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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Charles T. Tart - States of Consciousness (B)


States of Consciousness

    Charles T. Tart

        6.   Stabilization of a State of Consciousness



The basic function of a d-SoC is to cope successfully with an (external) environment. A d-SoC is a tool that senses and interrupts what the world is and plans and executes strategies for dealing with that changing world. A good tool should not break easily when applied to the job: the system of structures and energies that constitutes a state of consciousness should maintain its integrity in coping with the changing world it was designed for. It would be most unadaptive, for example, if, while you were driving on the freeway, your d-SoC suddenly converted to a d-ASC of great ecstasy that totally shut down your senses! A d-SoC is a dynamic system: its components change all the time, but the overall pattern/organization that is its nature is maintained because the possible interactions between the component structures and subsystems are controlled and limited by various stabilization processes.
    This chapter describes four major ways of stabilizing a system that constitutes a d-SoC. They are analogous to the ways people control one another. If you want someone to be a good citizen (1) you keep him busy with the activities that constitute being a good citizen, so he has no time or energy for anything else; (2) you reward him for carrying out these activities; (3) you punish him if he engages in undesirable activities; and (4) you try to limit his opportunities for engaging in undesirable activities. The following discussion applies to stabilizing a d-SoC as a whole, but it should also be applied to the stabilization of the individual structures/subsystems within a d-SoC.

Loading Stabilization

    The first type of stabilization is ballasting or loading, to use an electrical analogy. In electrical ballasting, you impose a large electrical load on a circuit that draws on the power resources sufficiently so that very high voltages cannot occur; the power supply lacks the capacity to produce them, given the load. Loading in general refers to any activity that draws a large proportion of the energy of the system so that the system does not have excess free energy available. A load may also store energy, giving the system inertia that prevents a sudden slowdown or speedup.
    Psychologically, loading means keeping a person's consciousness busy with desired types of activities so that too little (attention/awareness) energy is left over to allow disruption of the system's operation. As Don Juan told Carlos Castaneda {10}, people's ordinary, repeated, day-to-day activities keep their energies so bound within a certain pattern that they do not become aware of nonordinary realities.
    For example, right now, in your ordinary d-SoC, a number of things act as loading stabilization processes. The stable physical world you constantly deal with, the dependable relationships in it, give you a pattern of input that constantly stimulates you in expected patterns, in ways you are used to. If you push your hand against your chair, the chair feels solid, just as it always has felt. If you push it again, it still feels solid, and so on. You can depend on the lawfulness of the spectrum of experience we call physical reality. But, if the next time you pushed on the chair, your hand passed through it, you would be surprised or alarmed. You would begin to suspect that this was not your ordinary d-SoC or find it difficult to maintain your composure, your ordinary d-SoC.
    Your body (and your internalized body image) is another source of stabilization by loading. Every morning when you wake up you have sensations from one head, two arms, and two legs. Although the exact relationships of the parts of your body to one another change as do your body's internal feelings, the changes are within a well-learned range. If you suddenly felt half your body starting to disappear, you would question whether you were in your ordinary d-SoC.
    Body movement also supplies a type of loading. If you move your body, it has a certain feel to it. The kinesthetic feedback information on the relation of parts of your body and on muscle tensions as you move is within an anticipated range. If your arm suddenly felt three times as heavy as usual when you lifted it, this again would disrupt your ordinary d-SoC. Conversely, if you felt sleepy but did not want to enter the d-ASC of sleep, getting up and moving around would help you stay awake.
    A final example of loading concerns the thinking process. You have a constant internal thinking process going on, constant internal chatter, which runs through familiar and habitual associative pathways and keeps you within your ordinary d-SoC. You think the kinds of things that please you; you feel clever as a result of thinking them; feeling clever makes you relax; feeling relaxed makes you feel good; feeling good reminds you that you are clever; and so on. This constant thinking, thinking, thinking loads your system and is extremely important in maintaining your ordinary b-SoC.
    The importance of this constant loading of consciousness by thinking in maintaining and stabilizing our ordinary d-SoC cannot be overestimated. A Hindu metaphor for the ordinary d-SoC compares it to a drunken, horny monkey, carousing madly through the treetops, driven by its desires for sex, food, pleasure. The linkages between thought processes and emotional processes addict us to clever thoughts and make it hard to slow or stop the thinking process. Don Juan instructed Castaneda {10} to "not do," cease the constant thinking and doing that maintain ordinary consciousness, and Castaneda found this extraordinarily difficult to accomplish. This experience has been shared by innumerable practitioners of meditation who have found how difficult it is to escape from the incessant chatter of their minds.

Negative Feedback Stabilization

    The second type of stabilization is negative feedback. Particular structures or subsystems sense when the rate or quality of operation of other subsystems goes beyond certain preset limits, and they then begin a correction process. This correction process may be conscious, as for example, anxiety resulting when your thoughts stray into certain areas you consider taboo. The anxiety then functions to restabilize subsystems within the acceptable range.
    You may not be conscious of a particular feedback correction process, however. You may be lost in thought, for example, and suddenly find yourself very alert and listening, although not knowing why. A sound that indicated a potentially threatening event may have occurred very briefly, and while not intense enough to be consciously perceived, it was sufficient to activate a monitoring structure that then sent out correction signals to bring the system of consciousness back within optimal (for dealing with the threat) limits. This kind of negative feedback stabilization essentially measures when a subsystem's or structure's operation is going beyond acceptable limits and initiates an act of correction, reduces the deviation.

Positive Feedback Stabilization

    The third stabilization process, positive feedback, consists of structures or subsystems that detect when acceptable activity is going on and then stimulate the emotional reward systems (making us feel good when we do a particular activity) or otherwise strengthen the desired activity. We may or may not be particularly conscious of feeling good, but we like to maintain and repeat the rewarded activity. During the formation of our ordinary d-SoC during childhood, we are greatly rewarded by our parents, peers, and teachers for doing various socially approved things, and because most of our socially approved actions are initiated by socially approved thoughts and feelings, we then internalize this reward system and feel good simply by engaging in the thought or actions that were rewarded earlier.
    Let us illustrate how negative and positive feedback stabilization can work. Suppose you are driving home late at night and are rather sleepy. Driving carefully was an active program in your ordinary d-SoC, but now, because of fatigue, your mind is drifting toward a hypnagogic state even though you are managing to hold your eyes open. Hypnagogic thoughts are very interesting and your mind starts pursuing them further. Because the integrity of your ordinary d-SoC is now beginning to be disrupted, you do not make an appropriate correction as the car begins to drift over toward the shoulder of the road. You run off the shoulder, narrowly avoiding an accident, and this jars you back to full wakefulness. Learning occurs; a structure is formed. Sometime later the same circumstances occur again, but this time the new structure notes two facts—that your thoughts are becoming interesting in that hypnagogic way and that you are driving. Via the Emotion subsystem, the new structure sends a feeling of anxiety or alarm through you that immediately activates various subsystems toward the "physical world survival priority" mode of operating, and so reinstates full consciousness. This is negative feedback stabilization. Then you feel clever at not succumbing to the hypnogogic state. It shows you are a good driver; all sorts of authorities would approve: this constitutes positive feedback for keeping your consciousness within the wakefulness pattern.
    Thus, a state of consciousness learns that certain processes indicate that part of its system is going beyond a safe limit of functioning (the error information) and then does something to restore that ordinary range of functioning (feedback control). You may or may not directly experience the feedback process.
    Note that the terms positive feedback and negative feedback, as used here, do not necessarily refer to consciously experienced good or bad feelings, although such feelings may be experienced and be part of the correction process. Negative feedback refers to a correction process initiated when a structure or system starts to go or has gone beyond acceptable limits, and designed to decrease undesirable deviation. Positive feedback refers to an active reward process that occurs when a structure or subsystem is functioning within acceptable limits and that strengthens functioning within those limits.

Limiting Stabilization

    A fourth way of stabilizing a d-SoC, limiting stabilization, consists of interfering with the ability of some subsystems or structures to function in a way that might destabilize the ongoing state of consciousness. It limits the range of possible functioning of certain subsystems.
    An example of limiting stabilization is one effect of tranquilizing drugs in blunting emotional responses of any sort, limiting the ability of certain subsystems to produce strong emotions. Since strong emotions can be important disrupting forces in destabilizing an ongoing state of consciousness, this limiting stabilizes the ongoing state. Sufficient limiting of crucial subsystems would not only stabilize any d-SoC (although at some cost in responsiveness of that d-SoC in coping with the environment), but would prevent transit into a d-ASC that required changes in the limited subsystems either for inducing the d-ASC or for stabilizing the d-ASC if it were attained.
    Loading stabilization can, in some instances, be a limiting stabilization, but the two types of stabilization are not identical. Limiting directly affects certain structures or subsystems, while the effect of loading is indirect and operates more by consuming energy than by affecting structures directly.
    In a system as multifaceted and complex as a d-SoC, several of each of the four types of stabilization activities may be going on at any given instant. Further, any particular action may be complex enough to constitute more than one kind of stabilization simultaneously. For example, suppose I have taken a drug and for some reason decide I do not want it to affect my consciousness. I begin thinking intensely about personal triumphs in my life. This stabilizes my ordinary state of consciousness by loading it, absorbing most of my attention/awareness energy into that activity so that it cannot drift off into thoughts that would help the transition to an altered state. It also acts as positive feedback, making me feel good, and so increasing my desire to continue this kind of activity.
    Many stabilizing processes use psychological energy, energy that could be used for other things. Thus there is a cost to stabilizing a d-SoC that must be balanced against the gain the results from the focus obtainable from a stable d-SoC. The question of the optimal degree of stabilization for a given d-SoC when functioning in a given degree of stabilization for a given d-SoC when functioning in a given environment is important, although it has not been researched. If there are too few stabilization processes, the d-SoC can be broken down too easily, a circumstance that could be most unadaptive—when driving for example. If the d-SoC is too stabilized, if too much energy is being consumed in stabilization processes, then that much less energy is available for other purposes. Some of the psychological literature on rigidity as a personality variable might provide a good starting point for investigating optimal stabilization.
    A d-SoC, then, is not simply a collection of psychological parts thrown together any old way; it is an integral system because various stabilization processes control the interaction patterns among the structures and subsystems so as to maintain the functional identity of the overall system.



 7.   Induction of Altered States: Going to Sleep, Hypnosis, Meditation



    We have now seen that a d-SoC is a system that is stabilized in multiple ways, so as to maintain its integrity in the face of changing environmental input and changing actions taken in response to the environment. Suppose that the coping function of the particular d-SoC is not appropriate for the existing environmental situation, or that the environment is safe and stable and no particular d-SoC is needed to cope with it, and you want to transit to a d-ASC: what do you do?
    This chapter examines that process of inducing a d-ASC in general from the systems approach, and then considers its application to three transitions from ordinary consciousness: to sleep, to hypnosis, and to meditative states.

Inducing a d-ASC: General Principles

    The staring point is the baseline state of consciousness(b-SoC), usually the ordinary d-SoC. The b-SoC is an active, stable, overall patterning of psychological functions which, via multiple stabilization relationships (loading, positive and negative feedback, and limiting) among its constituent parts, maintains it identity in spite of environmental changes. I emphasize multiple stabilization, for as in any well-engineered complex system, there are many processes maintaining a state of consciousness: it would be too vulnerable to unadaptive disruption if there were only a few.
    Inducing the transition to a d-ASC is a three-step process, based on two psychological (and/or physiological) operations. The process is what happens internally; the operations are the particular things you do to yourself, or someone does to you, to make the induction process happen. In the following pages the steps of the process are described sequentially and the operations are described sequentially, but note that the same action may function as both kinds of induction operation simultaneously.

Induction Operations: Disruption and Patterning

    The first induction operation is to disrupt the stabilization of your b-SoC, to interfere with the loading, positive and negative feedback, and limiting processes/structures that keep your psychological structures operating within their ordinary range. Several stabilization processes must be disrupted. If, for example, someone were to clap his hands loudly right now, while you are reading, you would be somewhat startled. Your level of activation would be increased; you might even jump. I doubt, however, that you would enter a d-ASC. Throwing a totally unexpected and intense stimulus into your own mind could cause a momentary shift within the pattern of your ordinary d-SoC but not a transition to a d-ASC. If you were drowsy it might totally disrupt one or two stabilization processes for a moment, but since multiple stabilization processes are ongoing on, this would not be sufficient to alter your state of consciousness.[1]
    So the first operation in inducing a d-ASC is to disrupt enough stabilization process to a great enough extent that the baseline pattern of consciousness cannot maintain its integrity. If only some of the stabilization processes are disrupted, the remaining undisrupted ones may be sufficient to hold the system together; thus, an induction procedure can be carried out without actually inducing a d-ASC. Unfortunately, some investigators have equated the procedure of induction with the presence of a d-ASC, a methodological fallacy discusses in Chapter 13.
    Stabilization processes can be disrupted directly when they can be identified, or indirectly by pushing some psychological functions to and beyond their limits of functioning. Particular subsystems, for example, can be disrupted by overloading them with stimuli, depriving them of stimuli, or giving them anomalous stimuli that cannot processed in habitual ways. The functioning of a subsystem can be disrupted by withdrawing attention/awareness energy or other psychological energy from it, a gentle kind of disruption. If the operation of one subsystem is disrupted, it may alter the operation of a second subsystem via feedback paths, etc.
    Drugs can disrupt the functioning of the b-SoC, as can any intense physiological procedure, such as exhaustion or exercise.
    The second induction operation is to apply patterning forces, stimuli that then push disrupted psychological functioning toward the new pattern of the desired d-ASC. These patterning stimuli may also serve to disrupt the ordinary functioning of the b-SoC insofar as they are incongruent with the functioning of the b-SoC. Thus the same stimuli may serve as both disruptive and patterning forces. For example, viewing a diagram that makes little sense in the baseline state can be a mild disrupting force. But the same diagram, viewed in the altered state, may make sense or be esthetically pleasing and thus may become a mandala for meditation, a patterning force.
   

Steps in the Induction Process

    Figure 7-1 sketches the steps of the induction process. The b-SoC is represented as blocks of various shapes and sizes (representing particular psychological structures) forming a system/construction (the state of consciousness) in a gravitational field (the environment). At the extreme left, a number of psychological structures are assembled into a stable construction, the b-SoC. The detached figures below the base of the construction represent psychological potentials not available in the b-SoC.
    Disrupting (and patterning) forces, represented by the arrows, are applied to begin induction. The second figure from the left depicts this beginning and represents change within the b-SoC. The disruptive (and patterning) forces are being applied, and while the overall construction remains the same, some the relationships within it have changed. System change has about reached its limit: at the right and left ends of the construction, for example, things are close to falling apart. Particular psychological structures/subsystems have varied as far as they can while still maintaining the overall pattern of the system.[2]
    Also shown is the changing relationship of some of the latent potentials outside consciousness, changes we must postulate from this systems approach and our knowledge of the dynamic unconscious, but about which we have little empirical data[3] at present.
    If the disrupting forces are successful in finally breaking down the organization of the b-SoC, the second step of the induction process occurs, the construction/state of consciousness comes apart, and a transitional period occurs. In Figure 7-1 this is depicted as the scattering of parts of the construction, without clear-cut relationships to one another or perhaps with momentary dissociated relationships as with the small square, the circle, and the hexagon on the left side of the transition diagram. The disrupting forces are now represented by the light arrow, as they are not as important now that the disruption has actually occurred; the now more important patterning forces are represented by the heavy arrows. The patterning stimuli/forces must now push the isolated psychological structures into a new construction, the third and final step of the processes in which a new, self-stabilized structure, the d-ASC, forms. Some of the psychological structures/functions present in the b-SoC, such as those represented by the squares, trapezoids, circles, and small hexagon, may not be available in this new state of consciousness; other psychological functions not available in the b-SoC have now become available. Some functions available in the b-SoC may be available at the same or at an altered level of functioning in the d-ASC. There is a change in both the selection of human potentials used and the manner in which they are constructed into a working system.
    Figure 7-1 also indicates that the patterning and disrupting forces may have to continue to be present, perhaps in attenuated form, in order for this new state to be stable. The d-ASC may not have enough internal stabilization at first to hold up against internal or environmental change, and artificial props may be needed. For example, a person may at first have to be hypnotized in a very quiet, supportive environment in order to make the transition into hypnosis, but after he has been hypnotized a few times, the d-ASC is stable enough so that he can remain hypnotized under noisy, chaotic conditions.
    In following this example you probably thought of going from your ordinary state to some more exotic d-ASC, but this theoretical sequence applies for transition from any d-SoC to any other d-SoC. Indeed, this is also the deinduction process, the process of going from a d-ASC back to the b-SoC. Disrupting forces are applied to destabilize the altered state, and patterning forces to reinstate the baseline state; a transitional period ensues, and the baseline state re-forms. Since it is generally much easier to get back into our ordinary state, we usually pay little attention to the deinduction process, although it is just as complex in principle as the induction process.[4]
    It may be that some d-SoCs cannot be reached directly from another particular d-SoC; some intermediary d-SoC has to be traversed. The process is like crossing a stream that is too wide to leap over directly: you have to leap onto one or more stepping stones in sequence to get to the other side. Each stepping stone is a stable place in itself, but they are transitional with respect to the beginning and end points of the process. Some of the jhana states of Buddhist meditation may be of this nature (see Goleman's chapter inTranspersonal Psychologies {128}). This kind of stable transitional state should not be confused with the inherently unstable transitional periods discussed above, and we should be careful in our use of the words state and period.
    Let us know look at examples of three inductions of d-ASCs, all starting from a b-SoC of the ordinary waking state—the process of falling asleep, the induction of hypnosis, and the practice of two kinds of meditation toward the goal of reaching a meditative state. These examples are intended not as final analyses from the systems approach, but simply as illustrations of how the systems approach to states of consciousness deals with the induction of d-ASCs.

