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Brain circuits for politics and science

by das monde Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 06:32:40 AM EST

I am obviously on vacation. There is time for reading, but after some inquiries I decided not to bother with a temporarily internet connection at home. I check ET at an internet cafe sometimes, but there is so much good reading here that I have to dump the texts to a memory key and make some time at home.

I just read fully "Prometheus Rising" by Robert Anton Wilson. Some observations seem to be very relevant to a few ongoing discussions here. In particular, I address the discussions on modern "tribal" nature of politics (and our problems with it), and science education.

Promoted by DoDo

Robert Anton Wilson (RAW, for short) was a prolific writer, a popular "guru" on psychology, futurology and conspiracy theories. He passed away at the beginning of this year. The book "Prometheus Rising" popularly presents Timothy Leary's eight-circuit neurological model of human brain. The model distinguishes four basic circuits:

  1. The Oral Bio-Survival Circuit: with imprints and conditioning from early infancy; manages instinctive reactions, feelings of security, amiability, hostility, fear, etc.
  2. The Anal Emotional-Territorial Circuit: power politics, ego, domination and submission, pecking order, emotions.
  3. The Time-Binding Semantic Circuit: symbolic learning, language, rationalization.
  4. The "Moral" Socio-Sexual Circuit: adult personality, sexual rituals and tabu, guilt and satisfaction.

and four higher circuits:

  1. The Holistic Neurosomatic Circuit: can be imprinted by pranayama yoga or cannabis; bliss, "mind/body unity", "faith healing".
  2. The Collective Neurogenetic Circuit: Jungian sinchronicities, reincarnation perceptions.
  3. The Meta-programming Circuit: can change imprints and other circuits if you really want, "without a wave of a doubt" (NLP - Neurolinguistic Programming).
  4. The Non-Local Quantum Circuit: things like "cosmic mind", out-of-body-experiences.

The four basic circles are nicely and illustratively explained in this diary. Of the higher circuits, the neurosomatic and meta-programming circuits make some sense to me. But I may suppose that those few percent who experienced "everything" (say, all seven stages of Patanjali yoga) mean something. The circuits even appear to have own brain regions. In general, the eight-circuit model looks reasonable and practical to me, especially the basic part.

For my deliberation, the four basic circuits almost suffice. As RAW says, each of us has a "favorite" circuit, more heavily imprinted than the others. The circuits can be imprinted to a "robotic" strength, if you are not aware of your balance.

Openly, I recognize myself as a Rationalist type, operating mostly on the third circuit.
Most communication on this blog is between our third (Semantic) circuits, evidently.
But politics is the realm of the second (Territorial) circuit. Is there a plain conflict
between Rationality and Politics, where we must suffer a serious disadvantage?

RAW thinks there is a problem for Rationalists. His commentary is not kind:

Democracy has been less than a total success - and the intellectual's half-shamed cynicism about democracy is justified - to the extent that traditional society did not need, could not use, and in many ways discouraged the development of high verbal ("rational") skills in the majority of the population. That is, concretely, most people are not encouraged to be very smart, and are rather heavily programmed to be comparatively stupid. Such programming is what is needed to fit them into most traditional jobs. Their bio-survival circuitry works as well as that of most animals, their emotional-territorial circuitry is typically primate, and they have little third-circuit "mind" to verbalize (rationalize) with. Naturally, they usually vote for the charlatan who can activate primitive bio-survival fears and territorial ("patriotic") pugnacity. The intellectual looks at the dismal results and continues to believe in "democracy" only by an act of Blind Faith similar to the way beliefs in Catholicism or Communism or snake-worship are maintained.

[Why] did Adlai Stevenson lose to Ike Eisenhower, George McGovern to Tricky Dicky Nixon, etc.? It was the Wrong Address problem again. Stevenson, McGovern and other darlings of the intelligentsia were speaking to the third circuit, which is not very highly developed in most domesticated primates yet. Eisenhower in his Fatherly way, and Nixon in his bullying Big Brother way, knew just how to push the right Second-Circuit emotional-territorial buttons to get a mob of primates to follow them. They were genetically programmed alpha males, in etho-logical terms.

Similarly, the Moralist (i.e., the Adult Personality who has imprinted heavy Ethical imperatives on Circuit IV) is often totally unable to communicate with the scientist or technologist. The Moralist may even decide - many already have - that the scientist per se is "inhuman." In fact, morals are fairly irrelevant to the Third Circuit analytical mind, which is the brain function the average scientist has imprinted most powerfully. To the third circuit, the only morality is accuracy, the only immorality is sloppy thinking. [pg 142-143]

("The liberal is the one who leaves the room when the fight starts," somebody once said. Third-circuit types are most confused and feel impotent when second-circuit mammalian politics takes over the scene.)

Approximately 50% of the human race has not evolved fully into the third circuit yet. That is, although they can exchange primitive signals and handle primitive artifacts, they are still mostly operating on the mammalian emotional circuit and the pre-mammalian bio-survival circuit.

Newt Gingrich is their current leader in the United States. Third-circuit types cannot understand this and regard it as sinister, but it is simple mammalian herd-behavior. Gingrich is the typical primate leader; the noises he makes, which appear meaningless to the third circuit Rationalist, are urgently meaningful to the territorial-emotional-patriotic minds of the majority of primates.

Another 20% are "responsible, intelligent adults" with fully developed third and fourth circuits. They spend most of their time worrying, because the predominantly primate parameters of human society seem absurd, immoral and increasingly dangerous to them. [pg 279]

My references are to the Second Revised Edition (1997) of the book. If things were bad then...

I am still under impression that Territorial Pissings politics did not appear so clinically supreme over Humanitarian Democracy ideals some time ago. The conservative breakthrough was perhaps inevitable, and our dear leaders of the Left were helping it all along. But today's awareness of Macho Politics' power still seem greater to me than a norm.

RAW scorns at Rationalists for having low sympathy towards themselves as well. Looking back, these evaluations from a "post"-rationalist like him seem like self-fulfilling prophecy, in the full sense of the neurolinguistic methods he presents. But reading along his caricature lines (like Exercise 7 on page 104), I came up with the following reflection:

A big reason that Rationalists are unpopular is that they do not address the Bio-survival and Territorial circuits in their communication. Objectivity of these circuits might be ignorable, but full human communication goes along those channels as well.

In particular, Rational Left politicians should not only deliberate about most rational policies. They should send coherent signals to the Territorial, Bio-survival (and even Socio-sexual) circuits as well. There must be no vacuum left for rival political powers to feast.

There is no need to abandon rational thinking in politics - in fact, Rational Left needs rational tilt of political climate. But the primary and dire requirement for us at the moment is to get a grip on the Territorial, Bio-survival and Socio-sexual messaging in the politics. That is where the conservatives made their recent organized breakthrough - they left Rational reasoning to the progressives, but got a tight control of other basic neuro-perceptions. We will need to do a lot to compensate the conservative breakthrough, but next steps will become empirically clearer along the way.

It also does not mean that we should learn and employ the same tactics of Territorial, Bio-survival, Socio-sexual messaging as the conservatives. We may find (or sometimes just recall) our own means to control these issues.

