August 15, 2018
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What is Exo-Psychology?

The Exo-Psychology phase is a transitional stage between Leary’s LSD-phase (the 60s) in which Leary focuses on “inner space,” and his computer-phase (the 80s and 90s) in which he focuses on cyberspace.  The prefix “exo” in Exo-Psychology indicates that this “new brach of science” created by Leary has to do with things that are outside of ourselves: outer space.  Exo-Psychology, which is also the title of one of Leary’s books, is concerned with space migration.  It is the “psychology of post-terrestrial existence” (Info-Psychology, p. 1)  In the 70s, leary was convinced that there was a trend in biological evolution on this planet from water, tho shoreline, to land, to atmospheric flight.  In his Exo-Psychology phase, Leary takes one step away from Eastern Philosophy and step towards technology (especially computer technology, genetics, and biochemistry).

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Leary Describes his Exo-Psychology as “Science-Fiction, Philosophy of Science, PSY PHY.”  In order to understand what Leary means with his description let us look how he defines the term science fiction.  In the introduction to Neurologic (Leary, 1996, first published in 1973), Leary explains that, on the one hand, his theories are scientific because they are based on empirical data from physics, physiology, phramacology, genetics, behaviorist psychology, and neurology.  On the other hand, they are fictional in a Wittgensteinian sense that all theories and speculations beyond the mathematical propositions of natural science are subjectives (cf. leary, 1996, p. 7).  leary points out that his Exo-Psychology theory does give “final answers” but it can give us a lot of pleasures and make us feel free.” (cf. leary, 1996, p. 7).

In the 70s, Leary had to spent a lot of time in prison.  This period of time – when Leary was cut off from society amnd unable to change the system that kepy him in prison – gave him a different, more pessimistic perspective on life.  Life on planet Earth did not seem to evolve higher levels of being like Leary had expected.  The 60s revolution was over.  Leary realized that it was just not enough to “look within,” “return to nature,” and assume that “all is one” (c.f. Info, 68f.).  In Leary’s opinion the hippies had made an important step in human evolution: They knew how to “accept the rapture of direct sensation” and lead a hedonic life style; they had learned how to control their nervous systems and how to change social imprints and conditionings.  but according to Leary, the ability to change yor imprints is useless if you do not know what to re-imprint.

In Exo-Psychology, Leary describes the drug culture of the 60s as “wingless butterflies” who were “spaced out”, “high,” but “with no place to go.” (cf. Info 61).  What Leary means is that you just cannot go on living in the moment forever.  He points out that hippies had evolved “beyond terrestrial attachments” and “detached themselves from larval symbols” but their problem was that they had no direction in life (cf. Info 67).  Where should they go?  What should they re-imprint into their nervous system?  In his rather disgruntled state of mind Leary wrote that many of the ex-hippies tried to escape this existential vacuum by “grasping at any transcendantal straw – magic, occultism, chanting, witchcraft, telepathy, guru-ism, mystical Christianity […] the endless variety of oriental charlatanism” (cf. Info 68), but it was all n vain because “inner space is a dead end.” (cf. Info 68).  According to Leary, the hippies’ tragic flaw was that they rejected science and technology.  leary argues that things like psychedelic drugs, the DNA structure, and also new types of technology for spce-travel were not discovered by sheer chance.  They would show us the way to the next phase in human evolution bringing us one step closer to our final destination, that is, the final destination of life.  in the early 70s, the Apollo-Saturn missions and the first skylab – this was in 1973 – seemed a promising new frontier.  Obviously, leary was deeply impressed by these developments because he became obsessed with space migration.  The idea that salvation might be found in outer space occured to Leary during the time when he was in prison.  Several chapters of his Exo-psychology works were writtendurinh periods of solitary confinememt.  in the introduction to Neuropolitique – which was written in the 80s and is a revision of Neuropolitics – leary admits that in prison he felt alienated from the whole world.  This alienation and the fact that he was unable to change the system which deprived him of his freedom was the reason for his longing for the freedom, happiness, and endless possibilities that outer space seemed to offer.

The Next Step of Evolution is Space Migration

 

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In his Ex-Psychology works, Leary suggests that the course of evolution of life on this planet is predetermined and that practically all scientific discoveries would indicate that the next step in human evolution is space migration.  In Intelligence Agents (1979, 1996), leary writes that in the course of history the “genetic frontier” (the best developped cultur e in terms of technology and intelligence) has moved from the East to the West.  East to West means past to future.  According to leary, the East (india, China) was the genetic frontier 3000 years ago.  in the sixteenth century, the Elightenment, Europe was the genetic frontier.  in 1976, the West Cost North America was the genetic frontier (cf. Leary, 1996, p. 177ff.).  Leary calls this rea Sun Belt.  The Sun Belt encompasses a crescent of “Migrating Higher Intelligence that stretches from Mountain View, california at the Northwest; through Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico; to cape Canaveral, Florida at the Southwest.”  The West Coast of America would be the last terrestrial frontier; from there we would move to outer space (cf. Leary 1996, p. 177).  To put it in a nutshell: For Leary, technological innovation means intelligence and independence.  West means evolution and change.  the “genetic runaway” along which gene pools “accelerate to Escape Velocity” runs from East to West.  Now how is the next phase of human evolution going to look like?  What is the aim of life?  What is our final destination?  how do we get there? In his Exo-Psychology theory, leary gives answers to these questions.  he offers us a model of the evolution of humanity and life in general which is supposed to show us the way to a better future and higher levels of consciousness.

S.M.I.LE:  Fusing with Higher Intelligences

timothy-leary-space-migrationAccording to Leary’s Exo-Psychology theory, we have come to a point in human evolution where all the “terrestrial goals” – the most important of which are bio-survival, territorial expansion, national security, technological efficiency, and “consumer-cultural television homogeneity” – have more or less been achieved (cf. Neuropolitique, p. 142)  At the same time, centralized civilization has produced various technologies which seems to “point us upwards away from the heavy pull of gravity.”

Leary suggests that new developments for space-flight as well as the discovery of psychedelic drugs (which would enable us to experience a world where gravity does not exist, thus preparing us for life in outer space) are an indication that there is a trend in biological evolution on this planet from water, to shoreline, to land, to atmospheric flight (outer space, the “new frontier”).  In Leary’s Exo-Psychology theory, political and cultural phenomena like war, enslavment, or centralization are seen as “necessary preludes” to the next phase in human evolution which is space migration.

