Monday, December 11, 2017

New German language RAW site

Martin Wagner, the prominent Austrian Robert Anton Wilson fan and scholar, has just launched his new German language site devoted to RAW, Robert Anton Wilson Fans Germania.

There's also a section with new material in English Martin has found. 

Martin's site is another piece of evidence that RAW has an international fan base.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Michael Johnson on the Eight Circuit Model

The new book on the Eight Circuit Model, which I noted in this blog post. 

(I liked Michael Johnson's comment on my Eight Circuit post the other day and thought it deserved a post of its own. I cut out a couple of sentences referring to me to make it more of a stand-alone piece. See my original post, including the comments, for more. The Management.) 

ALL models/maps seem meant to be used, and we are never to believe the map/model IS THE TERRITORY.

The 8 Circuit Model is obviously metaphorical: no neuroimaging machine will detect neural circuits that correlate with, say, a "metaprogramming" circuit in the grey matter.

The entire system grew richer over time and is getting richer in 2017. It serves many functions, but perhaps the most valuable function is the classic intellectual's gambit: invent a system of thought that allows for other thinkers to think in new spaces for further intellectual talk, experimentation, and speculation. Prof. Lakoff would say the 8CB Model was a re-framing of various previous models.*

The three main ways a Model becomes richer:

1.) Another thinker takes up the cudgel and elaborates on it. RAW did this most brilliantly in Prometheus Rising, in my opinion. Intellectuals with stellar synthesizing abilities have a field day in these novel mental spaces/models, even if only to display cleverness and erudition. I think RAW elaborated on Leary AND wowed us with his erudition. Most of Darwin's ideas were already in the air, or written down; his contributions to inchoate prior ideas were so monumental we rightly see him as genius, even though his maps had nothing about genetics in them...

2.) A thinker finds fault with the model in an INTERESTING WAY that suggest a new avenue of approach to some phenomena.

3.) A thinker basically agrees with the model, but strongly emphasizes what were "latent" or lesser ideas in the system, and they build upon the "old" system a new one. Does Jung as Freud's student qualify here? I think so, but others may disagree. Wilhelm Reich basically took Freud at his word and ran with it, and it seems like a "new thing" because Freud was maybe afraid to say it: if we're sexually repressed by social forces/Ego, maybe we need to get rid of the repression and not just accept it, etc...

And how does Crowley fit here? Sorry about the divergence...

I personally find the 8CB Model audacious, and I love to think with it, although I find many flaws. I have difficulties with a systems/process world of "reality" clashing with the implied individualistic aspects of the 8 circuits/systems/dimensions of Mind. Antero Alli's emphasis on systemic interconnectedness with different circuits - which was hinted at by RAW and Leary as far back as 1974, as Gathers has recently noted - functioned to make the Model seem more cybernetic in itself.

Maybe I need to maneuver in new ways. Hell yea I do...

It seems to me the neurogenetic and 8th/atomic are the least well-developed. The 8-ness of the model has seemed to me, at times, a product of shoehorning, and I think it was Bob Campbell who recently reminded me that RAW thought the Model would become extended to newer circuits, which just highlights the open-source-ness of the Model.

(Also: it's audacious but doesn't cover everything, although one could argue it as a sort of prolegomena to a Theory of Everything [TOE]. Just as we don't use a topographic map to find our way to a party in a city unfamiliar to us. Lately I've been wondering if the emotional component of discovery and reflection and speculation in Cosmology and subatomic quantum entanglement is best thought of as 8th circ. territory...)

For Leary more so than RAW (in my current understanding): the "post-terrestrial" circuits 5-8 were in large part a way for his perceived audience ("tribe") to further distance themselves from the "larvals."

* As I noted in this blog post, Leary was working on his model at least as far back as 1963. See "The Seven Tongues of God," delivered as a lecture in 1963, in Leary's The Politics of Ecstasy. Michael also has remarked on this. -- The Management.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Free (or nearly free) ebooks

Free science fiction anthology. Some big name authors.

Free ebooks from

Winter sale at OR books, all ebooks $1, paperbacks 20 percent. Leftist orientation, definitely not libertarian.  Sale for a "limited time," so look now. Includes Rushkoff's classic  Program or Be Programmed. 

Good site for checking ebook deals. 

If you don't have an ereader, you can download an ebook app for your smarthphone or whatever.

Friday, December 8, 2017

A naysayer on Leary and Wilson's theories

A fellow named Joshua Scott Hotchkin, who has a blog named Advanced Dank Unicorn, recently posted a piece called "Why You Should Be Skeptical of Timothy Leary’s SMI2LE Formula." This is a followup, of sorts, to Hotchkin's other recent piece, "The Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness Is An Egotistical Abstraction," which he claims is "fraught with issues, even as an analogy."

Hotchkin has been using Facebook to propagate his theories, and as you might imagine, it hasn't gone down well with many Leary/Wilson fans. Richard Rasa ventured some criticisms, and found himself blocked by Hotchkin.

