The Noble Eight-Fold Path
By Robert Anton Wilson
(This piece, published in "New Libertarian Weekly 65," March 13, 1977, was a sequel to the article I reprinted yesterday, "Eight Kind of Libertarians." -- Tom.)
In my previous column, I distinguished eight types of libertarians. To recapitulate:
1. The bio-survival libertarian, or anarcho-fascist, is Darwinian, anxiously and bitterly aware of being involved in a life-or-death struggle.
2. The emotional libertarian, or mammalian politician, is concerned with capturing territory and status; SHe is the emotional game-player, the Oneupmanship expert.
3. The symbolic libertarian, or Mr. Spock, is obsessed with logic, linear processes, mechanism and rationality.
4. The domesticated libertarian is the Utopian moralist, determined to right all wrongs and establish pure Justice everywhere.
5. The neurosomatic libertarian is your basic Hippie or Tantric yogin, i.e. the Hedonic Engineer.
6. The neuroelectric libertarian is the Black Magician (so-called), i.e. the Head Tripper free of all categories. "Nobody knows who I am or what I do, not even myself," says Don Juan to Carlos Castaneda, perfectly defining this type from inside.
7. The neurogenetic libertarian is an Evolutionary Agent, dedicated not just to freeing hirself or humanity from political authoritarianism but to freeing life from all limits of space, time or death.
8. The metaphysiological libertarian is operating at de Chardin's Omega Point, at one with all metaphysiological libertarians throughout space-time and beyond space time. (In mtystical literature these types are known as the Secret Chiefs, the Bodhisattvas or the Illuminati.)
These eight types are determined by statistically random imprints that are bonded into the nervous system at moments of imprint vulnerability. (See ethology and Dr. Leary's Exo-Psychology for further details on that.) The random element is part of the DNA blueprint (or "Mother Nature's plan," to be folksy about it) to ensure that we remain a diversified species.
Thus, there are eight kinds of authoritarians, also. Eight kinds of men. Eight kinds of women. Eight kinds of Armenians. Eight kinds of Italians. Eight kinds of Buddhists. Etc.
Imprint vulnerability is coded into the DNA tapes so that, for example, the newborn gosling is vulnerable to imprinting a protective mother entity immediately after hatching. The random element enters because, during the vulnerable period, anything roughly matching the genetic archetype will be imprinted. Thus, Lorenz reports a gosling that imprinted a ping-pong ball and followed it about attempting to nest with it and vocalizing to it as it would toward a real Mother Goose. Evidently, the fact that the pingpong ball has a round white body, like a Mother Goose, was enough to trigger the genetic imprinting process.
Similarly, Ardrie reports a newborn giraffe which imprinted a jeep, which it subsequently attempted to nurse from and followed around with imploring cries. Here the four wheels of the jeep evidently passed the scanners as the same signal normally transmitted by the four-legged Mama Giraffe.
In the past 6000 years domesticated humanity has been herded into vast urban hives at repetitious and stereotyped tasks, a process we optimistically call civilization. As in the ant-hive, these human hives have often kept a slave population and made war on other hives. Obviously, the total insectoid society of Maoism is the highest, most complex form of this fourth neurogenetic circuit. Humanity has been temporarily evolving away from the mammalian norm and toward the insectile.
(Frank Herbert's Hellstrom's Hive is a magnificent SF saga extending the process a few steps beyond even Mao.)
If this is the "civilized" norm, then all libertarians are, in some sense, rebels against civilization, i.e. against domestication.
The first circuit libertarian is rebelling backward to an early evolutionary stage; hence, the fierce Darwinian rhetoric in Stirner and libertarians of this type.
The second circuit emotional libertarian is rebelling backward also, but toward a more recent evolutionary stage, the mammalian pack or hunting-warrior band.
All political parties are basically hunting-warrior bands adapting themselves to the fourth circuit domesticated hive. Second circuit libertarians flock to parties and conspire endless to capture control of the hive and "set it free." This is like plotting to take over a whorehouse and set the whores and customers "free" to practice chastity. That is, people who want chastity are not in whorehouses and people who want freedom are not in domesticated hives.
Third circuit libertarians, whose patron God is Daedalus, are always plotting to engineer a libertarian hive by creating the perfect logical model of what is desired and teaching its value to others. This is based on the error of assuming everybody else is, or should be, a third circuit computer like Mr. Spock.
Fourth circuit libertarians are in a particularly ambiguous position since the fourth circuit is inherently hive-oriented. These types become anarcho-communist mystics, vegetarians, etc. and are usually to be found in mini-hives some hundreds of miles from the nearest macro-hive, practicing their own "libertarian" version of typical hive-taboo morality.
Fifth circuit libertarians turn on, tune in and drop out. They sometimes enter fourth circuit mini-hives briefly but as soon as they recognize the local taboo system as a permutation or combination of those of the macro-hives, they leave and float elsewhere. Probably, they will eventually float off the earth entirely to establish Tantric "Heavenly Cities" in space. Imagine a micro-L5 designed along the lines of Hassan i Sabbah's Garden of Delights and you get my idea of where fifth circuit libertarianism is going.
Sixth circuit libertarians are the allies of the future. Where circuits I to V identify the imprinted neural construct with "reality," the sixth circuit type participates consciously in the process of selecting alternative "realities." (Gurdjieff called this Self-Remembering; John Lilly calls is "self-metaprogramming.") By the standards of the earlier circuits, the sixth circuit libertarian appears to be a magician, a witch, a weirdo or perhaps a practical joker or clown. To hirself, the sixth circuit libertarian is engaged in freemasonry (to use that mystical term correctly for once), i.e. synergetic co-creation of new realities, Guerrilla ontology, Discordianism.
Seventh circuit libertarians are Taoistic, alchemical, hermetic Evolutionary Agents. When Camus writes, "If a mass death sentence defines the human condition, rebellion is its consequence," he is defining seventh circuit libertarianism.
If fifth and sixth circuit libertarians seem spooky, few or crazy to fourth-circuit domesticated hive dwellers, seventh circuit types seem absolutely diabolical. The archetypes are Satan, Prometheus, Dr. Faustus, Baron Frankenstein, all the mad scientists in all the kitsch classics who refused to be stopped by fourth circuit moralists warning them, "There are things Man was not meant to tamper with."
If an ideal fourth-circuit hive could be built on libertarian lines (e.g. Dante's earth paradise), the seventh-circuit libertarian would scornfully leave on the next starship. SHe would visit a fifth circuit Garden of Delights for a week's vacation occasionally, but wouldn't dream of living there. A sixth circuit psionic circus (e.g. what fourth circuit types call miracles, synchronicities or parapsychological phenomena) would amuse hir for only two or three weeks. SHe is in search of nothing less than transcending the boundaries of time and space.
When Socrates drank the hemlock he acted out the greatest Zen koan in the history of the West. He was exemplifying his adoration of seventh circuit evolutionary values over first circuit bio-survival. Those who credit his act to bravery or stubbornness have not understood it.
(See the eleuthyria chapter of Fowles' great novel, The Magus.)
Eighth circuit libertarians, having transcended time and space, live already in the future. Dogen Zengi, saying "Time is three eyes and seven elbows." Chuang-Tse saying, "There is no governor anywhere." (What a glorious precognition of cybernetic biology and the quantum inseparability principle!) Crowley's notorious "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." As a Zen classic defines this type, "He walks through the village, shirt open, grinning, looking like nobody special."
Only the eighth circuit libertarian knows that all the other types are right also, in their own way. Yositani Roshi, a great Zen teacher, used to say it to his students in these words:
"You are absolutely perfect just as you are."
-- Robert Anton Wilson