According to leary, the nature of human evolution is paradoxical.  For example, there is the Centralization Paradox.  Although centralization limites our freedom, it would be necessary to link up in centralized collectives if we want to attain “the ultimate freedom of space existence” and “teh velocity to escape the planet.”  Without centralized governments and a “dilligent, competent, mechanically efficient middle-class” we would not be able to mobilize the technologies we need for space migration.  The same paradoc could be found if we look at the phenomenon of war.  leary explains that wars – especially the two World Wars and the Cold Wars – seems absurd “until we understand that the genetic purpose of the conflicts was to stimulate the development of radar, rocketry, synthetic chemistry, atomic fission, […] and, most important, computers ” (Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 141)  leary argues that centralization, wars, and the consumer-cultural TV homogeity of our post-industrial society are all dead ends.  however, they are inevitable steps to get the next phase in human evolution which is space migration.

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Anyway, why should we migrate to space at all?  According to Leary, the main reason for space migration is not overpopulation, or a shortage of energy.  In his Exo-Psychology theory, Leary suggests that somewhee in outer space there is a “higher intelligence” which, a long time ago, sent a message to our lanet in the form of DNA, the genetic code.  He writes, “Life was seeded on this womb-planet in form of amino-acid templates designed to be activated by solar radiation and to unfold in a serie of genetic molts and metamorphoses.” (Leary, Info, 16) Now what does that means?  It means that actually all life forms on our planet are “alien immigrants from outer space” and that evolution of the various species unfolds according to the same pre-determined plan.  According to Leary’s Exo-Psychology theory, life is designed to migrate from the “womb-planet” (kleary speculates that there might be other unknown womb-planets with life on it), seek this Higher Intelligence, and try to fuse with “Hir” (Leary introduces the generic term “Hir”, a combinason of “his” and “her” because in the Higher Intelligence male and female are united) again.  The tactics in order to achieve this final goal would be S.M.I.L.E., whiche means “space migration”, “intelligence increase, and life extension.” )cf. Neuropolitics, p. 142-145)  This very acronym can be found printed several times on every page of every bool that Leary wrote in the 70s to remind the nreader of the purpose of life.  Intelligence increase would be a necessary prerequisite for space nigration and life extension.  Psychedelic drugs would help is enhance our intelligence, and it would not take long until scientisst are able to decipher the genetic (DNA) code and extend our life spans.

Humanity’s Next Step Toward Space Migration: A Space Real-Estate Project

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In “HO.M.E.S. A Real Estate Proposal,” an essay co-written with cyberneticist George A. Koopman (NP p. 157-170), Leary suggests the construction of “space H.O.M.E.s” (High Orbital Mini Earths) as “a practical step to explore and activate new ressources – internal and external to the nervous system” (Neuropilitics, p. 159)  These space H.O.M.E’s would “open up unexploited territories, new energy sources, and new stimulation for the brain.” (Neuropilitics, p. 159)  As far as the “enexploited” territories are concerned, Leary explains that:

We must not cringe from the word “exploitation.” At every stage of information/energy the laws of nature seem to require and more complex engagements of elements to accelerate the evolutionary process.  We must exploit every level new level of energy in orer to build the structures to reach the next cycle.  The embryo ruthlessly exploits the supplies of the maternal body.  The derogatory flavor of  of the word “exploit” has been added by reactionary political groups who wish to slow down the expansion of energy.  Rhetoric aside, there has never been an example of a surviving-evolving species which did not use all energies available to it.  Nothing can stop the urge towards Space Migration (Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 159)

It should be mentioned here that Leary’s idea of construction of a space colony that opens up unexploited territories was inspired by Princeton Gerard O’Neill,s book The High Frontier and the L-5 Society (cf. Neuropolitics, p. 157)  In The High Frontier, O,Neil calls for the establishment of an orbital colony equidistant between the earth and the moon at a gravitationally stable point known as Larange Point 5.  In response to O’Neil’s call the L-5 Society was founded (cf. Dery 1996, p. 36)  The members of this society believed that the L-5 colony would help humanity to escape from ecological pollution, ressource depletion, poverty, and collectivism (cf. Dery 1996, p. 36)  The difference between the vision of the L-5 Society and Leary’s Exo-Psychology theory is that the L-5 Society was interested only in the social, ecological, and material implications of space migration, whereas Leary saw space migration as a necessary step towards self-realization, elightenment, immortality, and “fusion with higher intelligence.”

In Leary’s  Exo-Psychology theory, the evolution of life and humanity (past, as well as future) is described in terms of the evolution of the nervous system.  Now, how did the human nervous system evolve and how it is structured? LEary assumes that our nervous system consist of eight “potential circuits,” or “gears,” ir “mini-brains” which have evolved in the course of evolution.  Leary describes the evolution of the nervous system in his model of the Eight Circuits of Consciousness is given, it is necessary to make a short excursion into the fiels of conditioning psychology.  Leary says that if we want to understand his exo-psychology theory abd the model of the Eight Circuts of Consciousness we first have to understand the concept on imprinting and that there is a crucial difference between the phenomenon of imprinting adn other forms or learning, especially conditioning.

Imprinting and Conditioning in Leary’s Theory of Consciousness

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Leary borrows Korand Lorenz’s concept of “imprintig” to explain the sudden changes that LSD induces in those experimenting with it

The understanding of the concepts of “imprinting” and “conditioning” and the difference between these two phenomena is the crucial point in Leary’s Exo-Psychology theory.  Leary uses these concepts to explain the miserable socio-political situation on our planet, and to back his hypothesis that the only way for a “domesticated middle-class person” to arbitrarily change his or her “reality” is to apply psychedelic drugs.  In Exo-Psychology Leary explains that it is well known fact in psycholohy and ethology (the comparative study of animal behavior) that there are certian brief “critical periods” in a human being’s life during which imprints are made.  One of these critical periods is the tme soon after a baby or animal is born.  If the baby does not develop a basic feeling of trust towards his or her mother during this short “critical period” – which in Leary’s jargon means that the infant’s first circuit is negatively imprinted to his/her mother – he will never be able to develop this basic feeling of trust (Bio-survival circuit). The same applies to animal. If birds are handled by an experimenter during their first few hours of life, they thereafter react to mim and to other human as they normally would to their parents, and they refect their real parents.  During this critical period, which is the first of several crtical periods in a person’s life, a basic attitude of trust or distrust is set up which will ever after trigger approach or avaidance. (cf. Info-Psychology, p. 40)