Going to Sleep

    You begin by lying down in a quiet, dimly lit or dark room. the physical act of lying down, closing the eyes, being in a quiet place, immediately eliminates much of the loading stabilization that helps to maintain your ordinary d-SoC. Since there are far fewer sensory stimuli coming in from the quiet environment, energy is not required for dealing with these stimuli, and some this psychological energy is freed. Some of it may, for example, go to enhancing imagery. Further, incoming stimuli tend to pattern the kind of psychological energies that maintain your active, waking state; they activate you. Without this stimulation, then, certain kinds of psychological energies are no longer generated. When these activation energies are generated, they ordinarily circulate through and further stabilize the waking state by loading it.
    Lying down and relaxing eliminate another major source of loading stabilization, the familiar, expected pattern of input from your body. Almost all your kinesthetic receptors for telling you what your body is doing respond primarily to change, and when you are relaxed and still for long periods, these receptors stop sending messages into the central nervous system. Your body, in a neural impulse sense, disappears; it is no longer there to pattern consciousness.
    You adopt an attitude that there is noting to accomplish, no goals to be attained, no problems to solve, nothing important to deal with. Your attitude is that there is no normative pattern to hold your consciousness.
    It is usually futile to try to go to sleep. The active attitude that works so well in doing things within your ordinary waking d-SoC does not help here. Taking this passive attitude further withdraws attention/awareness energy from many of your feedback stabilization processes. If there is no norm to hold to, there is no need to monitor for and correct deviation from the norm. This is important for allowing thought processes and other psychological processes to drift into the hypnagogic mode.
    So far these attitudes (nothing is important) and physical actions (inactions really, lying still and relaxing) are similar to the start of many other procedures for inducing various d-ASCs. What tips the balance toward inducing the particular d-SoC of sleep are the physiological factors (not well understood, in spite of two decades of intense research on sleep) we call tiredness, or need to sleep. These tiredness factors constitute both a further disrupting forces for the waking state and a patterning force or forces for shaping the transitional period into the sleep state. Their intensity is important in determining whether the induction is successful: if you are not at all tired, sleep will probably not occur. If you are very tired, sleep may occur even if the other disrupting operations (lying down, reducing sensory input, taking a "nothing is important" attitude) have not been carried out.
    The study by Vogel and his colleagues of ego states during the transition to sleep, described in Chapter 5, showed how the experiential mapping of consciousness fell into two (or perhaps three) distinct clusters, two (or perhaps three) d-SoCs. For a time after lying down, the subjects retained a feeling of contact with the environment and their thoughts remains plausible by consensus reality standards. This was the intact ego state. The subjects then moved into the destructuralized ego "state," losing contact with the external environment and with their thoughts deviating greatly from consensus reality standards of normality. They regained plausibility of thought in the restructuralized ego state. The destructuralized ego "state" is transitional between the intact ego state and the restructuralized ego state. Whether it constitutes a d-SoC by our definition is not clear from Vogel's data: we do not know whether there was a coherent pattern or just constant change.

Inducing Hypnosis

    The procedures for inducing hypnosis are many and varied but certain steps are common to most of these procedures. The first such step usually involves having you sit or lie comfortably, so you do not have to exert any effort to maintain your bodily position, and telling you not to move and to relax your body as much as possible. This step has a variety of effects. For one thing, if you are somewhat anxious about what is going to happen, your anxiety which intimately related to bodily tension, is at least partially relieved if you relax. You limit your ability to feel anxiety. This makes it easier for you to alter your state of consciousness. Also, when your body is in a relaxed position and lying still, many of the kinesthetic receptors adapt out, as in going to sleep. Thus the body as a whole begins to fade out as a conscious experience; this known, patterned stimulation fades and no longer serves as a load and patterning force to help stabilize your b-SoC.
    Second, the hypnotist commonly tells you to listen only to his voice and ignore other thoughts or sensations that come into your mind. Ordinarily you constantly scan the environment to see if important stimuli are present. This constant scanning keeps up a continuous, varied pattern of information and energy exchanges among subsystems, which tends to keep subsystems active in the waking state pattern: as varied perceptions come in, you must decide whether they are important, you must draw on memories from the past in making these decisions, etc. By withdrawing attention/awareness energy from this scanning of the environment, you withdraw a good deal of psychological energy and activity from a number of subsystems: a major loading and patterning process is attenuated.
    A third common instruction is that you should not think about what the hypnotist is saying, but just listen to it passively. If the hypnotist says your arm is feeling heavy, you are not to think, "He says it's feeling heavy, I wonder if it really will get heavy, I remember it got heavy a long time ago but that's because there was a weight on it; well, I guess I shouldn't be doubting..." In the ordinary d-SoC you constantly think about what is being said to you and what is happening to you, and his maintains a great deal of evaluative and decision-making activity and again activates other subsystems. Thus, this step also slows down the constant thinking that helps to maintain your ordinary d-SoC through loading stabilization.
    Fourth, you are frequently told to focus your attention on some particular thing in addition to the hypnotist's voice. Let us take the example of your being asked to look fixedly at some simple object like a candle flame or a bright, shiny disk. This fixation serves to reduce further your scanning of the environment, with the same effects mentioned above, but it has an additional effect. It is unusual for you in your ordinary d-SoC to stare fixedly at one thing. If you do, all sorts of unexpected (to most people) visual effects occur because the retina becomes fatigued. Colored halos start to appear around the object being stared at, shadows appear and disappear, apparent movements occur, parts of the object fade. To the extent that these are not part of your usual experience, they constitute a kind of input that the Input-Processing subsystem (discussed later) is not used to handling, and so they tend to disrupt the normal functioning of this subsystem.
    Further, because the hypnotist earlier stated that he has the power to make you have unusual experiences, the fact that you are now having unusual experiences enhances the prestige of the hypnotist and gives you more trust in him. This is a kind of trick: by using physiological effects that you do not realize are the expected result of staring at anything, the hypnotist manages to take credit and so enhances his psychological effectiveness. The importance of this will become even clearer later when we discuss the Sense of Identity subsystem.
    Fifth, the hypnotist commonly suggests to you that you are feeling sleepy or drowsy. This elicits a variety of memory associations that help the induction process. Since going to sleep means that your b-SoC breaks down, this suggestion acts as a disruptive force. And since going to sleep is associated with a fading out of your body image, this suggestion enhances the fading of the body image that is already occurring because of the adaptation of kinesthetic receptors to your relaxed, still posture. Further, since going to sleep is a passive activity, the suggestion encourages a sense of passivity on your part and so reinforces the earlier instructions not to think about what the hypnotist is saying but simply to accept it. the references to sleep also draw up memories and expectations of your identity fading, so energy is not required to keep evaluating the situation in terms of your personal values.
    Sixth, as well as suggesting sleep, the hypnotist often further indicates that this sleep is not quite the same as real sleep because you will still hear him. The hypnotist may not need to suggest this overtly: everyone in our culture knows enough about hypnosis to realize that the subject can still hear the hypnotist. This is a specific patterning force. The suggestions telling you that what is happening is like sleep primarily serve to disrupt your d-SoC, but since the hypnotist does not want you actually to go to sleep, he adds a patterning force to produce a passive sleeplike state in which communication with the hypnotist is still effective.
    Seventh, once you appear passive and relaxed, most hypnotic procedures go on to simple motor suggestions, such as having you hold an arm horizontally out in front of you and telling you it is getting heavy. Motor suggestions like this are relatively easy most people to experience, and as you begin to respond to these suggestions, the hypnotist's prestige is further enhanced.
    This automatic response to suggestion affects your Sense of Identity subsystem. Ordinarily it is your own "voice" inside you that tells you to do a thing that you then do. Now the hypnotist's voice takes over this role, and your sense of self begins to include the hypnotist. The special modulation from this subsystem that constitutes the ego sense (discussed later) is added to the stimuli that would ordinarily be perceived as the voice of an outsider. Psychoanalysts call this the transference element of hypnosis, especially when some of the transference involves parental transferences onto the hypnotist. The deliberate or implicit encouragement of identification with the hypnotist's voice is an application of patterning forces.
    Success with simple motor suggestions also produces a novel kind of body stimulation: you feel your body moving, but with different qualities than ordinarily. Your arm, for stance, feels exceptionally heavy and seems to move by itself. This kind of datum again does not fit the habitual input-processing patterns, and so tends both to disrupt the stabilization of your d-SoC and to help pattern the hypnotic state.
    As you respond well to simple motor suggestions, the hypnotist usually goes on to harder and more impressive motor suggestions and various kinds of cognitive suggestions, and continued success leads to increasing inclusion of the hypnotist within your ego sense.
    Finally, we should note that an important factor in understanding the hypnotic induction technique is the subject's implicit expectations of what it is like to be hypnotized and how a hypnotized subject behaves. Shor {59} did a survey showing that among college students there is a fairly good general knowledge of what hypnosis is like, in spite of some misconceptions. So if a subject agrees to be hypnotized and believes that the hypnotist can do it, he has implicit expectations that affect his reactions t o the particular thing the hypnotist does.

The Hypnotic State

    If the induction is successful and the neutral hypnotic state is developed, the result is a d-ASC characterized by a quiet mind {78}; most of the structures are inactive, many of the psychological subsystems discussed in Chapter 8 are not actively functioning. Typically, if a deeply hypnotized subject is asked what he is thinking about or experiencing, the answer is "Nothing." However, this state is also characterized by greatly enhanced suggestibility, a greater mobility of attention/awareness energy, so when a particular experience is suggested to the subject he usually experiences it far more vividly than he could in his ordinary d-SoC, often to the point of total experiential reality. Thus the hypnotic state shows a high flexibility of functioning, even though it is relatively quiet between particular functionings. The state is also characterized by a quality called rapport, a functioning of the Sense of Identity subsystem to include the hypnotist as part of the subject's own ego.
    It is easy to see how the various techniques mentioned above destabilize the ordinary pattern and operate on various psychological subsystems to push them toward extreme values of functioning. But where is the actual transition? We do not know. Studies of hypnosis have generally paid little attention to the transition between hypnosis and waking. Some psychoanalytically oriented case studies {19} have reported marked transitional effects, but no study has tried to map the exact nature and extent of the quantum jump.
    Much modern research that has tried to determine whether hypnotic suggestibility is indeed greater than waking suggestibility has committed an important methodological error (discussed in Chapter 9): using group data without examining individual data. Thus, unless every individual makes the transition at exactly the same point on the appropriate measure of psychological subsystem functioning, no transition point would appear in the group data. Put another way, if there were some one variable on which the jump was made from the normal state into hypnosis, and one subject jumped from a value of two to six to make his transition, and a second subject jumped from three to seven, and a third from four to eight, etc., the group data would show absolute continuity and no evidence for a transitional phase. Superimposing many maps destroys the patterns. The systems approach stresses the importance of examining the transitional period of hypnotic phenomena.
    One further idea should be mentioned. Because most or all subsystems in the unprogrammed deep hypnotic state, so-called neutral hypnosis, are idling or relatively inactive, the hypnotic state may be better than the ordinary waking state as a b-SoC with which to compare other states. The ordinary waking state seems an incredibly complex, active, and specialized construction compared with the hypnotic state.

Meditation and Meditative States

    Meditation refers to variety of techniques that may or may not induce a d-ASC at a given time.
    Meditation techniques are varied, but Naranjo and Ornstein {39} have classified them into three basic types: (1) concentrative meditation, (2) opening-up meditation, and (3) expressive meditation. Here we consider the first two and begin by analyzing a technique common to both before further distinguishing between them.
    Most meditation techniques involve, as the initial step, sitting absolutely still in a posture that is not only comfortable, but that involves keeping the head, neck, and spine in a straight vertical line. A small but significant amount of muscular effort is needed to maintain this posture. Like the comfortable position assumed for inducing sleep or hypnosis, the comfortable posture in meditation allows various kinesthetic receptors to adapt out, so the body image generally fades. In contrast with going to sleep, the fact that a slight amount of muscular effort is needed to hold the body in this upright position prevents sleep from occurring for most people. Hypnotic induction procedures can allow the subject to slip in and out of actual sleep, but this is usually quite disruptive in meditative procedures, as the person begins to fall over.
    Since much of a person's sense of identity comes from his body image, the fading of the body in a comfortable, steady posture also tends to reduce his sense of identity, thus helping to destabilize his b-SoC and to free energy.
    Sitting absolutely still, not acting, also frees energy that would otherwise be automatically absorbed in acting: meditation is a technically simplified situation in this way.
    The vertical posture for head, neck, and spine is also of theoretical importance in meditation systems that believe that a latent human potentiality, the Kundalini force, is stored at the base of the spine and may flow upward, activating various other postulated latent potentials, the psychic energy centers or chakras, as it rises {128, ch. 6}.
    Since the meditator is sitting absolutely still, his muscular subsystem similarly has little to do beyond postural maintenance. This further reduces loading stabilization. Thus many sources of activity that maintain ordinary d-SoC fade out when the meditative posture is assumed.

Concentrative Meditation

    Concentrative meditation techniques basically instruct you to put all of your attention on some particular thing. This can be an external object that is looked at fixedly or some internal sensation such as the rise and fall of the belly in breathing. As in hypnotic induction, the meditater is told that if his mind wanders away from this focus he is to bring it back gently[5] to this focus, and not allow it to distracted.
    This greatly restricts the variety of input to the system, inhibits thinking about various stimuli that come from scanning the environment, and in general takes attention/awareness energy away from and reduces the activity of the various subsystems of ordinary consciousness.
    The meditater fixes his attention on one thing, usually an external or internal sensation. This can produce unusually phenomena due to various kinds of receptor fatigue, as in the induction of hypnosis, but most meditation systems stress that these anomalous perceptual phenomena should not be taken as signs of success or be paid any special attention. In Zen Buddhism, for example, there is a teaching story of a student excitedly rushing to his roshi (master) to describe a vision of gods bowing down to him and feelings of ecstasy that occurred during his meditation. The roshi asks him if he remembered to keep his attention fixed on the rise and fall of his belly in breathing during the vision, as per the meditation instructions, and when the student says no (who would care about the rise and fall of your belly during such a vision?), the roshi reprimands the student for allowing himself to become distracted! Thus while anomalous perceptual phenomena may act as a disruptive forces for our ordinary state, they do not attract the same amount of attention in meditation as they do in hypnosis and so may have different effects.[6]
    As in any induction technique, the person preparing to meditate has explicit and implicit expectations of what will come about. His explicit expectations stem from his immediately conscious memories of what he knows about meditation and his goal in doing it. His implicit expectations range from the implicit but potentially conscious ones that come from other knowledge about meditation he could recall but is not recalling at the moment, to more implicit ones that he has absorbed over a longer time and of which he may not be consciously aware. The more implicit expectations may or may not accord with the teachings of the particular meditative system, for they may have come through personality-induced distortions of teaching situations in the past. The discussion(in Chapter 4) of the construction of ordinary consciousness and how it affects our perception of the world is relevant here.

State Resulting From Concentrative Meditation

    Naranjo and Ornstein {39} describe the meditative state[7] of consciousness that can result from concentrative meditation as a discrete state characterized as "voidness," "blankness," or "no-thingness." There seems to be a temporary nonfunctioning of all psychological functions. In some sense, difficult to deal with verbally, awareness seems to be maintained, but there is not object of awareness. The appearance of this meditative state seems to be sudden and to clearly represent a quantum leap. The practice of meditation quiets down the various subsystems, but there is a sudden transition to this pattern of voidness.
    The meditative state may or may not be valued in and of itself, depending on the particular spiritual discipline and its philosophy. What does generally seem to be valued is its aftereffect, generally described as a great "freshening" of perception or increase in feelings of aliveness. In terms of the systems approach, a major aftereffect of the concentration-produced meditation state is a decrease in processing and abstracting of sensory input from what occurs in the ordinary d-SoC. Much more raw sensory data are passed to awareness, instead of the highly selected abstractions usually seen, and this produces a great intensification of sensory perception of both the external world and one's own body. this is usually felt as quite joyful. As Wordsworth put it in Ode on Intimations of Immortality {147}:
    There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
    The earth and every common sight,
            To me did seem
        Apparelled in celestial light,
    The glory and the freshness of a dream.
Going on to contrast this with perception in his ordinary d-SoC, he said:
    It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
        Turn whereso'er I may,
          By night or day,
    The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
I suspect that if Wordsworth were alive today he would be quite interested in altered states of consciousness.
    This is a good place to remind ourselves that a state of consciousness generally has many processes stabilizing it. Many of you have had the experience of sitting down and trying to meditate according to some prescription and finding that rather than reaching some desirable d-ASC you only obtained a sore back! Sitting still in the correct position and trying to do the technique may indeed disrupt some of the customary feedback processes that stabilize your b-SoC, but if others are still active, such as continual thinking, no actual shift in state of consciousness will result.
    Confusion results when the word meditation is used to describe many different things. It is probably too late to prevent sloppy usage, but ideally, the phrase tried to meditatemeans that the meditater attempted to carry out the instructions but was not successful at concentrating or holding the posture. The phrase did meditate means the meditater felt he was relatively successful in following the instructions, event though no meditative state developed. The phrase reached a meditative state means that the meditater actually did so.

