HJ: The 8 levels of human consciousness presented below are a framework one can use in order to understand where they may be in terms of the development of conscious awareness. No level is any more superior or less superior than another — each is associated with a particular level of learning and each is absolutely necessary in order to have the full spectrum of human experience. I find that they are particularly useful for understanding the challenges and lessons that are encompassed by the specific state in which you are centered at any given moment. Used in this way, they can be a powerful too for spiritual advancement. It is also important to note that the levels are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to be experiencing multiple perspectives at once, especially in the different areas of your life.
The 8 Levels of Human Consciousness
By Miles Adams | Ayetrayn
This is an elaboration on Timothy Leary’s 8-circuit model of consciousness. Timothy Leary was infamously known as a rebellious American psychologist and philosopher after being banned from Harvard University in the 1960’s. His research of Lysergic acid Diethlyamide was prohibited from the U.S. government, but his work wasn’t solely on the instrument of the LSD in itself, but how the mind worked and how people come to design their realities and strongly believed that scientific research shouldn’t involve politics. Leary believed in the usage of psychedelics or chemical substances that manifest the mind and altered states of consciousness. Psychedelics are different from depressants like alcohol or stimulants like coffee they affect the senses and mental processes much more than the physical sensations of being energetic or feeling relaxed. For example, Salvador Dali one of the greatest artists in history experimented with peyote and mescaline a processed version of the drug and marijuana and hashish a processed version of that drug creating very non-linear surrealist depictions from his imagination versus the quasi-objectivity of the world outside himself. Another example, is Allen Ginsberg who used many substances like psyilocybin mushrooms, peyote, LSD, and marijuana, which he used for increased empathy, passion, and awareness and is recognized as one of America’s greatest and most revolutionary poets especially because of his public expressions of homosexuality. Another example, is Terrence Mckenna a recognized polymath involving biology and philosophy who believed and encouraged the use of psychedelics especially entheogen’s or natural occurring drugs like Dimethyltryptamine that is produced naturally in the human brain, but not limited to nature’s plethora of chemical families.
Anyways, the point I am addressing is these states of mind and consciousness were altered by chemicals. With the moral and ethical assumptions or opinions put aside there are neurological premises that identify what role certain chemicals have on the physical mechanisms of the brain through the study of neurotransmitters and opinions on various psychological theses about perception under the veil of different substances. Timothy Leary made an 8-circuit model of consciousness to organize different states of the mind-body tendency to operate at certain levels of awareness and perception. The word circuit was used because of the first wave influence of cybernetics had on Leary and it is also in line with recapitulation theory, which is a biological evolutionary theory that can be expressed in the terms of “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny," that posits the stages of an embryo are parallel to the metamorphoses of the evolution of species.
Moreover, Leary’s model posits that the realties of people have to do with internal chemistry and environmental stimuli and these imprint the mind and brain. Most especially at vulnerable points in the human metamorphoses and that conditioning of food sand chemicals or reoccurring ideas like belief systems design the subjectivity of reality. Thus, archetypical relations to ideas like one’s religion rarely change, but can and have to do heavily with one’s experience and perceptions. Now, each circuit is a cognitive function, so people can operate at certain levels of consciousness, but not be conscious of what led to its activation.
Furthermore, I will discuss the 8-circuit model in detail, but with the expanded version by the polymath Robert Anton Wilson that is found in his book Prometheus Rising. The first circuit is the “Oral Bio-survival circuit," this is concerned with physical safety and nourishment and begins when a baby is a suckling. This is imprinted in infancy and can have two different effects a positive or negative affect, so essentially the attitudes of trust or suspicion, which this influences the notion of flight or fight later in life. This circuit can be activated later in adult life by the usage of opioids and similar depressants. This has a correlation with Paul D. MacLean’s triune brain theory that was popularized by Carl Sagan and was also known more specifically as the reptilian, paleo mammalian, and neomammalian complexes. Robert AntonWilson equated this first circuit with “oral" stage of Freudian theory of psychosexual development.
The second circuit is called the“Emotional-territorial circuit;" this is the imprints at the toddler age and mainly has to do with domination and submission or territoriality. Basically, dominant mentality is from the imprints of being “alpha," which can be equated with Fritz Perls’ model of “top dog," the “I’m ok" position of Eric Berne’s psychotherapy theory of transactional analysis, and Friedrich Nietzsche’s “master morality." Thus, the inverse of submission can be expressed as “bottom dog," “I’m not ok" and “salve morality." This circuit can be activated by large amounts of alcohol. Robert Anton Wilson correlates this with the Freudian “anal" stage in psychosexual development.
The third circuit is called the “Symbolic or Neurosemantic-Dexterity circuit," this involves human symbol systems essentially language, the mental mapping of environments with ideas, and dexterity. This circuit separates humans from other primates because of the abilities to speak and write language. This circuit is accessed when caffeine, cocaine, and methamphetamine among other possible stimulants is used. Moreover, Robert Anton was greatly influenced by the General Semantics of Alfred Korzybski, but this is not to be confused with generalized semantics of linguistics, but more specifically the notions found in Science and Sanity. This involves abstracting and the consciousness of abstracting happenings or events either internal or external,which are un-speakable. The Immediate physico-chemical-electro-colloidal nervous impact that follows and then the organismal electro-colloidal reactions, which is the process of thinking and feeling that follows. With finally the process that leads to the complex linguistic reactions, which leads to identity and this causes misevaluations of objects in space and time. Moreover, understanding the memory-prediction framework proposed by Jeff Hawkins who has extensive experience in electrical engineering helps clarify this notion of how abstractions come to be at the electrical level through the measurements of brain wave activity. Anyways, RobertAnton Wilson calls this the “Time-Binding circuit" because the same concept could be applied to the abstractions from the relations of objects through the cognitive faculties of reason involving geometry and arithmetic.