What is the difference between imprinting and conditioning? The three major forms of conditioning, and Operant conditioning (professed by B.F. Skinner).  Leary explains that they are froms of learning which are based on repeated reward and punishment.  Imprinting, however, is a form of learning which does not require repetition.  “The most fascinating aspect of imprintig is this; the original selection of the external stimuli [e.g. mother] which triggers off the pre-designed response [e.g. trust] does not derive from a normal learning process but a short exposure during a brief, specific ‘critical period’ (Leary, Info-Psychology, p. 40)  In contrast to all other learning processes, imprinting is immediate and – which is even more important – irreversible.  As Leary put it: “The imprint requires no repeated reward or punishment.  The neural fix is permanent.  Only bio-chemical shock [drug or trauma] can loosen the neuro-umbilical lines.  The conditionned association, on the contrary, wanes and disapears with lack of repetition.” (Leary, Info-Psychology, p. 51)  To help his readers to get a better understanding of the primary role of the imprint and the secondary role of conditionned association Leary mentions Pavlov’s classic study with a dog as an example: In pavlov’s study the flow of saliva in the dog’s mouth is an unconditioned, unlearned response.  The imprint hooks an unconditioned response (flow of saliva) to an external stimulus, or releaser mechanism (foof placed in the dog’s mouth), so that the dog always automatically produces saliva when the mouth, or between a rigning  bell and foof, has to be learned by the dog.  This is where conditioning comes in.  Conditioned stimuli like the ringing bell are associated with the imprinted stimulus which is the foof in te dog’s mouth.  It is important to mention that, according to Leary, conditioning cannot change an imprint.  “Trying to recondition an imprint with reward-punishment is like dropping a single grain of sand on a forged steel pattern,” as Leary expresses it.  By applying psychological conditioning techniques we would be able to temporaily change a person,s behavior.  However, as soon as the contitioned person is left to his own devices he would drift back to the “magnetism of the imprint” and to his “genetic-robot style” which is determined by the DNA (Info-Psychology, p. 54) Leary argues that psychedelics can help us to “recast” the different circuits.  With psychedlics we can re-imprint new realities and activate new, higher circuits of consciousness.  how exactly do these higher circuits Leary talks about looke like.

 

Leary’s Eight Circuit Model: A Model of the Stages of Human Neurological Development

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We have already mentioned that leary assumes that our nervous system consists of eight “potential circuits,” or “gears,” or “mini-brains.”  Where are these “mini-brains” located and that is their fuction?  According to Leary, four of these “brains” are in the left lobe, which is usually active, and are concerned with our terrestrial survival; four are “extra-terrestrial,” reside in the “silent” or inactive right lobe, and are for use in our future evolution (cf. leary 1988:88)  In this model of the Eight Circuits of Consciousness, which is described in gis book Neuropolitics (1977a) and Exo-Psychology (1977b), Leary explains how these circuits, or mini-brains, evolved in the corse of evolution.  Each of  these eight circuits corresponds to one of the eight neurological phases in evolution.  In Leary’s Exo-Psychology theory the definition of consciousness is the same as in theory of the Seven Levels of Consciousness.  Consciousness is defined as “energy received by structure.”  In the present case, we should considers that in the human being the structure are the neural circuits anmd their anatoical connexions.  The Eight Circuits Model is in fact a Revision of his previous Seven Level of Consciousness Model.  Leary reversed the numerical order or the different levels and split up the mental-social-symbolic level.  In Exo-Psychology, Leary subdivides the 8 neurological phases of evolution in 24 stages (8×3) of biological-neurological evolution.  Furthermore, in another book titled The Game of Life (1977c) Leary tries to correlate the 8 phaes, or 24 stages, with the chemical Periodic Table of Elements, the Tarot, the Zodiac, the I Ching, the Greco-Roman Pantheon, the Hebrew alphabet, and other symbols systems.

Leary’s Eight Circuit Model:  #1 The Bio-Survival Circuit (Trust/Distrust)

leary-first-circuitIn the Essay “From Outer World to Inner World to Inner Space to Outer Space” (Neuropolitique, p. 87-99), written together with philosopher and sciencef-fiction writer Robert Anton Wilson, leary explains this circuit, or brain, which can be found in the most primitive life forms and is the first circuit activated in the newborn baby as follows:

This marriage or vegetative brain was the first to evolve (billion years ago) and is the first activated at birth.  It programs perception onto an either-or grid divided into nurturing-helpful Things (which it approaches) and noxious-dangerous Things (which it flees, or attacks).  The Imprinting of this circuit sets up the basic attitude of trust or suspicion which will last for life. (Leary, 1977. Neuropolitique, p. 88

bio-survival-circuitWhen Leary talks about the new born child, in which the first brain is activated, he puts very much emphasis on the process of imprinting.  He points out that the first imprinting process, during which a basic attitude of trust or distrust is set up, will ever after trigger approach or avoidance.  If the baby does not develop a basic feeling of trust towards his mothr during the short critical period during which the first imprint is made, he will never be able to develop this basic feeling of trust towards her mother and he will never be able to fully trust his partner and friends in life either.

Leary’s Eight Circuit Model: #2 The Emotional-Territorial Circuit (Assertiveness/Submissiveness)

leary-territorial-stageAccording to Leary, this second, more advanced “bio-computer” formed when vertebrates appeared and began to compete for territory (perhaps 500,000,000 B.C.).  In the individual this circuit, which correspond to a bigger “tunner reality” that the reality of Circuit One, is activated when “the DNA master-tape triggers the metamorphosis from crawling to walking.” (cf. Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 88) Leary explains:

As every parent know, the toddler is no onger a passive (bio-vegetative) infant but a mamalian politician, full of physical(and emotional) territorial demands, quick to meddle in family business and decision-making.  Again the first imprint on this circuit remains constant for life (unless brainwashed) and identifies the stimuli which automatically trigger dominant, aggressive behavior or submissive, cooperative behavior.  Whenwe say a person is behaving emotionally, egoistically or ‘like a two-year-old,’ we can mean that She is blindly folowing one of the robot imprints on this circuit (Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 88)

In popular speech the second circuit is called “ego.”  The “ego” is “the second circuit mammalian sense of status (importance-unimportance) in the pack or tribe” (Neurologique, p. 89)  leary points out that politicians live in a second circuit “reality tunnel” because their only goals are territorial expansion and control over others.