Foremost, in the Territorial messaging, progressives should assert their podium and mental territories, and show awareness of the whole Territorial "Marking" system. That's where confidence, "backbone" and emotional appeal must be visible. Besides, progressives should organize themselves into a better tribe - they preach cooperation more than they use it themselves. And lets not forget the Humanist-Humanitarian emotional guidance that progressives had already developed.

For bio-survival circuitry, the socialdemocratic ideas of social security and universal health care should register as safe "motherly" heaven. Just rational appeal is not enough. On the other hand, the rational concerns about climate change and energy supply should register on the biosurvival circuits as well, to some degree. This is not easy, especially when people's bio-survival circuits are overwhelmed with terrorist fear mongering. But this effect of the rivaling Terror Management should be diminished as much as possible, not necessarily by emphatically Rational appeal.

Socio-sexual messaging cannot be ignored as well. RAW says:

It is sometime mistakenly stated that there are no universal sexual taboos. This is not true. There is one omni-purpose taboo which exists in every tribe.

That taboo stipulates that sexuality shall not be unregulated by the tribe. That is, even though no other taboos are universal, the taboo against living without taboos remains constant. Every tribe has its own set of verbots and thou-shalt-nots, but no tribe allows the individual to choose his or her own set.

That explains conservatives' successful preoccupation with "proper" sexuality and abortion ethics - they hit the Socio-sexual strings. The liberal approach leaves a vacuum for them here. I think progressives do not have to be strict definers of sexual tabus and rituals, but they should not shy away from their personal preferences and depreciations. In any case, any moral appeal should be definitely registered in the Fourth circuits.

As for the higher circuits...  I wish to ask any psychologists here what is the academic status of the whole eight-circuit model. (It makes so much sense, is it not?) Keeping an open mind, I may assume that phenomena of visionaries, charismatic leadership, or collective "miracles" against materialist odds have relation to the higher circuits. Conservatives may have a finger here with some religious manipulations. Progressive should be aware that there is seemingly something phenomenal beyond the basic instincts.

How are progressive politicians doing within this scheme? Are Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama doing something right? What I see first is their pragmatism to win at last - but this is just opportunistic application of the Rational circuit, for own purposes besides. Pragmatism leaves the other three basic circuits cold, I think. US liberal leaders (Gore including) do take empirical measures to appear confident, charismatic and trustworthy - but they do not look like they know well what they are actually doing to other people's minds. Their approach seems to be formless to Territorial circuits, arbitrary to Biosurvival circuits, and unspecific to Socio-sexual circuits. They also empirically try to shy away from appealing to Rational circuits - and this seems suicidal to me in the long run.

Now I turn to the subject of Science Education. Science is clearly the real of the Third circuit. (That does not mean that the Third circuit is perfectly rational - it can rationalize any lunacy.) Again, communication through the third circuit alone feels uncomfortable to many people - they do not trust it enough; they look for Territorial or Survival motives behind; and many grew unconfident of their intellect (frequently proudly so). Should the school nudge science through all basic circuits? Partly yes, Biosurvival and Territotial circuits might be given some "food" in science classes. But not too much. I grew at a Soviet school with almost military style of science education; the shift to more comfortable (and fetishously more useful) science education happened very swiftly here. While formerly the most of school education was science, now it is not even compulsory to have any science in the last years! I can only look in dismay in the drop of science understanding standards. It is like with the progressive politics in the US: the more the liberals try to be reasonable and centristic, the more the center shifts from them!

I think it is wrong to teach science on the wrong circuits. Students should realize that science is not some kind of feel-good rationalization, or empirical search within your mind until you feel certainty. Some fun for the other basic circuits might be provided along the way (and science lovers do have emotions, right?). But the main purpose of school education (and I would be wholly happy just with that) is to help students to realize that scientific logic is something different than everyday practical-empirical logic. In terms of RAW-Leary's model, students should learn to think logically with the third circuit, not with any other!

If RAW's estimate is right that the third Time-Binding Semantic circuit is already a higher circuit for 50% of humanity, then the task of science education is not so simple. It means that Rational Thinking is a kind of yoga to half of the humanity! Hence, some discipline to quiet Biosurvival and Territorial instincts for Science classes is not to be avoided entirely. By the way, RAW's passionate utopia was that soon over 50% of humanity will be able to venture to higher (than the 4th) neurological circuits, making the world revolutionarily more happy, healthy and friendly. Wouldn't it be already great if the school would help students to reach proper handling just of the "rational" circuit?

Interesting diary, das monde! I have to read it once more, it's full of stuff - but I was surprised that Wilson put the Meta-programming circuit so high up. To me that is a pretty mechanical process, at least from the point of view of NLP. The challenge is becoming aware of what the meta-programms are. For that I would say meditation goes deeper.

But have to ponder this a littel more.

by Fran on Sun Jul 22nd, 2007 at 02:01:35 PM EST
On pp273-275 he compares his hardware/software circuit map to Patanjali's seven limbs of yoga.

I hope I don't do anyone a disservice by posting the whole thing here, just to save you having to scroll your way through a large .pdf to find some pages at the back.

