A Theory of the Evolution of Consciousness

Matthew J. Pallamary

"A Theory of the Evolution of Consciousness" was inspired by my studies of Shamanism, Sacred Geometry, and the mathematics and philosophies of Rudolf Steiner as well as my research into ancient cultures. 

In the three dimensional reality that we inhabit, everything that evolves must have a beginning from which all that manifests comes into being.  This nexus is defined as the point of origin where the intangible becomes tangible and the first duality that defines our existence comes into play.  It is the basis for our dualistic three dimensional world view that is played out endlessly in the way that we perceive it.


Spirit-matter, subject-object, positive-negative, yin-yang, male-female, day-night, sleeping-waking, and life-death are a small sampling of the dual archetype that provides the basis for life manifest in the inhale-exhale of our lungs, the beating of our hearts, the ticking of our clocks, our music in the primal beats of a drum, and the notes which would not be differentiated without the spaces between them.  Two is also the basis for our world wide computerized web of information, all based on the simple binary notation of ones and zeroes.  The permutations of duality are endless, but to understand its origins we need to get to the point, where it all began.


A point has no size and can only be imagined.  It fixes a location in space and has a dimension equal to zero.  If you take a point and move it from its original location to another location, this moving point creates a line, which constitutes the first dimension, known as length.  This movement is a manifestation of energy, which is the essence of consciousness.


When we move a line which has no thickness from its original location to another location, it leaves the first dimension and becomes a plane which has two dimensions, length and width.  When we move a plane, it leaves two dimensions and creates a solid body with three dimensions, length, width, and height.  If each of these dimensional shifts covered the same distance, the result is a cube, the basic representation of three dimensional reality represented by 22,known as two to the second power, or two cubed.  When you move a three dimensional body around in space however, it remains a three dimensional body and does not leave the third dimension.


If you imagine yourself without any dimensions, then you would be formless.  Zero dimension is the point, the first dimension indicating energetic movement is the line, the second dimension is the surface, and the third dimension is the solid body.  If you imagine yourself as a being who can only move along the first dimension of a straight line, all you would see is points, and not your own dimensionality, because when we attempt to draw something within a line, points are the only option.  A two-dimensional being moving through a plane would encounter lines and thus distinguish one-dimensional beings.  A three-dimensional being, such as a cube, would encounter planes and perceive two dimensional beings.  Human beings however, can perceive three-dimensions. 


A one-dimensional being can perceive only points, a two-dimensional being only one dimension, and a three-dimensional being only two dimensions.  By the logic of this progression it becomes apparent that the perception of each dimension necessitates being one dimension above it.  Therefore human beings who can delineate external beings in three dimensions and manipulate three-dimensional spaces must be four dimensional beings.  Just as a cube can perceive only two dimensions and not its own third dimension, it is also true that we human beings cannot perceive the fourth dimension in which we live (Steiner 1-10).


The movement of the point to make the line, the line to the plane, and the plane to the solid, all take time, which makes time synonymous with movement.  We perceive the energetic movement of our three dimensional bodies through space as time.  How long does it take to get from point A to point B?  Our whole concept of time and our calendar is based on physical movement, specifically by counting the number of identical cyclical movements that a particular time measurement corresponds to.  It takes three hundred and sixty five and a quarter days for the earth to circle the sun in a solar year, one month for the moon to circle the earth, a day of twenty four hours for the earth to complete a rotation on its axis, sixty minutes to make up an hour, and sixty seconds to make up a minute.  Our materialistic world view has us locked in to time perception based on the movement of physical bodies through space, but what of the source of the expansion and its point of origin that make up the other unseen, formless half of the formula?


Physical calendars, like the predominant solar calendar have practical applications such as helping farmers to know when to plant crops and harvest according to the shifting seasons, but other calendars such as the Mayan calendar marked a three hundred sixty day prophetic year called the tun.  This calendar has come to the forefront of our awareness in recent years because depending on who you ask, it ends somewhere around December 21st 2012.  Many believe this to be the end of the world according to bible prophecy, meaning the apocalypse and the second coming of Christ.