Leary’s Eight Circuit Model: #3 The Dexterity-Symbolism Circuit (Cleveness/Clumsiness):

leary-neurons-circuitsLeary writes that this brain was formed when “hominoid types began to differentiate from other primate stock” (Circa 4-5 million years ago).  It is activated in the individual whe the older child begins “handling artifacts and sending/receiving larygeal sigals (human speech units)” (Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 89)  This circuit disclose the symbolic, conceptual and linguistic world.  Leary writes, “If the environment is stimulating to the third circuit, the child takes a ‘bright’ imprint and becomes dextrous and articulate; if the environment is made of deliberately stupid people, the child takes a ‘dump’ imprint, i.e. remains more or less at a stage of symbol-blindness” (leary, Neuropolitique, p. 89) This circuit determines our “normal modes of atifact-manufacture” and conceptual thought.  It is made for understanding and using language and thinking logically-scientifically.  As Leary puts it, “The third brain or ‘mind’ is hooked into human culture and deals with life through a matrix of human made gadgets and human created symbolism.” (Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 89)  According to Leary, it is the Third brain that created the mechanical civilization which began in the Neolithic and climaxed in Henry Ford’s assembly line.  The Third Brain also produced Behaviorist psychology and Newtonian mechanistic ‘visible’ physics (not Einsteinian concepts).  By pointing out the limitations of the Third brain’s mechanistic-Behavioristic way of thinking, ‘Leary want to show that a person who lives in a Third Circuit “tunnel reality” will never be able to understand how to change basic imprints, that is, to change his “reality.”  According to leary, the “crowning philosophy of the Third Circuit society” is Operant conditioning, or “Skinnerism,” as Leary calls it.

Why Operant conditioning and not Classical conditioning? There is a crucial difference between Classical and Operant conditioning.  In Classical conditioning the animal, or person is passive; it merely waits until the unconditioned stimulus is presented and is followed by the unconditionned stimulus.  Pavlov’s dog, for example, is not encouraged to show new behavior.  In Operant conditioning, the animal, or person, has to be active; its behavior cannot be reinforces unless it does something,  A large part of human behavior may be classified as operant – turning a key in a lock, driving a car, writting a letter.  Such activities are not elicited by an unconsitioned stimulus of the Pavlovian type.  but once the behavior occurs it can be reinforced. Leary defines Operant conditioning as “the final philosophic statement of the puritanical protestant-ethic manipulators who dominated the world for 400 years up to Hiroshima.” (Leary, Info-Psychology, p. 49).  leary defines two main groups of technocrates who are trying to use “Third Circuit conditioning techniques” to change the behavior of their fellow citizens: “Right-wing punitive coercers” and “liberal rewarders.” According to Leary, the attempts of both of these groups of bureacrats are futile because to re-condition rather than re-imprint:

Punitive coercion [the method applied by right-wing punitive coercers] works only as the threat remains and thus requires a police state.  The liberal social psychologists [liberal rewarders] believe that they can change behavior by democratic, supportive, egalitarian education methods.  head-start programs.  peace Corps. […] Tutoring.  Scholarship payments.  Insight therapies.  mental health methods.  These l;iberal approaches fail to effect change and serve only to support the “humanist” welfare bureaucracy (Leary, Info-Psychology, p 51f.)

Leary argues that a regime based on social conditioning can only work if the governement psychologists have total control over the citizenry and if the method of conditioning is a government secret.  Such a “social conditioning regime” would not be possible in a democracy where minority groups can campaign against and publicly discuss the techniques being used.” (cf. Info-Psychology, p. 53 f.)

 

Leary’s Eight Circuit Model: #4 The Socio-Sexual Circuit

This circuit determines what in a specific culture is considered to be sexually normal and morally right.  Leary descibes how it evolved:

The fourth brain was formed when homnid packs evolved into societies and programmed specific sex-roles for their members (circa 30,000 B.C.).  in the individual it is activated at puberty when the DNA signals trigger the glandular release of sexual neurochemicals and the metamorphosis to adultohood begins […] The fourth brain, dealing with the transmission of tribal or ethnic culture across generations, introduces the fourth dimension, time – binding cultures (Leary, Neurologique, p. 89-91)

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As far as sex-roles are concerned, Leary holds that our first sexual experiences imprint a characteristic sex-role which, again, is bio-chemically bonded and remains constant for life (unless brain-washing or chemical re-imprinting is accomplished).  The sex role imprinted in a person,s brain does not always coincide with that which is accepted by society.  leary points out that perversions, fetishes, and other eccentric sexual imprints are usually defined as “sinful” by the local tribe.” (cf. Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 90)

In most people these four circuits are the only networks of the brain athat are activated.  leary notes that this is the reason why their way of thiking is rather inflexible.  Their logic follows the rimitive either/or binary structures of the four circuits: forward/backward = trust/distrust, up/down = assertiveness/submissiveness, clever/clumsy, good/evil.  Leary calls these circuits “terrestrials” because “they have evolved on, and have bee shaped by, the gravitational, climatic and energy conditions determining survival and reproduction of gene-pools on a planet like ours.” (Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 90) Leary even hypothesizes that there might be more intelligent individuals evolving in space who would definitaly develop circuits different from our “inflexibly Euclidean” ones.  According to Leary, each of the first four circuits can be arbitarily activated by a certain type of drug (first circuit: opiates; second circuit drug: alcohol; third circuit drug: coffee, fourth circuit drug: sexual hormones produced by adolescent in puberty).  leary calls these drugs “terrestrial drugs.”  Leary explains that none of these “terrestrial druges” can change basic biochemical imprints.  They can only trigger behavioral patterns and thought patterns that were wired into the nervous system during the first stage of imprint vulnerability.

 

Leary’s Eight Circuit Model: #5 The Neuro-Somatic Circuit

Leary explains the neurosomatic circuit as follow:

” When this fisth “body-brain” is activated, flat Euclidiean figure-ground configurations explode multi-demansionally, Gestalt shift, in mc Luhan’s terms, form linear visual space to all-encompassing sensory space.  A hedonic turn-on occurs. […] This fifth brain began to appear about 4,000 years ago in the first leisure-class civilization and has been increasing statistically in recent centuries (even before the Drug Revolution), a fact demonstrated by the hedonic art of India, China, Rome and other affluent societies. […] The opening and imprinting of this circuit has been the preoccupation of “techicians of the occult” – Tantric shamans and hatha yogis.  While the fifth tunnel-reality can be achieved by sensory deprivation, social isolation, physiological stress or severe shock (ceremonial terror tactics, as Aleister Crowley), it has traditionally been reserved to the educated aristocracy of leisure societies who solved the four terrestrial survival problems.  About 20,000 years ago, the specific fifth brain neurotransmitter was discovered by shamans […].  It is, of course, cannabis. (Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 90)

leary-neuro-somatic-circuitAs far as theevolutionary aspect of this circuit is concerned, Leary points out that it is no accident that people who use cannabis (the drug that opens up the Fifth Circuit) refer to this neural state as “high” or “spaced out.”  For Leary, the transcendence of gravitational, linear, either-or, Euclidean, planetary orientations (circuits 1-4) experiences with the help of cannabis, is part of our neurological preparation for the inevitable migration off our home planet.  According to Leary, the West Coast of the US (California, the last terrestrial frontier) is the area with the highest percentage of people living in a Fifth Circuit post-political, hedonistic reality. (Leary, 1996, p. 176-179).  However, this hedonistic level of consciousness is just a transitional stage which prepares us for the next circuit which is exclusively designed for post terrestrial existence.

