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Publisher's Summary

What altered states of consciousness - the dissolution of feelings of time and self - can tell us about the mystery of consciousness.

During extraordinary moments of consciousness - shock, meditative states and sudden mystical revelations, out-of-body experiences, or drug intoxication - our senses of time and self are altered; we may even feel time and self dissolving. These experiences have long been ignored by mainstream science, or considered crazy fantasies. Recent research, however, has located the neural underpinnings of these altered states of mind. In this book, neuropsychologist Marc Wittmann reveals how experiences that disturb or widen our everyday understanding of the self can help solve the mystery of consciousness. 

Wittmann explains that the relationship between consciousness of time and consciousness of self is close; in extreme circumstances, the experiences of space and self intensify and weaken together. He considers the emergence of the self in waking life and dreams; how our sense of time is distorted by extreme situations ranging from terror to mystical enlightenment; the experience of the moment; and the loss of time and self in such disorders as depression, schizophrenia, and epilepsy. Dostoyevsky reported godly bliss during epileptic seizures; neurologists are now investigating the phenomenon of the epileptic aura. Wittmann describes new studies of psychedelics that show how the brain builds consciousness of self and time, and discusses pilot programs that use hallucinogens to treat severe depression, anxiety, and addiction.

If we want to understand our consciousness, our subjectivity, Wittmann argues, we must not be afraid to break new ground. Studying altered states of consciousness leads us directly to the heart of the matter: time and self, the foundations of consciousness.

©2015 Verlag CH.Beck oHG, München (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. Translation © 2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

What listeners say about Altered States of Consciousness

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Not The Same Book

This is a different book with the same title. The one I was looking for was from the late 60’s—early 70’s edited by Charles T. Tart. Still, an interesting listen if you’re interested in time/space.

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interesting viewpoint

well written and well documented. a must read into a vast world of information not usually explored.

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Content is amazing - performance less so

I loved the content of the book. Super interesting and relevant research. It’s well written and structured.

Only problem for me was the narrator. I was super close to ask for a refund as I began listening to the book. The narrator’s style is forced and without much sensitivity to the subjects he is presenting. Talks like everything is an amazing piece of news, which gets tiresome very fast.

Luckily I was able to ignore this after some time, just focusing on the content. So I listened to it all am so much wiser.

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  • Benjamin Aaron Carl Hill
  • 05-17-19

Great Book.

I highly recommend this book and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as me.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-22-21

I loved it. very informative 👏

I believe that this information would benefit the whole mankind if used properly. this book is strongly based on scientific data and narrated well.

1 person found this helpful

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