The formless half of the formula discounted by materialists, but addressed in the Mayan tun calendar comes from within us where the seat of consciousness resides, perched between subject and object.  Here is where the evolution of consciousness takes place.  With a shift in our perceptions comes a shift in how we live in and perceive the world.


The Mayan calendar does not predict the end of the world, but the end of time as we know it, brought about by a radical shift in consciousness; a shift from our present fourth dimensional existence that perceives a three dimensional world to fifth dimensional existence where we will perceive the fourth dimension, transcending time and duality.  A transcendence from 2 X 2 or 22, the model for three dimensional existence to the next logical progression of 3 X 3 or 32, the new model for the fifth dimension, known as the second coming of Christ consciousness, or in Maya terms the return of Quetzalcoatl.


New discoveries in quantum physics are laying the ground for this by proving that matter is more empty space than solidity, or in the terms of Einstein’s famous E=MC2, matter is another form of energy, and energy is the essence of consciousness.  The fundamental nature of paradox tells us that positive and negative are extremes, but it is the energy between them that matters.  That is where the action is and where we exist within ourselves; at the threshold of subject and object, in the center, mid-point of our duality.  When we transcend the poles, we rise above the opposition of forces to embrace the energy that they manifest.


When the mid-point rises above the baseline, its transcendence creates a triad, trinity, or triangle.  The three dimensional representation of a triangle with four sides creates a pyramid, one of the greatest enigmas known to mankind.  The square base of a pyramid represents the four dimensions and the four directions of the physical world and rises up pointing toward the heavens in a diminishing apex where matter ends and spirit begins.


Mayan pyramids are the physical representation of a composite of several creation cycles, each being built one on top of another in a hierarchical structure representing successive world ages which ended in catastrophes to set the stage for the next higher level of evolution.  In these structures the completion of creation sets upon nine levels representing the Nine Underworlds, with each successive level being generated by a cycle twenty times shorter than the one it was built on.  The number nine is 3 X 3 or 32.


According to Mayan calculations, the first underworld at the base of the pyramid started 16.4 billion years ago, very close to the estimated time for the Big Bang, the beginning of creation.  From the base up, Johan Calleman has mapped out the progression of the evolution of consciousness in the following order; Cellular Underworld, Mammalian Underworld, Familial Underworld, Tribal Underworld, Regional Underworld, National Underworld, Planetary Underworld, Galactic Underworld, Universal Underworld, with the completion of creation sitting at the very top (Calleman 75-79). 


Preceding the nine underworlds built into the construction of the Mayan pyramids, in the mythology surrounding the Great Pyramid of Egypt, The Emerald Tablets of Thoth speak of; “Custodians and watchers of the force of man’s bondage, ready to loose when the light has been reached.  First and most mighty, sits the Veiled Presence, Lord of Lords, the infinite Nine, over the others from each Cosmic cycle, weighing and watching the progress of men.  Under He, sit the Lords of the Cycles; Three, Four, Five, and Six, Seven, Eight, each with his mission, each with his powers, guiding, directing the destiny of man.  There sit they, mighty and potent, free of all time and space.” (Doreal 8-9)


The number nine is not only three squared, it is the final single digit in our decimal system that precedes the next highest order, which is ten, symbolized by a one and a zero, and it is the last digit preceding each progression of ten beyond that.  Additionally, our physical bodies are bilateral, but we have ten toes and ten fingers with an opposable thumb; a distinct physical advantage that ranks us at the top of the earth’s animal hierarchy with the higher primates.  Physiologically, our digits are a prime external indicator of our place at the top of the evolutionary scale, while internally, among other things, the development of our brain charts the path of the evolution of our consciousness along its progression into self-awareness; the capability that distinguishes us above all other life forms on the earth.


The term consciousness refers to common capabilities of humans and other animals, as well as to differentiate between them, designating uniquely human linguistic, rational, and abstract capabilities.  Consciousness also includes a range of functions that esoteric traditions claim supersede rational and egoic forms of consciousness, representing the evolution of what is conceptualized as spirit, soul, mind, self, and transcendental human capabilities (Winkelman 9).


