Monday, October 20, 2008

8 Circuits of Consciousness: A Layperson's explanation

To clarify the 8 Circuit Model often mentioned on this blog, A short explanation of the Circuits will be shared here, in a way I would explain it to someone in conversation. It's a short and incomplete overview that is intended to spark the curiosity to go digging deeper one's self. Please realize there is much more to it than stated in this blogpost.

The 8 Circuits of Consciousness Model is a heuristic model to help us navigate through neurological space (consciousness/reality) and our personal conscious evolution.

In the works and books of Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, Antero Alli, John C. Lilly and others, these great minds suggest guidelines, meditation practices, rituals and even consciousness-altering substances linked to each circuit to help us evolve as the circuits harmoniously interconnect to raise our consciousness.

Always remember that the map is not the territory (A. Korzybski), the menu is not the meal (A. Watts), a metaphorical representation of a concept is not the concept.

If this model is new to you, writing it down to grasp it well is advised, so I suggest get yourself a piece of paper, and write "circuit 1", and add keywords to it, do this for each circuit. This is how I grasped it quickly.
It's quite broad as it includes all states of consciousness ;p But can be very useful, not only to understand our own behaviour, but other people's behaviour. And not only understand, but become really conscious of, and reprogram and change ourselves where we see fit!

It's a consciousness model (psychological and mystic) that attempts to explain possible states, and stages of consciousness.
States are free and accessible through activities or "drugs".
Stages are earned (the first 4 by age, latter 4 by discipline/focus.)

We begin with the 4 first states/stages of consciousness.
C1 Physical C2 Emotional-Territorial C3 Rational/Semantic C4 Social-Sexual
You go to a next stage by age:
C1 Baby C2 Toddler C3 Kid C4 Puberty/Adolescence/Parenthood
By activities or "drugs" you can access the states. The first four states are about as scientific as it gets as Freud, Jung, Berne, Piaget and many other psychological models are similar. The latter four are more Mystical - though a Mystic is a Scientist too - based on experience by Timothy Leary, George Gurdjieff, Robert Anton Wilson, Antero Alli, Ken Wilber, other authors and myself, or I would not be spreading the word on this model if I did not find it to be "true" or very useful. See this table for a comparison of the "same same but different" models.

Each Circuit is shaped by: 1. Genetics, 2. Imprints, 3. Conditioning, 4. Learning.
By Genetics we mean hardware, Circuit 1 unicellular life to reptiles, C2 mammals, C3&up humans. But human genetics also affect our human "Software Operating Systems" in some degree.
Imprinting is the term used in psychology and ethology to describe any kind of phase-sensitive learning - learning occurring at a particular age or a particular life stage - that is rapid and apparently independent of the consequences of behavior.
It was first used to describe situations in which an animal or person learns the characteristics of some stimulus, which is therefore said to be "imprinted" onto the subject.
Conditioning, a learning process in which an animal/human behavior becomes dependent on the occurrence of a stimulus in its environment. Also realize how education, the media, culture conditions and shapes us.

The 8 Circuits, get pen and paper ready!

Circuit 1. The Physical Bio-Survival Security Intelligence, this is the first stage/state of consciousness, think human babies. Think safety, passivity, fear, fight-or-flight, nourishment.
Any oral activity like eating, but also chewing gum or smoking activates this circuit, as it unconsciously links back to suckling mommy's teet ;). That's why Freud called it the Oral Stage. Tranquilizers get you back into this state, valium, opium, SSRI's, etc. "passive and feeling-safe" drugs.

[seen Evolutionary, it is the state of consciousness from unicellular life to reptiles (reptiles don't have a circuit 2, a pet python will kill you when it's hungry, a pet dog or cat will not ;p at least not right away if you're a good pet owner hehe)]

The Imprints (and take positive and negative as relative, not absolute descriptions)
positive: Exploring, Healthier
negative: Insecure, Dogmatic (even when shifting belief systems)
We can reimprint this circuit via yoga and martial arts, etc.
Click here for the Circuit 1 Megapost.

