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Levels of Consciousness

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Model of Hierarchical Complexity

Stages of hierarchical complexity

Levels of Consciousness

The following table gives descriptions of each stage in the MHC.

Stages described in the model of hierarchical complexity (adapted from Commons, Crone-Todd, & Chen, 2014)
Order or stage What they do How they do it End result
0 – calculatory Exact computation only, no generalization Human-made programs manipulate 0, 1, not 2 or 3. Minimal human result. Literal, unreasoning computer programs (at Turing's alpha layer) act in a way analogous to this stage.
1 – automatic Engage in a single "hard-wired" action at a time, no respondent conditioning Respond, as a simple mechanism, to a single environmental stimulus Single celled organisms respond to a single stimulus in a way analogous to this stage
2 – sensory or motor Discriminate in a rote fashion, stimuli generalization, move Move limbs, lips, toes, eyes, elbows, head; view objects or move Discriminative establishing and conditioned reinforcing stimuli
3 – circular sensory-motor Form open-ended proper classes Reach, touch, grab, shake objects, circular babble Open ended proper classes, phonemes, archiphonemes
4 – sensory-motor Form concepts Respond to stimuli in a class successfully and non-stochastically Morphemes, concepts
5 – nominal Find relations among concepts Use names for objects and other utterances as successful commands Single words: ejaculatives & exclamations, verbs, nouns, number names, letter names
6 – sentential Imitate and acquire sequences; follow short sequential acts Generalize match-dependent task actions; chain words Various forms of pronouns: subject (I), object (me), possessive adjective (my), possessive pronoun (mine), and reflexive (myself) for various persons (I, you, he, she, it, we, y'all, they)
7 – preoperational Make simple deductions; follow lists of sequential acts; tell stories Count event roughly events and objects; connect the dots; combine numbers and simple propositions Connectives: as, when, then, why, before; products of simple operations
8 – primary Simple logical deduction and empirical rules involving time sequence; simple arithmetic Adds, subtracts, multiplies, divides, counts, proves, does series of tasks on own Times, places, counts acts, actors, arithmetic outcome, sequence from calculation
9 – concrete Carry out full arithmetic, form cliques, plan deals Does long division, short division, follows complex social rules, ignores simple social rules, takes and coordinates perspective of other and self Interrelations, social events, what happened among others, reasonable deals, history, geography
10 – abstract Discriminate variables such as stereotypes; logical quantification; (none, some, all) Form variables out of finite classes; make and quantify propositions Variable time, place, act, actor, state, type; quantifiers (all, none, some); categorical assertions (e.g., "We all die")
11 – formal Argue using empirical or logical evidence; logic is linear, 1-dimensional Solve problems with one unknown using algebra, logic and empiricism Relationships (for example: causality) are formed out of variables; words: linear, logical, one-dimensional, if then, thus, therefore, because; correct scientific solutions
12 – systematic Construct multivariate systems and matrices Coordinate more than one variable as input; consider relationships in contexts. Events and concepts situated in a multivariate context; systems are formed out of relations; systems: legal, societal, corporate, economic, national
13 – metasystematic Construct multi-systems and metasystems out of disparate systems Create metasystems out of systems; compare systems and perspectives; name properties of systems: e.g. homomorphic, isomorphic, complete, consistent (such as tested by consistency proofs), commensurable Metasystems and supersystems are formed out of systems of relationships, e.g. contracts and promises
14 – paradigmatic Fit metasystems together to form new paradigms; show "incomplete" or "inconsistent" aspects of metasystems Synthesize metasystems Paradigms are formed out of multiple metasystems
15 – cross-paradigmatic Fit paradigms together to form new fields Form new fields by crossing paradigms, e.g. evolutionary biology + developmental biology = evolutionary developmental biology New fields are formed out of multiple paradigms
16 – meta-cross-paradigmatic (performative-recursive) Reflect on various properties of cross-paradigmatic operations Explicate the dynamics of, and limitations of, cross-paradigmatic thinking The dynamics and limitations of cross-paradigmatic thinking are explained as they are recursively enacted


Integral Theory (Ken Wilber)

Wilber Wilber[37] Aurobindo[38][39][note 6] Gebser Piaget Fowler Age
Levels of Being Development
Overall Outer Being Inner Being Psychic Being
- - Supermind Supermind Gnostic Man - - 6. Universalizing 45+ years?
Transpersonal Nondual Supra-mentalisation Integral Formal-operational 5. Conjunctive 35+?
Causal Mind   Overmind Psychisation



Subtle Intuition
Psychic Illuminated Mind
Personal Centaur (Vision-logic) Higher Mind
Formal-reflexive Subconscient


Mind proper Subliminal



  Evolution Rational 4. Individual-reflexive 21+ years?
3. Synthetic-


12+ years
Rule/role mind Mythic-rational Concrete operational 2. Mythic-


7–12 years
Pre-personal Rep-mind Mythic Pre-operational 1. Intuitive-


2–7 years
Phantasmic-emotional Vital Subconsc.