Shamanism, the oldest known form of spirituality in the world embraces all of these, as well as all other forms of religious thought that followed in its footsteps.  A basis for different forms of consciousness underlying shamanic phenomena is found in the major architectural and functional strata of the brain and their different information processes.  Although human consciousness is not specific to any particular function or system of the brain, different modalities of consciousness are associated with different systemic information-processing functions, integration of brain processes, and patterns of homeostasis.  All of the major systems of the brain participate in complex human behavior, but specific systemic patterns of brain functioning are associated with distinct experiential states and modes of consciousness.  Recognition that consciousness is tied to the functioning of a biological system does not require reduction of consciousness solely to the functions of biological system.  A neurophenomenological approach illustrates that both epistemic constructs and physiological patterns of brain operation contribute to consciousness.  The relationship of brain physiology to consciousness is illustrated through an examination of how the physical structures of the brain and their associated activities relate to patterns of consciousness (Winkelman 29-30).


The brain can be viewed as involving three anatomically distinct systems that are integrated to provide a range of behavioral, emotional, and informational functions (MacLean 1990).  It is widely recognized that human’s motor patterns, emotional states, and advanced cognitive and linguistic capabilities are primarily managed by brain systems that emerged sequentially in evolution.  This triune brain model provides a framework for explicating the relationship between systemic brain activities and consciousness, relating to lower brain systems common with other animals and to unique aspects of the human brain (Winkelman 29-30).


The hierarchical tripartite triune brain is based on neuroanatomical, structural, and functional divisions that break down into three strata starting with the reptilian, followed by the paleomammalian, and neomammalian brains (MacLean 1973, 1990).  The three formations have different anatomical structures that mediate different psychological and behavioral functions, with their own forms of subjectivity, intelligence, time and space sense, memory capabilities, and motor functions (MacLean 1990).  Although the three segments are integrated, they provide the bases for different capacities and represent a functional hierarchy of information-processing capabilities that provide the basis for distinct forms of consciousness (Winkelman 30).


The reptilian brain is composed of the upper spinal cord, portions of mesencephalon (midbrain), diencephalon (thalamus-hypothalamus), and basal ganglia.  The reptilian brain regulates organic functions such as metabolism, digestion, and respiration; and it is also responsible for wakefulness, attentional mechanisms, and the regulation and coordination of behavior.


The paleomammalian brain is based on evolutionary developments in the limbic system, which provided for distinctions between reptiles and mammals.  This structure provides the basis for social behavior and nonverbal, emotional, and analogical information processing, and it functions as an emotional brain, mediating affect; sex; fighting/self defense; social relations, bonding and attachment; and the sense of self that provides the basis for beliefs, certainty, and convictions.


The neomammalian brain provides the basis for advanced symbolic processes, culture, language, logic, rational thought, analytical processes, and complex problem solving.


The reptilian brain provides the basic plots and actions of the body.  The paleomammalian brain provides the emotional influences on thoughts and behavior.  The neomammalian brain uses enhanced symbolic capacities in elaborating on the basic plots and emotions and integrating them with higher-level information processing (Winkelman 31).


The reptilian brain provides the organism with primary or simple awareness, which is adaptation to the environment through reflexes, conditioned responses, and habituation, as well as through instrumental learning.  The paleomammalian brain provides for qualities of consciousness enriched by self, other (society), and emotions, while the neomammalian brain encompassing the tertiary neocortical area and, in particular, the right hemisphere, are involved in cross-integration and reorganization of perceptual modalities and are basic to symbolic cognition and self-awareness.  The neomammalian brain (neocortex and connecting thalamic structures) represents the most dramatic evolution of the brain.  The expanded neocortex’s functions are based on extensive connections with the visual, auditory, and somatic systems, indicating the primary orientation of the neocortex to the external world (Winkelman 32-33).


These three structures are also referred to as the three centers that we principally operate from, known from the top down as intellectual, emotional, and moving, that form a triad that relates to the every day functioning of our personality.  These centers act as primary energizers and determine the way that a person generally responds to any stimuli.  A moving centered person will tend to be physically active and be fond of sports, travel, and action.  An emotionally centered person will tend to be more perceptive and will experience situations in terms of likes and dislikes.  An intellectually centered person will tend to be more verbal and will enjoy philosophy and thinking for its own sake.  Most people react from one of these centers, so when presented with any situation, their first immediate response will be either thought, feeling, or action, which represents the center they habitually rely on.  If they react with thought they are intellectually centered, if they respond with feeling, they are emotionally centered, and if they respond with instantaneous action, they are moving centered (Stevens 171-181).