According to Patanjali, there are seven "limbs" to yoga, or as we
would say seven steps or stages.
First is asana, which consists of holding a single posture
(usually sitting) for prolonged periods of time. This is an
attempt, in our terminology, to stabilize the bio-survival circuit
by drowning it in monotony. You sit, and sit, and sit, and sit.
Eventually, an "internal peace" is reached, which signifies the
atrophying of all background levels of "unconscious" or unnoticed
bio-survival anxiety.
In other schools, since asana is so monotonous and slowworking
and because war (second-circuit mammalian struggles
over territory) so common among domesticated primates, an
alternative method of stabilizing the bio-survival circuit is used:
martial arts. Akido, judo, karate etc. all emerged from yoga-like
mystic schools, as bio-survival reprogrammers.
The second step in classical yoga, according to Patanjali, is
pranayama. We have already commented on the efficiency of
this breathing technique in quieting and mellowing-out secondcircuit
emotional programs.
(It will already be seen that yoga, like brainwashing, begins
from the bottom up, working on the more primitive and older
circuits first.)
The third step in yoga is dharana or mantra. Dharana consists
of concentrating on a single image, such as a vividly imagined
red triangle, and ruthlessly pushing aside any other images,
verbalizations or impressions that cross the mind's screen. In
practice, this is beyond the powers of most students, so the
majority of yoga teachers substitute mantra, which is concentration
(by repetition) on a single sentence, usually nonsensical,
such as "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare
Hare" or "Aum Tat Sat Aum" or whatever.
Either practice, dharana or mantra, stops the third-circuit
"internal monologue," if persisted in for long enough periods
each day.
The Western mystical equivalent is Cabala, the most complicated
"Jewish joke" ever invented. Briefly, Cabala exhausts the
third, semantic circuit by setting it to solve intractable numerological
and verbal problems. The Far Eastern equivalent is the
Zen Koan, which serves the same function in a less maniacally
systematic way than Cabala, e.g., "What is the sound of one hand
2J4 Prometheus Rising
clapping?" Zen koans are always combined with zazen (sitting
Zen), which combines the first-circuit-clearing asana with second-
circuit-mellowing breath-counting (a weaker pranayama).
When the student has acquired sufficient detachment from
first-circuit anxieties, second-circuit emotions and third-circuit
reality-maps, by way of asana, pranayama and dharana or
mantra, Patanjali recommends the practice of yama. This
includes, but is not limited to, celibacy. The ultimate of yama is
to lose all interest in both the social and sexual aspects of the
fourth circuit; to cease to care at all about family, tribal or societal
matters. This is accomplished by self-denial, which is easier
for those skilled in asana, pranayama and dharana, but still
requires intense determination.
Some take a short-cut at this point, discovered after Patanjali
or not known to him, by having themselves locked up in caves.
Such isolation, as indicated earlier, helps vastly in bleaching out
all four hominid circuits.
An alternative, for those not attracted to either celibacy or
becoming hermits, is Tantra, invented in northern India around
the time of Patanjali. This simply transmutes the fourth circuit by
ceremonial, physiological arid "magick" (self-hypnotic) explosion
of the (prolonged) sexual act into fifth-circuit neurosomatic
For those following the orthodox path of Patanjali, the fifth
circuit is imprinted by niyama, which signifies "super-control" or
"no-control," being the paradoxical state of being spontaneous
deliberately. You cannot be taught niyama; you can only learn it
by personal experience. We hypothesize that the bio-energies
have to discharge somewhere, and then when one has driven
them out of the first circuit by asana, out of the second circuit by
pranayama, out of the third circuit by dharana or mantra, and
out of the fourth circuit by yama, they are driven explosively
upward into fifth-circuit neurosomatic illumination.
The sixth step in yoga, according to Patanjali, is dhyana,
which means "meditation" only in the roughest way. Dhyana
means actually union with the object on the mind's screen, i.e.,
realization of the total meaning of the proposition that mind and
its contents are functionally identical, i.e., opening the metaprogramming
circuit. One can make dhyana on anything; yogis
Prometheus Rising 275
talk of making dhyana on a tree or a dog, just as don Juan Matus,
the Mexican shaman, talks of becoming one with a coyote or a
star in the books of Castaneda.
The seventh step in yoga is Samadhi, from sam, (union;
cognate of Greek syn) and Adhis, the Lord (cognate, Hebrew
Adonai, Greek Adonis). Here Patanjali and his successors are in
violent dispute, some claiming there is only one Samadhi, others
claiming two or three or many. Since this corresponds with the
opening and imprinting of the neurogenetic circuit, we must opt
for the opinion that there are many Samadhi, depending on
which or how many of the Godly archetypes of the genetic
archives are imprinted. Catholic mystics make Samadhi on the
Virgin, Sufis on Allah, Aleister Crowley on Pan, etc.; and, above
all this, the eighth circuit cosmic information network can also
be imprinted, making union not just with all sentient beings and
some emblematic archetype of the DNA master program, but
with the inorganic universe as well. It was from this second order
or meta-physiological Samadhi that Gandhi said, "God is in the
rock, too--in the rock!" and pantheists of all sorts, in all traditions,
emphatically agree with Canadian psychiatrist, R.M.
Bucke who said after his own Eighth-Circuit Samadhi that the
universe "is not a dead machine but a living presence."

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 12:10:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here comes one of my petty comments - I have to contradict Wilson - it's not seven limbs, it't eight! They are called: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

There are branches of Yoga that call themselves Asthanga Yoga - asthanga meaning eight, and they refer to the eight limbs of Patanjali.

by Fran on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 01:04:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry to say, this is one of the most confusing interpretations of Patanjali I have read so far.
by Fran on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 01:07:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In his other book, "Quantum Psychology" (1990), RAW put the Metaprogmaric curcuit as No 6, and the Collective Neurogenetic (renamed as Morphogenetic) circuit as No 7. This numbering appears to be more logical to me as well. Prometheus' numbering is probably original Leary's.
by das monde on Tue Jul 24th, 2007 at 09:29:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting set of ideas. I think there are cultural norms within societies as well.

It is strking that the labour party are reflexively in favour of nuclear weapons, or attacking "terrorists" because they appeal to the first and second circuits, even when the third circuit would suggest that such actually results in less rather than more security. However, it menas that hte tories cannot outflank them because any suggestion they put forward becomes obviously irrational to the British electorate.

Wheras I think that the USA has been in a different place where for 40 years the republican party has essentially owned security issues to the point where talking up and provoking imaginary threats into becoming real ones is a constant theme of neocon activities.

However they do seem to have over-reached themselves with Iraq where the disconnection betwene stated intent in Washington and reality in Baghdad has become so great that all but Fox and the NYT have given up trying to connect them.

So with Democrats now seen as "safer" on security issues, it seems that the cultural view within the US has shifted generationally and it may be that Clinton and Obama may actually have missed the tide.

Of course that doesn't address the substance of your diary, about hwich I cannot comment although, as I said, it's an interesting set of ideas that are best tested by how they can be mapped onto real world situations.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jul 22nd, 2007 at 02:01:49 PM EST
Looking back, I find RAW's presentation pretty masculine, that is, male oriented. I wonder, whether women wire those circuits somewhat differently. Say, I can guess the female 2nd and 4th circuits more related, while the 3rd circuit is maybe more easily perceived as something very different by them. Can you give any comments on this?
by das monde on Tue Jul 24th, 2007 at 09:37:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to cross-post this fantastic review to ProgressiveHistorians?  I'm sure my readers would be fascinated with your take on Wilson.

The Crolian Progressive: as great an adventure as ever I heard of...
by Nonpartisan on Sun Jul 22nd, 2007 at 02:52:54 PM EST
Ok, I reposted the diary at PH, and (with some clumsiness) at Daily Kos.
by das monde on Wed Jul 25th, 2007 at 12:08:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi das monde,

Prometheus Rising, what a great work!

My brain, left to its own devices, quickly reverts to a typical circuit III (lower level F, subsection B7G) approach:

Buy some ZOOM or LIFT (two names for the same caffeine-
high stimulant) at a Health Food Store. (This gives a close
approximation of the effects of illegal cocaine.) When you are
Zooming or Lifted and your mind is racing, find a victim and explain
the universe to him or her, until they are able to escape you.
What you experience in this "speed rap" is what the head of
the compulsive Rationalist is always like. This is the verbal
circuit gone wild and totally oblivious to information coming in
on any other circuit. It explains why most people cannot stand

A particular point re: science education.  For me, the following quote counsels against using circuit III types as teachers, or rather, any circuit III teachers should spend a lot of time developing their circuit V (and beyond!) capacities because...

...a genius is one who, by some internal process, breaks
through to Circuit VII--a minor neurological miracle loosely
called "intuition"--and comes back down to the third circuit
with the capacity to paint a new semantic map, build a new
model of experience. Needless to say, this is always a profound
shock to those still trapped in the old robot-imprints, and is
generally considered a threat to territory (ideological head
space). The long list of martyrs to free enquiry, from Socrates
onward, shows how mechanical this neophobia (fear of new
semantic signals) is.