 

Leary’s Eight Circuit Model: #6 The Neuro-Electric-Metaprogramming Circuit

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This is the level of consciousness on which the nervous system becomes awre of itself, apart from the “gravitational reality-maps” (circuits 1-4) and from the circuit-five-body-rapture.  leary calls this state of consciousness “consciousness of abstracting” (a term borrowed from the semanticist Alfred Korzybski), or “meta-programming,” that is, awareness of programming one’s programming (this term was coined by John Lilly in  his book Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Bio-Computer).  When we activate this circuit we become aware that what we accepted as reality is actually just a program ‘fed’ into our bio-computers (brains).  The person who activates this “Ensteinian, relativistic” circuit realizes that the Euclidian, Newtonian, Aristotelician reality-maps are just three among billions of possible programs or models of experience (Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 93) On this level of consciousness “mammalian politics”, which have to do with power struggles among “terrestrial humanity” are seen as static and artificial.  Lear explains that the nervous system is constructed in a way that it is capable of self-reflexion.  That is why it is capable of understanding and controlling its own functining.  What this means is that everybody can create his own realities if he knows how the nervous system works.  As far as Leary is concerned, it is no longer necessary to desribe the opening of this circuit with the paradoxical terms used in Eastern philosophy – “Non-elf”,” “No-Mind,” or “White Ligh of the Void.”  The Enstein revolution in physics, discoveries in neurology and pharmacology, and computer linguistics would allow us to describe the Sixth Circuit functioning in operatuional and functional terms as the nervous system metaprogramming the nervous system or serially re-imprinting itself. (Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 94)

What exactly happend when we access the Neuroelectric Circuit?  When the Sixth Circuit is activated, the nervous system “real-izes” that it is a  “transceiver” (transmitter and receiver) for bio-electric frequencies (electromagnetic signals).  leary says that the use of the Neuroelectric Circuit had to await the development of electronic and atomic technology to provide the language and models taht allow us to understand and activate it (Leary, Info-Psychology, p. 112)  only now that we begin to understand and use insivisible electromagnetic processes could we learn how to operate our own circuitry.

The evolutionary fuction of the Sixth Circuit would be communication – not normal (Third Circuit) speech or symbols on paper, but communication on electromagnetic level, at the speed of light, between two or more “contelligence” operating at the Sixth Circuit.  Leary uses the term “contelligence,” a combinaison of consciousness-intelligence, to describe people who are om a higher level of consciousness).  Since Circuit-Six-communication is electronic, it demands that we are enable to use computers.  leary explains that this mode of communication, which will enable us to connect our nervous systems with computers, will be necessary for our interstallar existence:

Electro-magnetic-gravitational processes are the meat and potatoes of galactif life.  The vibratory-transceiver nature of the brain, suseless to the larval [a person who uses only circuits 1-4], is very necessary in space.  telepathy, brain-computer links.  brain-radio connections.” (Info-Psychology, p. 113)

leary points out that one of the most important characteristics of Circuit-Six-communication is that it (necessarily) is erotic.  leary explains: “[Six-Circuit-communication] is Brain-Intercourse.  Electronic sexuality.  reception and transmission of thought waves.  The erotic of resonance.  The entire universe is gently, rhytmically, joyously vibrating. Cosmic intercourse” (Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 121)  only if we take the crucial step from “larval earth-life” to the next stage (Curcuit Six) would we be able to experience what “Higher Love” means, namely the “lectronic connection of nervous systems, making love to each other over galactic distances of neurological times.  Is tehre a specific drug that can open the Neuroelectric Circuit? yes, the drug taht makes us aware that the things that normally seem to be solid are actually electromagnetic vibrations is LSD.  however leary warns us that:

Neuro-electric drugs like LSD are not designeed for terrestrial life and are rightly considered dansgerous by larval moralists.  The Sixt Circuit is designed for extra-terrestrial life – and its activation by drugs at the present time is in preparation for migration.  Neurophysical drugs can be used by neurologicians to “cure” ineffective childhood imprints.  LSD-type drugs used for treatment or for ore-flight training should be administered by knowledgeable experts who understand the principles of re-imprinting and who have experiential control of their own nervous system.  The hedonic “party” use if LSD is a risky business.” (Leary, Info-Psychology, p. 114)

 

Leary’s Eight Circuit Model: #7 The Neuro-Electric Programming Circuit

Leary-neuro-genetic-level

By activating the sixt circuit we escape the narrow reality-tunnels of the four-terrestrial circuits.  However, the sixth circuit does not enable us to receive signals from within the individual neuron where the DNA is located.  In order to be able to read the DNA code we would have to activate the Neurogenetic Circuit.  leary believes that the first people who were able to receive signals from the DNA were yogis (Hindus, Sufis, tec.) who spoke of re-experiencing past lives, reincarnations, and immortality.  According to Leary’s Exo-Psychology theory, the DNA memory contains information about the whole evolution (our past lives as well as the future of evolution).  what is the fuction of the DNA?  According to leary, the growth and function of the nervous system as well as the rest of the body is predetermined by the DNA code: “DNA designs and constructs the nervous system and maintains supervisory and re-constructive communication with somatic cells and neurons mediated by RNA” (Leary, Info-Psychology, p. 120)  Leary considers the DNA code to be something which is immortal because it is the only thing that has survived in the long chain of evolution.  The goal of life, in Leary’s Exo-Psychology theory, is immortality or fusion with Higher Intelligence.  Leary argues that immortality is attained through control of the DNA.  psychedelic frugs like LSD would enable the nervous system to decipher the genetic code.  by identifying with this “genetic intelligence,” which means that we imprint the DNA reality in our nervous system, we would be able to become immortal.” (Leary, Info-Psychology, p. 122)

Leary’s Eight Circuit Model: #8 The Neuro-Atomic Circuit

Leary-Subatomic-particles

Leary thinks that Subnuclear events can be “experienced”

The “genetic intelligence” (seventh circuit) is “the immortal invisible soul that outlive the body,” writes Leary.  But where does the DNA come from?  Who created the DNA?  learyadmits that he does not have a final answer to this question.  he speculates that the answer to this question could be found if we go further on into the microscopic physical world.  In Exo-Psychology, he suggests that sub-nuclear events inside each atom determine the elemental process of life:

