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On States of Consciousness

the Emergence Explorer

Questions for the Week of February 20, 2006






these questions were based on the article
"The Conscious, Subconscious, and Unconscious, a New Look at an Old Metaphor."


Emergence Character Type Babies 9-AI-2


This Week's Questions


[posed by Austin S.]
  • What are some of the benefits to being in the unconscious?
  • Should people after age 7 time be treated as adults in criminal situations?
  • What defense do babies have against injury if they are always conscious?

Do you know?



[Question 1] Is it possible to further sub-divide the container of the mind, and is there a possibility that there are more containers of the mind yet to be discovered?
[Answer] Austin, there is always more to discover about the human mind. However, what you are referring to here is only a model of the mind, not something which literally exists. Because it is only a model then, and not something empirical (like the "P" Curve), this model of the mind can, in theory, be subdivided and even modified and added to. The thing to ask though would be, what would we gain by doing this? More specifically, would these changes detract?

To this end, knowing why we use this model as it is might help. We use it for several reasons. For one thing, it already exists and is familiar to many people, albeit without the developmental part of the theory. For another, it is simple enough to be easily learned even by lay people. In addition, it happens to correlate directly to our theory of personality and to the developmental time table to which it roughly adheres. Finally, it is easily visualized and so, is portable, even to someone who does not have a psychology background.

In truth, many people actually drive themselves crazy asking questions like this. The thing to remember is, if it works, don't fix it. But to know if it works, we must feel delight. do you feel delight when you think about this model? If yes, then you know it. If no, then the place to add to is in your mind, not in our model (grin).

Then again, knowing you, you'll surprise me and come up with something entirely better.

[Question 2] Is there a way to purposely enter a hyperaware state?
[Answer] Yes. And people have given this process many names.

Some call it hypnosis. Some call it meditation. Some call it creative visualization. Some people even call it shamanic dreaming. Then too, you could also call this, the "entranced by a performance" state, as all human beings become hyperaware each time they get engrossed in an artistic performance, such as when they see a play, movie, art, music, or dance. (Entrancing performance, don't you think?). In fact, if you were to visit one of the Southern Baptist churches, you might become hyperaware yourself. Their services can literally be hypnotic, to say the least.

All this said, the truth is, the only thing you need do to enter a hyperaware state is to continuously visualize, in detail, anything, for anywhere from ten to thirty seconds. This is all there is to it. In fact, when I was learning hypnosis, I learned an "induction" which took only two or three seconds at most. Here, I am using the word hypnotists use for putting people into a hyperaware state; the word, "induction."

What is most important to know here is, using the word "hyperaware" makes the whole thing sound way too special. It's not space travel. Babies live in this state for a long, long time. And since we all were babies once, we all spent a whole lot of time in this state.

We also enter this state every night, each time we dream. Thus, although few people realize this, the dream state is almost identical to that which we were in during our first two years of life. Including the wordless, thread-of -similarity witnessing. In fact, knowing this is the key to knowing how to correctly interpret dreams.

Of course, what you asked here is if there was a way to purposely enter this state? My answer. Yes. But it can take some skill, even for someone who is self aware. On the other hand, most people can acquire this skill rather easily, given they have some who can teach them to see it for what it is; just one of the three normal states of consciousness we humans can enter.

[Question 3] What is the difference between the psychological term “projection” and a person who sees an autistic child and thinks the child is in shock when in fact, the person viewing the child is the one in shock?
[Answer] There is no difference.

[Question 4] I know a person who can create art. This person cannot see the beauty in or feel personally connected to what he creates. In which layers would this person be?
[Answer] I assume you are asking in which layers would this person be, when he is unable to appreciate his art?

Not knowing the specifics, I would have to guess. Let's see.

Creativity happens when people are cycling through the inner layers, mostly in layer 10, and sometimes in Layer 9. Remembering that all learning is state dependent, and that all creativity is "beauty we have learned to see," we can right away rule out these two layers, as connecting to "beauty" after it has been created would also happen in layers 10 and 9. No detachment here.

We can also easily rule out layer 8, as people rarely spend time in layer 8, even when they try to. This leaves Layers 7 through 1.

At this point, I would need to know more specifics in order to go further. For instance, I would need to know if the person becomes entirely detached when someone offers compliments. In this case, he would be in Layer 1. Or if the person were to feel angry and blame people for being complimented, then perhaps the person would be in Layer 4. Or 3.

On the other hand, if the person were to over react in any way but then explained this over reaction, they would be in Layer 2. And if they were to be simple frozen in blankness, then perhaps they would be in Layer 6.

As you can see, without more information, it is hard to tell. What is needed then is a picture of the person when they are in this detached state. At this point then, I simply cannot offer you a more definitive answer. Sorry. There simply is not enough visual data.

