not available in his ordinary state of consciousness, very intriguing and of considerable value. This is the basis of the Widespread cultural interest in altered states today, as more and more people find the lifestyle in their ordinary state of consciousness unsatisfactory. I refer not simply to neurotic dissatisfaction, failure to function smoothly within a culture, but also to the existential dissatisfaction of the successful. selectionrejection of states of consciousness The basic nature of alteredstates of consciousness:A systems approach 47 enculturation process basic molecular components Looking at this a little more systematically, a human being comes into the world with a basic capacity for attention or awareness, and with a given biological structure. Figure 2 shows the enculturation process in schematic form. On the left is the basic capacity for awareness. Then come various fixed biological structures which must develop if a person is to be a human being. These include such things as the capacity for language. To use John Lilly's (1967) analogy of the human biocomputer, we n o tonly have awareness, but we come with a certain design of computer, and certain ready-made programs are already stored in the computer. Then we have many other potential programs, given potentialities which may develop if the culture reinforces them, but which do not necessarily have to develop. Finally we have what may be the most distinctly human category, the many potentially programmable structures or capacities, the blank spaces in the computer that can be filled in, Because of pressures from the culture, from the physical environment, and from random factors, there is a process of selective development and inhibition of both the capacity for awareness and the various fixed and programmable structures, until finally we talk about an adult having a 'normal' state of consciousness. Normal, of course, is defined relative to the culture. The achievement of this normal state of consciousness is also part of the process of learning to function in consensusreality,the reality we learn to perceiveas it is defined by and perceived by significant agents of the enculturation process. To begin our systems approach more formally, consider the elements or basic molecular components of the system we can (a state of) consciousness. A molecular approach to looking at consciousness is to see that it basically consists of attention! awareness, which can act as a kind of activating energy, and of large numbers of structures. The structures are what we mean by things such as arithmetical skills, ability to dance, various types of emotions, etc. These structures are always present in non-activated form, but can be activated either by having attention/awareness focusedon them, and/or by other kinds of biological or psychological energies flowing into them. Now I am skimming rapidly over the concepts of attention as a kind of psychic energy and of the existence of (psychic) structures because these are concepts familiar to those with psychoanalytic training, and I suspect I am using them in a fairly straightforward psychoanalytic sense. But I do want to make two important points about them before we move on. First, I have been saying attention! awareness to indicate that not only do we have a basic capacity for being aware, for being conscious in some sense, but it is partially directable, thus we 48 Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1976, Vol. 8, No.1 SPECTRUMOF HUMANPOTENTIALITIES _---------A CAPACITY FOR AWARENESS FIXED STRUCTURES WHICH MUST .... ------ __ FIXED STRUCTURES WHICH POTENTIAL PROGRAMMABLE STRUCTURES DEVELOP \\ DEVELOPMENT I SELECTION I INHIBITION ~ (~~~Wt:LL) ~ FORCES RANDOM \'V:! // fc ~ cd~~~~is~~ss \ y oN SENSUS.... , T REAL Figure2: Enculturation. speak of attention. I emphasize the 'partially', however, for we almost never have anything like a total ability to control our attention volitionally. If one looks at many meditative systems and other systems for spiritual development (Tart, 1975a), a main technique running through all of them is training in learning to focus attention more selectively. Since attention I awareness serves to activate structures by being able to deploy attention at will, one potentially can have enormous control over the activity of consciousness. Second, we must note that various structures have important, innate properties that determine if and how they may interact with other structures. Figure 3 illustrates this, using the analogy of structures being like various shaped blocks which must exist in a gravitational field, this field being analogous to the energetic functioning of the system comprising a state of consciousness functioning in an environment. There are four illustrations here of ways different kinds of blocks can be stacked up to form structures that will be stable in the gravitational field. The one in the upper left-hand corner (A) for instance, is quite stable in the gravitational field.The one in the upper middle (B) is easily disrupted by a push on the arc structure because of leverage. The one in the right-hand corner (C) is much taller, but rather vulnerable to sideways pushes. We may think of states of consciousness (or of cultures) as being ways of interconnecting various human potentials into analogies for states of consciousness The basic nature of altered states ofconsciousness: A systems approach 49 A G R A V I T E y Figure 3: Constraints and limits of structure. functioning systems. One gets certain useful things out of various combinations of potentials, but has various vulnerabilities as a result Fancifully, we may say the state of consciousness in the left-hand corner (A) presents a very 'straight' and stable state of consciousness that may be somewhat dull, but certainly resists the vicissitudes of life, while the one in the upper right-hand corner (C) enables its possessor to get 'high', but is rather susceptible to certain kinds of stresses. limitations 50 The structure in the lower left-hand corner (D), by contrast, indicates an obviously impossible organization. You can't put blocks together like this in a gravitational field, as it will collapse the-instant you remove the constructing forces. Similarly, one can think of the possible combinations of human potentialities which one simply never hears of as existing in stable systems. This suggests very strongly that the number of ways you can combine human potentialities into a state of consciousness is indeed limited. I do not think our current knowledge of exactly what these limits are is any too good, but we must be aware of this. Again using John Lilly's analogy of the human biocornputer, the biological computer given 11Sis apparently not totally 'general purpose'. There are a lot of programs you can put into it, but there are some programs you just can't run on a functioning human biocomputer. This means Journal ofTranspersonal Psychology, 1976,Vol. 8, No.1 that the number of states of consciousness one can have will be limited. DISCRETE STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS J am now