Circuit 2. Emotional-Territorial Intelligence, the baby grows up to a toddler, territorial demands start, looks how far it can go, temper tantrums, etc.
Alcohol, gets you back into this state ;p Also the defending of beliefs which is directly comparable to "territorialism" is emotional, not rational (we just use C3 words to illustrate C2 emotions. That's why so many people are blinded by their beliefs and filter out truth or other interpretations and views, and why I talk about it so much on my blog. Cause this sucks hehe. Evolve beyond belief! Beliefs are emotional(ly attached to), not rational. I cringe whenever someone says "I believe...", "I think..." sounds much more intelligent. Hence I distinguish between emotional beliefs, and rational opinions.

To further Illustrate this, I quote Alex:
"I found the idea of the defending of beliefs being emotional rather than rational very liberating - explains a great deal - the sneaky thing is how we use rational words to camouflage the emotions - no wonder I've gotten confused!!"
"I have struggled all my life with people who use rational language to hide their emotions behind, so developed a strong need to get things across as clearly as possible - little did I realise that they were just using rational arguments as self-protection & thus were never going to hear!!"

[seen Evolutionary, think mammals. They experience emotions more than reptiles: Dogs get sad and happy, reptiles don't, reptiles feel safe or threatened]

The imprints:
positive: Dominant, leading, seeking power
negative: submissive, seek for dominant types to lead them (for example conservative - but the Obamians also obviously... - voters, also church.)
Adrenaline is used here, attacking the rival pack ("muslim terrorists", "damn liberals",... etc)
Click here for the Circuit 2 Megapost.

Circuit 3. Rational, Symbolic, Time-Binding, Semantic (Language) Intelligence, the toddler grows up to a kid who learns to read and write and gets better at language, and learns to read time. Time-binding or time awareness begins.
Evolutionary from here, it's humans! Sentient life, wooo! ;p
The activities are reading, writing, etc. The "drugs" that activate this are caffeine, chocolate, nicotine... That's why they are taken to "reduce stress", because the emotional state is lessened as the rational is amplified. Though overstimulation of this circuit will lead to anxiety - like straining the mind when not understanding or drinking too much coffee.

The imprints:
positive: pioneer, creative
negative: conservative, following
This imprint can last for life, hence there is so much of "dumb science" ;)

Circuit 4. Social-Sexual Intelligence, the kid grows into puberty and adolescence, and possibly parenthood too. Social "self-consciousness". Suddenly we are much more self-conscious about how we come across to other people. Social interaction gets you into this state, obviously. Church, but also TV. No drugs are known to activate this state, though Hormones play a role.

The imprints:
social-sex-positive: more joyous appareance, bright eyes, bushy tails ;p
social-sex-negative: problematic, more zombie-like appearance, born to lose, etc

Past these four Circuits, we can experience - and with focus - evolve to other states of consciousness.

The next 4 circuits are mystical and will have to be experienced to be well understood (Because understanding is a C3 representation of other Circuits!). Though psychologists and mind scientists are learning about them more too now as they investigate meditation and entheogens and their use in therapies etc. Leary adapted Gurdjieff's views for this. Ken Wilber's Integral Theory's "Fulcrums" (his word for Circuits = states/stages of consciousness) also fit perfectly in this after some consolidation.

Circuit 5. Neurosomatic Intelligence. Think Neuro-Soma. Mind-Body connection. Bliss. Conscious hedonism. Awareness. Being here now. The post-survival quest for Nirvana starts here! Meditation, Tai Chi, Yoga, but also intense appreciation of music, the "second wind" when you run that gets you that "endorphin rush", hypnosis, certain nlp techniques.
This circuit loosens conditioning and attachment to our current reality map or belief system.
The drug that activates this is Marijuana, or low doses of MDMA. That's why (good) meditating nullifies the need.. for weed. hehe.
Gurdjieff called this the Magnetic Center.

