The 8-Circuit Model Of Consciousness (And How To Apply It To YOUR Life!)

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“We are all giants, raised by pygmies, who have learned to walk with a perpetual mental crouch. Unleashing our full stature—our total brain power—is what this book is all about.”
—Robert Anton Wilson

I ran into Prometheus Rising and its author Robert Anton Wilson during a time in my life when I was trying to figure out why some people were assholes to other people. In my naïveté, I sought “granular” reasons for humanity’s inhumanity to others, training my magnifying glass on specific ideological and political issues. But these explanations were unsatisfying—and ultimately led down relativistic and semantic rabbit-holes.

There had to be a more basic reason. And there was.

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How Robert Anton Wilson Changed My Life

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“The totally convinced and the totally stupid have too much in common for the resemblance to be accidental.”
—Robert Anton Wilson

I first read Robert Anton Wilson’s The Cosmic Trigger in 2009. It was a period in my life where I encountered, for the first time, a number of related thinkers & their ideas—including Timothy Leary & his “8-Circuit Model Of Consciousness,”  Philip K. Dick & the concept of “VALIS,” and Terence McKenna’s notion (via J. B. S. Haldane) that reality might be far weirder than we can possibly conceive of.

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Starseed And Star Trek: VAAL and VALIS

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“The Higher Intelligence scanning these developments from the high perspective of time sends a signal.”
–Timothy Leary, “Starseed”

I first encountered the concept of the “Starseed Transmissions” in the book Cosmic Trigger I by Robert Anton Wilson. Before then, I was very aware of Tim Leary as a type of “reality” celebrity—basically, the guy who encouraged the hippies to take LSD. But then I learned he also claimed to have channeled an “alien transmission” while in prison:

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Divine Invasions: Philip K. Dick, Robert Anton Wilson, and “Alien Contact” In The 1970s

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“Thus we may stand at the threshold of discoveries…which may require a literal evolution of our species—and this may indeed be taking place. Thus even to know this hyper-structure is to cease to be human, and yet such knowledge—not faith, not revelations, but the utilization of pure intellect—is possible. I argue, then, that man as a species may be coming to an end, subsumed into a higher level of organizational complexity; and a new species may be evolving out of him. I argue, finally, that the hyper-structure is to some degree actively involved in promoting this, since it is an evolutionary process in which it is involved.”
—Philip K. Dick, “Exegesis”

A very weird thing began to happen in the early-to-mid 1970s—a number of people were apparently “channeling” very similar information, from entities variously claiming to be aliens, God, and beyond. These people, from different backgrounds and fields, would end up basically forming an interconnecting web of High Weirdness that would impact popular-culture to the present day. Continue reading