Levels of Consciousness – Consciousness has stages but it also has levels. The two levels of consciousness that I present here are of great interest to me. It has taken me a lifetime to even begin to come to experience and gain some understanding of the different levels of consciousness. I now realize these levels influence each other, sometimes oppose, and are always interacting with one another. The levels of consciousness are:
Conscious level (C) is associated with the material sensorial and immaterial cognitive. The conscious level pertains to the Neocortex, alertness, surface, or the awake stage of consciousness. Up to this point, I have concentrated on awake consciousness (except when discussing sleep and dreams). However, consciousness is not all alert, surface level, or awake. In fact, the majority of consciousness is below alert awareness and is unconscious. Often a fine line exists between consciousness and unconsciousness. Two major questions I ask are, “How does consciousness and unconsciousness influence one another?” and “How does consciousness and unconsciousness interact when it comes to awareness and comprehension?” There is a huge interplay, interaction, overlap, and the potential of working together between the conscious and the unconscious worlds.
Unconscious level (CU) is more associated with the Limbic Brain, however there is unconsciousness in various areas of our brain. That is, evolutionary interconnective forces have some unconsciousness and memory in several brain structures. The unconscious level intersects with our emotions and has association with sleep, memories, and dream stages of consciousness. It is a deeper level of memory and awareness. Human needs not being met can surface during sleep, dreams, and in memories. Unconscious repressed emotions can bleed and intrude into consciousness. Unconsciousness is what we do not have in consciousness. There are techniques that can pull-up unconscious material to conscious awareness, comprehension, and understanding (discussed in future posts). Karl Jung suggested that, “for more than fifty years we have known, or could have known, that there is an unconscious as a counter balance to consciousness.” (1957) Unconsciousness is more intuitive and emotive (especially the more primal emotions of intense sadness, fear, and anger). Unbelievable, but as much as 99% of physiological data processing is unconscious. It is estimated unconsciousness can anatomically process 20,000,000 stimuli per second. However, consciousness processes a mere 40 stimuli per second. Metaphorically the levels of consciousness can be compared to an Iceberg, with the tip of the Iceberg being the small conscious part and below the water the massive unconscious part. Note: Sigmund Freud also refers to a subconscious world.