The Eightfold Model of Human Consciousness (idea)
|This hierarchical model of human behaviour/experience/consciousness is definitely good food for thought.
Timothy Leary seems to have drawn on many ideas current in order to try to construct an over-arching metaphor. For instance see Erikson's Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development and Freud's Psychosexual Stages.
It is inevitable that the human mind will be compared to the most advanced machine available, and in the 1960s this was the circuit board in an electronic device. Dr. Leary uses this metaphor to show the different ways in which we may react. In this he makes an explicit metaphor: the human brain is constructed by evolution by adding new circuits to the existing ones, as we may build a complex electronic device, starting with the simplest functions and building up.
At the lower levels the model is simple and uncontroversial, but still novel to many of us. As in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, our first and most pressing concern is for our own survival - food, warmth, shelter, etc. This is the first "circuit".
Once this is taken care of, we can concern ourselves with our relation to authority, place in the pecking order in a typically animal fashion, but within our own human partly learned, partly innate moral and social order. This is the second "circuit". This is explicitly tied to Freud's ideas about toilet training.
It is questionable to me if logic, abstraction and communication (the third circuit) precedes sexual needs and morality (the fourth). In a child's developmental process it does. In our evolutionary history it does not. Morality is also more than just sexual, and the awakening of this morality should preceed sexual maturity.
It is also questionable to me that our logical minds occupy only one eighth of this model, and not a particularly highly placed eighth at that, when in my opinion this is where the richest variety and expression of human creativity lies. If the motive for placing this circuit on the third rung is that "reason is a whore", why then blind faith and mysticism is the Whore of Babylon.
Past the forth circuit we are into mystical territory, and even the best of us, Dr Leary included, are only guessing at what is there and how to order it, if indeed these intuitive non-linear faculties can be ordered at all.
Though the concept of metaprograming is an interesting one, some of these "higher circuits" are to me indistinguishable from pseudo-scientific new age mumbo-jumbo. See for example The Collective Neurogenetic Circuit's gabble about remembering past lives through your DNA or The Non-Local Quantum Circuit's quantum hand-waving in favour of precognition. No doubt it sounded fresh and like wow back in the 1960's.