By the way, RAW's passionate utopia was that soon over 50% of humanity will be able to venture to higher (than the 4th) neurological circuits

I read recently that we have now arrived at 54%, from a starting point at @ 5-10% in the early sixties.  Synchronicities abounding, groups forming, breaking, re-forming, but...heh, where I live at any rate..with a wider, less ego-fuelled...and yet a more focused approach.

Also, regarding the teaching of science and the response of what seems to be a majority of kids:

Almost always, these cerebrotonic Third-Circuit types ignore
or are hostile to their first and second circuit functions. Playfulness
puzzles them (appears silly or eccentric) and emotions both
baffle and frighten them.

Which makes me think that you need circuit V types to teach science, rather than people who strongly identify with circuit III.

(An aside: this suggests, I think, that strong circuit III types would find their time best spent trying to impart the results of their enquiries to circuit V and above types, rather than trying to convince those at circuits I, II.)

All quotes come from the huge pdf file which is Prometheus Rising

Robert Anton Wilson!

"We are trapped in linguistic constructs.  All that is, is metaphor...I've decided we can't get beyond words, what we've got to do is get more cynical about our words."

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Jul 22nd, 2007 at 05:34:09 PM EST
Thanks for complementary enthusiasm!

Are there enough Circuit V types to teach everyone? Is this the best thing for them to do?

I think that Circuit III types can be useful if they are made aware of the whole thing. As I said in my main (in bold) proposition, they should try first to communicate a bit through the Circuits I and II as well, and see what happens. And of course, open-minded communication with higher circuit types must be very useful to them.

It would be a shame if the civilisation would collapse just before discovering something profound.

by das monde on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 09:33:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My understanding of the book is that when a circuit III type becomes aware of the whole thing, they either refuse it...

The robotized Rationalist fears and resents Circuit V rapture
and its holistic intuitive faculties (just as the robotized Emotionalist
fears and resents Circuit III reason).

...or they cease to be a robotized rationalist and therefore move into the circuit V consciousness.  So a circuit III, in order to be an effective teacher, needs to develop their circuit V understanding, and the best way I can see to do that is to bash their ideas off circuit V types, but always...hmmm...with respect for the word "holistic".  Maybe it is that a circuit III type cannot gain a holistic view of...reality...because their vision is linear and not curved?

The trouble I see with a circuit III trying to communicate with circuit I and II types is that circuit I and II types are precisely the types that circuit IIIs don't like and can't understand.

The third, semantic circuit is an Evolutionary Unstable Strategy.
It could very accurately be called revolutionary rather than
The first two-circuits are based on negative feedback, in the
biological sense. They maintain hotneostasis --that is, they
return, over and over, to the same ecological-ethological balances.
The function of negative feedback is to return to such a
steady state.

I see the circuit V type as the one who can bring the I and II type minds to the awareness of the revolution (via maps supplied by circuit VII types ;)...and then lead them back to comfort zone.  Somehow the circuit III type doesn't have a comfort zone, only a "driving forward" (with concommitant brain-frazzle.)

Are there enough circuit V types?  As of 1997, RAW stated (maybe wildly):

Approximately 50% of the human race has not evolved fully
into the third circuit yet.

You can create circuit V types by educating circuit IIIs and circuit IVs; but you have to have a culture of respect for the "holistic" for that to happen.

Synthesis, holistic, centred.

I suppose I think of the first three circuits as being conflicted, the fourth circuit as being a sort-of doomed attempt to hold things together, and the fifth circuit as the first point where rationality can be fed back into the system rather than causing endless revolutionary fissures...heh...not my best explanation.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 10:11:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that The Scene has a lot of people who think they're living the higher circuits when they're not. They might have a sort of IIIrd circuit understanding of them, but there's a huge difference between living with constant synchronicities, intuitions and coincidences that are actually useful, and chasing illusions. I've known a lot of people who do the latter - sometimes with hilarious results - but not so many who do the former.

The other point about education is that it's as much designed to imprint circuit-specific behaviours as it is to teach facts or behaviours. The point of current scientific ideas about education is to teach the rationalist view of science, not to teach looser but more effective models.

E.g. you can teach music by concentrating on rote learning, or on creativity, on improvisation, or on history and musicology, or on patriotism and cultural conformity. All of these trigger different circuits, and aren't tied to the subject, but to the meta-message which says 'This circuit is the important one - be suspicious of the others.'

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 01:29:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is why I think the metaprogramming circuit needs to be lower. You need to change your metaprogramming to be able to start experiencing the synchonisities, intuitions, etc.
by Fran on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 01:37:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure what The Scene is, and as I said above my brain seems to match the circuit III model more than any other.  I would not make a good teacher to anyone under the age of sixteen, and I should say that I was thinking in particular of education at the "pre-hormonal" level, say 6-11, rather than secondary education.

What my sense was--and is--is that there is a general feeling (I'm getting this from your diary and from the idea that people just "don't get it", where "it" is related to understanding some facts derived from scientific thinking, and where "scientific thinking" means a process that a majority of people don't understand, and that this entire process is deleterious to society.

On re-reading das monde's diary, I class myself as a person who doesn't understand the following sentence:

But the main purpose of school education (and I would be wholly happy just with that) is to help students to realize that scientific logic is something different than everyday practical-empirical logic.

I understand that the way the world works is sometimes counter-intuitive, but that would depend on what one's intuitions are.  If we take the birthday paradox


I can't make head nor tail of the maths, though I'm sure it's right.  Now I think a circuit III teacher would try and take me through it slowly, then perhaps more slowly, but there would be that underlying frustration as they realised that I couldn't "get it."

But, taking another tack (which is what a circuit V type would do, I think), the problem might be re-stated in terms of counter-intuity.  What is the simplest counter-intuitive situation we can imagine?  How about: we are moving, the sun isn't, but it looks like the sun is moving.

I've tried this test on a lot of people since I realised that I didn't naturally know the answer:

First, ask a person "Which way is north, east, west, south?"  I'd say perhaps half of the people I asked knew.

Then I'd say.  "Where does the sun get up and where does it go to bed?"

Again, there was not unanimity on this one.

Then I asked: "Okay.  We know the world is spinning.  Which way is it going, north, south, east, or west?"

The fact that most people don't know doesn't, for me, say anything about their circuit III capabilities.  Rather, it says something about the nature of science education proposed by circuit III types.

As I said, I work at circuit III so I find it very hard to get my head around the idea of being on a ball spinning in space and how that affects the position of the sun and the moon (not forgetting light pollution.)

Therefore, I think it would be better for circuit III types to worry out their thoughts about this lack of people's knowledge with circuit V types, as it seems clear (judging by history) that without that circling back to the basics (the kids never look up--they look forward; they can't do the birthday problem because they're not bothered about probabilities and and fact is that in a school of 365 people the likelihood is that only one person shares your birthday--or rather, the birthday paradox seems to resolve as a bit of a magician's trick (if I've understood correctly):

The actual birthday problem is asking if any of the 23 people have a matching birthday with any of the others -- not one in particular.

