Psychology. Modified states of consciousness
Very close to clearly delineated bordersconsciousness of a person lies an area that conceals in itself a mass of unknown and unusual. The altered states of consciousness represent a secret area of a person's mental activity, which even at the present stage of the development of psychological science is an uncultivated virgin land. The functions and nature of this phenomenon, despite the abundance of clinical and experimental data, continue to remain thoroughly unexplored. Dreams and dreams, sleep and drowsiness, hypnosis and hypnotic states, sensory deprivation and historical states of dissociation, depersonalization, pharmacologically induced mental disorders, etc., having a clear natural origin, are not represented as variants of manifestation of something in common, but as separate phenomena. In each specific case, the processing of the material led to the derivation of conclusions of practical value and practical application.
Attempts to systematize and organize in a clear system all the material accumulated over the years was done so little that all research in this area borders on the discovery.
Before moving on to the study of the concept"Altered states of consciousness" it is worthwhile to understand what is the most important concept for both philosophy and psychology - consciousness. First of all, it means the ability to ideally reproduce reality, using specific forms and mechanisms at different levels of reflection. Consciousness can be manifested as an individual (personal) and a social phenomenon. The attempt to systematize knowledge of consciousness was carried out by Sigmund Freud. Its clear hierarchical system played an important role in the development of human knowledge in this field, but at the present stage even it shows inconsistency in many areas and requires radical improvement.
The state of consciousness is clearly fixed,but nevertheless it can undergo a number of changes, being at different levels of states. The most common and ordinary is the waking consciousness that accompanies us in everyday affairs, cares, and even on holiday. Then follows a dream. This is the only natural state of the altered consciousness, which not only accompanies the important physiological process of restoring all body forces, but also immerses a person in the world of dreams.
A special form of the dream state ishypnotic, in it consciousness can remain in subjective fantasy. Artificially induced hypnotic altered states of consciousness cause a person to be in a half-awakened state, which is accompanied by outbreaks of intensification of consciousness.
Strong shock, stress, mental crisis,emergency situations, and even anger or fear can trigger the emergence of a state where consciousness is subject to a certain force. The appearance of changes in the nature of sensations, feelings and behavior can signal that there is a change in the state of consciousness.
As a result of some systematization,to produce some typology of these phenomena. The altered states of consciousness of the first group are artificially induced. For their appearance it is necessary to use psychoactive substances (for example, psychedelics) contained in hallucinogenic mushrooms, dope, marijuana, etc. They can also appear under the influence of certain procedures (sensory deprivation, holotropic breathing). The following group combined psychologically conditioned conditions arising in the course of religious rites, autogenic training, lucid dreaming, hypnotic trance, meditative actions. There is also a group of spontaneously arising states under ordinary conditions. The reason can serve as a significant tension, listening to music, sports game.
The study of this problem is important for anthropology, psychiatry, clinical and transpersonal psychology.