People usually respond out of these three centers in a specific order.  If they are intellectually centered they will first react with thought, emotions will follow, then they will act.  If they are emotionally centered they will feel first, act, then think about it later.  Any combination of the three is possible as a habitual pattern based on their most developed center which comes first, and their least developed which comes last.  The closer a person comes to operating simultaneously out of all three centers, the more integrated and effective they are (Stevens 174).


When a person is paying attention (fully aware) they are more likely to feel, think, and act simultaneously.  From this balanced point of power fears are neutralized, and experience shifts to insight, relatedness, and beauty.  Intentional awakening is fostered by the perception that one has not achieved one’s potential.  In order to reach higher levels of awareness (Maslow’s peak experience), three conditions are necessary; a powerful desire to know the truth, a willingness to be emotionally open to life, and a practiced ability to be balanced energetically.  Intellectual, emotional, and moving centers form a triad which relates to the universal building blocks of love, energy, and truth, otherwise known as, love, power, and wisdom; a triad that manifests as inspiration, action, and expression (Stevens 10-12).


A natural result of the evolution of the human brain is the fragmentation of consciousness, reflecting both the increasing modularity of consciousness and the diversification of self into more statuses.  Shamanic traditions institutionalized procedures to overcome this fragmentation of consciousness by synchronizing this divergent human cognition through traditions using altered states of consciousness (ASC) to induce integrative brain processes.  The shaman’s use of external symbols and the relationships of the symbols to cultural psychodynamics engage transformative process through entraining neurocognitive structures, provoking a restructuring of the self at levels below conceptual and operational thought (Winkelman 101-102).


Shamanistic practices induce extraordinary experiences and healing by producing integrative relationships among brain systems and psychocultural beliefs.  These experiences reflect the simultaneous elicitation and integration of normal modes of information processing and consciousness that do not ordinarily occur together.  These ASC nonetheless involve normal integrative psychobiological processes elicited by many procedures.  A primary focus of the psychophysiological effects of shamanistic ASC is in the limbic system, or the paleomammalian brain.  This brain area emerged in the evolution of mammals and provided a number of distinctive developments.  Shamanistic healing is based on manipulation of processes and functions of the paleomammalian brain – self identity and social identity and their attachments, emotions, meanings, and references.  Shamanistic ASC elicit processes of the paleomammalian brain and induce a systemic integration of information processing functions across the functional layers of the brain, producing limbic-cortical integration and interhemispheric synchronization.


Shamanistic healing practices achieve this integration by physically stimulating systematic brain wave discharge patterns that activate affects, memories, attachments, and other psychodynamic processes of the paleomammalian brain.  This activation forces normally unconscious or preconscious primary information processing functions and outputs to be integrated into the operations of the frontal cortex.  This integrates implicit understandings, socioemotional dynamics, repressed memories, unresolved conflicts, intuitions, and nonverbal – visual, mimetic, and presentational knowledge into self-conscious awareness (Winkelman xii-xiii).


The desire to alter consciousness is an innate, human, biologically based drive with adaptive significance.  The ASC of shamanism are a manifestation of a fundamental homeostatic dynamic of the nervous system.  These manifestations of consciousness involve a biologically based integrative mode of consciousness, replacing normal waking conditions – sympathetic dominance and desynchronized fast wave activity of the frontal cortex – with a parasympathetic dominant state characterized by high voltage, slow-wave electroencephalogram (EEG) activity originating in the circuits linking the brain stem and the hippocampal-septal area of the limbic system with the frontal cortex.  This high-voltage, slow wave EEG activity originates in the hippocampal-septal area and imposes a synchronous slow-wave pattern on the frontal lobes, producing interhemispheric synchronization and coherence, limbic-cortex integration, and integration across the neuraxis, a synthesis of behavior, emotion, and thought (Winkelman 7).