Opening-Up Meditation

    Opening-up meditation refers to a variety of techniques whose aim is to help you achieve full sensitivity to and awareness of whatever happens to you, to be a conscious observer observing what is happening to you without being caught up in your reactions to it. It is a matter of being aware of what is happening without thinking about what is happening to the exclusion of perceiving what is happening, or becoming identified with reactions to what is happening. Vipassana is a Buddhist meditation of this sort. The word means something like bare attention—bare attention to sensations, feelings, thoughts, and reactions to these things as they occur. The "simple" rule[8] is to notice anything and everything that happens, to neither reject anything as unworthy of attention, nor welcome anything as worthy of more attention than anything else. This includes being aware of "failures," such as thoughts, rather than fighting them.
    Opening meditation is usually practiced in the same sort of posture as concentrative meditation, so all the effects of posture on disrupting the b-SoC are similar.
    This non-identification with stimuli prevents attention/awareness energy from being caught up in the automatic, habitual processes involved in maintaining the ordinary d-SoC. Thus while awareness remains active, various psychological subsystems tend to drift to lower and lower levels of activity. Traditional accounts indicate that after a high level of success is achieved, there is a sudden shift into a meditative state of consciousness characterized by a great freshening of perception and deautomatization of the subsystem of Input-Processing. This is the meditative state itself, rather than an aftereffect of it, as in concentrative meditation. Almost all psychological energy is present in the awareness function, and there seems to be far less input-processing, so things are perceived more directly.[9] The meditater experiences things as much more intense and clear; whether this means that he perceives the external more accurately has not, to my knowledge, been tested.
    Although meditation has been a neglected topic of scientific research, this is changing rapidly: the interested reader should see the bibliography on research in this area put out by Timmons and Kamiya {141}, as well as the recent updating of that bibliography by Timmons and Kanellakos {142}.
    This concludes our brief survey of the process of inducing a d-ASC. In some ways it is too simplified: the actual situation in which a person, either by himself or with the help of another, sits down to induce a d-ASC is influenced by many variables that affect our lives, especially those implicit factors stemming from our personal and cultural histories that are so hard for us to see.
    One final example to illustrate the importance of these implicit and expectational factors. When phonograph recordings were still something of a novelty, George Estabrooks {16}, one of the early researchers in hypnosis, decided to see if hypnosis could be induced by simply recording the verbal procedure on a record and playing it to a group of volunteer subjects. He recorded an induction procedure and got some volunteers from one of the college classes he taught. At the time for the experiment, he put the record on and, to his consternation, found he has brought the wrong record from his office: he was playing a record of Swiss yodeling! Deciding to let it entertain his subjects while he got the right one, he said nothing but left and went to his office.
    When he returned, he found one subject was in a deep hypnotic state! The professor had said this record would hypnotize him, the student went into hypnosis.

Footnotes

    [1] This particular example is true for your ordinary d-SoC. But if you had been asleep, you might have been awakened as a result of the hand clap. It might have been sufficient in a sleep d-SoC to disrupt stabilization enough to allow a transition back to ordinary waking consciousness. Also, if the expectational context were right, it could cause a transition from your ordinary d-SoC to a d-ASC. The Abbe de Faria, in the early days of hypnosis, "hypnotized" ignorant peasants by leading them through dark passages into a dark room, then suddenly setting off a tray of flash powder while striking a huge gong {38}. This must be one of the most authentic ways of "blowing one's mind." (back)
    [2] There is a depth or intensity dimension within some b-SoCs (discussed in Chapter 14). So we could speak of the b-SoC having reached its deepest (or shallowest) extreme.(back)
    [3] Psychoanalytical studies {19} of hypnotic induction give us inferential information on such activities: experiential phenomena reported during induction are interpreted as indicators of changes in unconscious forces, drives, and defenses. (back)
    [4] We might hypothesize that because the ordinary d-SoC is so tremendously overlearned compared with almost any other d-SoC, whenever there is a transitional period the dominant tendency is to repattern the ordinary d-SoC mode. Sleep would also be likely. Only the presence of special patterning forces allows some d-ASCs to be structured from a transitional state. (back)
    [5] Gently bringing attention back to the concentration focus is important: if you violently bring it back, fight the distractions, this sends large quantities of attention/awareness to them, and so keeps attention/awareness energy circulating through the system generally. This stabilizes the ordinary d-SoC, which involves many Rows of attention/awareness energy to a variety of things. (back)
    [6] Another important difference is that in hypnosis induction the hypnotist takes credit for these anomalous effects, thus helping to incorporate himself into the subject's own psyche We have given little attention to the role of the hypnotist as "outsider," for he only becomes effective as he becomes able to control the subject's own attention/awareness energy. The meditator in the Buddhist tradition is seeking to free himself from control by external events or persons, and so does not value particular phenomena (back)
    [7] We speak here of a single state resulting from concentrative meditation because our rudimentary scientific knowledge goes only this far. But we should remember that spiritual disciplines distinguish many states where we see one. In Buddhist terms, for example, eight distinct states of samadhi (concentration) are described, each of which may be a d-SoC (see Chapter 17 and [128]). Whether these are actually useful descriptions of eight d-SoCs or only descriptions of techniques is a question for the developing science of consciousness to research (back)
    [8] "Simple" to say, extremely difficult to do! (back)
    [9] We do not know enough at present to adequately describe how the d-ASC reached from opening meditation, characterized by freshened perception, differs from the feeling of freshened perception occurring within one's ordinary d-SoC as an aftereffect of concentrative meditation. (back)



8.   Subsystems



We began this discussion of the systems approach to consciousness by describing the concepts of attention/awareness, energy, and structure. We defined a structure as a basic unit that can be assembled into larger structures or be analyzed into substructures. At present, our scientific knowledge is generally too rudimentary to allow the breakdown of structures into their components. We can, however, describe the assembly of multiple structures into major experiential and experimental divisions—subsystems—of consciousness. Ten such subsystems are described in this chapter. They are convenient conceptual tools for understanding the currently known range of variations in d-ASCs. They do not refer to localized regions of the brain. They are concepts I have developed by classifying the greatly varying experiences and behaviors reported in d-ASCs into clusters of phenomena that seem to hold together, on the basis of both their own internal similarity and other known psychological data.
    In their present form, I find these subsystems a useful conceptual tool for organizing the otherwise chaotic masses of data about d-ASCs. I also believe that further thinking can sharpen our ideas about the properties of these subsystems and their possible interactions with each other and allow us to predict d-ASCs in addition to those already known. Making these predictions and testing them should further sharpen our conceptions about the nature of various subsystems, and so further increase our understanding. This is the standard scientific procedure of conceptualizing the data as well as possible, making predictions on that basis, confirming and disproving various predictions, and thus sharpening the conceptual system or modifying it. The socialized repetition of this procedure is the essence of scientific method.
    Figure 8-1 sketches ten major subsystems, represented by the labeled ovals, and their major interaction routes. The solid arrows represent major routes of information flow: not all known routes are shown, as this would clutter the diagram. The hatched arrows represent major, known feedback control routes whereby one subsystem has some control over the functioning of another subsystem. The dashed arrows represent information flow routes from the subconscious subsystem to other subsystems, routes that are inferential from the point of view of the ordinary d-SoC. Most of the subsystems are shown feeding information into, or deriving information from, awareness, which is here considered not a subsystem but the basic component of attention/awareness and attention/awareness energy that flows through various systems.
    A brief overview of a state of consciousness as a functioning system, as represented in Figure 8-1, can be described as follows. Information from the outside world comes to us through the Exteroception subsystem (classical sense organs), and information from our own bodies comes to us via the Interoception subsystem (kinesthetic and other bodily functioning receptors). Data from both sets of sense organs undergo Input-Processing (filtering, selecting, abstracting), which in turn influences the functioning of Exteroception and Interoception. Input-Processing draws heavily on stored Memory, creates new memories, sends information both directly into awareness and into our subconscious, and stimulates our Sense of Identity and our Emotions. Information we are aware of is in turn affected by our Sense of Identity and Emotions. We subject this information to Evaluation and Decision-Making; and we may act on it, produce some sort of motor output. This Motor Output subsystem produces action in the body that is sensed via Interoception, in a feedback process through the body. The Motor Output also produces effects on the external world that are again sensed by Exteroception, constituting feedback via the external world. Our perception and decision-making are also affected by our Space/Time Sense. Also shown in Figure 8-1 are some latent functions, which may be tapped in a d-ASC, but are not available in the b-SoC.
    In the following pages the basic nature of each subsystem is defined and the range of both quantitative and qualitative alterations that occur in its functioning over the range of various d-ASCs is indicated. Of necessity, these descriptions are somewhat sketchy. One of the major tasks of future research is to fill in the details about each of these subsystems, their change in d-ASCs, and their interaction with other subsystems.

Exteroception

    The subsystem Exteroception includes the classical sense organs for registering changes in the environment: eyes, ears, nose, taste organs, and touch organs.
    The exteroceptive organs constitute a model of a whole system of consciousness. First, they are active organs. While all of them can respond to stimulation when they are passive, as when a light is suddenly shined in your eye, they normally engage in an active scanning of the environment. Your eyes dart about; you turn your head or perk up your ears to hear sounds more clearly; you reach out to touch things that interest you. Similarly, consciousness can be passively stimulated, but ordinarily it is an active process.
    Second, each of the classical exteroceptive sense organs has limited responsiveness. The eye cannot respond to ultraviolet light, the ear cannot pick up sounds above or below certain frequencies, touch cannot respond to exceptionally subtle stimuli. Similarly, consciousness can be passively stimulated, but ordinarily it is an active process.
    Second, each of the classical exteroceptive sense organs has limited responsiveness. The eye cannot respond to ultraviolet light, the ear cannot pick up sounds above or below certain frequencies, touch cannot respond to exceptionally subtle stimuli. Similarly, any state of consciousness has certain limits to what it can and cannot react.
    Third, you have some voluntary control over the input to your exteroceptive sense organs. If you do not want to see something, you can look away or close your eyes; if you do not want to hear something, you can move away from the sound source or put your fingers in your ears. In any state of consciousness, you have some voluntary control over exteroceptive functioning. But the control is limited: if the sound is intense enough, it is difficult not to hear it at all, even with your hands over your ears.
    Although many changes in perception of the external environment are reported in d-ASCs, these usually do not represent changes in the exterocepters themselves, except possibly in some drug-induced d-ASCs. Each of the classical sense organs is a masterpiece of engineering; it is already as sensitive as it can be. Thus its useful sensitivity is not increased, even if a person experiences himself as being in more contact with the environment in a d-ASC. AS we shall see later, practically all phenomena dealing with feelings of increased contact with the environment are related to changes in the Input-Processing subsystem.
    Sometimes when a drug is used to induce a d-ASC there may be some physiological changes in the exterocepters. LSD, for example, may actually cause pupillary dilation, thus allowing in more light (although one might quarrel whether this is a direct physiological effect or a secondary effect due to the increased attention being paid to the external environment). Similarly, since psychedelic drugs affect neural functioning generally, they may have some direct effects on the neural components of the sense organs themselves, but little is known of this now. So, in terms of present knowledge about d-ASCs, changes in the exterocepters seem of little importance.
    Input to the exterocepters is usually deliberately manipulated and patterned in the course of attempting to induce a d-ASC. Although most of the important changes resulting from these techniques occur in Input-Processing, some do start with direct effects on the exterocepters and should be noted.
    Input from the environment that, while varying, remains within a learned, anticipated range, acts as a source of loading stabilization. Thus, changing the input to the exteroception may interfere with the loading stabilization function and/or inject anomalous input that may destabilize a d-SoC.
    A major way of doing this is to reduce or eliminate sensory input. In the induction process for many d-ASCs, there is an attempt to make the environment quiet, to cut down the amount of sensory input a person has to handle. Consider, for example, the techniques of guided imagery {3} or twilight imagery, where, while lying down with closed eyes, a person enters more and more into fantasy. A genuine d-ASC may develop in some cases, as fantasy intensifies, but it is clear the sensory input must usually be kept at a low level to both induce and maintain this d-ASC. I have seen people get into intense experiences through guided imagery techniques, but the simple act of opening the eyes and allowing visual input from the physical world to enter immediately disrupts this state.
    Reduction of sensory input to a level as near zero as possible is a potent technique for inducing d-ASCs. In the fifties and early sixties, there were many sensory deprivationexperiments during which the subject lay comfortably in a dark, quiet room without moving. The findings were interpreted as showing that if the brain did not receive sufficient sensory input, the subject went "crazy." It is now clear {46, 55} that practically all these studies were severely contaminated, as were the contemporary studies of psychedelic drugs, by implicit demand characteristics that account for most of the phenomena produced. If you a person through a procedure he thinks will make him crazy, in a medical setting, he is likely to act crazy. That tells you something about suggestibility, but little about the effects of reduced sensory input per se. Traditional literature from many spiritual psychologies {128} as well as accounts from people who have been trapped in isolation situations, indicate that sensory deprivation can be a powerful technique in affecting consciousness. But its effect is apparently always patterned by other factors.[1]
    Changing the patterning of input to the exterocepters, and the subsequent processing of the information of Input-Processing, can also be a major way of altering consciousness. When the same kind of input is repeated over and over again, so that the exterocepters become saturated, all sorts of changes take place. For example, if, by means of special apparatus, an image is held absolutely still on the retina of the eye, it soon begins to break up and display all sorts of unusual perceptual changes. Even when we believe we are looking steadily at something, there are actually tiny saccadic movements of the eye that keep the image moving slightly on the retina. Like so many of our receptors, the eye actually responds to slight, continuous change and cannot "see" absolutely steady input.
    Overloading the exterocepters is another way of inducing d-ASCs. The principle is recognized by people who attend rock concerts. Even if they have not taken some drug to help induce a d-ASC, the light show of complex, changing patterns accompanied by exceptionally loud music overloads and fatigues the exterocepters, blowing their minds.

Interoception

    The subsystem Interoception includes the various senses that tell us what is going on inside our bodies—the position of our limbs, the degree of muscle tension, how our limbs are moving, pressure in our intestines, bodily temperature. It is a way of sensing our internal world, as opposed to our external world. Many of the output signals from our interoceptors seems to be permanently excluded from our awareness; many of our sensing systems for governing the function of internal organs seem to have no representation in consciousness, regardless of conditions. For example, the functioning of our kidneys is regulated, but I know of no one who claims to have a direct experiential feel for what his kidneys are doing. We should, however, be careful about setting any ultimate limits on what aspects of Interoception can never reach or be affected by consciousness. The modern technology of biofeedback enables us to focus attention on and to control many bodily processes formerly thought to be completely incapable of voluntary control.
    Many other interoceptive signals not normally in our awareness can be put in our awareness by turning our attention/awareness to them. For example, you may not have been thinking of sensations in your belly a moment ago, but now that I mention them and your attention/awareness turns there, you can detect various signals. With practice you might become increasingly sensitive to signals from this area of your body. Thus, as with our exterocepters, we have some voluntary control over what we will attend to, but this control is limited.
    We can also control interoceptive input by doing various things to our bodies. If you have an unpleasant sensation from some part of your body, you can relax, change position, take a deep breath, and change the nature of that signal, presumably by changing whatever is causing it. This is an ability we take for granted and know little about, but it is an important way of affecting interoceptive input. Some techniques for inducing d-ASCs, such as hatha yoga procedures, have a highly sophisticated technology for affecting one's body and how one perceives it. This is the reason biofeedback technology is sometimes said to have the potential to become an "electronic yoga," a way of rapidly learning about various internal conditions and using them to affect consciousness. We are still a long way from attaining this, however.
    As is the case with exterocepters, there is little evidence that actual physiological changes take place in the interoceptors during various d-ASCs, except possibly in some drug-induced d-ASCs. Also as in Exteroception, the learned, anticipated range of constant input from Interoception acts as a source of loading stabilization for maintaining the ordinary d-SoC.
    The pattern of input from interoceptors can be subsumed under a useful psychological concept, the body image. You not only have a real body whose actual sensations are picked up by the interoceptors, but, in the course of enculturation, you have learned to perceive your own body in learned, patterned ways, just as you have learned to perceive the external world in socially learned ways. The degree to which your body image corresponds to your actual body may vary considerably. My own observations suggest that people's internal images of their bodies can differ amazingly from what an external observer sees.
    An individual's body image may be very stable. An intriguing example of this is the phantom limb phenomenon. When an arm or a leg is amputated, the patient almost always reports he can still feel the limb, even though he can see and otherwise intellectually know it is not there. Sensations coming in from the severed nerve tracts are nonconsciously organized in the learned, habitual way so that the patient perceives the limb as still there. Most patients soon lose perception of their phantom limbs as they are subjected to considerable social pressure to do so. In some, however, the phantom limb persists in spite of all attempts to unlearn it. The sensations may or may not be painful.
    The primary things to note are that the body image can be very rigid and may or may not show much correspondence to the actual body contours and what actually goes on in the body. I am convinced that as Westerners we generally have distorted images of our bodies and poor contact with sensations that go on in them. Since body sensations often represent a thinking about, or data processing of, experience, and a way of expressing emotions, our lack of contact with our actual body sensations puts us out of contact with ourselves. This is considered further in connection with the Subconscious subsystem.
 
