Months ago someone on other site told me about Leary's 8 Circuit model of the brain, and it seemed like pretty interesting stuff. A few days ago I started reading Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson (amazing book btw) and this idea has gone from 'pretty interesting' to 'wow it all makes sense now'. I thought I'd share some highlights here and see what you all think. The book basically divides the human brain into two parts, and these two parts are the framework on which the other circuits exist; the Thinker and the Prover. What the thinker thinks the prover proves. The thinker is open to every possible idea (and even the impossible ones), and whatever the thinker thinks the prover will prove. For example, if the thinker thinks that evolution is false, the prover will select, out of all the information, that information which shows evolution to be false. Now each of the 8 circuits in human consciousness (animals only have the first 2 with the exception of a few mammals (like Dolphins) which are starting to spread into the 3rd circuit) is imprinted at different stages of life. The 8 circuits are: 1. The Survival Circuit The oldest and most basic of the circuits, found in all mammals and most other complex life. This circuit is imprinted by the mother and conditioned by subsequent nourishment or threat. It retreats from anything imprinted on it to be noxious or predatory. 2. The Emotional-Territorial Circuit In humans this circuit is imprinted during the toddler years, when the child first learns to walk and begins to find its place in the social unit. From here on this circuit processes territorial rules, games, pecking order and rituals of domination or submission. 3. The Time-Binding Semantic Circuit The first circuit that's, for all intents and purposes, unique to humans. It is imprinted by human artifacts and symbols, like language. It 'packages' the environment into symbols, classifying everything according to the local reality tunnel (the reality created by the group the human lives in). Its functions include invention, calculation, prediction and transmitting signals across generations (in the form of books, art, music, tradition etc). 4. The "Moral" Socio-Sexual Circuit This is imprinted at the first orgasm/mating experiences at puberty and is conditioned further by tribal taboos. It processes sexual pleasure, local "rights" and "wrongs" (morality), reproduction and parenting. These 4 circuits are permanently activated in all humans, the next 4 are circuits of future evolution. They can be activated through drugs, Yogas or 'enlightenment' but are typically not permanently activated (although people can permanently activate them, and this is what monks refer to as 'enlightenment') 5. The Neurosomatic Circuit This is imprinted by ecstatic experience usually through forms of Yoga or drugs. It processes neurosomatic (mind-body) feedback loops, sensory bliss, feeling "high", "faith healing" etc. The book proposes that holistic medicine and "faith healing" are ways of activating this circuit temporarily. Tantric Yoga aims to shift consciousness entirely into this circuit. 6. The Collective Neurogenetic Circuit This is imprinted by advanced yogas (chemical (drug) or biological yogas). It processes DNA-RNA feedback loops in individual neurons and is collective in that it has access to the whole evolutionary script; past and future. Experience of this circuit is "mystical" and often described as mind shattering, drugs like Mushrooms and LSD are ways to temporarily activate this circuit. 7. The Meta-Programming Circuit Imprinted by very advanced yogas, it consists of "cybernetic consciousness" and has the ability to reprogram or reimprint all other circuits (even itself). Think of your conscious mind and call it Mind1, now think of another conscious mind (Mind2) contemplating Mind1. On top of this is another conscious mind contemplating Mind2, and so on. This circuit allows you to tap into Mind2 observing Mind1, and even make changes to Mind1. This circuit makes it possible to consciously choose alternate reality tunnels. 8. The Non-Local Quantum Circuit This is activated by near death experiences, out of body experiences, precognition, ESP etc. It tunes the brain to non-local "quantum" communication systems and is situated below unconsciousness. Basically it taps into the quantum world inside each of your neurons, a world that isn't bound by rational laws but rather chaos and general "weirdness" (such as Spooky Action at a Distance). Now the interesting part. Your personality depends almost entirely on how each of these circuits is initially imprinted. People (like me) who got their heaviest imprint on the 3rd circuit (if, for example, your parents read to you every night while developing this circuit) tend to become Rationalists, or even Compulsive Rationalists and mature to be tall and skinny (because energy is continually drawn to the head to power the constant rationalisation they experience). Almost always these people ignore or are hostile to Circuits 1 and 2; playfulness seems like a waste of time and emotions often baffle them. In extreme cases compulsive rationalists completely ignore signals from the other circuits (I'm happy to say I'm not that extreme ). People who have an extreme imprint on circuit one tend to be "Viscerotonic", usually overweight and lacking self confidence. People with a