Vital Subl.



Magical Sensoric-motorical 0. Undifferentiated


0–2 years
Sensori-physical Physical Subconsc.


Physical Subl. (inner)


undifferentiated or primary matrix Inconscient Inconscient



Cultural Evolution: Do all humans have the same level of consciousness?

Aiden Thornton, Director, People & ChangeAnswered Jul 12, 2012


This is a great question to explore.  You may have already come across this literature - but is a large body of evidence on this topic. Although its often referred to as " stages of adult development" rather than " levels of consciousness".  There are many people who have written on this topic including: Kegan at Harvard University, Bill Torbet, Cook-Greuter, Jenny Wade, Spiral Dynamics, Loevinger, Ken Wilber  - and lots of others.  We have got some solid evidence that adult humans can go through 6 to 10 stages of development ( depending on how you look at things ) which are characterised by overarching worldview, values, cognitive complexity, socio-emotional intelligence, psycho-spiritual intelligence etc.... The sum of all of this is often called "ego development".  There are a number of ways to measure these levels of development including The Sentence Completion Test, Subject-Object Interviews, and a few other surveys and tools.  Lots of great work being done in this space in a few pockets around the world. So that was a long way to say - yes there definitely are stages of development / levels of consciousness.


What are different levels of consciousness and thinking?

Siddharth Nayak, Pursuing PhD in NeuroscienceAnswered May 16, 2016

There are 3 main levels of consciousness as explained by Sigmund Freud’s Psychology. The sublevels which each of these main levels cover are shown in the image above.

I hope I have answered your question. If not, please feel free to drop a comment below. I’ll try to answer them in my leisure. Thank you !


Niranjan Pandya, Doctor(M.D)
In human context,there are four levels of consciousness.They are:
1.First level of consciousness,dwell with sleep.(routinary physiological sleep)(<10%conscious)
2.Second level of consciousness,dwell with routinary day waking,this level is known as psychological sleep.(10 % conscious)(gifted by nature)
3.Third level of consciousness(>10% and <100% conscious),attained by conscious scientific efforts.It is known as relative state of consciousness.
4.Fourth level of consciousness(100%conscious),attained by conscious and scientific efforts.It is known as an absolute state of consciousness.
    As we all humans,during day waking,we have second state of consciousness,known as psychological sleep,is featured by our routinary experience that "I AM BODY"(thus we identify with all bodily functions,and believe :I am thinking,I am eating,I am walking etc)
Wherase,third level of consciousness is featured by experience that "I AM HERE,and THIS IS BODY"(thus,person with this state is witness to bodily functions and realized :this body is walking,this body is eating etc and person as consciousness is stood separated from body,at distance.)
Q guru

The levels of consciousness

Altered Levels of Consciousness


Summary (Kruse)[2] Description
Metaconscious Preternatural People who possess the ability to monitor and control their own cognitive processes in addition to meeting all the criteria indicative of a normal level of consciousness. In the field of cognitive neuroscience, metacognitive monitoring and control have been viewed as functions of the prefrontal cortex, which receives sensory input signals from divergent cortical regions and implements control through feedback loops which are established utilizing the underlying mechanisms of neuroplasticity (see chapters by Schwartz & Bacon and Shimamura, in Dunlosky & Bjork, 2008).[7]
Conscious Normal Assessment of LOC involves checking orientation: people who are able promptly and spontaneously to state their name, location, and the date or time are said to be oriented to self, place, and time, or "oriented X3".[8] A normal sleep stage from which a person is easily awakened is also considered a normal level of consciousness.[9] "Clouding of consciousness" is a term for a mild alteration of consciousness with alterations in attention and wakefulness.[9]
Confused Disoriented; impaired thinking and responses People who do not respond quickly with information about their name, location, and the time are considered "obtuse" or "confused".[8] A confused person may be bewildered, disoriented, and have difficulty following instructions.[9] The person may have slow thinking and possible memory time loss. This could be caused by sleep deprivation, malnutrition, allergies, environmental pollution, drugs (prescription and nonprescription), and infection.
Delirious Disoriented; restlessness, hallucinations, sometimes delusions Some scales have "delirious" below this level, in which a person may be restless or agitated and exhibit a marked deficit in attention.[2]
Somnolent Sleepy A somnolent person shows excessive drowsiness and responds to stimuli only with incoherent mumbles or disorganized movements.[8]
Obtunded Decreased alertness; slowed psychomotor responses In obtundation, a person has a decreased interest in their surroundings, slowed responses, and sleepiness.[9]
Stuporous Sleep-like state (not unconscious); little/no spontaneous activity People with an even lower level of consciousness, stupor, only respond by grimacing or drawing away from painful stimuli.[8]
Comatose Cannot be aroused; no response to stimuli Comatose people do not even make this response to stimuli, have no corneal or gag reflex, and they may have no pupillary response to light.[8]

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