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Modes of awareness


In contrast to the previous section on concepts of human development, this section focuses on distinct subjective experiences during the process of human development. The variety of such states of consciousness or modes of awareness, essential to any adequate comprehension of human development, is a fundamental characteristic of some approaches to human development. This is especially true of "alternative" approaches, traditional approaches and those originating in non-Western cultures. Recognition of the existence of such subjective states is not acknowledged in official studies of human development, except through externally defined terms such as fulfilment, satisfaction, well-being, and happiness or their opposites. They are frequently only considered because of their economic significance in ensuring a productive labour force and consumer satisfaction. Since fulfilling or challenging modes of awareness are key indicators for a person in assessing his or her own development, a clarification of their variety is therefore a way of establishing a bridge to active constituencies and to traditional frameworks in which human development processes have a well-established meaning with which people identify. Of great importance to many is that in a number of cases these modes are grouped into sets, cycles or series which enable people to order their psychic life and understand how they may aspire and progress to greater fulfilment, or deprive themselves of it.


The 3,049 entries in this section each endeavour to describe a mode of awareness that is named in the literature of some particular approach to human development. The descriptions are provided as far as possible in the terms of those to whom the mode is meaningful, selecting and presenting the information in a way that may help others to find it meaningful as well. Where such modes have metaphorical names these have been retained, however odd they may seem to people from other cultures or belief systems. Where the distinction between modes is more precisely defined in another language (e.g. Sanskrit), the transliterated name in that language is also given. Where the mode is part of a set or a progression, this is indicated by a contextual paragraph and cross-references.


The information used was obtained from a wide range of specialized reference books. The method is reviewed in detail in a commentary.


A keyword index to entries is incorporated into the index for Volume 2 (Section X

Entries in this section are also cross-referenced from the section on Human Values and Wisdom (Section V) on the basis of value words in the body of the text of the human development entries (constructive value words, Section VC; destructive value words, Section VD).


Bibliographical references, by author, are given in Section HY.


Detailed comments are given elsewhere.


Verbal descriptions of subjective experiences can only be inappropriate, if not insensitive or totally inadequate. Nevertheless such descriptions are attempted by those drawing attention to the importance of particular modes of awareness. Attempting to group such descriptions into one framework obscures implicit subtle distinctions. It is for this reason that no attempt has been made to combine entries on different approaches to what might be considered the same mode of awareness.

Possible future improvements

In addition to refining entries, it would be possible to extend the range to offer better coverage of modes of awareness recognized in non-Western cultures. A pattern of cross-references to specific symbols and to specific values could also be developed.