heavy imprint in circuit 2 are generally Musculotonic, very "built", confident and leaders. In women a heavy imprint in circuit 4 could cause them to almost radiate beauty, they become the "perfect mate" (at least physically, their personality depends on how the other circuits are imprinted and conditioned). In short, imprinting effects the ENTIRE nervous system, and as a result the entire BODY as well. How you are imprinted has a lot to do with how you physically mature, as well as how your personality forms. It's the blueprint for the entire organism. Why? Because imprinting like this is an evolutionary system, designed to guide an organism's growth to best fit in with the rest of that orgnism's "tribe" and the environment around it. As I mentioned I probably received my most influential imprinting in Circuit 3, as a result I'm always busy rationalising and thinking about things. The book likens this situation to the brain having a constant Cocaine or Caffeine high, and I completely agree with that. As a result I often find it hard to remember things, because everything is happening so quickly in my head that information tends to get lost in the commotion. A lot of people can't stand extreme Rationalists, because they tend to dismiss the other circuits as irrational and "wrong". This is also why you'll hardly ever see an extreme rationalist having a religious experience, or seeing UFO's, or ghosts, their brains effectively filter out these irrational things (which doesn't mean these things are or aren't actually happening, they could be the other circuits 'playing tricks' on people [tricks that the rational circuit won't allow] or they could be actually happening but the extreme rationalist won't perceive them). Now, when the survival circuit is threatened or activated all other mental activity ceases. The other circuits shut down until the threat is removed, and this is why in situations of peril or mortal danger you often hear people say "I don't know what happened" or "I just found myself doing it". The aim of martial arts is to condition INSTINCT, so that when this surivival circuit is threatened these instinctive responses activate without the need for the higher circuits to analyze the situation. It turns out that all imprints can be reprogrammed, and this is commonly known as "brainwashing". A good example of this is the army and how it brainwashes individuals, hear me out. The army sends you a letter in the mail informing you that your body now belongs to them (comply with the order or go to jail), this brings the individual down to the survival circuit. The next step is to eliminate the emotional-territorial circuit by isolating the individual from everyone he knows (boot camp) and removing the individual's social status and replacing it with submission (to the drill sargeant). After this the semantic circuit is disabled by forcing the individual to "not think, just obey orders without question" (although this is not taken to extremes, just in general). The sexual circuit is then compromised with the dreaded physical examination, and numerous other sexually embarrasing situations. The neutralization of all these circuits allows each to be reprogrammed, in some cases very drastically (typically not found in the Army, but in situations where individuals are kidnapped at gunpoint for instance). Each circuit re-imprints to adapt to the new social situation. Further conditioning can reinforce these imprints until they become dominant over the old imprints (this is why many kidnapping victims gradually start to identify with their kidnappers). Studies show humans use the left side of their brain much more for actual mental (cognitive) exercises, while the right side generally controls motor functions and dexterity. Right handedness is a result of this; the right hand manipulates the outside world and the left side of the brain (which controls the right hand) maps the results onto a model of that part of the world (which allows for future predictions of its behaviour). Right handers tend to specialize in cognitive ability, rationalisation and analyzation, while left handers tend to specialize in things like intuition, music, mysticism and art. Many of our most influential artists were left handed (Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Leonardo de Vinci, Michelangelo, Beethoven, Nietzsche etc). The book suggests that almost all "Thinkers" in history were able to achieve activation and imprinting of one of the 4 higher circuits. People like the prophet Mohammad, St. Paul (Christianity), Joseph Smith and perhaps even Jesus himself (although nothing is known about him prior to about age 30) all share a common situation; they were all normal people until their brain states were changed suddenly. After this change they seemed to have access to knowledge or ideas that no one else at the time could have imagined. Now, this could mean they experienced something physically real, or it could mean they activated (probably accidently) one of the 4 higher circuits and found themselves thinking and experiencing things no one else around them could relate to (which at the time could easily have passed off as divine intervention). Anyway, this is way too long already. Needless to say it's a very good book and I recommend it to anyone who's even remotely interested in theories about how our brains and personalities work.