    People's experiential reports from d-ASCs indicate that enormous changes can take place in Interoception. The body may seem to get larger or smaller, change in shape, change in internal functioning, change in terms of the relationships of its parts, so that the body may not "work" in the usual fashion. Most of this range of experience probably represents changes in Input-Processing, rather than changes in the interoceptors themselves.
    As with Exteroception, changing your body image is a common technique for inducing d-ASCs. Reducing interoceptive input, overloading it, or patterning it in novel ways have all been used. The primary effects are on Input-Processing, but the techniques start by affecting the interoceptors themselves. Let us look at some of these techniques briefly.
    Immobilizing the body in a relaxed position is a major way of causing the output from Interoception to fade and, consequently, causing the body image either to fade or to change, since it is no longer stabilized by actual input from the interoceptors. The discussion of the induction of hypnosis, going to sleep, and meditation in Chpater7 mentions the importance of allowing the interoceptors to adapt out so the input from the body disappears. In sensory deprivation techniques it is important to relax the body and at the same time not move at all. Even a slight movement can stimulate large numbers of interceptors and reestablish the body image readily.
    Overloading interoceptors is an important technique for altering consciousness. A good massage, for instance, or sensory awareness exercises that make you aware of bodily stimuli normally overlooked, have been known to induce d-ASCs. At the opposite end of the continuum from this pleasurable kind of manipulation of Interoception, pain and torture are some of the surest ways of inducing d-ASCs.
    Patterning interoceptive input in unusual fashions is another way of inducing d-ASCs. Mudras, gestures of symbolic significance used in yoga, consist of putting the body into certain positions. I suspect that the actual bodily posture has a definite patterning effect on interoceptive input and can affect consciousness if you are sensitive to input from your own body, the patterning of interoceptive input may occur, but since not much awareness is gained, posture does not pattern attention/awareness energy in a way that would affect consciousness.
    Another way of patterning interoceptive input is the altered states of consciousness induction device (ASCID) developed by Masters and Houston {37} on the basis of medieval accounts of the witch's cradle. This is an upright frame into which a person straps himself. the frame is hung from a short rope, so slight motions cause it to rock in erratic patterns. This produces anomalous patterns of input for the occupant to process: some interoceptors tell him he is standing up and therefore needs to exert certain muscular actions to maintain this posture, but other interoceptors tell him he is standing up and therefore needs to exert certain muscular actions to maintain this posture, but other interoceptors tell him he is relaxed and not making these muscular actions. Other interoceptive sense indicate that he is moving and must do things to maintain his balance, but there are in conflict with other interoceptive sensations that he is passive. Since he is not used to such an anomalous, conflicting pattern of stimulation, it can greatly disrupt Input Processing.

Input Processing

    Before reaching awareness, all input data, whether interoceptive or exteroceptive, normally goes through various degrees of processing. The Input-Processing subsystem consists of a complex, interlocking series of totally automatic processes that compares incoming data against previously learned material stored in memory, rejects much of the data as irrelevant, selects some of them as important enough to deserve further processing, transforms and abstracts these important data, and passes this abstraction along to awareness. Thus, a major function of Input-Processing is rejection. At any given instant, you are generally bombarded by an enormous quantity of sensory data of all sorts. Most of the data is not important in terms of defined needs, such as your biological survival. Since your ability to handle information and awareness is limited, you would be overwhelmed if all this mass of incoming data came through. Instead, you receive a small abstraction of incoming information that is important by personal and consensus reality standards.
    Input-Processing is totally automatic. Look at this thing that is in your hands with the question, "What is it?" in your mind. Immediately you see a book. You did not have the experience of seeing a whitish rectangular object with dark spots on it. You did not further experience these spots as being arranged in lines, and the individual spots as having distinctive characteristics, which you then, by painstaking examination, arranged into words and sentences, and so concluded that this was a book in your hands. No, the recognition of this thing as a book was instantaneous and automatic. To demonstrate how automatic the processing is, look at the book again and try to see it as simply a collection of incoming, assorted stimuli instead of as a book.
    Unless you have some unusual abilities, you find it very difficult to see this object as anything but a book.
    Numerous psychological studies have focused on the way perception is automated. Many of these studies have mistakenly assumed they were studying the "accuracy" of perception. What they were usually studying was the agreement with consensus reality standards for perceiving things. An immediate, automatic perception of socially defined reality is taken as being "realistic" and as a sign of a "good-observer."
    Thus, Input-Processing is a learned behavior, probably the most complex a human being has to acquire. Think of the number of connections among stimuli and the number of responses associated with the various stimuli that an infant must learn before he can be said to "think." the task is staggering. The infant must learn to perceive instantly andautomatically all major features of consensus reality as his parents, peers, and teachers do. This means that an immense amount of information must be stored in memory (it does not matter whether it is stored in the Memory subsystem or in a special Input-Processing memory) and be almost instantly available to Input-Processing. Total automation of the process is equated with efficiency: if I have to struggle to identify an object, I feel stupid; but if I recognize it right away, I feel competent and smart.
    In relation to enculturation process, we discussed the fact that a child has more options for his consciousness than a teenager or an adult. This is another way of saying that the automatization of Input-Processing and its efficiency become comprehensive with increasing age, until by the time we are adults almost everything in our world is instantly recognized and dealt with "appropriately." An adult sees things almost exclusively in a culturally approved way and makes culturally approved responses. Rigidity increases with age: that is what Timothy Leary meant when he said, "Don't trust anyone over thirty." The statement is overgeneralized, but it does contain an important psychological truth: older people are liable to be less able to see things differently from the way they have always been accustomed to seeing them.
    Numerous psychological studies show variation in Input-Processing that are related to differences within consensus reality. An early study of perception, for example, showed that poor children tend to perceive coins as physically larger than rich children do. People with strong religious values tend to pick up words and other stimuli relating to religion more readily than they do those relating to economics, and vice versa. People with neuroses or psychoses tend to be especially sensitive to certain stimuli that trigger their neurotic structures and to distort perception in ways that fit these neurotic structures. Projective tests, in which the subject is shown a relatively ambiguous stimulus like an ink blot and asked to describe what he sees, are a way of investigating the underlying structures of Input-Processing. If he repeatedly sees a murdered baby in several different blots, we might begin to wonder about the way he has dealt with aggression in his life or about his feelings toward his parents.
    In terms of the basic concepts of attention/awareness, psychological energy, and structure, Input-Processing represents a large number of structures, each specialized in responding to certain kinds of stimulus patterns. It has a certain amount of psychological energy always available, so that this active set of structures almost always stands between you and your sense. Input-Processing is automatized in the sense that the structures always draw energy of some sort when activated and process information in a relatively fixed way before passing this information on to awareness.
    The ubiquity of Input-Processing is a main reason I have elsewhere distinguished consciousness from awareness. Some kind of "pure" awareness may be a basic from which we start, but ordinarily we experience consciousness, awareness as it is vastly modified by the machinery of the mind. Here Input-Processing in effects places a number of structures between us and our sensory input, and even our sensory input comes through the Exteroception and Interoception subsystems, which are themselves structures with characteristics of their own. Other subsystems are also structures that modify or pattern basic awareness into consciousness. The systems diagram presented as Figure 8-1 shows awareness in a distinct place, but it really spreads through the various subsystems and so becomes consciousness.
    The main function of Input-Processing, then, is abstraction. This subsystem is rather like a vast organization that keeps track of an industry's progress and problems and, through hierarchical chains, passes on only the most abstracted reports to the president of the company.
    Input-Processing also generalizes, gives a familiar abstracted output to unfamiliar situations that are reasonably close to particular perceptions that have been learned. Thus you recognize this object as a book even though you have never seen this particular book before: it is similar enough to other books to have label automatically applied to it. This kind of generalization may be greatly affected by dominated needs and emotions: all apples look alike to a hungry man.
 
    Various aspects of Input-Processing can show extremely large changes in various d-ASCs. There are large quantitative changes, that is, the range of continuous changes in various aspects of Input-Processing may be greater or less than in your ordinary d-SoC. Your ability to focus attention on particular percepts, for example, may be quantitatively greater or quantitatively less in various d-ASCs.
    There are also many important qualitative changes that may be experienced as entirely new modes of perception. Some of these may be the activation of latent human potentials. Patterns may be seen in ordinarily ambiguous data, making it obviously meaningful. An important effect of marijuana intoxication, for example, is the ability to look at normally ambiguous material, such as the grain pattern in a sheet of wood, and see it as an actual picture. New shades of color are reported in various d-ASCs, new qualities to sound. We shall reserve judgment for the moment on whether these are veridical with respect to the actual stimulating objects.
    Apparently fixed properties of perceptual organization may change in various d-ASCs as Input-Processing changes. Carlos Castaneda {9} for example, describes how Don Juan taught him how to turn into a crow while he was intoxicated with a hallucinogenic plant: an outstanding aspect of this experience was that his visual field from each eye became split, so that he had two quite different fields, just as if his eyes were on separate sides of his head, instead of the usual overlapping, integrated field.
    Illusions and hallucinations, frequently reported in d-ASCs, represent important changes in Input-Processing. The conventional definition of illusion is a misinterpretation of a stimulus that is actually there, as, for example, when on entering a dimly lit room you mistake a coat hanging on a rack for a person. Hallucination is conventionally defined as a vision of something that is not there at all, as, for example, when on entering the same dimly lit room you see a person, even though the room is empty. While it is easy to distinguish these two extremes, there is obviously a continuum between them: there is always a certain amount of random neural firing in your retina, a "something" there.
    In a more general sense, we must realize that "misperception" and "what is and is not there" are usually defined in terms of consensus reality. We may hope that our consensus reality has a high degree of accuracy with respect to physical reality, but to assume automatically that it does is to be very parochial. If one person hears a given piece of music as exceptionally beautiful in its melody, and another hears it as quite common, was the first person suffering an illusion, or was he really more perceptive? We must be particularly careful in dealing with phenomena from d-ASCs that our consensus reality automatically defines as hallucinatory. Should we have so much faith in the conceptual schemes evolved in our ordinary d-SoC that we automatically dismiss anything that does not fit with them? It is bad science to continue to do so.
    An illusion, then, is Input-Processing's interpretation of a stimulus in a way that does not match consensus reality standards. Whether the interpretation added by the illusion is a richer and more accurate perception of a stimulus pattern, or a more distorted and less accurate one, varies with individual cases. In terms of d-ASCs we know about, my general impression is that they possess the property of making our perception more accurate in some ways and less accurate in others.
    A hallucination is a functioning of Input-Processing whereby stored information is drawn from Memory, worked over by Input-Processing, and passed along to awareness as if it were sensory data. The special label or quality that identifies the source of this vivid image as memory is missing; the quality that identifies it as a sensory stimulus is present. Depending on the type of d-ASC, a hallucination may completely dominate perception, totally wiping out all sensory input coming through Input-Processing, or may be mixed with processed sensory data. The intensity of the hallucination may be as great as that of ordinary sensory information, even greater, or less.
    An interesting dimension of variability of Input-Processing in d-ASCs is the degree to which it can be voluntarily altered. The degree of control may be high or low. I recall participating in some experiments on the effect of psilocybin, a psychedelic like LSD, when I was a graduate student. While intoxicated by the drug, I had to sort through a batch of file cards, each of which contained a statement of various possible symptoms. If I was experiencing the symptom, I was to put the card in the "true" pile, if I was not, in the "false" pile. I quickly found that I could make almost every statement true if I so desired, simply by reading it several times. I would pick up a statement like "My palms are sweating green sweat," think that would be an interesting experience, reread the statement several times, and then look at my hands and see that, sure enough, they were sweating green sweat! I could read a statement like "The top of my head is soft" several times and feel the top of my head become soft! Thus, while intoxicated with psilocybin my degree of voluntary control over Input-Processing became very large, sufficiently to create both illusions and hallucinations by merely focusing attention/awareness energy on the desired outcome.
    Another type of variation that can occur in Input-Processing in d-ASCs is the partial or total blocking of input from exterocepters or interoceptors. The d-ASC of deep hypnosis is an example. One can suggest to a talented, deeply hypnotized subject that he is blind, that he cannot feel pain, that he cannot hear, and experientially this will be so. The subject will not respond to a light or to objects shown him, and both during the d-ASC and afterward in his ordinary d-SoC, will swear that he perceived nothing. His eyes are still obviously functioning, and evoked brain responses recorded from the scalp show that input is traveling over the sensory nerves from his eye to his brain, but at the stage of Input-Processing the input is cut off so it does not reach awareness. Similarly, analgesia to pain may be induced in hypnosis and other d-ASCs.
    When input is completely blocked in Input-Processing there may or may not be a substitution of other input. Thus information may be drawn from memory to substitute a hallucination for the actual blocked information. If, for example, a deeply hypnotized subject is told that he cannot see a particular person who is in the room, he may not simply experience a blank when looking at that person (which sometimes happens), he may actually hallucinate that details of the room behind the person and thus see no anomalous area in his visual field at all.
    Another important change in d-ASCs is that, experientially, there may seem to be less Input-Processing, less abstracting, so a person feels more in touch with the raw, unprocessed input from his environment. This is especially striking with the psychedelics and is also reported as an aftereffect of concentrative meditation and as a direct effect of opening-up meditation. I know of no experimental studies that have thoroughly investigated whether one can actually be more aware of raw sensory data, but this is certainly a strong experiential feeling. It is not necessarily true, however. Vivid illusions can be mistaken for raw sensory data or (probably what happens) there can be a mixture of greater perception of raw data and more illusion substituted. Whether there is any particular d-ASC in which the balance is generally toward better perception through less abstracting is unknown at present.
    Psychedelic-drug-induced conditions are particularly noteworthy for the experience of feeling in contact with the raw data of perception, and this makes perceptions exceptionally beautiful, vibrant, and alive. By contrast, usual perception in the ordinary d-SoC, seems lifeless, abstract, with all the beauty of reality removed to satisfy various needs and blend in with consensus reality.
    Also reported in d-ASCs is an experience of feeling more in touch with the actual machinery of Input-Processing, gaining some insight or direct experience of how the abstracting processes work. For example, I was once watching a snowfall through a window at night, with a brilliant white spotlight on the roof illuminating the falling snow. I was in an unusually quiet state of mind (it was too brief for me to decide whether it was a d-ASC), and suddenly I noticed that instead of simply watching white snow fall (my usual experience), I was seeing each snowflake glinting and changing with all colors of the spectrum. I felt strongly that an automated Input-Processing activity that makes snow white had temporarily broken down. Afterward, it struck me that this was likely, for white is actually all the colors of the spectrum combined by Exteroception (eyes) and Input-Processing to the sensation of white. Thus a snowflake actually reflects all the colors of the spectrum, and active "doing" (to use Don Juan's term) on the viewer's part is required to turn it into white. There is no light energy of "white" in the physicist's world. Similarly, persons have reported gaining insights into how various automatic processes organize their perception by being able to see the lack of organization of it or by seeing the alternative organizations that occur.
    Synesthesia is another radical change in Input-Processing that sometimes takes place in some d-ASCs. Stimulation of one sense is perceived in awareness as though a different sense had been stimulated at the same time. For example, hearing music is accompanied by seeing colored forms. This is the most common and perhaps the most beautiful form of synesthesia, and is sometimes reported with marijuana intoxication.
 

    All techniques for inducing d-ASCs, except drug or physiological effects that act directly on various bodily functions, must work through Input-Processing. That subsystem mediates all communication. Yet it is useful to distinguish between induction techniques that are primarily designed to disrupt stabilization of the b-SoC in some other subsystem without significantly affecting Input-Processing per se, and those that are designed to disrupt Input-processing directly as a way of destabilizing the b-SoC.
    In this latter class is a wide variety of techniques designed to give a person input that is uncanny in terms of the familiar ways of processing input in the b-SoC. The input is uncanny, anomalous in a sense of seeming familiar yet being dissimilar enough in various way to engender a pronounced feeling of nonfitting. Often the events are associated with an emotional charge or a feeling of significance that makes that fact that they do not fit even more important. Don Juan, for example, in training Carlos Castaneda to attain various d-ASCs would often frighten Castaneda or destabilize his ordinary state to an extraordinary degree by doing something that seemed almost, but not quite, familiar, such as simply acting normally but with subtle differences at various points.
    The use of uncanny stimuli is not limited to inducing a d-ASC from an ordinary d-SoC.; it can work in reverse. When a person talks about "being brought down" from a valued d-ASC, he means he is presented with stimulation patterns that Input-Processing cannot handle in that d-ASC, so the d-ASC is destabilized, and he returns to his ordinary d-SoC.