Circuit 6. Neuroelectric Intelligence. Metaprogramming, but also third eye opening "psychic" awareness. This circuit is used to kind of describe a state where multiple options are possible, experienced sort of simultaniously but to further clarify I separate them to explain what is possible here: a) nature mysticism/energy awareness, b) the psychic state, and even more interestingly, c) metaprogramming: where our consciousness goes from "operating mode" to "programming" mode, and we can re-imprint, and reset conditioning (so more immediate and powerful than circuit 5 in that regard). Hence this is the state most important in therapies you might have heard of that use Ayahuasca or other entheogens to help people get over hard drug addictions like heroin or alcohol. John C. Lilly was thé authority on this circuit.
Nature Mysticism, energy awareness. If you've seen Jill Bolte Taylor, I think this was the state she accessed.
A stable Meditation practice. Kundalini Yoga and Chaotic Meditation gets you here.
Medium doses of Entheogens like shrooms and LSD gets you here.
Gurdjieff called this the True Emotional Center (as opposed to the "false emotional" c2, Gurdjieff wasn't too fond on mundane first-4-Circuit life ;p).

Click here for a description of an ineffible Circuit 6 Mushroom trip.

Circuit 7. Neurogenetic Intelligence. DNA Reading. This circuit of consciousness is where we have visions or apparitions of Archetypes, Mystic (I hate the word "religious" for its connotatinos and hence don't use it, but add it here) experiences, or past lives rememberance.
High doses of entheogens like shrooms and LSD activate this.
Called Diety mysticism in Integral Theory.
Advanced and prolongued meditation practice. Chaos Magick. Near Death Experiences.
Gurdjieff called this the True Intellectual Center (as opposed to the false intellectual c3, again gurdjieff wasn't too keen on mundane life ;p).

Circuit 8. Neuro-atomic, Cosmic Intelligence. Welcome to Factox X. This is the OBE and Lucid Dreaming circuit. Here our consciousness projects out of body and things get really weird and often ineffable.
Void and Non-Dual mystic states fit in here as well.
Heroic doses (be careful, entheogens need to be taken only after being optimally informed) of regular entheogens like shrooms. DMT and Salvia will get you there fast and short.
A NDE can get you here too, or the more intentional ;p succesful OBE techniques or rituals.
Gurdjieff called this the Essence.

Click here for a description of an ineffible Circuit 7 & 8 Mushroom trip.

Here is an excellent page by Antero Alli that clarifies more, also includes a short summary, and more actions and "drugs" that activate each circuit.

Here are other short summaries from the Dedroidify 8 Circuits Webpage:
starwood - phinwebb - bradley - id.mind - fusion anomaly - leary 8 - leary 7 - wiki.
Here is the link to the Winner and Loser scripts or attitudes for each Circuit.
also has a great 8 Circuits database.
Check this approximate estimate overview of how many people are tuned on to each circuit.

Hope this helped. The model is not something you understand fully in a day ;p
Good luck to all of you, may it help you (not limit you) in many ways.


wise woman said...

Many thanks for the tutorial - as Bill said to Ted on their excellent adventure - 'It makes more sense this time around':)

A laywoman

dedroidify said...


lol laywoman, hint - intentional or not - taken and title changed to layperson ;p haha.

"Whoa!" Ted Logan

nomadnomo said...

always great to get a consolidated review of the 8 circuits! i love the model too! btw, the OSI-layers really impressed me, right down my alley.

"same same but different" you've been to india?


dedroidify said...

Haha that's two people more that appreciated the OSI post than I think would ;p

No, Thailand, lol! And got the t-shirt ;p


Figgs said...

This is a great example of what made dedroidify so amazing.

Den said...

I am very happy to read this article..thanks for giving us this useful information.
bondage video