On the basis of the scientific evidence now at hand, the best answer to the Higher Intelligence Creator question comes from the frontiers of nuclear physics and quantum mechanics.  The basic energies, the meta-physiological contelligence is probably located within the nucleus of the atom. […] Physicists are currently studying the sub-nuclear realm to identify the high-velocity particles which make up the language of energy […] Exo-psychology seeks to provide the concepts which allow nuclear physicists to personalize sub-nuclear events [by activating the Eight Circuit] so that they can be experiences. (Leary, Info-Psuchology, p. 126)

leary-subatomicparticletracksIn order toback hsi speculations Leary quotes physicists and philosphers Nick Herbert who argues that the sub-atomic world must be ‘non-local’, which mean that it does not obey the laws of space and time and that in this world the speed of light barrier is transcended (Leary, Info-Psychology, p. 130).  in Exo-Psychology, learu explains that at the Neuroatomic level the basic energies which comprise all structures i the universe are available for managment: “The metaphysiological contelligence constructs atms, DNA chains, molecules, neurons; sculpts, designs, architects all forms of matter by manipulating nuclear particles and gravitational fields.” (Info-Psychology, p. 129)  The “Neuroatomic Conteilligence” no longer needs bodies, neurons, and DNA designs.  It is a “metaphysiologial brain.”  According to leary, this metaphysiological contelligence is the Higher Intelligence (God?) which created life and the DNA.  It is the entire “cosmic braon” (just as the DNA helix is the local brain guding planetary evolution).  it is “ouselves-in-the-future.” (Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 98).  According to Leary, science (nuclear physics, genetics) and technology (computers, psychedelics, technology for space travel) will help us to reach this final stage of evolution, but we have still a long way to go.

 

The Politics of the Future: When Representative Democracy is Replaced by an “Electronic nervous System”

neuro-politics

In Leary’s Exo-Psychology theory, in which the evolution of the nervous system from its terrestrial-mechanical statges to ist post-terrestrail-individualistic stages is described, technology plays an important role.  The function of technology is that it aids our evolution.  it helps us to activate the higher circuits of the nervous system.  Leary puts much emphasis on the sixth stage of evolution, on which the Neuroelectric Circuit is activated.  We have already mentianed that the function of the sixth circuit is communication – not normal speech or symbols on paper, but communication on the electromagnetic level between two or more people operating at the sixth circuit.  According to leary’s Exo-Psychology theory, electronic-communication technology (telephone, TV, computer, networks, etc.) can help us to activate the Neuroelectric Circuit.  In Neuropolitics, we find two interesting essays which deal with the political implications of electronic-comminication-technology.  The essays are titles “The Fall of Representative Government” (Leary, Neuropolitics, p. 45f) and “The return of Individual Sovereignty” (Leary, Neuropolitics, p. 47-49) bothwritten in 1973 when Leary was in prison.  In “The fall of Representative Government,” Leary, who has always been against governements, argues that with the emergence of electronic-communication-technology any form of representative governement (one person is selcted to represent others) becmes outmodes.  As leary put it: Representative governement as practiced today is a brief and now outmoded historical phase designed to bridge the period between the rise of industrial states and the emergence of globe-linking electrocal-electronic communication.” (Leary, Neuropolitics, p. 45)  According to Leary, the process of selecting representative to govern is a relic of the horse-drawn slave-holding culture which produced the American Constitution.  leary argues that the articles in the American Constitution which set up the mecanics of governement are dangerously archaic:

Senators elected every six years to represent two million people? A president elected every four years to repreent 140 million people? This slow, cumbersome system was necessary when it took two weeks for the news to travel form New orleans to Boston.  representative government by strangers and political party partisanship is outdated.  most American have never met their representative – indeed not to know his name,  Governement by law is an unworkable bureacratic cliche. (Lary, Neuropolitics, p. 46)

Leary tries to make us aware that we have all beeen “robot-trained” – with the help of history books which are self-serving and the print media which are used by political leaders to manipulate us – to believe that elective democracy is something sacred.  He want us to realize that the times of centralizedgovernements, when politicians were able to control people with the help of technology, are over.  Politicians are no longer able to keep the methods they apply secret from the people.  Technology can be used to reduce individual freedom and to enhance the power of politicians controlling centralized governments, but only if the people do not know the methods applied by authoritarian technocrats.  One dissident electronic-media expert, however, would be able to use the electronic media for their personal empowerment.  As more and more people are learning to use electronic technology to govern themselves according to the laws of information, competitive politics are dying. (Leary, Neuropolitics, p. 49) Instead of the “outdated and cumbersome” American political system is which one president elected every four years represented 140 million people, Leary suggests a new political model:

The political model should be based on the nervous system: 140 billion neurons each hooked to an electric network.  Electronic communication make possible direct participatory democracy.  Every citizen has a voting card which he or she inserts in voting machhine and central computer registers and harmnize the messages from every component part.  Neurological politics eliminates parties, politicians, campaigns, campaign expenditures.  The citizen votes like a neuron fires when it has a signal to communicate.  The voices of the citizenry continually inform civil service technicians who carry out the will, not of the majority (a vicious and suicidal elevation of the mediocrity) but of each citizen. (Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 46)

Leary’s model of an “electronic nervous system” is base on the assumption that every citizen has a personal computer which is connected to world wide electronic network.  This worldwide electronic network in which every individual can express hsi opinion would help us to create a new governmental sructure which “gets the country alive and laughing again.” (Leary, Neuropolitics, p. 49)  However, Leary does not explain in detail how this governmental system without parties and politician is supposed to function.  As far as the idea of a global “electronic nervous system” is concerned, it has to mentioned that Leary seems to have been influenced by Global Village prophet Marshall McLuhan very much.  It was already in the early 60s when McLuhan came up with the idea that electric circuitry is an extension of the human nervous system. (McLuhan, 1964, p. 1)  This idea is based on the concept that “all media [i.e. technologies] are extensions of some human faculty – psychic or physical” (McLuhan, 1967). For example, the photo is an extension of the eye, the wheel an extension of the foot, tec.  “With electricity [radio. television, computers, etc.] we extend our nervous systems globally, instantly interrelation every human experience” (McLuhan, 1967) (in McLuhan The medium is the Messahe the pages are not numbered). McLuhan predicted that electronic technology would reshape and restructure patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal lvs.  By involving is in other people’s actions and thoughts, electronic would and psychic, social, economic, and political self-centeredness (McLuhan, 1967) A new form of “politics” would be emerging because “the living room has become a voting booth.” (McLuhan, 1967) “In the electric age, when our nervous system is technologically extended to involve us is the whole of mankind and to incorporate the whole of mankind in us, we necessarily participate, in depth, in the consequence of our very action,” writes McLuhan in Understanding the Media (McLuhan, 1964: 4).  According to McLuhan, every new medium introduces a change of human perception (focus-shift from one sense to other), association and action.  This means that our ways of thinking and perceiving the world are always determined by the medium we use.  McLuhan coined the phrase “the mediam is the message” which expresses his idea that it is the medium, not the content,  thant changes people’s world views.  Leary does not mention McLuhan in his two essays that deals with the effects that electronic technology has on society and the individual.  However, he uses McLuhan’s  famous phrase in a slignly different firm: “The medium is the evolutionary message.” (Leary, Neuropolitique, p. 49)