I mean, you're right that a lot of young dope smokers may like to think of themselves as circuit V types, but I don't share what is my (maybe entirely mistaken) sense that here at ET this makes them risible.  I mean, they are at least trying to think outside the work-for-money-for-success-and-progress paradigm, and also outside of the gun-status-intimidation-power paradigm.  And, of course, what I think a circuit V type knows is that there are clear reasons why their ideas struggle to touch reality, including maybe the fact that it costs money and time and materials and the good will of other people to learn.  It takes good teachers, and good teachers don't take the attitude that those who don't know are laughable.  

That may be a harsh presentation.  But I see key scientific ideas being proposed by DeAnander, and she is basically told "You want to live in an agrarian utopia", when she seems to me to be analysing what is going on and using science in a holistic sense to discuss possible solutions to problems perceived through the paradigm of "holistic science" or science-as-synthesis, where it is...

Ach.  I know a little bit about music.  A student who wants to learn how to play an instrument in order to play, say, Bach, will have to knuckle down and study, if they want to play Bach.  I would say you need both a student who wishes and is happy to play music written by others and a teacher who knows the latest techniques for the most efficient acquisition of said skills.  And, of course, some people don't have the manual dexterity (small fingers!) to acheive certain results.  But this in no way should close off the area of human activity known as "music".

I realise now, though, that I have a completely alternative view of secondary education, which I would link very strongly with the wider society, where children going through the various hormonal stages would interact not just with peers, teachers, and mass culture (tv, etc.)...but that's a whole other essay.  It's what I mean by circuit V types as teachers, though.

Not very coherent, I know, but there is something there I'd like to tease out, maybe something to do with how "science" is seen as somehow "separate" from humans, when it is one of our tools...ach...it's something like DeAnander's point about rich people thinking you can eat paper, as if some scientists think science will just continue without humans, when science is...I'm back to das monde's point that I didn't get.  I thought science was hypothesis, experiement, analysis, then repeat.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 04:02:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think intuition as you're using it here possibly isn't what RAW means.

For me, intuition is defined by knowing things - and I mean accurately knowing things - that can't be worked out using IIIrd circuit tools.

If someone logs onto Second Life for the first time and finds their way to the virtual property of a friend by flying around at random, that would be intuition.

It can be explained as coincidence, but it's so statistically improbable, given how big Second Life is, that it's actually very unlikely. Especially when similarly unlikely things happen to them rather a lot. (Not a hypothetical, BTW - I know someone who operates like this.)

What you're calling intuition seems to be more about default assumptions about the world. Most of the time people don't need to know whether it's the earth or the sun that's moving. It's enough to know that when it's daytime the sun is up, and then it gets dark for a while, and there are seasons which make the cycle vary, and that's pretty much it.

The point of science is that it asks lots of 'Yes, but...' questions and eventually you end up in a place which looks nothing like that view of the world. It happens to be more useful and inclusive for certain things, but the fact that it's not rooted in everyday experience is exactly why - it doesn't take things at face value.

So at face value the birthday paradox, or the fact that the odds of a coin showing heads are always a nominal 50%, even after a freak run of 1,000 heads in the past, makes no sense. That's because our face value views of the world didn't evolve to deal with those kinds of problems.

If there's a point to science education it's that the face value view of the world is tentative and usually limited. Chasing after a more comprehensive view is very much a IIIrd circuit thing to do. And - as RAW says - it's easy spin your wheels endlessly in 'Yes, but...' without getting anywhere useful. Especially if you don't have peer review and other kinds of reality checks to stop the process becoming parasitic on your consciousness.

Intuition can sometimes short-circuit that, not by building a more accurate map - which is what the crank-types always try to do, and fail - but by realising that sometimes you don't need either Science[tm] or face value to connect with reality in a useful and fun way.

Similarly with drugs, you can take the experiences at face value. You can analyse them intellectually to build a map. Or you can 'know' what you do and don't need from them, and what's right for you. There is a kind of messianic narrative about drugs which suggests that using them will help you to know. But in practice face-value use seems to be more common than that. and it's the odder non-mainstream drugs, like ibogaine and ayahuasca, that seem to have more potential for persistent intuition. Weed and LSD - not so much, I think.

As for music, it's true that people have to practice. But for some teachers that's an end in itself. It's about teaching values like persistence and hard work for their own sake, and not about making performance skills fit into a bigger picture of Bach's intentions and musical spirit. For me that's a crippling and not a liberating way to teach music.

The basic narrative here is personal liberation. The progressive idea is that if people can function without being crippled, they won't need the kind of oversight that conservatives believe is essential.

Conservatives know what goes on in their own souls more than they understand anyone else. On that basis it's not surprising they want to control the world, lock it up, and declare war on it.

With higher circuits those knee-jerk conservative reactions become frightening first, then pitiful, then rather funny.

But conservatives won't see it like that, because the idea that a world of switched-on people might survive happily without their much coarses responses is something that's completely beyond their imagination.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 07:08:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Intuition can sometimes short-circuit that, not by building a more accurate map - which is what the crank-types always try to do, and fail - but by realising that sometimes you don't need either Science[tm] or face value to connect with reality in a useful and fun way.

Yeah, that's the one.  What I'm aiming towards, maybe, is that the circuit V holistic view can sense with confidence where the face-value limits lie, has a channel to the hidden assumptions because, I dunno, once your fifth circuit starts firing regularly your assumptions are running constant tests against the realities around you--all of 'em, without prejudice--and seeing how they join...and as you say, in the context of drugs,

you can take the experiences at face value. You can analyse them intellectually to build a map. Or you can 'know' what you do and don't need from them, and what's right for you.

I realised somewhere in what I was writing that there is a paradox about asking a circuit V to teach what can't be taught, but I think that's what makes them ideal teachers--that endless living in reality as a holistic, intuitive, centred continuum, seeing when a particular scientific tool will have maximum effect in opening the student's eyes to all those realities happening around them...

Ya know, I think there are historic precendents for individual schools turning out amazing communities of students.  Summerhill comes to mind, as does the (maybe apocryphal, but I think it existed) primary school in Brooklyn that produced a number of nobel prize winners...and off to google I go to find a list of nobel prize winners and their schools....


...though I'm sure there was a primary school where a bunch came from...anyways...

I take that to mean once you get those circuits firing up and through...ach...ya know, RAW always makes me chuckle and think, and that mix of humour and thought is, for me, a sign of someone working from...I dunno...I don't want to say "higher", maybe "wider"?, states of relation to their immediate realities.  

But yeah, intuition and its results.  I suppose I place myself with the stupid people and wonder how we can all get a bit less stupid, and if intuition is worth developing (and for this circuit III chap I think it definitely is because of its lateral nature), I think its worth giving those who are trying it out some slack if the results are sometimes...well...I suppose I'd say if the student is trying to learn then the mistakes are where the learning happens, and the pratfalls...a good laugh with rather than at the poor bloke with his face in a puddle (c'est moi), and then--and I think this is another circuit V element that is a powerful teaching tool--knowing what to do next...a helping hand?  Dive in the puddle too and have a splash around?  Hand the guy in the puddle a towel?  Or a drink?  Or maybe the circuit V tripped them up?  All so fast and subtle and science, yeah, its in there, I think you're saying its key role is when what appears ain't necessarily so, and how to maintain that scepticism while being fully engaged...ach...but yeah, sommat along those lines.

