In Liber Null and Psychonaut, Peter Carroll also draws distinctions between various levels of consciousness according to their function. Briefly summarized, they are:
- Robotic: The level of consciousness in which we are "running on autopilot." We use this for any sort of task which, once learned, requires little to no actual thought. Also see muscle memory.
- Awareness: This is the level we operate on any time we are actively contemplating something. Carroll mentions that one's ability to enter this state more or less depends on the person's intelligence.
- Unconscious: This one should be fairly self-explanatory. This is where we go when we sleep. Or, more rarely, when we're completely wasted.
- Dreaming: Another self-explanatory one. Most frequently experienced while we're asleep. Useful in that it allows our minds some time to digest our experiences and come to terms with them, to think through difficult problems, etc. Carroll mentions a suspicion that one always operates in a state of dreaming that's masked by other states, much as the stars are masked by daylight.
- Gnosis: The state in which our mind is so wholly caught up in a single experience that we can focus on nothing else. Intense orgasms can elicit this state, as can extremely strong emotions or very deep meditation. According to Carroll (and many others), this level of consciousness is the key to using magic, as it keeps a person's subconscious doubts and lust for results from screwing with the outcome.
It should be noted that these levels of consciousness are not mutually exclusive. For example, dreaming and unconsciousness can clearly take place at the same time, and people can often reflect on certain things while performing some familiar mundane task.