ready to define what a state of consciousness is. As a preface I should note, with some guilt, since J helped to popularize the terms 'state of consciousness' and 'altered state of consciousness' (Tart, 1969), that those two terms are now generally used in such an ambiguous way as to be almost meaningless. People use 'state of consciousness' simply to mean what's on their mind at any moment, and if it changes a moment later then they talk about an altered state of consciousness. So now as I touch the top of my head I am in 'top of the head state of consciousness', and now as I touch my chest I am in the 'altered state of consciousness' of 'chest consciousness', etc. Clearly this use is so ambiguous as to simply contribute confusion. I am now attempting to introduce two new terms, discrete state of consciousness and discrete altered state of consciousness for scientific usage, and I shall define these in a moment. Recall that on a molecular level the systems approach to (states of) consciousness has two basic components, energies and structures. We have a kind of basic awareness, partially directable so that we call it attention/awareness, as well as other forms of biological and psychic energy, and we have various kinds of semi-permanent structures that are activated by attention/ awareness and other kinds of psychic and biological energy. Figure 3, illustrating the limitations of structure, is partially misleading in that it illustrates a static kind of system. As our first look at a discrete state of consciousness, we can consider it a large number of psychological structures, dynamically interacting with each other as attention I awareness energy and other kinds of psychic and biological energy circulate through the structures of the system. There are certain preferred, habitual paths of energy circulation, and others which are seldom used. Certain structures, which are latent in a given state of consciousness, receive no energy ordinarily at all and so are not active. Other kinds of structures receive certain kinds of psychic energies but not the energy that attention I awareness constitutes, and so affect the quality of consciousness of the system indirectly. These, of course, are what we mean by the 'unconscious' . states and altered states two new terms dynamic interactions Figure 4 is a representation of a discrete state of consciousness as a system. Each of the circles of various sizes represents different sorts of human potentialities. The heavy lines repre- The basic nature of altered states of consciousness: A systems approach 5I r;:;>~ rA.. UNTAPPED t.....JPOTENTIALS () Figure 4: Representation of a d-Sot" as a configuration of structures/ subsystems forming a recognizable pattern. Light lines and circles represent potential interactions and potentialities/structures/subsystems not used in the baseline d-SoC. sent attention/awareness energy and other kinds of psychic energy flow routes which keep certain structures connected and interacting with one another in a relatively stable and habitual sort of fashion. Input from the environment, filtered by selective attention, also tends to activate certain structures habitually. In the upper right hand corner I have shown certain human potentialities as untapped, not connected with the system. By the light lines I have shown another possible way of connecting up various structures of human potentialities to form a different kind of system, a system with a different configuration. We shall come to that in a moment. discrete state pattern 52 Now [ shall formally define a discrete state of consciousness (d-SoC) for a given individual (and I emphasize for a given individual) as a unique configurationor system of psychological structures or subsystems. The structures or subsystems show some quantitativeand minor qualitative variation in the which theyprocessinformation or cope or haveexperiences,but the structuresor subsystemsand their energeticpattern of inter- Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1976, Vol. 8, No.1 actions comprisea 'system'. The operations of the components, thepsychologicalstructures,interact with each other and stabilize each other'sfunctioning by means of feedback control such that the system, the discretestate of consciousness,maintains its overallpatterning offunctioning within a varying environment. That is, the parts of the system that comprise a discrete state of consciousness may vary over various ranges if we look at individual components, but the overall, general configuration, the overall pattern of the system remains recognizably the same. As an analogy, you can drive your car faster or slower, with a varying number of passengers in it, or change the color of the seat covers, but it retains its identity as the system we know as an automobile. So one may have variations in consciousness, such as being more or less activated, more or less aware of the environment, etc. that represent quantitative changes in certain subsystems or structures of the system, but they do not change the overall, recognizable configuration of the system as being that of our ordinary state of consciousness, or, for that matter, of any particular discrete state of consciousness. The way to understand a discrete state of consciousness, then, is not only to investigate the structure of the parts in a more and more molecular way, but also to be aware of the way in which the parts interact and the 'gestalt' sys~ tern-properties of the configuration that arise that may not be predictable from a knowledge of the parts alone. Figure 5 illustrates what I mean by a discrete altered state of consciousness (d~ASC). Now the pattern that was the background of the previous figure becomes the foreground, and the earlier pattern is the background. We have a radical reorganization of the selection of structures making up consciousness and/ or the pattern of energetic and informational interaction between them. The basic difference of a discrete altered state of consciousness from the baseline state, the discrete state of consciousness we take as a reference, is that the system-properties now produce something quite different. You might say there has been a quantum jump to a quite different type of organization (Tart, 1975b). If we take your automobile apart and use the parts to form the components of an airplane, with the addition of a few other parts (corresponding to latent potentials), we obviously have a quite different system, although one can certainly find similarities of functioning in particular parts. interaction ofparts discrete altered state pattern I am deliberately stressing radical reorganization or a kind of quantum jump here in order to keep the concept of a discrete state of consciousness useful. A discrete state is discretely different from some other state. On the psychological level, one might, for example, argue that one can dream about almost anything that one can experience in the waking state. The basicnatureof alteredstatesof consciousness:A systemsapproach 53 ~ /-----, I f \ \ / '-------j) t

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