Memory

    The Memory subsystem is concerned with information storage, with containing residues of past experiences that are drawn upon in the present. Memory is thus a large number of semipermanent changes caused by past experience. We can think of memory as structures, presumably in the brain (but perhaps also in the body structure), which, when activated, produce certain kinds of information. And we should not assume that there is just one Memory; there is probably a special kind of memory for almost every subsystem.
    Conventional psychological views of Memory also often divide memory functioning into short-term or immediate memory, medium-term memory, and long-term memory. Short-term memory is the special memory process that holds information about sensory input and internal processes for a few seconds at the most. Unless it is transferred to a longer-term memory, this information is apparently lost. Thus, as you look at a crowd, searching for a friend's face for a short time, you may remember a lot of details about the crowd. Then you find your friend's face, and the details about the crowd are lost. There is no point in storing them forever. This short-term memory is probably an electrical activity within the brain structure that dies out after a few seconds: no long-term structural changes occur. Once the electrical activity dies out, the information stored in the pattern or in the electrical activity is gone forever.
    Medium-term memory is storage of from minutes to a day or so. It probably involves partial structural changes as well as patterns of energy circulation. You can probably recall what you had for breakfast yesterday morning, but in a few days you will not remember the contents of that meal.
    Long-term memory involves semipermanent structural changes that allow you to recall things experienced and learned a long time ago.
    This division into short-, medium-, and long-term memory is of interest because these kinds of memories may be differentially affected during d-ASCs. At high levels of marijuana intoxication, for example, short-term memory is clearly affected {105}, although long-term memory may not be. Thus, a marijuana user often reports forgetting the beginning of a conversation he is engaged in, but he continues to speak English. There is little more we can say about differential effects of various d-ASCs on these three kinds of memory, as they have not yet been adequately studied. They offer a fruitful field for research.
    A most important aspect of Memory subsystem functioning in various d-ASCs is the phenomenon of state-specific memory. In a number of studies, subjects learned various materials while in d-ASCs, usually drug-induced, and were tested for retention of these materials in a subsequent ordinary d-SoC. Generally, retention was poor. The researchers concluded that things were not stored well in Memory in various d-ASCs. it is now clear that these studies must be reevaluated. Memory is specific. The way in which information is stored, or the kind of Memory it is stored in, is specific to the d-SoC the material was learned in. The material may be stored, but may not transfer to another state. If material is learned in a d-ASC and its retention tested in another d-SoC and found to be poor, the nonretention may indicate either an actual lack of storage of the information or a state-specific memory and lack of transfer. The proper way to test is to reinduce the d-ASC in which the material was learned and see how much material is retained in that state. State-specific memory has been repeatedly demonstrated in animals, although the criterion for the existence of a "state" in such studies is simply that the animals were drugged to a known degree, a criterion not very useful with humans, as explained later.
    There is now experimental evidence that for high levels of alcohol intoxication there is definite state-specific memory in humans {21}. It is an experimental demonstration of the old folk idea that if you lose something while very drunk and cannot find it the next day, you may be able to find it if you get very drunk again and then search. Experiential data collected in my study of marijuana users {105} also indicate the existence of state-specific memory, and I have recently received verbal reports that laboratory studies are finding state-specific memory for marijuana intoxication. There also seems to be state-specific memory for the conditions induced by major psychedelic drugs.
    State-specific memory can be readily constructed for hypnosis that is, state-specific memory may not occur naturally for hypnosis, but it can be made to occur. If you tell a hypnotized subject he will remember everything that happened in hypnosis when he comes back to his ordinary state such will be his experience. On the other hand, if you tell a deeply hypnotized subject he will remember nothing of what went on during hypnosis or that he will remember certain aspects of the experience but not others, this will also be the case when he returns to his ordinary state. In any event he will recall the experiences the next time he is hypnotized. This is not a pure case of state-specific memory, however, because amnesia for hypnotic experiences in the waking state can be eliminated by a prearranged cue as well as by reinducing the hypnosis.
    Another excellent example of state-specific memory is that occurring in spiritualist mediums. A medium enters a d-ASC in which his ordinary consciousness and sense of identity appear to blank out for a time. He may report wandering in what may be loosely called a dreaming state. Meanwhile, an alleged spirit entity ostensibly possesses him and acts as if it has full consciousness. Upon returning to a normal state, the medium usually has total amnesia regarding the events of the d-ASC. The alleged spirit communicator, however, usually shows perfect continuity of memory from state to state.[2]
    I suspect that state-specific Memory subsystems will be discovered for many or most d-ASCs, but the necessary research has not been done. The kinds of state-specific memories may vary in completeness. The ones we know of now—from marijuana intoxication, for example—are characterized by transfer of some information to the ordinary d-SoC but nontransfer of other information, the latter often being the most essential and important aspects of the d-ASC experience.
    Ordinarily, when we think of Memory we think of information becoming accessible to awareness, becoming part of consciousness, but we should note that we "remember" many things even though we have no awareness of them. Your current behavior is affected by a multitude of things you have learned in the past but which you are not aware of asmemories. You walk across the room and your motion is determined by a variety of memories, even though you do not think of them as memories.
    Note also that you can remember things you were not initially aware of. When you scan a crowd looking for a friend's face, you may be consciously aware of hardly any details of other faces, being sensitive only to your friend's. A minute later, when asked to recall something about the crowd, however, you may be able to recall a lot of information about it. For this reason, Figure 8-1 shows a direct information flow arrow from Input-Processing to Memory. We store in Memory not only things that have been in awareness, but also things that were never much in awareness to begin with.
    An interesting quality of information retrieved from Memory is that we generally know, at least implicitly, that we are retrieving memories. We do not confuse these with sensations or thoughts. Some kind of operating signal or extra informational quality seems to be attached to the memory information itself that says "This is a memory." There is an intriguing analogy for this. In the early days of radio, when a newscast tuned you in to a foreign correspondent, there was an obvious change in the quality of the audio signal, a change that you associated with a foreign correspondent broadcasting over a long distance on short wave. The sound was tinny, the volume faded in and out, there were hisses and crackles. This was a noninformational extra that became so associated in listeners' minds with hearing a real foreign correspondent that many radio stations resorted to the trick of deliberately adding this kind of distortion years later when communication technology had improved so much that the foreign correspondent's voice sounded as if he was actually in the studio. The added distortions made the listeners feel they were indeed hearing a faraway reporter and made the broadcast seem more genuine. Similarly, memory information is usually accompanied by a quality that identifies it as memory. The quality may be implicit: if you are searching actively for various things in your Memory, you need not remind yourself that you are looking at memories.
    This extra informational quality of memory can sometimes be detached from memory operation per se. It is possible to have a fantasy, for example, with the "this is a memory" quality attached, in which you mistakenly believe you are remembering something instead of just fantasizing it. Or, the quality may be attached in a d-ASC to an incoming sensory perception, triggering the experience of déjà vu, the feeling that you have seen this before. Thus you may be touring in a city you have never visited and it all looks very familiar; you are convinced you remember what it is like because of the presence of the "this is a memory" quality.[3]
    When information is actually drawn from Memory without the quality "this is a memory" attached, interesting things can happen in various d-ASCs. Hallucinations, for example, are information drawn from memory without the memory quality attached, but with the quality "This is a perception" attached.
    Much of the functioning of the Sense of Identity subsystem (discussed later) occurs via the Memory subsystem. You sense of who you are is closely related to the possession of certain memories. If the "this is a memory" quality is eliminated from those memories so that they become just data, you sense of identity can be strongly affected.
    Other variations of Memory subsystem functioning occur in various d-ASCs. The ease with which desired information can be retrieved from memory varies so that in some d-ASCs it seems hard to remember what you want, in others it seems easier than usual. The richness of the information retrieved varies in different d-ASCs, so that sometimes you remember only sketchily, and at other times in great detail. The search pattern for retrieving memories also varies. If you have to go through a fairly complex research procedure to find a particular memory, you may end up with the wrong memories or associated memories rather than what you were looking for. If you want to remember an old friend's name, for example, you may fail to recall the name but remember his birthday.
    Finally, we should note that a great many things are stored in Memory but not available in the ordinary d-SoC. The emotional charge connected with those memories makes them unacceptable in the ordinary d-SoC, and so defense mechanisms repress or distort our recall of such information. In various d-ASCs the nature of the defense mechanisms may change or their intensity of functioning may alter, allowing the memories to become more or less available.

Subconscious

    The Subconscious is usually defined as representing mental processes or phenomena that occur outside conscious awareness and that ordinarily cannot become conscious. They are part of the mind, but not conscious. How do we know they exist if we cannot be consciously aware of them? We infer their existence we observe certain aspects of our own and others' functioning that cannot be adequately explained on the basis of our or their immediately available conscious experiences, and we infer that forces or phenomena outside consciousness are affecting it—from behind the scenes, as it were. Thus, from the viewpoint of our ordinary d-SoC, the Subconscious subsystem is a hypothesis, an inferential construct needed to explain conscious behavior. A psychoanalyst, for example, observes that a patient becomes pale and trembles every time he speaks of his brother, yet when questioned about him says they have a good relationship. The psychoanalyst hypothesizes that in the patient's Subconscious there is a good deal of unresolved anxiety and anger toward the brother.
    The emphasis here is that subconscious processes occur outside awareness from the viewpoint of the ordinary d-SoC. What is subconscious from the reference point of the ordinary d-SoC may become conscious in d-ASCs.
    I deliberately use the term subconscious rather than the more commonly employed unconscious to avoid the strictly psychoanalytic connotations of unconscious mind. The classical, Freudian unconscious (the sexual and aggressive instincts and their sublimations and repressions) is included in the Subconscious subsystem described here. The Subconscious also include creative processes, the kinds of things we vaguely call intuition and hunches, tender and loving feelings that may be just as inhibited in their expression as sexual and aggressive ones, and other factors influencing conscious behavior. All these things are mysterious and poorly understood by our conscious minds.
    Also included as subconscious processes for many of us are the kinds of thinking that are now called right hemisphere modalities of thinking {47}. The type of thinking associated with the right hemisphere seems holistic rather than analytic, atemporal rather than sequential in time, more concerned with patterns than with details. But for many of us in whom intellectual, sequential, rational development has been overstressed and this other mode inhibited or ignored, this right hemisphere thinking is largely subconscious.
    D-ASCs may alter the relationship between what is conscious and what is subconscious. Figure 8-2 expresses this idea. In the ordinary d-SoC, it is convenient to think of the conscious part of the mind as the part that is in the full focus of consciousness or is readily available to such consciousness, to think of a preconscious part that is ordinarily not in the full focus of consciousness but can be made so with little effort, and a Subconscious subsystem that is ordinarily completely cut off from conscious awareness even though special techniques, such as psychoanalytic ones, give inferential information about it. I have followed the general psychoanalytic conventions (1) of showing the Subconscious as the largest part of the mind, to indicate that the largest portion of experience and behavior is probably governed by subconscious forces we are not aware of, and (2) of showing the conscious and preconscious parts of the mind as about equal in size. The barrier between conscious and preconscious has many "holes" in it while the Subconscious is relatively inaccessible. For example, if you dislike someone and I ask you to think about why you dislike him, a little thought may show that the reasons behind your immediate dislike result from a synthesis of the person's appearance and some unpleasant experiences you previously have had with people of that appearance. These reasons might actually be based on deeply buried subconscious feelings that all people of the same sex are rivals for mother's affection, things you ordinarily cannot become aware of without special therapeutic techniques.
    Preconscious and subconscious contents may be more or less readily available in a d-ASC, depending on the d-ASC. In d-ASC 1 in Figure 8-2, more other mind and preconscious material are directly in consciousness and less are in the Subconscious subsystem. This, incidentally, is one of the danger of experiencing a d-ASC: a person may be overwhelmed by emotionally charged material, normally subconscious, that he is not ready to handle. This can happen with marijuana intoxication or other psychedelic-drug-induced states, as well as with meditative states or hypnosis. In all these states things that are ordinarily preconscious or subconscious may become conscious.
    D-ASC 2 illustrates the kind of state in which things that are ordinarily conscious may become preconscious or subconscious. Certain drug-induced states or other d-ASCs that tend toward stupor might fit in this category, where consciousness feels quite restricted and dull, even though the subject's behavior suggests that previously conscious material is still affecting him. The alcoholic blackout state is interesting in this context, for the person seems to behave "normally" in many ways, indicating that much ordinarily conscious knowledge is still present, even though this is a blackout in terms of later recall.
    D-ASC 3 represents various d-ASCs in which much subconscious material might become preconscious: it will not necessarily well up by itself, but it is much more readily available than ordinarily. Thus the potential for exploring the mind is greater, but effort must still be exerted. Marijuana intoxication can do this.
    In terms of overall system functioning, I have shown a direct information flow arrow from Input-Processing to the Subconscious, and a feedback control arrow from the Subconscious to Input-Processing. Processed input information may reach the Subconscious and have effects even when it does not reach awareness. To use again the example of scanning the crowd, even though you are consciously looking for your friend's face, the impact of another face may trigger subconscious processes because of resemblance to someone emotionally meaningful to you, and may produce later effects on you even though you were not consciously aware of seeing that particular person.
    The feedback control arrow from Subconscious to Input-Processing indicates that the Subconscious subsystem may have a major control over perception. Our likes and dislikes, needs and fears, can affect what we see. This kind of selectivity in perception is discussed in relation to the Input-Processing subsystem. I bring it up here to indicate a distinction between relatively permanent, learned selectivities of perception that are inherent in Input-Processing itself, such as ability to recognize words, and selectivities that are more dependent on the current emotional state of the Subconscious subsystem, and so may show more variation from time to time. For example, we have many permanent learnings that are part of Input-Processing and that enable us to distinguish men from women at a glance. But we have sexual needs that peak from time to time, and these may be partially or wholly in the Subconscious subsystem because of cultural repressive pressures. As these repressed needs vary, they affect Input-Processing and change our current perceptions of people of the opposite sex: they can become much more attractive when we are aroused.
    We should also briefly note the possibility of the activation of archetypes from the Collective Unconscious during d-ASCs. The terms archetypes and Collective Unconscious are used in Carl Jung's sense. The Collective Unconscious refers to a large body of biologically inherited psychological structures,, most of which remains latent human potentials. Particular structures are archetypes, innate patterns that can emerge and dominate consciousness because of the high psychic energy residing in them if the right stimuli for activation occur. Myths of heroic quests, demons, gods, energies, God, Christ, are held by Jung to be particular archetypes from the Collective Unconscious, which express themselves at various times in human history. It would take far too much space here to give them adequate consideration; the interested reader should refer to the collected works of Carl Jung. It should be noted, however, that some d-ASCs frequently facilitate the emergence of archetypes.

