8 Circuit Model

Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

8 Circuit Model

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

There has been a fair bit of mention of homologies between different maps of development and insight cross-culturally.

Has anyone looked at Timothy Leary's 8 Circuit model in any depth? I'm interested in what difference and similarities to the samatha jhanas people may see. What is the utility of this model, if any, and what are it's drawbacks? I'd love to hear from experts on the maps.

For anyone unfamiliar with the model, wikipedia's article is a decent intro: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8-Circuit_Model_of_Consciousness
haquan
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: 8 Circuit Model

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: kevin_stanley

I have looked at Leary's model, but not in depth and not in some time. Robert Anton Wilson's book "Prometheus Rising" is largely based on that model and is a fun read, by the way. I found it useful in doing some personal growth--I'll have to revisit it with an eye towards overlap with topics discussed here.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: 8 Circuit Model

Posts: 782 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
With regard to the samatha jhanas, Leary's fifth circuit

5. The Neurosomatic Circuit (Zen Mind)
Concerned with neurological-somatic feedbacks, feeling high, somatic reprogramming etc. The fifth circuit, according to Leary, is consciousness of the body. There is a marked shift from linear visual space to an all-encompassing aesthetic sensory space. A hedonic turn-on occurs, a rapturous amusement, a detachment from the previously compulsive mechanism of the first four circuits.

would be closest to any kind of similarity with meditative absorption. The last two sentences above -- denoting a state of "detachment" from "the compulsive mechanism of the first four circuits" and "a marked shift from linear visual space" to an all-encompassing sensory space -- would on its surface be similar to the outcome of the process of samatha and vipassana (serenity and clear seeing) that early Buddhism teaches. Yet, without further clarification, it's difficult to see how this "detachment" and "shift in linear vision" is brought about within the model Leary proposed.

Going by the link given, at least two or three of the methods Leary proposed for stimulating this experience would be discouraged by early Buddhist practice. The use of marijuana and MDMA would for certain be prohibited as well as possibly some forms of tantra (as it relates to ritualized sexual practice). The former two prohibited on grounds that in a defiled mind, they could add rather than diminish delusion, and the latter prohibited on the grounds that it too closely involves the practitioner with unwholesome sensual pleasures, unhealthy for an untrained mind reaching equanimity.
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: 8 Circuit Model

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
We've discussed Kornfield's rather tolerant position on psychedelics, and have even discussed the possibility that some of the early Buddhists might have experimented with Soma - aside from those controversial issues, it's not terribly surprising to me that there might be some analogs of spiritual states in psychoactive pharmaceutical compounds - I might be more surprised if there were not.

One of the troubles I think this model gets into is blending childhood developmental schemes with spiritual states - I think this proves difficult for a lot of Transpersonal psychology theorists. I've wondered if "SPIRITUALITY IS DEVELOPMENT" is the wrong conceptual metaphor at times.

But I know people who use this model and say that it is consistent with their experience and very useful (and yes, Robert Anton Wilson rocks). How should we frame something like this, a model that is somewhat unlike the Theravada maps, with some similarities - that other people (that I personally respect) corroborate?
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Eric Alan Hansen, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: 8 Circuit Model

Posts: 128 Join Date: 9/9/09 Recent Posts
I realize this is an older post but it is on a topic which I have researched rather recently, so here goes. Wilson credits Leary for having developed the 8-Circuit model, but Leary credits the idea to John C. Lilly's Programming and Metaprogramming the Human Biocomputer, Leary's ideas as he began to move away from traditional psychology, which was pretty good, were based mostly of Lilly and Buddhist Concepts moslty from translations of Tibetan classics such as the Tibetan Book of the Dead, as well as the I Ching. As Leary's mind became increasing drug-addled his thinking became increasingly less original. A careful study of the first four circuits reveal that the model is based entirely on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, with a few drug-fueled states added on top. Also there is a shift to Jungian model.

I think that this resonates with people because of the close association with the 7 chakras, the 7 heavens, the path of the Cosmic Serpent DNA, where in life becomes the medium for sentient beings to come to the profound realization that all existence is sentience, swimming in an ocean of compassion and bliss. This message if found throughout all cultures as the archetypal myths (collective unconsciousness) of the axis mundi and that of the serpent. Try to google those two.

Lilly researched some other interesting topics as well such as sensory deprivation (very similar symptoms as kundalini awakening) and communication with dolphins (he was probably the first). Now we know that several species of mammals can learn sign language form us, chimps learn to speak using ASL.

Crick is another one who came up with amazing results. His last great project was to discover the seat of consciousness, which was never conclusive. I guess that is where we come in.
h a n s e n
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Eric Alan Hansen, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: 8 Circuit Model

Posts: 128 Join Date: 9/9/09 Recent Posts
Any careful investigation of the entheogenic (psychedelic) experience would show that the relevant changes in consciousness don't require a drug. But the drug works because it mirrors an internal mechanism of neurotransmitter production. This is hashed to death in the book DNA The Spirit Molecule. So what. I wouldn't waste another moment with ingesting substances when you can find something better within, much safer, and far more permanent. I don't know this book though, and I don't know Kornfield's position. I'd like to debate him on this, as I am adamantly opposed to the suggestion. My attitude toward entheogens is been there, done that. Move on to something more effective with lasting results, I say whether it be yoga, zen, tai chi chuan, or Insight, etc.
h a n s e n
David Charles Greeson, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: 8 Circuit Model

