These Geometrical Shapes Are Diagrams of Human Consciousness | Smart News | Smithsonian

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These Geometrical Shapes Are Diagrams of Human Consciousness

A late 19th century New Zealand psychologist attempted to depict various states of consciousness with geometric shapes

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The diagram above may look like something out of an antiquated high school geometry book, but it’s actually a depiction of human consciousness by the late 19th century New Zealand psychologist Benjamin Betts. According to i09, Betts applied mathematics to the problem of visualizing the waking mind, producing a series of striking images in the process.

In his metaphysical explorations, Betts attempted to represent the successive stages of the evolution of human consciousness with symbolic mathematical forms; he was quite pleased to find that his mathematical representations frequently resulted in plant-like forms, taking this to mean that he was on the track to some universal representation of consciousness. Incidentally, he also believed that human consciousness was the only thing that we as humans could study directly since everything else must necessarily be perceived through human consciousness.

Though the images seem at first abstract, i09 notes, if you spend enough time studying their contours and curves, it’s possible to imagine how a meta-physicist might make perfect sense out of one state of consciousness behaving like a deep bowl and another like a narrow, endless funnel.

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