Evaluation and Decision-Making

    The Evaluation Decision-Making subsystem refers to those intellectual, cognitive processes with which we deliberately evaluate the meaning of things and decide what to do about them.[4] It is the subsystem constituting our thinking, our problem-solving, our understanding. It is where we apply a logic to data presented to us and reach a conclusion as a result of processing the data in accordance with that logic.
    Note that a logic is a self-contained, arbitrary system. Two and two do not make four in any "real" sense; they make four because they have been defined that way. That a particular logic is highly useful in dealing with the physical world should not blind us to the fact that it is basically an arbitrary, self-contained, assumptive system. Thus, when I define the Evaluation and Decision-Making subsystem as processing information in accordance with a logic, I do not intend to give it an ultimate validity, but just to note that there is an assumptive system, heavily influenced by culture and personal history, which processes data. In our ordinary d-SoC there may actually be several different logics applied at various times. I might apply the logic of calculus to certain kinds of problems in electronics, but not to problems of interpersonal relationships.
    We should also note, as honest self-observation will reveal, that much of what passes as rationality in our ordinary d-SoC is in fact rationalization. We want something, so we make up "good" reasons for having it.
    The discussion that follows is confined to intellectual, conscious evaluation and decision-making. Some aspects of this become automated and go on in the fringes of awareness, but they are potentially available to full consciousness should we turn our attention to them. Other subsystems, such as Emotions and the Subconscious, also evaluate data, classify them as good or bad, threatening or benign, etc. We are not concerned with these here, however; we shall consider only conscious, intellectual kinds of decision-making and evaluation.
    Figure 8-3 illustrates the typical operation of the Evaluation and Decision-Making subsystem for the ordinary d-SoC. The process starts (lower left-hand corner) when you encounter some kind of problem situation in life. The stimuli from this situation, coming in via the Exteroception subsystem, are subjected to a large amount of Input-Processing, and some abstraction of the situation reaches your awareness. Assume this initial abstraction is puzzling: it doesn't make sense to you and you don't know what to do. So the Evaluation and Decision-Making subsystem draws upon information stored in the Memory subsystem in order to evaluate it. Figure 8-3 shows information both coming from Memory and going to memory to guide the retrieval of memory information, making it selective and relevant. Further assume that, given the presented information and what is available in Memory, the situation still makes only partial sense. You decide to seek more information. Controlling information is sent to Input-processing to produce more information about the situation, to look at it from another angle. Getting this further information, you again compare it against what you already know, and one of two sequences results. If the situation still does not make sense, and you have no way of getting further information, you may take the option, shown by the upward-slanting arrow, of simply not acting on the situation for the time being. If it doesn't make sense, in accordance with whatever logic you are using, you can then consult your memory for criteria for valued or appropriate kinds of actions, given your understanding of the situation, and then act in that appropriate way. Your action modifies the situation, which changes the data reaching you from the situation through Exteroception and Input-Processing, and the whole process may be repeated. Continuous cycling through this sort of process is what we call thinking and action.
    In the ordinary d-SoC, the operation of the Evaluation and Decision-Making subsystem is often hyperactive to the point of constituting noise—noise in the sense that the overinvestment of attention/awareness energy in this process lowers the ability to notice and deal with other sources of relevant information. You cannot hear your sense over the noise of your thoughts. The cycle shown in Figure 8-3 tends to be endless and self-perpetuating. Something happens, you think about it, reach a decision, and act, which changes the situation and makes you reevaluate it. Or you do not act, but thinking about it reminds you of something else, which reminds you of something else, about which you make a decision, which results in action that modifies another situation, which starts more evaluation and association processes. For example, someone on the street asks me for money, which starts me thinking about disinterested charity versus the work ethic ("Why doesn't he get a job? I work for my money. Maybe he is unfortunate, but he could also be too lazy. Maybe I'm being manipulated; I've been manipulated before, etc. etc.") and I'm so involved in this thought process that I do not notice various perceptual cues that would inform me about this person's actual situation and intentions.
    Earlier, in discussing the stabilization processes that maintain a state of consciousness I pointed out that this endless thinking process is a major source of loading stabilization in an ordinary d-SoC. It continually reinforces consensus reality, for we tend to think continuously about the things we have been reinforced for thinking about, and it absorbs such a large amount of our attention/awareness energy that we have little of that energy available for other processes. This Evaluation and Decision-Making subsystem activity has an extremely large amount of psychological inertia: if you are not fully convinced of this, I suggest that you put this book down right now and try to turn the system off for five minutes. Don't think of anything, don't evaluate anything for the next five minutes. That also means don't think about not thinking.
    Now, unless you a rare individual indeed, you have seen the difficulty of stopping activity of your Evaluation and Decision-Making subsystem. This enormous psychological inertia is excellent for maintaining your social membership in consensus reality, but if your personality structure and/or consensus reality is unsatisfactory and/or you wish to explore other d-SoCs besides you ordinary one, this endless activity of the Evaluation and Decision-Making subsystem can be a tremendous liability.
    Within the ordinary d-SoC, there is some quantitative variation in the activity of the Evaluation and Decision-Making subsystem. Some days you feel intellectually sharp, and your mind is quick and you solve problems accurately on the first try. Other days you mind seems dull; you fail to grasp things right away, have to think a lot just to understand elementary points, have a hard time putting things together. There is also some variation within the ordinary d-SoC in the overall quantity of thoughts: some days your thoughts seem to race, other days they are a bit slower than normal. There is probably also quantitative variation in the redundancy of thinking, the degree to which you use multiple, overlapping processes to check on your own accuracy. And there is a quantitative variation in the degree to which you logical evaluation is distorted by emotional factors. When you are in a situation that activates conscious and subconscious emotions, your logic borders on pure rationalization; in a less threatening situation your logic may be relatively flawless. But these variations all stay within an expected range that you have come to think of as your ordinary d-SoC.
    All the above relatively quantitative variations in the functioning of the Evaluation and Decision-Making subsystem may be exaggerated in various d-ASCs. Your thoughts may seem to race faster than you can comprehend them; the slowing down or accuracy of your logic processes can seem much more extreme than in your ordinary d-SoC. A drunk, for example, may not be able to think through a simple problem, while someone intoxicated on marijuana may have crystal-clear insights into a formerly baffling problem. I cannot be more specific about this, as there has been little quantitative research on it so far. However, experiential reports suggest that the quantitative variations can be large.
    Even more interesting are qualitative variations in various d-ASCs. One of these is the substitution of a different logic from one ordinarily used in your b-SoC. Martin Orne {44} has reported some interesting demonstrations. A deeply hypnotized subject is given a suggestion—for example, "The number three no longer makes any sense, the idea of three is a meaningless concept." The subject is then given various arithmetical problems such as two plus one equals what? Depending on subsidiary assumptions the subject makes, he rapidly evolves a new arithmetical logic that does not involve the number three. To the question, "What does two plus one equal?" he answers, "Four." To the question, "Sic divided by two equals what?" he answers either, "Two" or "Four," depending on the subsidiary assumptions. Thus a whole new logic can be readily programmed in the d-ASC of hypnosis. Various state-specific logics have been reported for meditative and psychedelic states, but they do not seem communicable in the ordinary d-SoC.
    In the ordinary d-SoC, we are intolerant of contradictions in logic; in a d-ASC, tolerance for contradictions may be much higher. Again, an example from hypnosis is illustrative. I once suggested to an extremely susceptible subject, while he was in the hypnotic d-ASC, that mentally he was getting up from his chair, going down the hall and outside the laboratory building. he described this experience to me as it was happening. He experienced himself as being in the yard in back of the laboratory, where he reported seeing a mole come up to the surface from its tunnel. I asked him to catch the mole and hold on to it, and he said he had. Later I had him in his mental journey come back into the laboratory, walk upstairs, reenter the room where we were sitting, and stand in the middle of the floor. I asked him what he saw in the room, and he gave a general overall description of the room, omitting any mention of the chair in which he was sitting. Something like the following dialogue then occurred:
    CT: Is there anyone sitting in the chair?
    T: I am.
    CT: Didn't you just tell me you were standing in the middle of the room?
    S: Yes, I am standing in the middle of the room.
    CT: Do you think it's contradictory to tell me you're standing in the middle of the room and sitting in the chair at the same time?
    S: Yes.
    CT: Does this contradiction bother you?
    S: No.
    CT: Which one of the two selves is your real self?
    S: They are both my real self.
    This stumped me until I finally thought of another question.
    CT: Is there any difference at all between the two selves?
    S: Yes, the me standing in the middle of the floor has a mole in his hands.
    It is tempting to view this tolerance for contradictions as a deterioration in logic, but remember that contradiction is itself defined in terms of a particular logic, and since logics are self-contained assumptive structures, thinking in a pattern containing contradictions according to one system of logic may not necessarily mean that the thinking is useless or absolutely invalid. Indeed, some investigators have hypothesized that an increased ability to tolerate contradictions is necessary for creative thought. It should also be noted that many people who experience this ability to tolerate contradictions in d-ASCs believe it to be a transcendent, superior quality, not necessarily an inferior one. Sometimes they feel they are using a superior logic. Nevertheless, the ability to tolerate contradictions per se is not necessarily a superior quality.
    Since this book is written in ordinary, Western d-SoC logic, there are difficulties in writing about d-ASC logics. New logics can emerge, appropriate to a particular d-ASC. New sets of (implicit) assumptions and rules for handling information in accordance with these assumptions seem to be inherent or learnable in a particular d-ASC. Within that particular d-ASC, and in repeated experiences in that d-ASC, these rules may be quite consistent and illogical. But writing about this is difficult because new state-specific logics may not seem like logics at all in other d-SoCs. From the viewpoint of some other d-SoC (usually the ordinary one) the logic is apparent, consistent, and useful. The existence of such state-specific logics is obvious to a number of people who experienced them in d-ASCs: they have not yet been proved to exist in a way acceptable to ordinary d-SoC evaluation.
    The question whether there are state-specific logics or merely inferior, error-ridden logics in d-ASCs is further complicated by the tendency of new experiencers of d-ASCs to overvalue their experiences in those d-ASCs. The experiences are so fascinating and often so emotionally potent in a d-ASC that is new to you that you tend to accept uncritically everything about it. Clearly, the sense of "This is a remarkable, obviously true and wonderful truth" is a parainformational quality, like the quality "This is a memory" discussed earlier, and can attach itself to various contents regardless of their logical truth value. The feeling that something is true, no matter how emotionally impressive, is no guarantee of its truth. The final test of whether a state-specific logic exists for a particular d-ASC will involve not only the sequential validation and replication of a logic of an individual experiencer as he reenters a particular d-ASC time after time, but also his ability to communicate that logic to others in that d-ASC and have them independently validate it, a point elaborated later in connection with state-specific sciences.
 
    An exciting finding of recent psychological research is the apparent existence of two discrete modes of cognition associated with functioning of the left and right cerebral hemispheres, respectively {47}. In the normal person there are a huge number of interconnections via the corpus callosum between these two hemispheres, and on that physiological basis a person should be able to alternate between two modes of thinking quite readily, choosing whichever is appropriate for a problem. Our culture, however, has greatly overvalued the style of thinking associated with left hemisphere activity—linear, sequential, rational, intellectual, cause-and-effect, analytical thinking. Right hemisphere functioning seems more concerned with pattern recognition, with wholes, with simultaneity rather than sequence, and with bodily functioning. The right hemisphere mode is more an analog mode than a digital mode. Since each mode of evaluation is highly valid when appropriately applied to a problem it is suited for, we become limited and less effective if we overvalue one mode and apply it to problems more appropriate to the other mode. In the ordinary d-SoC, especially among Western academics, linear thinking is greatly overvalued, so we exist in a unbalanced, pathological state. The reasoning behind this is complex, and the interested reader should consult Ornstein's The Psychology of Consciousness {47} and the sources he draws upon.
    Many d-ASC experiences seem to reflect a greatly increased use of the right hemisphere mode of cognition. Experiencers talk of seeing patterns in things, of simultaneously and instantaneously grasping relationships they cannot ordinarily grasp, of being unable to express these things verbally. The experience is usually reported as pleasant and rewarding and often is valued as a higher or more true form of cognition. Apparently left and right hemisphere functioning is more balanced or there may even be a shift to dominance of right hemisphere functioning. The experience does not lend itself to verbal description, but may be communicable in other ways, as through music or dance. It should be noted as a major shift in the Evaluation and Decision-Making subsystem that can occur in d-ASCs.[5]
    In the ordinary d-SoC, constant, repetitious thinking absorbs a great deal of attention/awareness energy and acts as a form of loading stabilization. Since attention/awareness energy is taken away from this left hemisphere type of activity in d-ASCs, and the energy becomes more freely available, psychological functions that are only latent potentials in the ordinary d-SoC may become noticeable. They are made noticeable not only through the availability of attention/awareness energy, but also because the noise of constant thinking is reduced. These new functions may resemble instincts giving us information about situations or, since a right hemisphere mode of functioning may emit some of its output in the form of bodily sensations (a hypothesis of mine that I believe future research will validate), they may enhance sensitivity to such sensations. It is as if in our ordinary d-SoC we are surrounded by a crowd of people talking and shouting continually. If they would all quiet down, we might be able to hear individuals or to hear someone at the edge of the crowd who is saying something important.
 

    Ordinarily Evaluation and Decision-Making activity consists of a sequential progression from one thought to another. You think of something, that draws up a certain association from memory, which you then think about; this draws up another association, etc. In this temporal sequence of the Evaluation and Decision-Making process, the progression from one thought to another, from association to association to association, it probabilistically controlled by the particular structures/programming built up by enculturation and life experience. Thus, if I say the word red to you, you are likely to associate some word like blue, green, yellow, some color word, rather than iguana, or sixteen-penny nail, or railroad track. The association that occurs to any particular thought is not absolutely determined, but since some associations are highly likely and others highly unlikely, we could, in principle, generally predict a person's train of thinking if we knew the strength of these various associative habits. Thus, much of our ordinary thinking/evaluation runs in predictable paths. These paths of likely associations are a function of the particular consensus reality we were socialized in.
    Figure 8-4 diagrams, with the heavy arrows, ordinary thinking processes. Given a certain input stimulus for thought, a certain deduction or conclusion is likely to be reached that will draw highly probable association 1, which will result in certain deductions, which will draw up highly probable memory association 2, and so on until conclusion 1 is reached. The light arrows represent possible branchings not taken because they are weak, improbable, not made highly likely by habits and enculturation.
    In various d-ASCs the rules governing the probability of associations change in a systematic and/or random way, and so progress along a chain of thought becomes much less predictable by ordinary d-SoC criteria. This is shown by the lower chain of light arrows in Figure 8-4. An unlikely association is made to the same input, which calls up different memory associations, leading to different deductions and further memory associations, etc., until a quite different conclusions, conclusion 2, is reached. Given the same presented problem in two d-SoCs, two quite different conclusions may result. This is creative, in the sense of being unusual. Whether it is practically useful is another question.
    In some of the more stable d-ASCs, like hypnosis or dreaming, I believe the rules for associations may be systematically changed. In d-ASCs induced by powerful psychedelic drugs like LSD (which may not be stable d-ASCs) there may be a relatively random interference with the association processes that may still lead to creative conclusions but that may show no lawfulness in and of themselves.
    Note that the Evaluation and Decision-Making subsystem controls Input-Processing to some extent in order to find "relevant" data to help solve problems. This can be useful or it can merely reinforce prejudices. Our evaluation of a situation may distort our subsequent perception of it and thus increase our faith in our evaluation, but at the price of distorted perception. In our desire for certainty, we can throw out the reality of the situation.

Emotions

    The Emotions subsystem is one which I, as a typical overintellectualized Western academic, feel least qualified to write out. I share the intellectual's distrust of emotions as forces that distort my reasoning and are liable to lead me astray. And yet, like most people, my life and consciousness are strongly controlled by the pursuit of pleasant emotions and the avoidance of unpleasant ones.
    Emotions are feelings that can be named but not easily defined. They are feelings that we call grief, fear, joy, surprise, yearning, anger, but that we define inadequately in terms of words: at best we use words to evoke memories of experiences that fit those names.
    The Emotions subsystem is, in one sense, the most important subsystem, for it can exert tremendous influence. If you are experiencing the emotion of fear, it may very well control you evaluations and decisions, the memories you draw upon, how you see the world and how you act. Any strong emotion tends to constellate the rest of consciousness about it. Indeed, I think that while mild levels of any emotion can occur within the region of experiential space we call the ordinary d-SoC, most strong levels of feeling may actually constitute d-ASCs. If you talk about feeling mildly angry, somewhat angry, or extremely angry, you can imagine all these things occurring in your ordinary d-SoC. But if you speak of being enraged, the word evokes associations of changes of perception (such as "seeing red") and cognition that strongly suggest that somewhere in the anger continuum there was a quantum jump, and a d-ASC of rage developed. The same is true for other strong emotions. I shall not develop the idea further here, as strong emotional states have seldom been studied scientifically as they must be to determine if they actually constitute d-SoCs. The idea holds promise for future research.
    Our culture is strongly characterized by poor volitional control over the Emotions subsystem in the ordinary d-SoC. Emotions can change with lightning rapidity; external events can induce them almost automatically. We have accepted this in a despairing way as part of the human condition, ambivalently regarding attempts to control emotions as either virtuous (since all emotions make us lose control, we should suppress them) or artificial (not "genuine"). Techniques from various spiritual disciplines indicate, however, that there can be emotional control that does not involve simple suppression or denial of content of the emotion {128}. Don Juan, for example, stated that since becoming a "man of knowledge" he had transcended ordinary emotions, but could have any one he wished {11}. In d-ASCs, people often report either greatly increased or decreased control over their emotions.
    In addition to changes in the degree of control over emotions, the intensity of emotions themselves may also change in d-ASCs. Dissociation from or dis-identification with emotions also occurs: a person reports that an emotion is going on quite strongly within him, yet is not "his": he is not identified with it and so little affected by it.
    In some d-ASCs new emotions appear, emotions that are never present in the ordinary d-SoC. These include feelings like serenity, tranquillity, and ecstasy. Because we use these words in our ordinary d-SoC we think we understand them, but those who have experienced such emotions in d-ASCs insist that we have only known the palest shadows of them.

