Altered states of consciousness

There are four recognized [electrical] brain waves, and in speed they range upward from 0 to 26 and more Hertz units, or cycles per second. These rhythms can vary somewhat, and are best thought of as areas of activity. Brain waves overlap. Very simply, delta brain waves are connected with dreamless sleep, theta with creativity and dreams, alpha with a relaxed alertness and changing consciousness; beta–the fastest–with concentration, and with an intense focus upon all of the challenges [and anxieties and stresses, many would say] faced in the ordinary daily world.

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Even if beta waves, then, seem to be the “official pulses” of our civilization, when aren’t we actually in a state of altered consciousness? For no matter which brain rhythm may predominate at any time, that state is certainly an altered one in relation to the other three. But more than this, why not call all actions of the brain “altered” when compared to the concept of the individual personality’s whole self or entity?

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Highly creative people usually generate large amounts of theta and low-alpha waves pretty constantly while doing their thing. measuring and recording brain waves is a complicated task, however; not only is it important which areas or lobes of the brain are monitored–if not all of them–but because of the mechanical limitations of the EEG itself much that goes on in the brain is necessarily missed. In addition, the two hemispheres of the individual brain often show variations in electrical energy states. But most importantly, I think, while the EEG can indicate broad categories of brain activity, it can hardly probe the participant’s very individual and subjective content of mind within this camouflage [physical] reality. The state of “EEG art” isn’t that advanced yet [if it ever will be].

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