Thursday, October 18, 2007

The eight-fold devlopmental model stretched to cover evolutionary ground

Regular readers of my blog will know how I am memserised by the eight-fold developmental model . I have applied that model to Cognitive Maps, linked it to Moral Development, development of perspective-taking, to language and universal moral grammar development, to language and stages of pretend play, to evolution of languages (color terms), evolution of language faculty (general), to personality and the BIG FIVE, and to evolution of color vision.

Just to recap, I believe in a 5 +3 = 8 step development/ evolutionary model, wherein the first 5 stages are qualitatively different from the last 3 ; but the stages of development / evolution are analogous in widely different faculties.

thus, I was quite surprised to discover a model of Consciousness, as proposed by Timothy Leary, that I was till now not aware of . Thanks to Mind Hacks, I spent a better part of my day on the net reading about Leary's and RAW, eight circuit theory and I find it quite plausible and fascinating. Some links worth checking.

Although I do not buy the left-brain/ right-brain distinction in totality, I do find the fact that the first five stages are related to embodied consciousness, while the last three mark a departure and closely parallel other higher level stages quite interesting.

The evolutionary and developmental stages of Leary are :


The imprinting of this circuit sets up the basic attitude of trust or suspicion which will ever after trigger approach or avoidance

This is clearly the trust vs distrust development task identified by Erikson for infants. Leary though applies it to the living race (invertebrates ) on an evolutionary scale.

Again the first imprint on this circuit remains constant for life (unless brainwashed) and identifies the stimuli which will automatically trigger dominant, aggressive behavior or submissive, cooperative behavior.

This maps closely to Erikson's second toddler stage, whereby the toddler has to master Autonomy (a sense of power) vs Shame and Doubt

It is no accident, then, that our logic (and our computer-design) follows either-or, binary structure of these circuits

Here the preschooler of Erikson, starts taking initiative. related to Initiative vs Guilt developmental task.
The fourth brain, dealing with the transmission of tribal or ethnic culture across generations, introduces the fourth dimension, time.

This is the traditional Social background process, stretched over the whole school life of the child, wherein he develops a sense of industry and a sense of skills that can be refined with hard work over time. Time if of essence here.

When this fifth "body-brain" is activated, flat Euclidean figure-ground configurations explode multi-dimensionally. Gestalts shift, in McLuhan's terms, from linear VISUAL SPACE to all-encompassing SENSORY SPACE. A hedonic turn-on occurs, a rapturous amusement, a detachment from the previously compulsive mechanism of the first four circuits.

The fifth stage is a transforming stage that enables a rite of passage. In Erikson.s model it is transcendence of adolescence and taking on an adult role. One solves the problem of Identity vs Role Confusion. In my view this stage is also linked to Schizophrenia , which may result from role confusions and results in hallucinations. It is orthwhile to note here that many hallucinogens, as per Leary, lead to this stage.

The sixth brain consists of the nervous system becoming aware of itself apart from imprinted gravitational reality-maps (circuits I-IV) and even apart from body-rapture (circuit V).The evolutionary function of the sixth circuit is to enable us to communicate at Einsteinian relativities and neuro-electric accelerations, not using third circuit laryngeal-manual symbols but directly via feedback, telepathy and computer link-up. Neuro-electric signals will increasingly replace "speech" (hominid grunts) after space migration.

This meeting and communication between inter-stellar civilizations, bodes well on a human level with Erikson's marriage as the sixth developmental milestone with Intimacy vs Isolation as a core developmental task

The seventh brain kicks into action when the nervous system begins to receive signals from WITHIN THE INDIVIDUAL NEURON, from the DNA-RNA dialogue. The first to achieve this mutation spoke of "memories of past lives," "reincarnation," "immortality," etc. The "akashic records" of Theosophy, the "collective unconscious" of Jung, the "phylogenetic unconscious" of Grof and Ring, are three modern metaphors for this circuit.

this also bodes well with the collectivist nature of Erikson's seventh developmental task, wherein , as a group of individual (member of society) one feels Generativity vs Stagnation.

When the nervous system is turned on to this quantum-level circuit, space-time is obliterated. Einstein's speed-of-light barrier is transcended; in Dr. Sarfatti's metaphor, we escape "electromagnetic chauvinism." The contelligence within the quantum projection booth IS the entire cosmic "brain," just as the micro-miniaturized DNA helix IS the local brain guiding planetary evolution. As Lao-tse said from his own Circuit VIII perspective, "The greatest is within the smallest."

This too bodes well as the eights stage again being the ultimate stage of transcendence, coming to terms with one's inevitable (human) death and either having Integrity vs Despair as one reflects on life and prepares to transcend it

I know that a lot of the above my sound nonsensical to the regular readers of this blog, but we know so little about consciousness, that it may be best to keep an open mind about it and about evolution and our fate as human race.

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Heresiarch said...

Just a sideline on the Leary 8-circuit model: Dr. Leary thought that the last four circuits were meant for use in outer space. Well, what did you expect? It's Timothy Leary.

Anyway, details and implications HERE

Anonymous said...

Forgive me for my musings, but I must inquire your thoughts on this
matter of the eight-fold developmental model. I have always been drawn to psychology and intrigued with its meta-physical implications with reality. I have never heard of this model before and must share an experience with you in hopes that you may have
something to share with me on this matter. This may become lengthy.

Onward then, in the Eighth stage, where Leary speaks of space-time
being obliterated, and the speed of light surpassed, what exactly are
your thoughts on this matter? What is happening with the soul (being what have you) when this occurs? What are its implications, its impacts, translated meanings?
I'm very interested to know because after reading this for the first
time I found it to be in conjunction with something a friend was telling me about after I shared an experience I had. Now I've arrived at the conclusion that I have indeed experienced not only all these stages, but even this eighth stage, however, I do not know what it means completely, except one thing which I will go
on to explain at the end of this story.

Let me start by saying I am very open minded to ideas and have
experimented with the meta-physical by inducing drugs unto myself "to
taste of the fruit."

The "akashic records" he called to my attention, is what I had visited , without a doubt he said, "a vault of ALL information, where any
answer can be found, this is where you were!" I read that these so
called records, when accessed, one is moving with or faster than the speed of light, in straight lines that move so quickly the mind could not comprehend the movement. It was as becoming this one spark, this one spark (entity) moved in straight lines at an astronomical speed and instantly stopping and seeming to explode so quickly that by the time I had realized I had moved, stopped, exploded and moved on, I had already arrived at a thousand more exploding points. As if I was searching aimlessly without guidance or reason. Image if you will that this was not seeing, there was no 'sight.' This was feeling, a feeling of awareness, a sense I should say. This sense was numb to all stimuli, yet completely aware of itself, and in this place where I was light and light was without meaning except to travel from one point to the next in an empty void, I could not think of questions, I had none, all I could say to free myself from this eternity was one thought, and as I spoke this thought, at the exact time I stated, "No, send me back, it is not time yet." I came back to 'reality' the same way I had
left, through a static barrier that consumed my entire brain, body and
every sense. The transforming was pleasant, however when entering my body, I went right back to feeling how sick my body was from the drugs.

I've read some things after sharing this experience with my friend and
found out that there are accounts that do correspond with what I went
through and was brazenly amazed to find out that these 8 stages are almost exact descriptions of what I have experienced. If indeed I was transcending, have I risked that chance of returning? How to you relate this model to religious views such as the 8-fold path Buddha speaks of, or the Gnostic belief system holds? There is also the ten Sephirot (levels) of God. I would appreciate your thoughts in conjunction to the above stated.