Space/Time Sense

    Events and experiences happen at a certain time in a certain place. The naive view of this situation is that we simply perceive the spatial and temporal dimensions of real events. A more sophisticated analysis shows that space and time are experiential constructs that we have used to organize sensory stimuli coming to us. Because the organization has been so often successful for dealing with the environment, we have come to believe that we are simply perceiving what is "out there," rather than automatically and implicitly imposing a conceptual framework on what comes in to us. Ornstein {47} illustrates this in considerable detail in his analysis of time perception, showing that psychological time is a construct, as is physical time, and that a simple equation of the two things is misleading. If we bear in mind that our ordinary concepts of space and time are psychological constructs—highly successful theoretical ones, but nonetheless only constructs—then we shall be less inclined to label as distortions the changes in the functioning of the Space/Time subsystem reported in d-ASCs.
    In the ordinary d-SoC there is a small amount of variation in Space/Time sense, but not much. On a dull day time drags somewhat and on an exciting day it goes by quickly, but this range is not large. The dull hour may seem two or three hours long, a walk home when you are tired may seem twice as far, but this is about the maximum quantitative variation for most people in the ordinary d-SoC. Many other aspects of the space/time framework this subsystem generates are unchanging in the ordinary d-SoC: effects do not precede causes, up and down do not reverse, your body does not shrink or grow larger with respect to the space around it.
    Variations in the apparent rate of time flow may be much larger in some d-ASCs than ordinarily. In the d-ASC of marijuana intoxication, for example, a common experience is for an LP record to seem to play for an hour or more. Since an LP record generally plays for about fifteen minutes, this is approximately a fourfold increase in experienced duration. Ornstein {47} believes that a person's estimate of duration is based on the number of events that have taken place in a given period, so as more things are experienced the elapsed time seems longer. Since marijuana intoxication, like many d-ASCs, involves major changes in Input-Processing so that more sensory information is admitted, this experience of increased duration for a single record and for similar events may be due to the fact that a lot more is happening experientially in that same period of clock time. The converse effect can also happen in d-ASCs: time seems to speed by at an extraordinary rate. An experience that seems to have lasted a minute or two actually lasted an hour.
    A rare but especially intriguing experience reported from some d-ASCs is that the direction of flow of time seems to change. An event from the future happens now; the experiencer may even know it does not belong in the now but will happen later. An effect seems to precede the cause. Our immediate reaction, resulting from our deeply ingrained belief in the total reality of clock time, is that this cannot be "true," and we see the phenomenon as some confusion of time perception or possibly a hallucination.
    A rewarding d-ASC experience is an increased focus on the present moment, a greatly increased here-and-nowness. In the ordinary d-SoC, we usually pay little attention to what is actually happening in the present. We live among memories of the past and amid plans, anticipations, and fantasies about the future. The greatly increased sense of being in the here and now experienced in many d-ASCs usually accompanies a feeling of being much more alive, much more in contact with things. Many meditative practices specifically aim for this increased sense of here-and-nowness. Some d-ASCs seem to produce the opposite effect: the size of the present is "narrowed," making it very difficult to grasp the present moment.
    The experience of archetypal time, the eternal present, is a highly valued and radical alteration in time sense reported in various d-ASCs. Not only is there a great here-and-nowness, a great focus on the present moment, but there is a feeling that the activity or experience of the moment is exactly the right thing that belongs in this moment of time. It is a perfect fit with the state of the universe, a basic that springs from one's ultimate nature. Some of informants in my studies of marijuana intoxication {105} expressed this, in terms of relationships, as no longer being the case of John Smith and Mary Williams walking together in New York City on June 30, 1962, but Man and Woman Dancing Their Pattern Together, as it always has been and always will be.
    The experience of archetypal time is similar to, and may be identical with, the experience of timelessness, of the feeling that my kind of temporal framework for an experience is meaningless. Experiences simply are, they do not seem to take place at a specific time. Samadhi, for example, is described as lasting for an eternity, even though the meditater may be in that d-ASC for only a few seconds. Occasionally in such timeless experiences some part of the mind is perceived as putting a temporal location and duration of the event, but this is seen as meaningless word play that has nothing to do with reality. In some of mystical experiences in d-ASCs, the adjectives timeless and eternal are used almost interchangeably. Eternity probably did not arise as a concept, but as a word depicting an experience of timelessness, an immediate experiential reality rather than a concept of infinite temporal duration.
    Déjà vu, the French phrase meaning "seen before," is a time experience that occasionally happens in the ordinary d-SoC (it may actually represent a momentary transition into a d-ASC) and happens more frequently in d-ASCs. As an event is unfolding you seem to be remembering it, you are convinced it has happened before because it has the quality of a memory. In discussing the Memory subsystem, we speculated that Déjà vu might sometimes result from a misplacement of the quality "this is a memory" on a current perceptual event. Other types of Déjà vu experiences may represent an alteration of functioning of the Space/time subsystem, where the extra informational quality "this is from the past" is added to current perceptual events.
    The quantitative variations in space perception that occur in the ordinary d-SoC may occur in greatly increased form in d-ASCs. Distances walked, for example, may seem much shorter or much longer than ordinarily. Nor is active movement through space necessary for changes in distance to occur: as you sit and look something, it may seem to recede into the distance or to come closer. Or it may seem to grow larger or smaller.
    Depth is an important quality of spatial experience. A photograph or a painting is usually seen as a two-dimensional, flat representation of what was in reality a three-dimensional scene. Perception of a three-dimensional quality in the two-dimensional painting is attributed to the artist's technical skill. In d-ASCs, the degree of depth in ordinary perceptions may seem to change. Aaronson {88 or 115, ch. 17} notes that in many psychotic states, such as those associated with depression, the world seems flat, the depth dimension seems greatly reduced, while in many valued d-ASCs, such as those induced by psychedelic drugs, the depth dimension seems enhanced, deeper, richer. In some intriguing experiments, Aaronson shows that by artificially altering a hypnotized subject's depth perception through suggestion, to flatter or deeper, he can produce great variations in the subject's moods, and perhaps actually produce d-ASCs by simply changing this basic operation of the Space/Time subsystem.
    The ability to see three-dimensional depth in two-dimensional pictures is an interesting phenomenon reported for marijuana intoxication {105}. The technique my main informant reported is to look at a color picture through a pinhole held right at the eye, so your field of vision includes only the picture, not any other elements. If you are highly intoxicated with marijuana, the picture may suddenly become a three-dimensional scene instead of a flat, two-dimensional one.
    Another d-ASC-associated spatial change is loss of the spatial framework as a source of orientation. Although there are enormous individual differences, some people always keep their orientation in physical space plotted on a mental map; they generally know what direction they are facing, in what direction various prominent landmarks are located. This kind of orientation to the physical spatial framework may simply fade out, not be perceived in d-ASCs, or it may still be perceptible but become a relatively meaningless rather than an important type of information.
    This kind of change can be accompanied by new ways of perceiving space. Lines may become curved instead of straight, for example. Some people report perceiving four or more dimensions in d-ASCs, not as a mathematical construct but as an experiential reality. The difficulties of expressing this in a language evolved from external adaptation to three-dimensional reality are obvious.
    We ordinarily think of space as empty, but in d-ASCs space is sometimes perceived as having a more solid quality, as being filled with "vibrations" or "energy," rather than as being empty. Sometimes experiences believe this to be an actual change in their perception of the space around them; sometimes they perceive it as a projection of internal psychological changes onto their spatial perception.
    Our ordinary concept of space is a visual one, related to maps, lines and grids, visual distances, and diagrams. Space may be organized in other ways. Some marijuana smokers, for example, report that space becomes organized in an auditory way when they are listening to sounds or music with their eyes closed. Others report that tactual qualities determine space.
    I recall a striking evening I once spent with some friends. One of them had just rented a new house, which none of us had seen. We arrived after dark, were blindfolded before entering the house, and spent the next couple of hours exploring the house by movement and touch alone, with no visual cues at all. They concept that gradually evolved of the space of the house without the usual visual organizing cues was vastly different from the subsequent perception of the space when the blindfolds were removed.

Sense of Identity

    We noted earlier that an extra informational "This is a memory" quality is either explicitly or implicitly attached to data coming from the Memory subsystem and that this quality is sometimes attached to non-memory information in consciousness, producing interesting phenomena. The primary function of the Sense of Identity subsystem is to attach a "This is me" quality to certain aspects of experience, to certain information in consciousness, and thus to create the sense of an ego. Presumably semipermanent structures exist incorporating criteria for what the "This is me" quality should be attached to. However, the functioning of the Sense of Identity subsystem varies so greatly, even in the ordinary d-SoC, that I emphasize the extra informational aspects of the "This is me" quality rather than the structures underlying it.
    Any item of information to which the "This is me" quality is attached acquires considerable extra potency and so may arouse strong emotions and otherwise control attention/awareness energy. If I say to you, "The face of someone you don't know, a Mr. Johnson, is ugly and revolting," this information probably will not be very important to you. But if I say to you, "Your face is ugly and revolting," that is a different story! But why do you react so strongly to the latter sentence? True, under some circumstances such a statement might preface more aggressive action, against which you want to defend yourself, but often such a remark prefaces no more than additional words of the same sort; yet, you react to those words as if to actual physical attack.[6] Adding the ego quality to information radically alters the way that information is treated by the system of consciousness as a whole.
    At any given time only some of the contents of awareness are modulated by the ego quality. As I sit writing and pause to glance around the room, I see a large number of objects: they become the contents of my consciousness, but they are not me. The ego quality has not been added to them. Much our experience is just information; it does not have a special ego quality added.
    Another major function of the Sense of Identity subsystem is the exact opposite of its usual function: a denial of the sense of self to certain structures. Because certain of our personal characteristics and mind structures are considered undesirable and/or evoke unpleasant emotions in us, we create blocks and defenses against perceiving them as parts of ourselves. Many of these interdicted structures are culturally determined, many are specific products of personal developmental history and are not widely shared in the culture. So we deny that we have certain characteristics or we project them on to others: I am not quarrelsome, he is!
    I mention this function only in passing, in spite of its enormous importance, for it leads into the vast realm of psychopathology, and is beyond the scope of this book.
    The functioning of the Sense of Identity subsystem is highly variable in the ordinary d-SoC, much more variable than we are ordinarily aware. There are many transient identifications, many short-term modulations of particular information, by the ego feeling. When you read a good novel or see a good movie and empathize with one of the characters, you are adding the ego sense to the information about that character. Empathy is the ability to take in information about another's experiences and treat it as if it were you own. However, a person's degree of control over, and self-awareness of, empathy is highly variable. Lack of control over ability to identify with particular things can cause psychological difficulties. For example, if a shopkeeper treats you brusquely, you may feel hurt and upset about it all day long, even though you know intellectually that he is a brusque person who treats everyone that way. Your ego sense was attached to that particular information and is difficult to detach. Thus, various kinds of stimulus patterns can catch the ego sense and are difficult to disentangle.
    To illustrate the high variability of functioning of the Sense of Identity subsystem, consider how it can be invested in possessions. Suppose you are in New York City, having a "sophisticated" discussion with a friend about the breakdown of social values and the consequent rebellion by young people. Through the window you see some teenagers across the street trashing a car, and, with detachment, you point out to your friend that these unfortunate teenagers are what they are because their parents could not transmit values they lacked themselves. Then you notice it is your car they are trashing, and your feelings of sympathy for those poor teenagers vanish rather quickly!
    Each person has a number of relatively permanent identifications, well-defined experiential and behavioral repertoires that he thinks of as himself. His role in society gives him several of these: he may be a salesman in one situation, a father in another, a lover in another, a patient in another, an outraged citizen in another. Often these various roles demand behaviors and values that are contradictory, but because he identifies strongly with each role at the time he assumes it, he does not think of this other roles, and experiences little conscious conflict. For example, a concentration camp guard who brutalizes his prisoners all day may be known as a loving and doting father at home. This ability to compartmentalize roles is one of the greatest human dilemmas.
    Some roles are situation-specific. Others are so pervasive that they continue to function in situations for which they are not appropriate. For example, if you take your job concerns home with you or to a party where other kinds of experiences and behavior are desired and expected, you have overidentified with a particular role.
    One of a person's most constant, semipermanent identifications is with his body, more precisely, with his body image, the abstract of the data from his body as mediated through the Exteroception, Interoception, and Input-Processing subsystems. This body image he identifies with may or may not have much actual resemblance to his physical body as other people see it. The degree of identification with the body may vary from time to time. When I am ill I am very aware of my physical body and its centrality in my consciousness; when I am healthy and happy I am aware of my body more as a source of pleasure, or I forget it as I become involved in various tasks.
    On the basis of this mass of transient and semipermanent identifications, with various degrees of compartmentalization, each of us believes in something he calls his ego or self. He may assume that this elf is a property of his soul and will live forever. He may vigorously defend this self against slights or other attacks. But what is this ego, this "real" self?
    This difficult question has long plagued philosophers and psychologists. I am intrigued by the Buddhist view that asks you to search your experience to find the basic, permanent parts of it that constitute the essence of your ego. When you do this, you find it hard to identify anything as being, finally, you. You may discern certain long-term constancies in your values, connected sets of memories, but none of these qualifies as an ultimate self. The Buddhist view is that you have no ultimate self, thus you need not defend it. Since it is the ego that suffers, realization that ego is an illusion is supposed to end suffering.
    In terms of the systems approach, we can characterize ego as a continuity and consistency of functioning to which we attach special importance, but which does not have the reality of a solid thing somewhere, which is only a pattern of operation that disappears under close scrutiny. I believe that this view is congruent with the enormous changes that can occur in the sense of self in various d-ASCs. The ego or self is thus a certain kind of extra informational modulation attached to other contents of consciousness. It is not a solid sort of thing, even though there must be some semipermanent structures containing the information criteria for controlling the functioning of this subsystem. A change in the pattern of functioning changes the ego.
 
    Reports from d-ASCs indicate that the sense of ego can be disengaged from a wide variety of kinds of information and situations to which it is normally attached. Memories, for example, may come into your consciousness accompanied by the feeling that this is your memory, as just information pulled from memory. This can be therapeutically useful for recovering information about traumatic events from a patient who is unable to handle the emotional charge on the events. The sense of ego can also be detached from the body, so that you are associated simply with a body rather than your body. Reaction to pain, for instance, can be altered this way. You may feel a stimulus as just as painful as ordinarily, but you do not get upset about it because you are not being injured. Situations that evoke particular roles may not evoke such roles in d-ASCs. For example, all the necessary stimulus elements may be present for automatically invoking the role of teacher, but in the d-ASC the role does not appear. The sense of ego can be detached from possessions and responsibilities, and even from actions, so that things you do seem not to be your actions for which you are responsible, but just actions.
    Sometimes the sense of ego is detached from several or all of the above concepts so that you feel entirely egoless for a while. There is experience, but none of it is "possessed" byyou in any special ego sense.
    The converse effect can also occur in d-ASCs: the sense of ego may be added to things it is not ordinarily attached to. A situation, for example, may call for a certain role that is not important to you ordinarily but which you come to identify with strongly.
    This detachment and addition of the ego sense that accompanies d-ASCs may result in actions that are later regretted when the ordinary d-SoC returns. In our culture, the classic case is the person who behaves while drunk as he would never behave sober. A certain amount of social tolerance exists for drunken behavior, so while some people have profound regrets on realizing what they did, others are able to compartmentalize these experiences and not be particularly bothered by them.
    These large shifts in ego sense in d-ASCs may later modify the ordinary d-SoC functioning of the Sense of Identity subsystem. When things you firmly identify with in the ordinary d-SoC are experienced in a d-ASC as detached from you, your conviction of their permanence is undermined and remains so when you resume your ordinary d-SoC. You are then receptive to other possibilities.
    Since attachment of the sense of ego to certain information greatly increases the power of that information, these large shifts in Sense of Identity subsystem functioning can have profound consequences. For example, if the sense of ego is used to modulate most information about another person, you may feel united with that person. The usual ego-object dichotomy is broken. If your sense of being an ego separate from other things is greatly reduced or temporarily abolished in a d-ASC, you may feel much closer to another person because there is no you to be separate from him. The other may be a perceived, real person or a concept religiously respected person, a saint, or god, you may have a mystical experience in which you feel identified with something greater than yourself.
    It is important to note, however, that the expansive or contractive change in the Sense of Identity subsystem that allows identification with something greater than/or outside oneself can have negative consequences and can be used to manipulate others. Group procedures at some religious meetings or political rallies, such as the Nazis held, illustrate how an intense emotional state can be generated which disrupts the stabilization of the ordinary d-SoC and leaves it vulnerable to psychological pressure to identify with the cause being promoted. Whether the cause is that of the Nazi party or of Christian salvation, the method is manipulation, playing on a subject's ignorance to disrupt his d-SoC and then reprogramming him.
    These negative aspects should be emphasized, for too many people who have had good experiences in d-ASCs tend to think d-ASCs are inherently good. Consider, therefore, one more example, that of the berserkers. The English word berserk, meaning "violently running amuck, killing and slaying at random," comes from the Scandinavian wordberserker, referring to groups in medieval times who took a psychedelic drug in order to become better killers. Tradition has it that these Vikings, to whom raiding and killing was a respectable way of life, ingested Amanita muscaria, a mushroom with psychedelic properties, under ritual conditions (patterning forces) to induce a day-long d-ASC in which they became exceptionally ferocious killers and fighters, carried away by rage and lust, supposedly impervious to pain, an possessed of extra strength. Such a d-ASC experience hardly creates "flower children."
    Additionally we should note that the semiconstancy of the consensus reality we live in imposes a fair degree of consistency on the kinds of experiences and contents of consciousness to which the Sense of Identity subsystem attaches the ego quality. Every morning you awaken with an apparently identical body; people call you by the same name; they have relatively fixed expectations of you; they reward you for fulfilling those expectations; you are usually surrounded by a fair number of possessions that reinforce your sense of identity. As long as these consensus reality conditions remain relatively constant, you can easily believe in the constancy of your ego. But if these props for your Sense of Identity are changed, as they sometimes are deliberately as a way of destabilizing the b-SoC in preparation for inducing a d-ASC, your sense of ego can change radically. An example familiar to some readers is induction into the army: you are stripped of personal possessions, including clothes; all your ordinary social roles are gone; your name is replaced by a number or a rank; and you are "reeducated" to be a good soldier. Induction into the army and induction into a d-ASC have much in common, but because the army is a well-known subset of consensus reality it is not considered odd, as hypnosis or dreaming are.
    Finally, because of its enormous ability to control emotional and attention/awareness energy, the Sense of Identity subsystem can at times constellate the entire structure of consciousness about particular identity patterns, just as can archetypes (in the Jungian sense) arising from the Collective Unconscious can.