I think the real loss of scientific thought among the general population came when what science was discovering in the sixties was stomped on by the police.  HST placed it to the '68 convention in Chicago--that was when he saw it stomped.  There's that part in Fear & Loathing where he says something like, "Nobody wants mind expanders these days.  Reality is too harsh.  No, now it's all about downers.  Blot it out, man!"  Only he wrote it a lot better.

RAW, for me, was right in there as the science expanded; these guys knew--and shared ideas with--the cutting edge scientists of their day.

In fact, as it's late, I'll suggest that this har internet is one of the fruits of that widening of consciousness--the widening of the field of understanding and its myriad forms--heh...

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 07:48:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
interestingly, people who suffer from adrenal fatigue or exhaustion (Addison's Disease) develop a very strong sense of empathy, and can read other people's feelings.

in traditional Chinese medicine, this is associated with the kidney meridian, which controls the person's self-will.  so, when one's self-will is weak, one can read other people's emotions and feel them as if they are one's own.

by zoe on Tue Jul 24th, 2007 at 08:38:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Both evolution and development (of neurological understanding, in this case) do not go fully automatically - they depend on information provided. RAW was right about the III circuit types that existed 10 years ago - and his statement is still correct for most of III circuit persons today. But even RAW's way of presenting is rational enough to change minds of many III circuit types, on purely logical grounds even. That happened to me, you may say. I think that even Dawkins can be made less skeptical on this issue, if he cares. Scientists do have inertia as well, as RAW observed - but the inertia is smaller than the other inertias, and getting smaller with time (or richness of science history).

Now, referring to your post below, regarding the Birthday paradox and the quote:

But the main purpose of school education (and I would be wholly happy just with that) is to help students to realize that scientific logic is something different than everyday practical-empirical logic.

I've seen how pupils think, and I have helped some with wcience or mathematics. I do mean that the III circuit is best suitable for science, while many people probably try to comprehend science using only the first two circuits. For me, that is the source of the common "ununderstanding of science". The thing is, the "knowledge" of the first 2 circuits is imprinted (in structure) plus empirical (in content). The common intuition is to "feel" the facts, to associate with previous experiences.

The third circuit is "designed" for symbolic manipulations. You learn a language (especially the mother tongue) just by learning how things have to be said, and detecting formal generalizations, without worrying much why the words or grammar have to be like that. The III circuit is able to accept facts without confirmation from "intuition", een contrarily to intuition. Say, physisists use quantum mechanics without understanding it - philosophically they are still baffled with well-known paradoxes; but they can use the quantum machinery to design 90% of modern technology, still without objective contradictions. Similarly, pure mathematians don't spend much time "fully comprehending" every birthday paradox, since they won't get much further otherwise. It is nothing wrong with spending time digging into such a paradox - that does not mean that you don't use the 3rd circuit, it merely means that you let other circuits to play with that paradox. As far as the 3rd circuit is concerned, there is only so much to the birthday paradox... That is why I am optimistic about the 3rd circuit types: they can accept an assumption without fully "aggreeing" with it.

(If you want a bit of extra intuition for the birthday paradox, consider this: when you have 23 people, you have 23*22/2=253 pairs of people. You have 253 pairs, compared to 365 possible pairs of your birthday and any other birthday... 253/365 is already much bigger than 1/2, right? But the probability goes to 1/2 because the 253 are apparently not independent.)

by das monde on Tue Jul 24th, 2007 at 10:15:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The common intuition is to "feel" the facts, to associate with previous experiences.

The III circuit is able to accept facts without confirmation from "intuition", even contrarily to intuition.

I'd like to ponder this more, but for now how about: If reality and your intuitions are in disagreement, you need to change your intuitions.  But you still need intuitions.

For a circuit III type accepting an assumption without necessarily agreeing with it because the method produces solid results....I'm not sure about this.  It maybe (probably is) a prejudice of mine that you risk having people who will "act on orders" without pondering first--which is maybe a good thing sometimes, or certainly if you want quick forward movement, but I'm not sure that's the best way for students.  I know you sometimes have to take things "on faith", but that usually means "without understanding them".  I like the idea of students coming across information that doesn't agree with their intuitions, and then the students stopping and examining their intuitions to see why and how they aren't in agreement with this apparently non-intuitive information about/from reality.

I'm nae sure.  The kids might get bored.  You only have so much time and so many kids with different skill levels etc.

Are there any particular scenarios you're thinking of where someone going against their intuition on the basis of science they don't understand (but which "works") is helped in some way that "by using their intuition" they aren't?

If we're to relate this to politics, a circuit II attack might be: "Your enemies are different to you.  The more different, the worse they might be.  Strangers are different."  And then we can point out some enemies.

But a typical (Cheney?) circuit III attack might be: "Your intuition tells you that starting a war is wrong, but here are some facts that run counter to your intuition--I know you don't understand them completely, but don't worry about that for now."  

Ach...those are my first thoughts.  Mainly, I'd say that re-adjusting one's intuitions so that they are again in tune with information from reality is an important part of the process of adjusting to new information.  I'm thinking that rather than ameliorating to move a bit faster (in more or less the same direction), it would be more efficient to slow down and ponder more at key stages in order to then change paradigms...no...I mean in order to grow "out" of a small(er) way of thinking.

I cannae explain it, I know, but I see what you mean: circuit III is where people can start working with systems that seem "strange" and therefore unnatural.  Off the top of my head, I'm not sure what the negative is that's being made positive, as it seems everyone is happy using a mobile phone without really understanding much at all about the tech. behind it...heh...boy can I waffle.  More later, maybe.  Plenty to think about.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Jul 24th, 2007 at 12:13:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The common intuition is to "feel" the facts, to associate with previous experiences.

The III circuit is able to accept facts without confirmation from "intuition", even contrarily to intuition.

I'd like to ponder this more, but for now how about: If reality and your intuitions are in disagreement, you need to change your intuitions.  But you still need intuitions.

For a circuit III type accepting an assumption without necessarily agreeing with it because the method produces solid results....I'm not sure about this.

Your post makes me think about what physicists call "physical intuition" - maybe I need to write a diary about it but I feel disinclined to do it. Das monde said before that physicists don't understand quantum mechanics but they can still make it work. I don't think that's true any more, we've had too many generations of physicists educated in a quantum mechanics that was known to work, and who have developed an intuition. Same thing for Einstein's relativity.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 24th, 2007 at 12:25:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First, regarding physicists, I might be simplifying their non-intuition towards quantum mechanics greatly - I am not in that soup really. But I think that the non-local phenomena (entaglement, EPR experiments, Bell's theorem) are still baffling to their intuitions. The best course is to go forward constructing new gadgets and consequences, it appears.

My understanding is that empirical intuition is based on "deja vu" (including genetic deja vu). If you have a phenomenon which is unlike anything you ever experienced before, there comes a problem of satisfactory understanding. Quantum mechanics is difficult because it is hard to model it by anything else. (As regarding cellphones - a trivial remark is that most people are just happy to understand how to use them.)