The fourth circuit is known as the “Domestic or Socio-sexual circuit," this involves sexual imprints and the first orgasm experience. It entails sexual pleasuring and the notions of moral and immoral practice of it. Whether the activity that is heterosexually or homosexually practiced. Essentially,cultural values are processed in this circuit and are activated for most during adolescence. When people started to come together into communities or tribe’s values were established through various means. So, mating experiences for either reproduction or pleasure are access this circuit, but various drugs can access this circuit mainly, but not limited to entactogens, which heavily affect physical sensations.
The fifth circuit is called the “Neuro-somatic circuit," this circuit is the extraordinary awareness for various reasons distinct from basic evolutionary consciousnesses whether from neuro-chemical or environmental stimuli. A layman’s term for it is called the rapture circuit. It is the aesthetic sensory spatial interactions and the foundations for somatic reprogramming of what pleasures oneself, so basically hedonism. It is less mechanistic and robotic and different from the first four circuits and can be programmed and reprogrammed like a computer similar to the mind-body theory of functionalism, but with computer science terminology. The stimuli is software and the brain is the hardware, so belief systems can act as operating modes of consciousness or archetypes of reality and these ideas tend to rarely if ever change. UnderstandingJohn Searle’s works in artificial intelligence or “AI" helps clarify the metaphor between ideas as software and the brain’s reality archetypes and chemical tendencies as hardware. So,this is why Robert Anton Wilson calls the brain an electro-chemical-bio computer. This circuit can be accessed by the drug marijuana and potential exercises of tantra, yoga, and meditation. Leary describes this as a quantum leap in consciousness that he postulates occurred when civilizations began to formulate and survival wasn’t a constant uncertainty.
The sixth circuit is the “Neuro-genetic circuit," however Robert Anton Wilson called this the “Neuro-electric orMeta-reprogramming circuit," and uses Leary’s sixth as his seventh. I use Wilson’s because it seems more plausible ideas and electrical patterns within the brain would change or be interacted with before one’s actual genetics. This circuit is concerned with reprogramming and re-imprinting one’s mind consciously. The other circuits are relative to reality concerned with experience and not as much as the imagination. This is the circuit where the nervous system actually becomes aware of itself that the mind becomes aware of its own brain. Thus, when you are operating at this circuit you can redesign your reality quasi-permanently that archetypes are dissolved and the possibility for new or even original realities at some level could formulate. Possible drugs that can access this circuit are psyilocybin mushrooms, peyote, LSD, DMT, and other potential psychedelics. Leary attributes this circuit in human consciousnesses’ quantum evolution to the SilkRoad’s cross-cultural intellectual interactions. Thus, a lot of mystical speculation could be expressed in this circuit, but I’m not going to discuss it.
The seventh circuit is the “Neuro-genetic ormorphogenetic circuit," this is the circuit, which is connected with the one’s mind and evolution. This posits the communication between a person and the hereditary mind-body evolution each organism carries as they live and reproduce passing down DNA. Supposedly, the theory says it deals with the ancestral DNA-RNA feedbacks and even notions of what is perceived as past lives, reincarnation, and immortality. This circuit posits a soul or a spirit that exists and manifests itself through beings that currently exist. This relates to the Gaia hypothesis from James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis that postulates organisms interact with their inorganic environments in a complex system on Earth. This contradicts it would seem Charles Darwin’s natural selection axiom. However, it may seem a utopian dream I feel a reality and society built on Darwinian principles makes a brutal world that I believe humans can evolve out of by the evolution of intelligence transcending the previous natural systems based on humanism and a conscious mutual relationship with Earth itself instead of the parasitic relationship theWestern world is largely responsible for.
The eighth circuit is the “Psycho-atomic or Quantum non-local circuit," which in layman’s term can be called “overmind." This entails what is called quantum consciousness or information that is beyond one’s space and time interactions subject to Einstein’s theory of relativity, however, acceptable in some experimental physics of quantum mechanics. Metaphors of awakening one’s kundalini, out of body sensations, and or near death experiences may be the access point for this consciousness. Drugs like large doses of LSD, DMT, andKetamine have been attributed and may be a means to reaching or believing one has reached such states of consciousness. However, science has no means to test this claim. Buddhist and Hindu conceptions of meditation and one’s relationship with the body have a strong connection with this postulate of possible awareness. Additionally, Alan Watts an expert in Eastern philosophies was an avid supporter for such a proposition. Furthermore, I have avoided occultist, magical, mystical possibilities or speculation, but such realities if manifested may possibly obtain such potentiality if it is at all possible.
To conclude this essay, I will try and string together these ideas. Essentially, I believeTimothy Leary’s 8-circuit model of consciousness is a map for sensorial and mental phenomenas in the spatial-temporal-causal frameworks of our universe. I believe that altered states of consciousness can change one’s reality and that exploration of one’s mind and the environments outside one’s mind is the means to changing one’s reality. The artificial reality constructed by societies, governments, and cultures are facades and only necessarily the case if you believe it to be. Science lays a foundation for objectivity; however, the ideologies and archetypes of one’s mental existence are dependent on one’s subjectivity. Reality is your matrix for understanding and existing. What you believe and what you know are two separate entities. Just asJohn posits a substratum we cannot know Leary posits consciousness you can know, but cannot prove yet. Thus, many who have been presented this model I feel fear what they do not understand rather than believing in possibilities greater than the collective noosphere most are unable to ever escape.