Motor Output

    The Motor Output subsystem consists of those structures which we physically affect the external world and our own bodies. In terms of conscious awareness, these structures are primarily the skeletal, voluntary musculature. If I take a minute out from writing to pet my cat, I am using my Motor Output subsystem with full awareness. The Motor Output subsystem elements that primarily affect our own bodies are glandular secretions and other internal, biological processes. These latter, involuntary effectors are controllable not directly, but through intermediates. I cannot directly increase the amount of adrenaline in my bloodstream, for example, but if I make myself angry and wave my fists and shout and holler, I will almost certainly increase the amount of adrenaline secreted.
    Two kinds of inputs control Motor Output: input from the Evaluation and Decision-Making subsystem, conscious decisions to do or not to do something, and input from a series of controlling signals that bypasses the Evaluation and Decision-Making subsystem. The latter includes reflexes (jumping at a sudden sound, for example), emotional reactions, and direct control of Motor Output from the Subconscious subsystem. Subconscious control in the ordinary d-SoC includes qualities added to otherwise conscious gestures that reflect nonconscious mental processes: you may state, for example, that a certain person does not make you angry, but an observer notices that your fists clench whenever this person is mentioned.[7]
    Motor Output operates with almost constant feedback control. By monitoring the environment with the Exteroception subsystem and the body with the Interoception subsystem, you constantly check on the effect of your physical actions and on whether these are desirable and make adjustments accordingly.[8]
    Many voluntary movements are quite unconscious in terms of their details. You decide to lift your arm, yet you have little awareness of the individual muscle actions that allow you to do so. In d-ASCs, greatly increased awareness of particular aspects of the Motor Output subsystem are sometimes reported. Greatly decreased awareness has also been reported: actions that are ordinarily subject to conscious awareness, via feedback from the interoceptors, are done with no awareness at all. During my first experience with a psychedelic drug, mescaline, I told my body to walk down to the end of the hall. Then my awareness became completely absorbed in various internal events. After what seemed a very long time, I was surprised to notice that my body had walked down the hall and obligingly stopped at the end, with no conscious participation or awareness on my part. To some extent this occurs in an ordinary d-SoC, especially with well-learned actions, but the effect can be much more striking in a d-ASC. We should distinguish lack of sensory awareness of body actions from awareness of them but without the sense of ego added. The latter also creates a different relationship with motor actions.
    Deautomatization of motor actions is another sort of altered awareness of motor output that can occur in a d-ASC. Either you become unusually aware of components of automatized actions normally inaccessible to consciousness or you have deliberately to will each of these component actions to take place because the whole automated action will not occur by itself.
    D-ASC related changes in the way the body is experienced via the Exteroception subsystem and in awareness of functioning of the Motor Output subsystem can alter theoperating characteristics of voluntary action. You may have to perform a different kind of action internally in order to produce the same kind of voluntary action. Carlos Castaneda {9} gives a striking example of this in a drug-induced d-ASC. His body was completely paralyzed from the "little smoke" in terms of his ordinary way of controlling it. Doing all the things he ordinarily did to move produced zero response. But if he simply willed movement in a certain way, his body responded.
    Changes in the awareness of the functioning of the Motor Output subsystem may include feelings of greatly increased strength or skill, or of greatly decreased strength or skill. Often these feelings do not correspond with performance: you may feel exceptionally weak or unsure of your skill, and yet perform in a basically ordinary fashion. Or you may feel exceptionally strong, but show no actual increase in performance. The potential for a true increment in strength in d-ASCs is real, however, because in the ordinary d-SoC you seldom use your musculature to its full strength. Safety mechanisms prevent you from fully exerting yourself and possibly damaging yourself. For example, some muscles are strong enough to break your own bones if they were maximally exerted. In various d-ASCs, especially when strong emotions are involved, these safety mechanisms may be temporarily bypassed, allowing greater strength, at the risk of damage.
    In a d-ASC the Subconscious subsystem may control the Motor Output subsystem or parts of it. For example, if a hypnotist suggests to a subject that his arm is moving up and down by itself, the arm will do so and the subject will experience the arm moving by itself, without his conscious volition. If a hypnotist suggests automatic writing, the subject's hand will write complex material, with as much skill as in ordinary writing, without any conscious awareness by the subject of what he is going to write and without any feeling of volitional control over the action. This kind of disassociated motor action can also sometimes occur in the ordinary d-SoC, where it may represent the action of a disassociated d-ASC.
 
    This ends our survey of the main subsystems of states of consciousness. It is only a survey, pointing out the major variations. Much literature already exists from which more specific information about various subsystems can be gleaned, and much research remains to be done to clarify our concepts of particular subsystems. Particularly we need to know exactly how each subsystem changes for each specific d-ASC.
    So we must know our parts better, although I emphasize again that it is just as important to know how these parts are put into the functioning whole that constitutes a system, a d-SoC.

  Figure 8-1 (back)

Figure 8-3 (back) 

Footnotes

    [1] Lilly's work {34, 35}, in which a mature person uses the ultimate in sensory deprivation (floating in body-temperature water in the quiet and dark) as a tool, under his own direction, to explore consciousness, should be consulted by anyone interested in this area. Lilly's use of sensory deprivation as a tool under the subject's own control, rather than as a "treatment," imposed by people who are studying "craziness," is a breakthrough in research in this area. Suffice it to note here that sensory deprivation, by removing a major source of loading stabilization by the exteroceptors, can be a major tool for inducing d-ASCs and deserves much study. (back)
    [2] The d-ASC or d-ASCs entered into by spiritualist mediums are a promising, but almost totally neglected field of research. Scientists have generally avoided having anything to do with mediums as a result of a priori dismissal of the claims made for survival of bodily death. The few scientists (parapsychologists) who have studied mediums have been concerned with whether the alleged surviving entities can provide evidence that they actually had an earthly existence, and whether this evidence could be explained by other hypotheses than postmortem survival. The nature of the medium's trance state per se is virtually unknown, yet it is clearly one of the most profound d-ASCs known and has tremendous effects on its experiencers. I mention this to alert researchers to an opportunity for learning a great deal with even a small investment of decent effort. (back)
    [3] Note that while this is probably the cause of most déjà vu, experiences, some kinds of déjà vu, may actually represent paranormal experience. (back)
    [4] Much meaning is automatically supplied by Input-Processing: when you see a stop sign, you need not consciously evaluate its meaning. (back)
    [5] I do not consider right and left hemisphere modes of functioning to be two d-SoCs themselves, but rather two modes of functioning of the Evaluation and Decision-Making subsystem. The balance can vary in different d-ASCs. (back)
    [6] The old childhood rhyme, "Sticks and stones will break my bones/ But names will never hurt me!/Call me this, and call me that/And call yourself a dirty rat!" must be looked upon as a morale-builder, or perhaps an admonition that we adults should heed, but certainly not as a statement of truth. We are terribly hurt by names and words and what people think of us often much more hurt than by sticks and stones. People have "chosen" to die in a burning house rather than run out of it naked.(back)
    [7] In relation to subconscious control of movement, Gurdjieff {24} put forth an idea about body movement that is interesting because it parallels the idea of discrete states of consciousness on a body level. He states that any person has only a set number of postures and gestures that he uses of his own will. The number varies from person to person, perhaps as low as fifty, perhaps as high as several hundred. A person moves rapidly, almost jerks, from one preferred posture to another. If he is forcibly stopped in between discrete postures, he is uncomfortable, even if it is not a physical strain. Since the functioning of consciousness seems to be strongly affected by body postures and strains, these "discrete states of posture" (d-SoPs) are important to study.
    Gurdjieff used this as a basis for his "Halt" exercise. Pupils agreed to freeze instantly whenever the command "Halt!" was given. The exercise was intended to show the pupils some of their limitations, among other things. Gurdjieff claims it is a dangerous exercise unless used by someone with an exceptional knowledge of the human body. The idea suggests interesting research possibilities. More information can be found in Ouspensky {48}. (back)
    [8] Conscious control over aspects of bodily functioning long considered to be automatic, not susceptible to voluntary control, is now a major research area under the rubric ofbiofeedback. The interested reader can find the most important researches reprinted each year in Biofeedback and Self-Control, an annual published by Aldine Publishing Company, Chicago. (back)

 9.   Individual Differences



Inadequate recognition of individual differences is a methodological deficiency that has seriously slowed psychological research. Lip service is paid to individual differences, but in reality they are largely ignored. Psychologists, caught up in the all-too-human struggle for prestige, ape the methods of the physical sciences, in which individual differences are not of great significance and the search is for general fundamental laws. I believe this failure to recognize individual differences is the rock on which psychology's early attempts to establish itself as an introspective discipline foundered. Following the lead of the tremendously successful physical scientists, the early psychologists searched for general laws of the mind, and when their data turned out to be contradictory, they quarreled with each other over who was right, not realizing they were all right, and so wasted their energies. They tried to abstract too much too soon before coming to terms with the experiential subject matter. 
Figure 9-1. Problems arising when individual differences are ignored. Charts A, B, and C are experiential mappings of the sort done in Figure 5-1. The other two charts are summary charts, as explained in the text.

    We psychologists all too often do the same thing today, albeit in a more sophisticated form. Consider, for example, the procedure described in Chapter 5 for mapping a person's location in experiential space. Suppose that in the course of an experiment we measure two variables, X and Y, in a group of subjects. To concretize the example, we can define X as the degree of analgesia (insensitivity to pain) the subject can show and Y as the intensity of the subject's imagery. Tempted by the convenience and "scientificness" of a nearby computer, we feed our group data in a prepackaged analysis program and get the printout in the lower chart of Figure 9-1—a straight line fitted to the data and indicating a highly significant (thus publishable) correlation coefficient between variables X and Y. It looks as if ability to experience analgesia is linearly related to intensity of imagery, that in this region of experiential space there is a straight-road connection: if you do whatever is needed to enhance imagery, you automatically increase analgesia.
    If we distrust such great abstraction of the data, we can ask the computer to print out a scatter plot of the raw data, the actual position of each subject instead of the abstraction for all subjects. This new printout (lower left-hand chart of Figure 9-1) apparently reassures us that the fitted curve and correlation coefficient are adequate ways of presenting and understanding our results. The straight road is somewhat broad, but still basically straight. More imagery goes with more analgesia.
    We have extracted a principle (more imagery leads to more analgesia) from group data that is based on one pair of observations from each subject. Suppose, however, that we actually go back to our subjects and test some of them repeatedly, obtain samples over time, an experiential mapping, of their simultaneous abilities to experience analgesia and imagery. Then we find that our subjects actually fall into three distinct types, as shown in the upper charts of Figure 9-1. Type A shows either a low degree of both analgesia and imagery or a fair degree of analgesia and imagery, but no other combinations. Type B shows a low to fair degree of analgesia and imagery or a very high degree of analgesia and imagery, but no other combinations. Type C shows a high variability of degree of analgesia and imagery, a much wider range of combinations.
    For subjects of type C, the conclusion, drawn from the group data, of a linear relationship between intensity of imagery and intensity of analgesia, is valid. But how many type C subjects are included in our group? Subjects of types A and B, on the other hand, do not show a linear relationship between analgesia and imagery. There is no straight road, only some islands of experience. For type A subjects, analgesia and imagery cluster together at low levels or at moderate levels of functioning, but show no clearlinear relationship within either cluster. For type B subjects, analgesia and imagery cluster at low to moderate or at very high levels, and again show no clear linear relationship within either clustering. Indeed, subjects of types A and B show the clustering used in Chapter 5 to define the concept of multiple d-SoCs, while subjects of type C seem to function in only a single d-SoC.
    Thus the conclusion drawn from the grouped data about relations between analgesia and imagery in this region of experiential space turns out to apply only to some people and to misrepresent what others experience. Indeed, the error may be more profound: people may be only of the A and B types, but combining their results as subjects when some are in one part of experiential space and some in another gives us a set of numbers that spans the whole range. This leads us to the straight-road or linear relationship concept, even though that concept actually represents no one's experience.
    It is hard to realize the full impact of individual differences because of the deep implicitness of the assumption that we all share a common d-SoC. Since we are members of a common culture, this is generally true, but the more I come to know other individuals and get a feeling for the way their minds work, the more I am convinced that this general truth, the label ordinary d-SoC, conceals enormous individual differences. If I clearly understood the way your mind works in its ordinary d-SoC, and if you understood the same about me, we would both be amazed. Yet because we speak a common language, which stresses external rather than internal events, we are seldom aware of these differences.
    Psychologically, each of us assumes that his own mind is an example of a "normal" mind and then projects his own experiences onto other people, unaware of how much projecting he is doing. For example, most of us have imagery in our ordinary d-SoC that is unstable and not very vivid, so that trying to visualize something really steadily and intensely is impossible. Some people report that in d-ASCs their imagery is much more intense and controllable, steady. Yet the inventor Nikolai Tesla had such intense, controllable imagery in his ordinary d-SoC. When Tesla designed a machine, he did it in his head, without using physical drawings: nevertheless, he could instruct a dozen difference machinists how to make each separate part, to the nearest ten-thousandth of an inch, and the completed machine would fit together perfectly. Tesla is also reported to have tested wear on his machines through imagery. He designed the machine by visualization, put the imaged parts together into a complete machine, started it running in his mind, forgot about it, resurrected the image thousands of hours later, mentally dismantled the machine, and inspected the parts for wear to see what needed reinforcement of redesign {43}. Regardless of how one evaluate the accuracy of such imagery, Tesla's procedure is a good example of what for most of us is exotic imagery associated with d-ASCs, but what was for him the imagery of his "ordinary" d-SoC.
    On those occasions when we do recognize great differences in the mental functioning of others, we are tempted to label the differences weird or abnormal of pathological. Such blanket labels are not useful. What are the specific advantages and disadvantages under what circumstances for each individual difference of pattern?
    This tendency to project implicitly the workings of one's own mind pattern as a standard for the working of all minds can have interesting scientific results. For example, controversy rages in the literature on hypnosis over whether the concept of a d-SoC is necessary to explain hypnosis, or whether the hypnotic "state" is in fact continuous with the ordinary "state," is simply a case of certain psychological functions, such as suggestibility and role-playing involvement, being pushed to higher levels of activity than they are under ordinary conditions. A chief proponent of this latter view, Theodore X. Barber {4}, can produce most of the classical hypnotic phenomena in himself without doing anything special.[1] The phenomena included in his ordinary d-SoC encompass a range that, for another person, must be attained by unusual means. How much does this affect his theorizing? How much does anyone's individual psychology affect his thinking about how other minds work? Again consider Figure 9-1. Whereas A and B type people may have two d-SoCs, one that we call their ordinary d-SoC and a second called their hypnotic state, the ordinary range of consciousness of type C people includes both these regions. Thus it may be more accurate to say that what as been called hypnosis, to stick with this example, is indeed merely an extension of the ordinary range of functioning for some people, but for other people it is d-ASC.
    I cannot emphasize too strongly that the mapping of experience and the use of the concept of d-SoCs must first be done on an individual basis. Only then, if regions of great similarity are found to exist across individuals, can common names that apply across individuals be legitimately coined.
    This idealistic statement does not reflect the way our concepts actually evolved. The very existence of names like dreaming state or hypnotic state indicates that there appears to a fair degree of commonality among a fair number of individuals. Though I often speak as if this commonality were true, its veracity cannot be precisely evaluated at the present stage of our knowledge, and the concept is clearly misleading at times. Several d-ASCs may be hidden within common names like hypnosis or dreaming.
    In addition to the large individual differences that may exist among people we think are all in the same d-SoC, there are sit from one d-SoC to another. In discussing stabilization processes, I mentioned that some people seem overstabilized and others understabilized. The former may be able to experience only a few d-SoCs, while the latter may transit often and effortlessly into d-ASCs. Understabilized people may undergo breakdown of the ordinary d-SoC and be unable to form a new d-ASC, unable to organize consciousness into a stable coping form. Some types of schizophrenia may represent this understabilized mode of consciousness.
    Besides the sheer number of simultaneous and reinforcing stabilization processes, the degree of voluntary control over them is important. To the extent that your stabilization processes are too powerful or too implicit to be altered at will, you are stuck in one mode of consciousness. These dimensions of stabilization, control, and ability to transit from one d-SoC to another are important ones that must be the focus of future research, as we know almost nothing about them now.

Footnote

[1] As discussed in Chapter 12, some individuals may transit so rapidly and easily between d-SoCs that they do not notice the transitions and so mistakenly believe they experience only one d-SoC. This case is ordinarily difficult to distinguish from that of actual continuity through a wide region of experiential space.
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