There are many levels of consciousness … As the brain changes are continuous, so do all these consciousnesses melt into each other like dissolving views.  Properly they are but one protracted consciousness, one unbroken stream.   (Wm. James, The Principles of Psychology, Ch. 9, 1890).    

From “normal” circadian biology and everyday “waking” consciousness, to being more-or-less mindful when aroused by novelty or cultivated by habit and/or colored by affect.  Disorder or disease, or happenstance that affects perception, (did el Greco have astigmatism?), or thought integration (including more-ore-less access to subconsciousness) and expression.


SLEEP: read While We Sleep, Our Mind Goes on an Amazing Journey  “On a good night, we cycle four or five times through several stages of sleep, each with distinct qualities and purpose—a serpentine, surreal descent into an alternative world.”



“Our life is twofold: Sleep hath its own world, / A boundary between the things misnamed / Death and existence: Sleep hath its own world, /   And a wide realm of wild reality, / And dreams in their development have breath, /  And tears, and tortures, and the touch of Joy; … What are they? / Creations of the mind? – The mind can make / Substance, and people planets of its own / With beings brighter than have been, and give / A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh.”  [read excerpt from George Gordon, Lord Byron 1816 with link to notes:  https://neilgreenberg.com/ao-excerpt-byron-on-dreams/]


DREAMS: https://neilgreenberg.com/ao-consciousness-dreams/ 

Jacob’s ladder illustrated angels moving between heaven and earth … I see ideas going back and forth between conscious and subconscious domains



SLEEP is not merely the alternative to the waking state, it includes a variety states of consciousness, each with different attributes.



DEATH and DYING may involve unique states as well:

RECENT EVIDENCE  indicates that a unique state may manifest in a dying brain: “Seconds after their ventilators were removed, two of the patients’ brains suddenly lit up with a burst of neuronal activity in high-frequency patterns called gamma waves that continued as the heart stopped beating. Other studies have found the same pattern when a healthy person is actively recalling a memory, learning, or dreaming, and some neuroscientists have linked these oscillations with consciousness. …  Her team also saw increased electrical activity in a brain region called the temporo-parieto-occipital junction, which is believed to be involved in consciousness and is activated during dreaming, seizures, and out-of-body hallucinations.”  https://www.science.org/content/article/burst-brain-activity-during-dying-could-explain-life-passing-your-eyes? :



Related Content about evoked alterations in states of consciousness  (from OPEN CULTURE):

When Aldous Huxley, Dying of Cancer, Left This World Tripping on LSD, Experiencing “the Most Serene, the Most Beautiful Death” (1963)

Artist Draws 9 Portraits While on LSD: Inside the 1950s Experiments to Turn LSD into a “Creativity Pill”

R. Crumb Describes How He Dropped LSD in the 60s & Instantly Discovered His Artistic Style

Take a Trip to the LSD Museum, the Largest Collection of “Blotter Art” in the World