But intuition may come not only from the empirical lower circuits, but from higher circuits as well. Say, in "Quantum Psychology" RAW claims complete equivalence of quantum mechanics and psychology (starting from subjectivity or experiences or measurements, the "maybe" logic, and going up to Big-bang non-locality against highest perceptions). He appears to be teasingly exhaggerating here: by his own philosophy, "complete equivalence" is an Aristotelian notion, not to be measured. Any model map is not the whole territory, whether we model quantum mechanics by deep psychology or vice versa. My rational supposition at the moment is that the higher circuits perceive some general but deep patterns beyond usual empirical experience, and quantum mechanics fits in those patterns (and deep cognitive psychology fits those pattenrs as well). It would follow then that higher circuits may help a lot to understand quantum mechanics "fully".

The 3rd circuit (if well programmed) is able to make assumptions even without practical results, just for a matter of thought experiments. I find myself in no difficulty to keep a few sets of assumptions about ongoing events (if I am really interested in those events), and adjust plausibility of various assumptions with new facts. But my habit to "keep options open" appears to be a drawback for corporate purposes, I was told.

Regardin Cheney's manipulation of the 3rd circuit, yeah, it works. It is admirable to teach people to detect bullshit, but then the problem appears to be that bullshit detection is applied inconsistently. For example, in 2000 Gore's positions were regurlarly perceived (}or presented) as bullshit, while Bush was treated admirably, exactly because bullshit detection was directed straight against Gore and away from Bush - by big efforts of the conservative-libertarian talnking heads in the media.

For the beginning, someone has to call Cheney's bullshit. It is amazing how conservatives were successful in ridiculing liberals' concerns while getting away with their own "fearsome" issues, while liberals were unable to do anything opposite.

by das monde on Wed Jul 25th, 2007 at 11:16:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I think that the non-local phenomena (entaglement, EPR experiments, Bell's theorem) are still baffling to their intuitions.

There are no non-local phenomena. Unless, of course, you insist on naive realism (defined as counterfactual definiteness and non-contextuality).

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 25th, 2007 at 11:22:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm... ok, non-locality is just another Aristotelian excuse. But those counter-intuitive experiments and facts are still counter-intuitive, or what?

To extend quantization intuition on mathematical level, some try to generalize localization functors to non-commutative algebras...

by das monde on Wed Jul 25th, 2007 at 12:14:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the Heisenberg uncertainty relations basically tell you physical observables form a noncommutative algebra.

When you look beyond your past experience you're likely to encounter things that are counter-intuitive. "Counter-intuitive" is a statement about your intuition, not about the phenomena.

The real problem is not quantum behaviour, but the "classical limit". I think decoherence and consistent histories go a long way towards solving that.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 26th, 2007 at 02:56:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the "classical limit" the same problem as the measurmement problem, where the disctinction between determenistic wave evolution and a "mesurement" is not clear? Bell says that that Bohm's model (a particle riding a wave) solves this issue, but then "non-local" interpretations are weird.

Above that, is objectivity of the "real world" is now clear?

by das monde on Thu Jul 26th, 2007 at 10:53:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IMHO the measurement problem stems from von Neumann's introduction of a "collapse of the wavefunction" axiom in his (1931?) Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. Personally, I go for Everett's "relative state" formulation. But that has ontological problems.

Bohm's model works for spinless, newtonian particles. I am not aware of a workable generalisation of Bohm's "pilot wave" formulation to quantum fields, variable unmbers of particles, or particles with spin or internal degrees of freedom.

The "classical limit" is related, but not the same, as the measurement problem. It is related because we describe "measurement" in terms of macroscopic objects. Imagining that von Neumann's "collapse" applies to any interaction that one might call a "measurement" leads to the quantum zeno paradox. But the quantum zeno paradox assumes that interactions are instantaneous, which is unphysical.

The fact is, every single counterintuitive or paradoxical prediction of quantum mechanics that has been tested experimentally has been confirmed, so when I say above that a particular interpretation on quantum mechanics has "ontological problems" I have to wonder whether it's not Ontology that has experimental problems.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 26th, 2007 at 11:07:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What issue is Bohm's model "solving", by the way? It gives exactly the same experimental predictions as "ordinary" quantum mechanics. So the issue is not actually empirically motivated.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 26th, 2007 at 11:09:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree, the issue must be to feed ontology, or intuition. Thank for discussion!
by das monde on Fri Jul 27th, 2007 at 05:37:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The best course is to go forward constructing new gadgets and consequences, it appears.

This is where I'm not so sure.  I'd rather humanity--and in particular the scientific part of it--pondered a while the implications of what we're discovering rather than just using the "magic" to create ever-more-powerful devices for the status quo.  I think the new intuitions call into question most strongly the assumptions/intuitions of the status quo.  Heh heh...that's sorta where I'm coming from.  Think of DeAnander's regular dismantling of status quo assumptions.  I'd like every last scientist to be dismantling like crazy, building a new zeitgeist (?) for scientists that ties to the new intuitions, coz out of that I--well, I'm very optimistic about what rapid benefits....spreading rapidly in waves, complex shapes, using chaos knowledge...that kinda thing...distributed renewable energy systems, transportation, housing.  Yet I think (I could be wrong, this is not my field) the majority of people involved in science get their money from the circuit III "onwards as before" logic.

And, das monde!  You understand RAW much better than me; and yeah, I think he knows there are contradictions in what he proposes, but that's, I think, because there's something inherently contradictory about using writing as a primary communication tool at certain levels or in certain areas...the paradox of teaching what can't be taught...buddhist koans, that kinda thing...but I'm very glad he worked at it.

It is admirable to teach people to detect bullshit

I didn't pick up that you saw science that way.  I don't think it is how most people experience their science education.  I'm wondering what the circuit III is expected to use to balance their various models against.  If Cheney says, "It's too complicated to understand, but believe me," how do we call "Bullshit"?  On what grounds?  If there were some clear way of calling it, a way that couldn't be disputed by other "rationales"...but them's be politics.

I think the best (the only?) way of creating an unbreakable bullshit detector is for the grounding to be in intuition based on constant lived reality.  I mean, someone who knows plenty of people from Iran will hear bullshit much earlier than someone who has never met anyone from the middle east.  Only higher, wider, deeper, there's something about how society is constructed that is circuit III/IV, and we've reached the end of that, I think.  7 billion people is enough growth.  Now we need different intuitions...hey!

My rational supposition at the moment is that the higher circuits perceive some general but deep patterns beyond usual empirical experience

I don't think they are beyond empirical experience; I think the higher circuit model is to show that empirical experience is in evolution or development...that we are capable of empirically experiences much wider, higher, etc.  This reminds me of what TBG wrote, something along the lines that drugs are a day trip, but if you want to go live in the new country--that's harder.  But there is, indeed a new country, and the people who live there are, I think, quicker, more efficient, less "weighty" (the car=old tech., so weighty, that kinda thing), more connected (there's that quantum idea--everything is connected; everything influences everything else; everything is local--heh, I'm a circuit III reading runes and maybe trying to make a few day trips, and liking the country I visit, hoping my kids will learn from these circuit V people, that kinda thing.)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Jul 25th, 2007 at 12:19:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
beyond usual empirical experience

Yeah...  Heh, I got carried away there.  Reading comprehension: the art of.  Must re-read.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Jul 25th, 2007 at 12:23:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I talked about bullshit because you mentioned Cheney, not because I extend the discussion on science. But if we go into there, we have to discuss Feyerabend's bullshit about science's bullshit.

