Regular readers of my blog will know how I am memserised by the eight-fold developmental model . I have applied that model to Cognitive Maps, linked it to Moral Development, development of perspective-taking, to language and universal moral grammar development, to language and stages of pretend play, to evolution of languages (color terms), evolution of language faculty (general), to personality and the BIG FIVE, and to evolution of color vision.
Just to recap, I believe in a 5 +3 = 8 step development/ evolutionary model, wherein the first 5 stages are qualitatively different from the last 3 ; but the stages of development / evolution are analogous in widely different faculties.
thus, I was quite surprised to discover a model of Consciousness, as proposed by Timothy Leary, that I was till now not aware of . Thanks to Mind Hacks, I spent a better part of my day on the net reading about Leary’s and RAW, eight circuit theory and I find it quite plausible and fascinating. Some links worth checking.
Although I do not buy the left-brain/ right-brain distinction in totality, I do find the fact that the first five stages are related to embodied consciousness, while the last three mark a departure and closely parallel other higher level stages quite interesting.
The evolutionary and developmental stages of Leary are :
I. THE BIO-SURVIVAL CIRCUIT
The imprinting of this circuit sets up the basic attitude of trust or suspicion which will ever after trigger approach or avoidance
This is clearly the trust vs distrust development task identified by Erikson for infants. Leary though applies it to the living race (invertebrates ) on an evolutionary scale.
II. THE EMOTIONAL CIRCUIT
Again the first imprint on this circuit remains constant for life (unless brainwashed) and identifies the stimuli which will automatically trigger dominant, aggressive behavior or submissive, cooperative behavior.
This maps closely to Erikson’s second toddler stage, whereby the toddler has to master Autonomy (a sense of power) vs Shame and Doubt
III. THE DEXTERITY-SYMBOLISM CIRCUIT
It is no accident, then, that our logic (and our computer-design) follows either-or, binary structure of these circuits
Here the preschooler of Erikson, starts taking initiative. related to Initiative vs Guilt developmental task.
IV. THE SOCIAL-SEXUAL CIRCUIT
The fourth brain, dealing with the transmission of tribal or ethnic culture across generations, introduces the fourth dimension, time.
This is the traditional Social background process, stretched over the whole school life of the child, wherein he develops a sense of industry and a sense of skills that can be refined with hard work over time. Time if of essence here.
V. THE NEUROSOMATIC CIRCUIT
When this fifth “body-brain” is activated, flat Euclidean figure-ground configurations explode multi-dimensionally. Gestalts shift, in McLuhan’s terms, from linear VISUAL SPACE to all-encompassing SENSORY SPACE. A hedonic turn-on occurs, a rapturous amusement, a detachment from the previously compulsive mechanism of the first four circuits.
The fifth stage is a transforming stage that enables a rite of passage. In Erikson.s model it is transcendence of adolescence and taking on an adult role. One solves the problem of Identity vs Role Confusion. In my view this stage is also linked to Schizophrenia , which may result from role confusions and results in hallucinations. It is orthwhile to note here that many hallucinogens, as per Leary, lead to this stage.
VI. THE NEUROELECTRIC CIRCUIT
The sixth brain consists of the nervous system becoming aware of itself apart from imprinted gravitational reality-maps (circuits I-IV) and even apart from body-rapture (circuit V).The evolutionary function of the sixth circuit is to enable us to communicate at Einsteinian relativities and neuro-electric accelerations, not using third circuit laryngeal-manual symbols but directly via feedback, telepathy and computer link-up. Neuro-electric signals will increasingly replace “speech” (hominid grunts) after space migration.
This meeting and communication between inter-stellar civilizations, bodes well on a human level with Erikson’s marriage as the sixth developmental milestone with Intimacy vs Isolation as a core developmental task
VII. THE NEUROGENETIC CIRCUIT
The seventh brain kicks into action when the nervous system begins to receive signals from WITHIN THE INDIVIDUAL NEURON, from the DNA-RNA dialogue. The first to achieve this mutation spoke of “memories of past lives,” “reincarnation,” “immortality,” etc. The “akashic records” of Theosophy, the “collective unconscious” of Jung, the “phylogenetic unconscious” of Grof and Ring, are three modern metaphors for this circuit.
this also bodes well with the collectivist nature of Erikson’s seventh developmental task, wherein , as a group of individual (member of society) one feels Generativity vs Stagnation.
VIII. THE NEURO-ATOMIC CIRCUIT
When the nervous system is turned on to this quantum-level circuit, space-time is obliterated. Einstein’s speed-of-light barrier is transcended; in Dr. Sarfatti’s metaphor, we escape “electromagnetic chauvinism.” The contelligence within the quantum projection booth IS the entire cosmic “brain,” just as the micro-miniaturized DNA helix IS the local brain guiding planetary evolution. As Lao-tse said from his own Circuit VIII perspective, “The greatest is within the smallest.”
This too bodes well as the eights stage again being the ultimate stage of transcendence, coming to terms with one’s inevitable (human) death and either having Integrity vs Despair as one reflects on life and prepares to transcend it
I know that a lot of the above my sound nonsensical to the regular readers of this blog, but we know so little about consciousness, that it may be best to keep an open mind about it and about evolution and our fate as human race.