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
Eric Alan Hansen:
Any careful investigation of the entheogenic (psychedelic) experience would show that the relevant changes in consciousness don't require a drug. But the drug works because it mirrors an internal mechanism of neurotransmitter production. This is hashed to death in the book DNA The Spirit Molecule. So what. I wouldn't waste another moment with ingesting substances when you can find something better within, much safer, and far more permanent. I don't know this book though, and I don't know Kornfield's position. I'd like to debate him on this, as I am adamantly opposed to the suggestion. My attitude toward entheogens is been there, done that. Move on to something more effective with lasting results, I say whether it be yoga, zen, tai chi chuan, or Insight, etc.
h a n s e n


I'm definitely not advocating psychedelics, and generally agree, but only wanted to point out that his use of these states as referents doesn't invalidate his system. Psychedelics have been employed by every known shamanic culture, and I tend to agree with Andrew Weil that it is the non-ritual use of these which is sick in our society. They can be of help to some people sometimes, and if nothing else, they reliably produce changes in consciousness. Even Bill Wilson, founder of AA took LSD, and found the experience helpful to him.

Nevertheless, all that is a side-point. I didn't realize the connection between Lilly and the 8-circuit model. Thanks for that. Lily was pretty brilliant before going completely off the deep end. Seems like ketamine was responsible for that. He ended up letting his dolphins go, and losing his grant.

One thing I can say is that when I thought in terms of the 8-circuit model, I had experiences that corresponded to it - without the use of drugs, I might add.
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Eric Alan Hansen, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: 8 Circuit Model

Posts: 128 Join Date: 9/9/09 Recent Posts
In Shamanism, Techniques of Ecstasy, Eliade comments on shamanistic prcatice that basically (in my mind) take on 3 separate paths, if you comapare the to Patanjali's Yoga Sutra and the Tibetan book - dreaming, entering trance or meditation, and injestion of certain substances that cross the blood/brain barrier. His take on it is that in Shamanism in general, the drug path is looked down on as inferior. But then again he did not know North or South American Shamanism, nor did he know Australian aboriginal mythology and practice either. Basically, in any of these Bardos, the path can manifest, things become mutable. I'm advising against drug using, but I also recognize that there is a need for guides for those who are going through it, and those who are coming out of it.

One of the interesting things about the chakra system is that it is also a model similar to the open chapter in the Book of Genesis, in a way the chakras are the real book of genesis. First the void, then the clear light, then the vibration or sound, then the air or gas phase of matter, then as matter condenses, it undergoes nuclear thermal combustion, then precipitates liquid, and finally becomes solid matter. Those are the elements symbolizing the 7 chakras top down. There is a tie-in to the endocrine system, which as any advanced kundalini mediator or psychedelic explorer will tell you, the endocrine system especially the sexual, begins to somehow transmute energy and feed the higher states of consciousness. When the third eye absorbs it it takes on the form of light, where it precipitates it as "The Milk of Shiva" I don't know what the appropriate Buddhist term would be for this. When the crown chakra opens, one feels what seems to be the infinite and eternal, but you know what? They couldn't have any characterstics, what is really happening out outside the time space continuum altogether. Vast, empty space, boundlessness, and timelessness.

I find that much yoga is trying to force this energy upwards, through something like locks in a canal or river. What I like abut Buddhist meditation is that it is working more effortlessly from the top down.

The 8 circuit model has some of these elements, but I find it too obscure. It doesn't have a corollary with researchers who aren't using and selling, so I look at it as a kind of sales pitch. If meditators reconstructed it based on more reliable and objective experiences it would be a lot more interesting.

Like I said, it starts out as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, then it begins to journey form the body to the tissues to the cells to the molecules, and then to subatomic and levels that weren't even known of when Lilly and Leary wrote. That is another reason for revision. With each corresponding micro level there is a macro level state of consciousness. "As above so below" as the alchemists say. That is why the are labeled circuits is because the cycle is micro as well as macro.

The Jeremy Narby book was interesting too, in fact that is why I got into the Eliade. However, he either did not understand the Eliade or got it confused with something else, because the main source that he cites does not support his thesis. The role he ascribes to DNA is incorrect. How DNA works and the role it plays is very interesting. DNA responds to certain programs, it still works the same way as it does as it selects traits suitable for the environment and challenges the individual faces on say, the first circuit. It does this at all circuits. This parallels what Gopi Krishna says, that "evolution" (Darwin never used the term) proceeds toward the highest expression of consciousness. I hated to bring that into the discussion because I have a lot of problems with the Gopi Krishna too. I don't agree with many of his thoughts. It's not semen that transmutes into prana, for example, because in men and women the same developments in consciousness are reported. That is just myth, much of his observations come out of the fact that he is just living out a myth. Not that something didn't happen there, but since it only caused him suffering, it could not have been enlightenment. That is the real acid test. If it causes you to suffer, that isn't it.

I could go on and on on this topic, but I am having Dharma Overload right now

p e a c e

h a n s e n
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Eric Alan Hansen, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: 8 Circuit Model

Posts: 128 Join Date: 9/9/09 Recent Posts
Piaget, Lilly, and Leary offered slightly different versions of the model.
looking at google "8 circuit" and wiki pages now.
You can see what I have been suggesting by search in wikipedia "axis mundi", "serpent", "Mt.Sumeru", "collective unconscious"
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