The parasympathetic state, slow-wave synchronization of the frontal cortex, and interhemispeheric integration reflect activation of basic aspects of brain operation related to sensory and physiological integration; mental and emotional integration; insight and transcendence; and interhemispheric integration.  A primary characteristic of integrative consciousness involves hierarchical integration of brain mechanisms, especially as manifested in limbic system driving of the frontal cortex through serotonergic induced integration across the neuraxis.  This represents the integration of preconscious or unconscious functions and material into self conscious awareness (Winkelman 128-129).


There are four different biologically based modes of human consciousness – waking, sleep, dream, and integrative consciousness.  These reflect the fundamental aspects of systemic functioning of the human organism that meet the following system functions and needs, respectively: learning, adaptation, and survival needs (waking); recuperative functions, regeneration, and growth (deep sleep); memory integration and consolidation and psychosocial adaptation (dreaming); and psychodynamic growth and social and psychological integration (integrative).


The right hemisphere of the brain reflects a different symbolic form of representation in dreaming than that used in waking consciousness.  The bizarreness of dreams reflects the imaginative and creative capacities of the presentational modality.  Dreams appear bizarre and illogical from the point of view of waking consciousness because dreams involve a different system of information representation, processing, and consolidation.  This visual-spatial system of symbolic presentation is normally inhibited by the dominance of left-hemisphere verbal representational systems; conditions that attenuate the left hemisphere’s verbal representational systems allow expression of this presentational intelligence (Winkelman 137-139).


Meditation, rituals, hallucinogens and other shamanic practices can alter consciousness and physiological processes through a wide variety of mechanisms that induce retuning of the autonomic nervous system balance.  This retuning tends to block the dominant hemisphere’s functions and produces an integrative fusion with functions of the nondominant hemisphere; this structurally synchronized state tends to resolve internal conflicts and to produce euphoric states.  This synchronization depends on the elicitation of processes of lower brain structures that are associated with basic behavior, intentionality, and emotions (Winkelman 246).  These ASC evoke communicative responses from the paleomammalian brain that provide the basis for an expansion of consciousness by integrating information from the lower brain systems into operational activities of the frontal brain and by establishing synchrony with the frontal brain that permits symbolic reprogramming of the emotional dynamics and behavioral repertoires of lower brain centers (Winkelman 251).


When the triune brain works in unison and the individual operates simultaneously out of all three centers, the more integrated and effective they are because they will be fully aware.  The instinctual, emotional, and intellectual centers will feel, think, and act simultaneously from a balanced point of power where fears are neutralized and experience shifts to insight, relatedness, and beauty.


When there is a homeostatic dynamic of the nervous system, a biologically based integrative mode of consciousness comes into play, replacing normal waking conditions – sympathetic dominance and desynchronized fast wave activity of the frontal cortex with a parasympathetic dominant state, producing interhemispheric synchronization and coherence, and integration across the neuraxis, synthesizing behavior, emotion, and thought.  The parasympathetic state, slow-wave synchronization of the frontal cortex, and interhemispeheric integration reflect activation of basic aspects of brain operation related to sensory and physiological integration; mental and emotional integration; and insight and transcendence.  In essence, the slow-wave synchronization of the frontal cortex is the energy that comes from transcending the male and female polarities, creating a triad that focuses on the energy manifest in between as opposed to that of the extremes. 


Three brains from the top down working in unison to produce a fully aware state of insight, relatedness, and beauty, combined with the right “female” brain and the left “male” brain working in synchronization and coherence, synthesizing behavior, emotion, and thought to produce a slow-wave synchronization of the third frontal cortex indicate sensory and physiological integration; mental and emotional integration; and insight and transcendence.


This fully turned on 3 X 3 brain brings a radical shift in consciousness that could produce a shift from our present fourth dimensional existence that perceives a three dimensional world, to the fifth dimension where we will perceive the fourth dimension, transcending time and duality.  A transcendence from 22, 2 X 2, the model for three dimensional existence to the next logical progression of 32, 3 X 3, the number 9, the new model for the fifth dimension, is known as the second coming of Christ consciousness or the return of Quetzalcoatl.


Aside from the continuing breakthroughs in quantum physics that prove that material reality is in fact consciousness, there can be no doubt that profound changes are upon us.  Global warming is a fact, as is a shift in the magnetic poles of our planet, and an upward shift in the internal frequency of our planet.


