Section II: Speculation
States of Consciousness ©1975 by Charles T. TartFirst published by E.P. Dutton & Co., New York, in 1975.ISBN 0-525-20970-0States of Consciousness appears in The Psychedelic Library bypermission of the Author
Introduction to the Web Edition, 1997
I am very pleased that the Schaffer Library, through the kind efforts ofPeter Webster, is now making this book available over the World Wide Web.The greatly increasing interest in the nature of consciousness in the lastfew years makes this material even more relevant than when it was originallypublished in 1975.Unfortunately too much of the current scientific and popular interest inconsciousness tends to be simplistically reductionistic, a "Consciousness isnothing but……" approach, where the particular "nothing but" may be brainfunctioning, language, philosophical abstractions, etc. All these approacheshave valuable things to offer our understanding, but do grave injustice tothe richness and complexity of our consciousness with suchoversimplification. My systems approach presented in this book is notsimplistic, but tries to deal with the whole, rich range of consciousfunctioning, particularly as it is expressed in altered states ofconsciousness (ASCs) like hypnosis, dreaming, meditation, drug-inducedstates, etc.While my approach is primarily scientific, the book was written clearly tobe accessible to all educated people (indeed, I have sometimes gotten introuble with the University, which has "reasoned" that if my writings can beunderstood they must not be really scholarly….). Many of the students in myaltered states classes over the years have also found considerable personal (2 of 4) [5/1/2002 12:50:33 PM]
relevance in this approach. As one young woman put it, at first she didn'tunderstand what all these diagrams of mine were about and then one day shesuddenly realized that I had been talking about the way her mind actuallyworked!The basic systems approach I developed to understanding ASCs in this book isstill my basic approach to working with consciousness. In my (undoubtedlybiased) opinion, it is still superior in important ways to the simplisticapproaches that have preceded and followed it. In the past 20 years I havedeveloped this approach further, using computer generated virtual realitysystems to illustrate how consciousness creates a biological-psychologicalvirtual reality (BPVR) in which we experientially live, a semi-arbitraryconstruction, a simulation of the world, which we naively mistake forstraightforward and accurate perception of external reality. This expansionof the systems model can be found in my writings listed below.For those who prefer the pleasure of a real book to reading from a screen (Istill do!), there are still some soft cover copies of the second edition ofStates of Consciousness available at $ 12.95 (plus sales tax for Californiaresidents) and $ 3 for shipping within the US, $ 10 for air shipping outsidethe US. Checks or money orders must be denominated in US currency. Otherbooks and tapes of mine are also available, and $ 1 will bring a catalog.Write to PPI, Box 8385, Berkeley CA 94707-8385.Incidentally I made a great literary mistake in naming this book States ofConsciousness after earlier publishing my Altered States of Consciousness(1969), as readers get the two books confused, If they've read the one, theythink they've read the other. Altered States of Consciousness is ananthology detailing the rich variety of what can happen in ASCs. States ofConsciousness is my attempt to make some coherent sense of this vastspectrum of experiences. Altered States of Consciousness is also availablefrom PPI for $ 16.95 plus shipping (and tax if the book is shipped to aCalifornia address), as above.Charles T. TartBerkeley, CaliforniaSeptember 1997 
Further developments of the Systems Approach:
Charles T. Tart, An Emergent Interactionist Understanding of HumanConsciousness Brain/Mind and Parapsychology: Proceedings of an InternationalConference, held in Montreal, Canada, August 24-25, 1978 under the auspicesof the Parapsychology Foundation, New York, NY. Available over the web from (3 of 4) [5/1/2002 12:50:33 PM]
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