Re: Levels of Consciousness

J Cook (0002019573@MCIMAIL.COM)
Tue, 1 Oct 1996 06:46:00 EST

-- [ From: Jesse S. Cook III * EMC.Ver #2.3 ] --

-------- REPLY, Original message follows --------

Date: Monday, 30-Sep-96 11:02 PM

From: sholmes \ Internet: (
From: sholmes \ Internet: (
To: Multiple recipients of list ANTHRO-L \ Internet:

Subject: Levels of Consciousness

This is a phrase without adequate definition, rather like Wade's use of the
term "better". In discussing the idea of "Levels of Consciousness, I would
suggest considering Gregory Bateson's ideas about learning. It may be
profitable to consider such "levels" in terms of the degrees of complexity
one's mind (ooops, another one of those terms) is capable of dealing with (ie
contexts within contexts).

Taken from this perspective, a person's "level of consciousness" is not a
function of the technology of that person's culture but entirely that of the
individual's capabilities. I would consider a Shaman to have attained a higher
"level of consciouness" than the average member of a tribe, as an example. I
would consider someone like Stephen Hawking to have reached a higher "level of
consciousness" because of his ability to handle highly abstract concepts "in
his head". Indeed, I would consider both of these, the Shaman and Mr. Hawking,
to have reached a higher "level of consciousness" than the average person
walking around the streets of the U.S.A.

But then, I am a Cretan and all Cretans are liars...

Scott Holmes

-------- REPLY, End of original message --------

Have you read Bateson's *Steps to an Ecology of Mind* and *Mind and Nature: A
Necessary Unity*? The former was the first book that was recommended to me by
an anthropology colleague when I started studying the subject of the evolution
of human consciousness over ten years ago.

Jesse S. Cook III