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date: 02 December 2021

p. 997. Altered states of consciousnesslocked

p. 997. Altered states of consciousnesslocked

  • Susan Blackmore


‘Altered states of consciousness’ discusses the states of consciousness during sleep, dreaming, hallucinations, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, and meditation and after taking psychoactive drugs. Psychologist Charles Tart defines an altered state of consciousness (ASC) as ‘a qualitative alteration in the overall pattern of mental functioning, such that the experiencer feels his consciousness is radically different from the way it functions ordinarily’. This certainly captures the idea of ASCs, but also creates problems, such as knowing what a ‘normal’ state is. In both mystical experiences and long-term meditation, people describe seeing through the illusion of separate selfhood, or seeing the world as it truly is.

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