Running Head: ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Altered States of Consciousness
Gloucester County College
In this paper I will discuss sensation, levels of awareness, and psychoactive drugs, as they pertain to the movie “Altered States.” To offer some background on the movie, a man named Christoph Stappert summarized “Altered States” in this quote; “a research scientist who believes in different states of consciousness uses a sensory deprivation tank and hallucinogenic drugs to find the ultimate truth. But soon his mind-altering experiments get out of control.” Laura King defines consciousness as awareness of external events and internal sensations, including awareness of the self and thoughts about one’s experiences; this awareness occurs under condition of arousal. King goes on to define altered states of consciousness or awareness as mental states that are noticeably different from normal awareness. With this general understanding of what altered states means I will divulge greater detail of the altered states of consciousness portrayed in the movie.
First, sensation is “ the process of receiving stimulus energies from the environment” (King). Humans have five different senses; touch, smell, taste, vision, and hearing.
Hallucinogens are drugs that cause hallucinations—profound distortions in a person's perceptions of reality, including delusions and false notions. In this state, people see images, hear sounds and feel sensations that seem real but do not exist (http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/hallucinogens.html).
Next, Eddie Jessup displayed higher-level consciousness, lower-level consciousness, and altered states of consciousness throughout the movie. Most of the higher-level of consciousness he displayed was when he was doing his work or talking about his work. He showed deep thought and concentration when involved with his experiment. The lower-level consciousness portrayed in his character were...