How did people in the 1970s react to Leary’s early projections about computers and networking?  His ideas about a global electronic network that connects people throughout the world elicited only ridicule. “He was literally laughed off the sets of TV new shows in the 1970s for predicting that most human being would some day sending one another ‘messages through their word processors’ and that the world would be linked together through a new ‘electronic nervous system’,” writes Douglas Rushkoff, writer and friend of Leary’s.  A fars as Leary’s advocacy for personal computers and the Internet in the 80s and the 90s is concerned, may people in the cyber-movement  and kids at rave parties (Leary gave lectures on rave-parties) considered Leary to be the only jumping on their bandwagon” even though he was one of the first advocates of computers (Rushkoff, Loved by Leary, Psychedelic Island Views, Vol. 2, (1996), p. 47)  They did not know that Leary began talking about computers as a mean of culture-crossing even before Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak marketed the first personal computer in 1976).

 

 

The Impact of Leary’s Exo-Psychological Model

leary-legacyIn the late 70s and early 80s, Leary’s model of the Eight Levels of Consciousness and his vision of post-terrestrial existence free from all limits (free from social and political limitations, as well as the limit of space, time, and the body) influenced quite a few “psychedelic philosophers” and a considerable number of people interested in altered states of consciousness.  many yound people in the early 80s, however, were not only interested in the drug-aspect of Leary’s theory.  They felt that Leary, by inclusing tecnology into his vision of the future, helped them to definde the new generation they were part of.  Leary’s Exo Psychology theory offered these people who had decided to “leave the flower-power 60s behind” a new way of live with technology, to make it theirs.  In the eyes of these people, Leary resolved the dichotomy between spirituality (the “inner quest”) and science/technology (the “outer quest”).  In Exo-Psychology and Neuropolitics, he shows that technology is not intrinsically evil; il can have a liberating effect as well.  In The Intelligence Agents, Leary suggests that we should look westward for change because the East is stagnating.  Leary was the one who made young psychedelic tripprers and anti-technology-oriented ex-hippies aware of the fact that drugs were only a part of the continuing evolution of the human species towards elightenment, and that the evolutionary purpose of technology was to help us on our “spiritual path” towards freedom, elightenment and immortality. As far as psychedelic philosophers whe inspired by Leary’s Eight Circuit model are concerned, there are at least two writers that have to be mentioned here: Robert Anton Wilson and Antero Ali.  Like Leary’s books, their books could be placed somewhere between science fiction, psychology, sociology, philosophy and heresy. Robert Anton Wilson – who was a longtime collaborator with Leary, like our man himself, is a spokedman for the psychedelic culture – talk about Leary’s model of the Eight Circuits of Consciousness in several of his books, for example in Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati (WIlson, 1997, first published in 1977) and Quantum Psychology (Wilson 1996). He even wrote one book, Prometheus Rising (Wilson 1983), that deals exclusively with leary’s Eight Circuit Model.  By relating it to a great number of theories from the field of psychology, philosophy, and atomic physics and adding new ideas about how to increase one’s intelligence, Wilson develops Leary’s model further.  Leary claims that Robert Anton Wilson has interpreted his theories better than anybody else (Stafford 1992, III-30).  Wilson as influenced by Leary’s Eight Circuit model very much.  Long after that Leary was dead Wilson hd continued to spread his ideas until he passed way himself in ….?  Angel Tech – A Modern Shaman’s Guide to Reality Selection (Ali 1990), written by Anterro Ali, is also based on Leary’s Eight Circuit model and offers the reader a great variety of ways to expand one’s consciousness (not only the chemical solution that leary suggests).  The aim of the books we have mentioned is basically the same as Leary’s, namely to enable the individual to create his own realities. It is hard to say how many yound peple were influenced by Leary’s Eight Circuit model in the 1970s.  Of course, there were some of the (ex-)hipies who still read Leary’s books from the 60s.  However, from the fact that Leary was not released from prison before 1976 and that his Exo-Psychology works did not appear before 1977 it could be concluded that not many people knew what Leary was doing in the early 70s at all. Furthermore, the “LDS-boom” was over, so there was no need for an LSD-guru any more.  But what aout the late 70s when Leary went on lectures tour again?  In Freid Shoes, Cooked Diamonds (Mtstic Fire Video 1978), a documentary on the Beat poets, we can see that there was a considerable numer of artists, students and people who were in some way associated with the Beat poets, who read Leary’s Exo Psychology books.  Afetr his release from prison Leary spent a lot of time with the beat poets.  Whenever they gave seminars, the “Evolutionary Agent” Leary also was there lecturing on space migration, intelligence increase, and life extension.  Fried Shoes, Cooked Diamons shows one of these seminars with Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Timother Leary, and other BEat poets.

In the 80s and 90s, Leary did not talk about his Exo-Psychology theory any more.  However, in the 80s amd 90s many young people became interested in this theory because they felt that Leary, by reconciling spirituality with cience and technology, helped them to define the new techno-generation they were part of.  In Chaos and Cyberculture, leary calls these people who grew up using computers to communicate and create their own digital realities “cyberpuks,” or the”New Breed.”   Another important spokesan of cyberculture was also inspired by Leary’s Exo-Psychology theory is R.U. Sirius (a.k.a. Ken Gofman), the co-founder and original editor-in-chief of the first cyberculture magazine Mondo 2000, who has been called “a head on the Mt. Rushmore of cyberculture” (DD, p. 241)   In contrast with most of the people in the psychedelic movement in the 60s and 70s, Sirius has never been a technophobe.  According to Sirius, there have always been two strands in the psychedelic counterculture. Sirius explains: “A majority strad of people felt overwhelmed by the ugliness of Western Civilization and wanted to get as much distance from it as possible.  But about ten percent always consisted of “sci-fi” types.  For instance, Digger manifestoes of ’67 and ’68 anticipated ‘machines of loving grace” that would usher in a post-scarcity culture” (quoted in Stafford, 1992: III p. 46)  In the 80s and the 90s, lear did not talk about his Eight-Circuit Model much any more but rathjer show that the universe is just too complex and chaotic to be pressed in a simple rigid model like the Eight Circuits Model.  However, in 1987 Leary published and updated version of Exo-Psychology which is titled Info-Psychology.  In Info-Psychology, the focus is on cyberspace, not outer space.  The model of theEight Circuit of consciousness basically remains the same.  The Neuroelectric Circuit is renamed Cybernetic Circuit (the internet being the electronic nervous system Leary predicted in the 70s) In the 70s, Siris felt hat he rather belonged to the sci-fi types than the technophobes.  In a Washinton Post interview in 1992, Sirius recalled “We wanted to believe in this cybernetic vision, that the machines would do it for us.  And I maintained that vision, somewhere in the back of my head” (quoted in Dery 1996, p. 35).  In 1980, Sirius had a revealing LSD-Experience which assered hi that his intuition was right.  This experience caused him to change his life.   Cultural critic Mark Dery describes Sirius’ ‘metamorphosis’:

A fateful acid trip in 1980, days after John Lennon’s death, somehow assured him of “the all-rightness of everything” – a revelation that spurred him to leave the sixties behind and catch uop with the emerging computer culture around him.  Delving into Scientific American, he soon concluded the the Diggers’ anarchist utopia of universal leisure and infinite abundance lay within reach; the revolution, if it happended, would be brought about not by political radicals but by the high-tech breakthroughs of capitalist visionaries.  But why settle for a cybernetic Eden when the promise of prosthetic godhood lay somewhere over the rainbow? Inspited ny Timothy Leary’s premonitions in the seventies of “soace migration” to off-world colonies.  Sirius incoporated a high-tech take on the human potential movement into his vision of robotopia.

It was Leary’s Exo-Psychology theory that convinced Sirius tat technology would not only help us to create a society where work is obsolete and all of us are watched over by “machines of Loving grace,” but also enable us to attain enlightenment, to free ourselves from the limits of space, time, and the body.  In 1984, SIrius founded a psychedelic magazine that later becae Mondo 2000.  Subtitled A Space Age Newspaper of Psychedelics, Science, Human Potential, Irreverence and and Modern Art, it was called High Frontiers.  High Frontiers is a name borrowed from O’Neil’s book The High Frontier, which deals with the construction of space colony.  High Frotiers evolved into Reality Hackers, which evolved into Mondo 2000.  In the course of time the magazine became more and more high-tech.  The focus of the magazine shifted from the coverage of psychedelics, in High Frontiers, to the coverage of cyberculture, in Mondo 2000. Leary himself was one of the contribution editors of this magazine.  In Mondo 2000 we find articles about smart drugs (legal drugs that are supposed to enhance your intelligence), virtual reality, cyberpunk, interactive media, aphrodisiacs, artificial life, nanotechnology, brain implants, life extension, etc.  According to Sirius, now, in the 90s, scientists are developing technologies (e.g. nanotechnology) that help us to understand and “real-ize” Leary’s Eight Circuit model.  InDesign for Dying (Leary’s last book which he wrote together with Sirius), Sirius argues that most of Leary’s predictions in his Eight Circuit model about future scientific/technological and cultural developm,ents have actually become true:

During his later days, he [ Leary] didn’t talk about it [the Eight Circuit model].  After all, did any of us live perfect smooth, Circuit-Six, psychedelic, yogic lives?  Or did we not, occisionally, get drunk […]  But when I think about it, I’m impressed, particularly with how evolution of the technoculture since the 1970s matches his predictions of future volution.  In a clear gelatin capsule: Circuit Six, the neuroelectric circuit, is already a pop culture phonemenon, otherwise known as cyberculture, wired, the Web, the Net, cyberspace, etc.  The notion of living in electricity is with us.  More important, it surprised our culture by preceeding Circuit Seven, the neurogenetic circuit – biotechnology as a popular phenomenon, which is just slowly coming into its own.  When you hear about garacge gene hacking you’ll know we’ve arrived.  And who would have guessed that nanotechnology mainman Eric Drexler would come along and begin mapping Circuit Eight, the neuroatomic level, human expowerment on the molecular level. (Lear, 1997, p. 91)

Maybe we now not in better position to see why in Mondo 2000 Leary (along with Global Village prophet McLuhan and science fiction writer William Gibson) is portrayes as one of the most important pioneers of cyverspace (see Mondo 2000, issue 1 and 4).  In his Exo-Psychology theory Leary laid the ideological foundation for the cyber-movement of the 80s and 90s.

There is another prominent spokesmen of cyberculture who has been influences by Leary’s Exo Psychology.  His name is Bruce Eisner.  Eisner is the founder of a “psychedelic-cybernetic organisation” called Isalnd Foundation and the autor of Ecstasy: The Mdma Story.  The Island Foundation is an organization of individuals dedicated to the creation of a psychedelic culture.  The group is named after English novelist Aldous Huxley’s last novel, Island, about an utopian isalnd, “an imaginary place that nurtured and supported psychedelic vision”.  Island Foundations’s mission is to “foster the creation of a new culture based on the visions and ideals catalysed by the psychedelic experience.”  Island Foundation seek as its members those who have gained a vision of a more sensible and peaceful way of living together through the use of psychedelic and other mind-altering substances, as well as other methods of altering consciousness, like computers and the internet.  It was Leary’s The Intelligence Agents (and Huxley’s novel Island) that inspired Eisner to form the Island Foundation.  Leary also made Eisner aware of the promising possibilities of computers and the striking similarity between the psychedelic experience, during which one feels that he leaves his narrow reality tunnel and enters a multi-choice reality labyrinth, and the hypertext univers of the Internet, which gives one the same feeling (Eisner, Bruce Psychedelic Island Views Vol. 2, Issue 2, 1996, p. 4) It is also worth to mentioned hre the fact that a psilocybin-trip in October 1977 was the trigger that allowed Eisner to “perceive new connections.”  On this psychedelic trip Eisner realized that Leary was right: “East means stagnation.  West means evolution and change.”  Psychedelic and technology can help us to make the world a better place to live in.  This discovery lead him to found the Island Foundation.  We can’t help here but to noctice the similarity between Eisner’s and SIrius’ life-changing experience that changed their lives.  The Island Group expresses its opinions and policies in a magazine called Psychedelic Island Views, edited by Bruce Eisner.  For those who want to see by themselves the impact of that Leary’s  ideas had on this movement they can take a look at the second issue of Psycheledic Island Views, which is dedicated to Timothy Leary (the issue was published soon after Leary’s death), which features everal articles about Leary.  Just like the R.U. Sirius, Bruce Eisner, who wrote two of these articles, praises Leary as the psychedelic and cybernetic pioneer nonpareil (Eisner, Psychedelic Island Views, Vol. 2, 1996: 5-9)

Your Brain is God

leary-brain

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