Photo by Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash
By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger
Notes on Chapter 3
Rereading Prometheus Rising in 2000 I signed up for Chinese kenpo classes at Mr. Toppins’s East Wind Martial Arts in Riverside, California, and studied with a few interruptions for ten years. During that time I also had the opportunity to study with karate do with Dr. Hargis. In 2010 I had some knee trouble so I stopped martial arts for a while. In 2016, once again working on Prometheus Rising, I decided to study Yang long form tai chi (108 movements) with Mr. Toppins. That worked out much better for my knees, and I hope to continue practicing tai chi for the rest of my life. I finished learning the form in 2019, and I continued studying with Mr. Toppins until the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. I hope to continue my lessons soon.
For this run through of Prometheus Rising I decided to focus on tai chi for three months starting March 6, 2021. Fortunately I remember the form well enough to practice by myself without a teacher.
Well, today June 6 has arrived. I have practiced tai chi most days for the last three months. Reading this chapter of Prometheus Rising, I note on page 28 Bob suggests that “opium and its derivatives return us to the ‘safe space’ on the biosurvival circuit.” I suspect that binge eating also returns us to a similar “safe space”.
By the way, I got another new computer this week. My high school decided to replace all of our iPads with new ones. I find this an interesting synchronicity. When Tom, Apuleius, and I decided to start this Prometheus Rising study group, I had no intention of getting a new computer to go along with the exercise in chapter two. Instead I have gotten three. I wonder what other surprises we will encounter over the next sixteen months (and beyond).
I was born prematurely and spent some time in an incubator. I suspect this led to my taking my strongest imprint on the first circuit and has contributed to my lifelong weight issues. The description on page 35 of “persons who take their heaviest imprint on the first (oral) circuit” fits me to a T. Interestingly, when I first read this book in 1985, I didn’t see this. I thought I had taken my strongest imprint on the third circuit. My friend Jai Jeffryes told me that he thought I had taken my strongest imprint on the first circuit, but I refused to see it at the time. I felt very proud of my powerful third circuit intelligence, but I lacked self-insight.
“God wishes for you ease and does not wish for you difficulty.” – Quran 4:28
The recursive calls at the end of some exercises to “reread this chapter” like in exercises 4 and 7 in this chapter, could go on infinitely. One might take a three month course in kung fu, reread the chapter, reach the exercises and take a three month course in karate and read the chapter, etc. ad infinitum. This leads us to the metaprogramming circuit, what Bob calls the seventh circuit in this book.
I would like to visit the Long Beach Aquarium or Sea World after the pandemic and do exercise 6. I have visited some doctor’s offices lately that have fish tanks, and I have observed them very closely.
I got a chance to see my baby great-granddaughter on Mother’s Day 2021, but I didn’t think of exercise 7 from this chapter at the time. This reminds of in 1985 when my roommate Robert Rabinowitz left quarters on our driveway after I had left to go on a walk looking for quarters. By the time I had returned to the house my mind had wandered so much that I didn’t glance down and notice the quarters. Fortunately I got to see another baby granddaughter on Memorial Day and I did remember to keep the exercise in mind this time.
The opening quote in this chapter from Sociobiology by Edward Wilson points forward to the collective neurogenetic (morphogenetic) circuit, what Wilson calls the sixth circuit in this book.
I find it interesting that Bob mention UFO’s on page 28. As the pandemic enters its endgame, UFO’s have entered the news. I wonder how they will emerge as we continue working through the book.
The reference to how one can find people with negative first circuit imprints in fringe groups of the extreme Left and extreme Right on page 36 makes me think of the political world of the U.S.A. in 2021, January 6, in particular. Coincidentally, James Joyce’s great story “The Dead” takes place on January 6, 1904. I took Bob to see the John Huston film of that story in 1988
Notes on Chapter 4
“Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees!”
The discussion of the second circuit, walking, and “learning to manipulate others politically” reminded me of a story a ballet teacher told of her ex-husband as a teenager walking across his room listening to Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture imagining himself as a prince. In a few years he would get cast as a prince in traditional ballets.
Mike Gathers has observed the deep impact Freud made on Bob’s interpretation of the eight circuit model. I just reread Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth getting ready for chapter five of Prometheus Rising. Freud’s impact on Portnoy intrigued me.
Bob Wilson imagines the imprints landing in quadrants of Leary’s Interpersonal Grid (or “cover two or more quadrants partly”). Mike Gathers has observed that Leary did not intend for this use of the Grid. Leary outlined a more complex system in The Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality using a sliding scale for various areas of the Grid for clinicians and others to utilize.
I fear I usually fall in the hostile weakness quadrant. I hope my imprints become “a little less rigid, a little more flexible” as we proceed.