The Many Levels of Consciousness

By Joseph Ehmling

Some history for ya

Consciousness is defined as "the awareness or perception of an inward psychological or spiritual fact: intuitively perceived knowledge of something in one's inner self." in Websters International dictionary. The ideology of consciousness first appeared in the Mayan and Inca cultures and civilizations, Mayans being among the first to have a sense of the levels of consciousness, their purpose, and it's connection to humankind.

John Locke, a 17th-century philosopher, believed that our personality was directly connected with our consciousness, or what he defined as memory. He said that since consciousness isn't connected to our physical bodies, it can last long after we have died. One of the most famous psychologist, Sigmund Freud, divided consciousness into it's three levels, conscious, preconscious, and subconscious.

The Levels

The first level, consciousness, is composed of all the things we are aware of including ourselves and our surroundings. This is how we spend most our lives. This is the level we are in when we are awake.


The second level is preconscious. This is said to consist of things that we can direct our attention to when we are awake and the memories most important to us. Freud said the memories were in a dormant-like state were they could not be remembered until ready.


The final level is the unconscious. This consist of the things outside of our conscious awareness, many memories,our feelings and our urges that we are not aware exists. Most of these things are thought to be unsettling, things deemed unfit in society. While we are not aware of them, they are said to influence how we act.