Altered states of consciousness have been used by humans for more than 30,000 years. According to the Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Transpersonal Psychology , excessive dancing, meditation, and mind-altering plants were used in ancient civilizations to modulate the activity of the mind. Terence McKenna, an American ethnobotanist, even thought that the use of psychedelic mushrooms had led to the “evolution of human language and symbol use.” Other researchers suggest that mind-altering substances may have been a core factor in the creation of today’s most common religions.
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Altered states of consciousness can only be defined if there is an understanding of an ordinary state of consciousness.
While scientists can't agree on a clear definition, altered states of consciousness are nevertheless essential to understanding the human mind.
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