Bullshit detection is an art. Even if you teach students to detect bullshit, they may apply it inconsistently against you. Liberals can appeal to detect bullshit better, but conservatives can manipulate bullshit "detection" very well. Say, they call bullshit on climate change very easily(whether directly or by implication) and successfully. Also, they manipulate people's intuition (and searching for charisma) very well - manipulation is always a problem of any perception power.

To hide limits of my understanding, so much remarks this time :-)

by das monde on Thu Jul 26th, 2007 at 11:03:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To hide limits of my understanding, so much remarks this time :-)

heh...I think mine have been on full view.  

Enjoy your holidays!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Jul 26th, 2007 at 12:27:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had to save the entire diary.  The only, I mean only thing which started me on the wake up path was an expatriot assignment.

Thank you for enabling me yet more tools with which to fully distance myself from the human race.  You have no idea what it's like to live here in America and watch these assholes daily and consistently drive themselves more completely into a cesspool.

Prometheus just ain't rising fast enough.

by Lasthorseman on Sun Jul 22nd, 2007 at 09:22:40 PM EST
this model of the human neural circuits doesn't seem to be universal as some of the more primitive circuits seem to be more prevalent in U.S.A. Christian fundamentalists, and USA'ers in general.

how does he explain that?

by zoe on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 07:28:39 AM EST
Well clearly we're genetically inferior.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 07:56:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking that the model required some modification in terms of effect from the living environment on the levels of the circuits.  
by zoe on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 08:02:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I really do recommend reading the whole book, but here's a quote related to your query:

The second circuit, the emotional-territorial networks of the
brain, is concerned entirely with power politics. This "patriotic"
circuit is built into all vertebrates and is perhaps 500 million to
1000 million years old. In the modern human it seems to be
centralized in the thalamus--the "back brain" or "old brain" and
is linked with the voluntary nervous system and the muscles.
This circuit appears in each newborn when the DNA master
tape sends out RNA messenger molecules to trigger the mutation
from neonate to "toddler," which involves first of all standing
erect. Walking, mastering gravity, overcoming physical obstacles
and learning to manipulate others politically are the vulnerable
points at which imprinting and heavy conditioning occur. The
muscles that perform these power functions are quickly programmed
with what become chronic, life-long reflexes.
Depending as always [on] the accidents of the environment--what
happens at points of neurological vulnerability--this circuit will
organize itself into a strong, dominating role in the pack (or
family) or a weak, submissive role. Without going into the
jungles with the ethologists, one can observe this mammalian
imprinting process in any litter of puppies. It is very quickly
determined who is TOP DOG and who is BOTTOM DOG.

(emphases in the original)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 08:22:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know about genetics but Americans sure have been dumbed down since the Eisenhower days, and they've accepted it; it probably has to do with the advent of television and its deterioration. But America within a period of thirty years has lived two major political mistakes and then repeated them. I refer to Vietnam-Iraq  and Nixon-Bush. Maybe we're short in that part of the brain having to do with memory.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 10:20:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
amnesia or Alzheimer's?
by zoe on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 10:46:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indoctrination AND education are both up. By an enormous margin in both cases. Similar pressures causing both apply to the whole industrialized world.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 12:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Someone said, the first time the history appears as tragedy, the second time it appears as farce.

The history implanted a Nixon-Nam circuit in the US collective psychology, it seems.

by das monde on Tue Jul 24th, 2007 at 09:27:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Imprinting means that you're more likely to prefer to use one circuit over another.

I think it's more of a loose metaphor than an accurate model. I don't think it's necessarily linear, and you get some fine examples of kookiness and paranoia when people don't imprint the higher circuits usefully.

But I also think you need either wacky brain chemistry or living examples of people who can take you to higher brain circuits. If your environment doesn't support that, you'll grow up crippled.

It's a bit like Chinese foot binding, but cultural.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 08:16:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"But I also think you need either wacky brain chemistry or living examples of people who can take you to higher brain circuits. If your environment doesn't support that, you'll grow up crippled."
The mind altering drugs of the 60's and 70's performed that function. That's why they were hated by Republicans- they hate all kinds of freedom.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 10:04:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hear this argument from the most closed-minded drug users.  If their minds were closed before and opened after their drug use, I am terrified for the future of the planet.  
by zoe on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 10:11:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a lot of people fooling themselves about their "spiritual evolution" back then.  If you'll recall most of the gurus from that era have been shown to be hucksters, cheats, liars, sexual predators, or/and nincompoops.  Which is not unexpected from a bunch of religiously indoctrinated know-nothings.

Taking LSD does have a certain Wow, Man utility.  It informs the taker perception and one's psycho-epistemology are programmable, if the taker is open to such notions.  My suspicion is most people who took LSD were more interested in watching the pretty colors.  To my certain knowledge, people who took a lot of LSD fried their brains.

It's worth noting the advice Maslow used to give when asked about how to achieve a state of Self-Actualization, "Get a job."

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 10:34:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was responding to TBG's reference to "cripples." You were probably not a "cripple," so on this topic, it's hard for us to converse.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 10:49:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ring the bell and ATinNM salivates.  :-)

Too many encounters with individuals claiming all one needs for obtaining "higher states of consciousness" - whatever that means - is a pill.



She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 11:31:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd agree up to a point. Drugs are a cheat if you want to live in the higher circuits. You get a day ticket, not a residence permit, and you also see some of the seedier parts. The real thing seems cleaner and more reliable, which also makes it very rare and much harder to achieve.

But the idea that you could rearrange and revalue the world in a different way was very powerful in its own right.

The conservatives really did hate that possibility. While they make a lot of noise about freedom they're utterly devoted to top-down control in practice, and there was mass panic when society seemed to be getting away from them in the 60s.

We'll probably have another wave of change in a decade or three, and might get a bit further ahead then.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 01:23:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't speaking of achieving "higher states of consciousness" through using drugs. I don't know if you can understand me but I was thinking of drugs aiding in removing blockages to reaching another level, particularly #4, the adult stage. It seems to me that "crippled" people have difficulty to reach that stage.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 02:12:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, if John Kerry, in one of his debates with George Bush in 2004, had walked across the stage, punched Bush in the face, and proclaimed: "That's for the boys who died in Iraq, you motherfucker," he would have won in a landslide.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 09:19:06 AM EST
Certainly a new way to look at things..

It is really a good way to put it metaphorically.. ont he ground everything is so complex that I do nto know if those circuits can ever be somehow "shown"... but I guess the whole point is interpretation...

Where would you put the narrative universal.. the need to understand histories?

Since it is universal it should nto go to the rational.. but the bio and anal do nto encompass ratioanlization.

How do you fit that narrative is an universal theme..?it would mean that the smeantic circuit is more important that what you suggest..science would be just a way to implement it...but thes emantic cicuit will be much more important and it will be very common to everybody..e xcept that a prticualr rationalization like scicne will not reach more than 50% of the population.

From the top of my hat...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 04:01:08 PM EST

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