Human Ability to alter states of consciousness Q. Humans have the ability to change their state of consciousness discuss the functional and dysfunctional consequences of this ability on behavior.

Essay by nkewlCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2005

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Having the ability to change the state of consciousness or being aware of surround environments can be both a negative and a positive ability to have as a human being. Humans use their various altered states in a daily basis to get through life, from walking consciousness to sleep state to drug altering states.

Changing one's state of conscious is an everyday task; some changes are imperative for everyday life, positive states such as daydreaming, sleeping, and dreaming. States that form during walking consciousness is daydreaming. Daydreaming is a functional tool for the brain, it allows it to be occupied and keep people from boredom, or even imagining alternative tasks to approach to tasks. Sleeping is an altered state of conscious, because most living organisms follow the circadian rhythm, a biological clock and after humans fall in a deep sleep the body goes through many stages from one stage to a five stage then finally reaching the REM stages.

Physiologically, humans functionally need sleep. Falling everyday into this alter state which humans do one third of their lives, is important to replenish energy that has been used through out the day. Sleeping also releases pituitary growth hormone thus making it important for growth. Dreaming is also another alter state, which is usually followed after sleeping. This functional altered conscious has many theories explaining it. Freud explained that dreams are symbolic wishes coming from the unconscious. Winston explained it was essential in learning. Crick theorized that humans dream to forget. Vertes said that dreams stop us from slipping into a coma. From these many theories, dreaming is a useful part of the functional consciousness.

The usage of psychoactive drugs would bring about a dysfunctional state of consciousness. Psychoactive drugs are chemicals that can change perceptions and moods the abuse of...