It seems to me that the Eight Circuit model remains alive, at least in the sense that people still find it useful, as I've documented on this blog here and here. As for SMI2LE, there are plenty of Silicon Valley libertarian types who are trying to make space migration, intelligent increase, life extension and all of the rest of it a reality, and spending real money to do so. A blog post by a fellow in Iowa doesn't change that.

Rather than address Hotchkin's points, arguably not worth my time, I want to make a general point about models: As RAW would say, you use them insofar as they are useful. To put it in Buddhist terminology (from one of the Pali sutras), a raft is for getting across a river, not constructed to serve as a burden to carry around indefinitely.

As I write this, the disease model for dealing with opioid addiction has become popular in the U.S., because it solves certain problems. It removes the stigma from getting treatment, it allows people to focus on solving the problem rather than discussing the alleged failings of the person with an addiction, etc. No doubt there are points where the disease model might fail, or at least could be debated, but it remains alive because it is useful.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Getting an autograph

Robert Heinlein signing autographs in 1976 (Creative Commons photo)

I have to approve all comments now (it's the only way to keep large volumes of rather vile spam from being attached to the blog posts) and occasionally I get a comment to an old post. Here is a comment posted on a post from 2012, in which I tracked down the exact science fiction convention in California where Robert Anton Wilson met Philip K. Dick and the two talked. The comment was posted Dec. 3 by "tinwoods":

I remember attending and getting Heinlein's autograph. It was late in the day and there were only two of us in line. The adult in front of me (I was 14) had two grocery store bags filled with hardcover editions for Heinlein to sign. And though the great author looked more than a little perturbed about it, he signed them all. When it was my turn, I sheepishly handed Heinlein's wife (who wrote all his salutations) my just-purchased paperback copy of Starship Troopers. She and her husband seemed relieved and grateful that I only had the one book, so were very nice to me, both engaging in a bit of small talk with me, but not the man before me. I sold that signed paperback on eBay in 2014 when I was desperate for money and got nearly four hundred dollars for it. It makes me wonder what that fellow's hardcover books, all first editions as I recall, are worth now.

I wanted to share the anecdote (RAW loved Heinlein) but also wanted to pose a question. I never met RAW, so I never got his autograph. (I finally met Robert Shea at a worldcon in Boston, but hadn't known he would be there, so I didn't have a book with me.) Does anyone have any stories to share about getting Robert Anton Wilson's autograph?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

More Eight Circuit news

Mike Gathers

The Eight Circuits of Consciousness model developed by Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson continues to attract attention, and not just because of the new book by James Heffernan that I blogged about earlier. 

Mike Gathers, who played an important role in the collection of material at the website (see Michael Johnson's introduction to the Hilaritas Press edition of Email to the Universe) is a Colorado coach and therapist.

He recently gave a presentation on the Eight Circuits to a group of transpersonal counseling students at Naropa University and reports that it went really well.  Mike also shared a paper he had written, "Supporting Spiritual Emergency under the Framework of Dr. Timothy Leary's Eight Circuit Brain Model: Using the Lower Circuits to Absorb Transpersonal Shocks." Mike then realized he could write a book on the subject, and other RAW fans have been urging him to go forward.

Mike gave me permission to report on all this after discussing the matter in a private email group, and also said it was OK to post his paper (see the link above.) He also gave me a statement to use for this blog:

"I wrote this paper almost 10 years ago during my first year as a master's student in Naropa's Transpersonal Counseling Psychology program.  The previous semester I wrote a much shorter paper in which I interviewed Antero Alli as part of the assignment which included interviewing a subject matter expert.  I'm proud to say that Antero ended up including that interview in his book, The Eight Circuit Brain, Navigational Strategies for the Energetic Body._  I dusted this paper off when I was recently invited to do a guest lecture at Naropa on the Eight Circuit Brain - I hadn't thought deeply about the model since I wrote that paper 10 years ago.   Based on the students' enthusiastic response to the material I presented, and my own reflections on that experience, I realized that I have a book in me on this subject.   The time is right to update the model with modern developmental psycho-biology and share my own experience of working with the model as a tool for personal growth and development.   So that's the plan for 2018."

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tuesday links

N.K. Jemisin. Creative Commons photo by Laura Hanifin, copyright 2015; see here for details. 

Was Robert Anton Wilson prophetic?

Supergee's Christmas music confession. I like very traditional Christmas music, myself, "The Holly and the Ivy" and "Gabriel's Message" sung in the crumbling old English abbey, that sort of thing.

Thaddeus Russell's podcasts. The ones with Angela Keaton and Scott Horton are interesting; I haven't gotten to the others yet.

Butterfly Language on the key to changing your life. 

N.K. Jemisin's "The Fifth Season" to be made into TV series. She's won the best novel Hugo two years in a row.

People Daniel Ellsberg identifies with.