[Question 5] What defenses do pre age-two babies have against injury, if they are always conscious? Also, what defenses does an autistic person have?
[Answer] Other than going into shock, none. This is why they both are so vulnerable to injury. And why they both so need external protections.

[Question 6] Do the physical developments of the brain that happen around age 7 correlate with the development of historical time and the unconscious?
[Answer] Good question and one I now want to know myself. I have no idea. I'll have to get back to you on this one.

[Question 7] What are some of the benefits to being in the unconscious?
[Answer] The main benefit is protection from injury. Note my answer in Question 5.

The second benefit is being able to vacation from the rigors of life, as in healthy "zoning out."

The third benefit is that the unconscious functions as the fuse for our suffering, in that whenever we get over stimulated by life, we become unconscious and our suffering stops. This happens whenever we experience too much data. In this sense then, the unconscious functions as a system of psychological fuses which blow each time we take in too much data. When this happens, our ability to consciously witness life gets cut off, including that we can no longer witness violence in an abrupt enough way as to be vulnerable to further injury.

In a very real sense then, the unconscious functions similarly to how electrical fuses function. Electrical fuses blow if there is too much electrical "data." In doing so, they protect the home or office from injury.

The unconscious functions very much the same for our psyches.

Also important to see is how we reset once the overage is removed. What I mean is, with electrical fuses, when the overage is corrected, the fuse normally resets. So do we. At times, though, if an electrical fuse takes a bad enough hit, this fuse gets damaged and cannot reset.

This is very similar to what happens to us when we take a bad enough hit. In fact, damaged fuses are very analogous to the way we function after incurring a BLock, in that BLocks are simply the state in which our ability to reset our consciousness in some specific life situation has become broken. This means, even after the event passes, we remain unconscious in this life area. We simply cannot reset.

Even here though, our unconsciousness serves a purpose. As long as we are unconscious, we cannot be injured further. In other words, once our window to this part of our world is cracked, it cannot be un-cracked. With windows, of course, we can replace the glass and the window will be as good as new. We can also do this with people, albeit, with a bit more skill.

What I mean is, using emergence to help people to heal is very much like replacing a damaged window glass. In fact, it is actually more like replacing the cracked glass with tempered glass, as afterwards, we function even better than "new." Our ability to remain conscious in this life area becomes "tempered," meaning, we can no longer get wounded in this life area. This idea, in fact, happens to be one the main concepts Emergence Therapy adds to what is already known.

Finally, isn't it amazing how often language mirrors the workings of our psyches, in that we even say at times that someone who got really angry, "blew a fuse." This anger happens only to people who are in an unconscious state, meaning, to people whose "fuses have blown." Moreover, this is true whether people have an angry outburst or become so angry, they lose their words. Both are "blown fuse" responses.

[Question 8] Should people after age 7 time be treated as adults in criminal situations?
[Answer] Austin, while I logically understand your question, I have to wonder what state you were in to come up with this question. Too much Layer 2, I would imagine.

My first reaction would be to say that children should always be treated differently than adults, roughly in direct proportion to their current developmental state. What I mean by this is, we should always offer children some degree of protection from the world. And from themselves, if need be. This includes knowing that seven year olds, while capable of criminal acts, are not capable of knowing what these acts mean, at least in an adult sense.

This is not to say they are innocent; meaning, that they should have no responsibility for what they do. In fact, were you to read the poet, William Blake, you might be surprised, even shocked, by his images of children as other than innocent beings. Of course, Blake was a weird guy. He was also a genius though. My point? Don't assume children understand right and wrong just because they have learned to tell time. More over, while we Emergence Practitioners do not blame people, including children, for their wrong doings, all beings need be held accountable for their actions. In other words, while we do not advocate for punishing blame, we do realize even children can do wrong.

In the end then what you really might ask is how can we best hold people responsible for their actions, even young children? Austin, to this question, I have no easy answers. On the other hand, if we can set aside blame, we have a good chance to find these answers.

[Question 9] Do your three variables for consciousness; Information, Meaning, and Time, correlate to the Conscious, Subconscious, and Unconscious compartments in our Theory of the Mind? In other words, does "Information" equal "the Conscious," "Meaning" equal "the Subconscious," and "Time" equal "the Unconscious?"
[Answer] "Information," "Meaning," and "Time," as the three variables of our Consciousness Formula, all fall into the same category of human experience. They are all "content."

On the other hand, the "Conscious," "Subconscious," and "Unconscious," as compartments in our Theory of the Mind, are all storage containers.

Thus, while these ideas are all complementary, they in no way correlate in meaning.


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