The earth’s frequency was thought to be constant.  When NASA started measuring it, it was 7.8 hertz.  It has been measured as high as 14, and it is speeding up.  At the same time the field strength of the earth’s gravity is dropping at an alarming rate.  In the last few years magnetic north has been moving rapidly, and the inner core of the earth has displaced itself from the angle of rotation of the earth’s crust.  The sun’s own magnetic north and south is no longer detectable as of 1995 and solar flares and proton storms are off the scale.  On December 22, 2012 the sun will be in alignment with the galactic equator of the Milky Way Galaxy.  This occurs every 25,800 years and was predicted by the Mayans.  This is also the date of the birth of Venus, which represents the feminine, the right brain intuitive energy that has been suppressed for far too long.


Energetically all of these phenomena represent an electromagnetic shift upward.  The results of what occurs from an increase in frequency were proven in the study of Cymatics, which is the study of wave phenomena, a science pioneered by Swiss medical doctor and natural scientist, Hans Jenny (1904-1972).  Jenny conducted experiments animating inert powders, pastes, and liquids into life-like, flowing forms, which mirrored patterns found throughout nature, art and architecture.  These patterns were created using simple sine wave vibrations, pure tones within the audible range, so what you see is a physical representation of vibration, or how sound manifests into form through the medium of various materials.


Among other things, Cymatics shows that when vibrational patterns were produced in series and compared, the same formal pattern recurred at increasing frequencies, but the number of constituent elements also increased at the higher frequencies (Jenny 35).  At a particular frequency a specific matrix pattern would form, then with an increase in frequency the pattern would dissolve into chaos before reforming into a more complex pattern at a higher frequency.


In other words chaos precedes reformation from a lower order into a more complex, higher order.  The old structure has to break down in order for the new more complex one to form.  When we are born into this world, we go from amniotic bliss, through the chaos and violence of the birth process, until we are born anew into a whole new paradigm of being.


Regardless of the calendar dates that modern society follows, it has become clear that the numerous changes occurring within and around us are occurring rapidly.  We feel our subjective experience of time moving faster and faster because our consciousness is quickening in preparation for what appears to be an upcoming dimensional shift.  If we are aware enough to be in harmony with the natural unfolding cosmic laws of oneness, reciprocity, and balance, and we are in harmony and alignment within ourselves, living in full integrity and unity with all that is, we will ride the wave and flow forward with the upcoming shift to the next higher dimension along with our mother earth, and become fully conscious co-creators of our reality.    


Works Cited


Calleman, Carl J.  Solving the Greatest Mystery of Our Time: The Mayan Calendar. Coral Springs: Garev, 2001.


Doreal, Dr. M.  The Emerald Tablets of Thoth The Atlantean. Nashville: Source Books, 2002.


Jenny, Hans.  Cymatics: A Study of Wave Phenomena and Vibration. Newmarket: MACROmedia, 2001. 


MacLean, P.  The Triune Concept of Brain and Behavior. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1973.


MacLean, P.  The Triune Brain in Evolution. New York: Plenum Press, 1990. 


Steiner, Rudolph.  The Fourth Dimension: Sacred Geometry, Alchemy, and Mathematics.  Great Barrington: Anthroposophic Press, 2001.


Stevens, José.  Earth to Tao. Santa Fe: Bear and Company, 1994.


Winkelman, Michael.  Shamanism: The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing.  Westport: Bergin & Garvey,  2000



© 2006   Matthew J. Pallamary



Matthew J. Pallamary
Matthew J. Pallamary

His first book The Small Dark Room Of The Soul was mentioned in The Year's Best Horror and Fantasy. His historical novel Land Without Evil, received rave reviews and a San Diego Book Award. Matt also received the San Diego Writer's Monthly Magazine Man of the Year award.  His memoir Spirit Matters took first place in the San Diego Book Awards Spiritual Book Category, and was an Award-Winning Finalist in the National Best Book Awards.  He frequently visits the jungles, mountains, and deserts of North, Central, and South America pursuing his studies of shamanism and ancient cultures.