Robert Anton Wilson is the author of Playboy’s Book of Forbidden Words (1972), Sex and Drugs: A Journey Beyond Limits (1973), The Sex Magicians (1974) and of the forthcoming Prometheus Rising: A Magick Manual for the Space Age (Llewellyn, 1975), Illuminatus! (fantasy trilogy, Dell, 1975) and Programming Manual for the Human Head (Revisionist Press, 1975). He is working on new books about Crowley, Dr. Timothy Leary and molecular biologists currently re-searching life-extension. This article is taken from his incredibly popular series of lectures at the Gnosticon 4 last September.
Magick has been defined as “the science and art of causing change in conformity with Will” (Crowley), “the science and art of causing change in consciousness in conformity with Will” (Dion Fortune), “a mnemonic system of psychology to train Will and Imagination” (Regardie), the art of “separating fools from their coin” (Ambrose Bierce), etc.
I propose to consider Magick as a name for “the investigation of, and exploitation of, hitherto-mysterious functions of the human nervous system.” That is, we investigate ourselves to find these functions, we exploit them to deliver advantage either in pure survival time or in the more arcane art of enjoying however much survival-time we do have, and we define these powers as “hitherto-mysterious” because we regard ourselves as such clever fellows that we might soon come to understand them better (and thereby exploit them more efficiently.) More modestly, we recognize that advances in science (sub-atomic physics, para-psychology, cybernetics et. al.) raise the distinct possibility that somebody will understand these wild talents in the near future, even if we personally are not that somebody.
Finally, we speak of the human nervous system, rather than “mind” or “soul” or similar traditional terms, because such older terminology is, as semanticists say, over/under defined: that is, over-defined in connoting vague and universal ideas of no scientific precision, under-defined in denoting nothing specific and measurable.
The nervous system is concrete, tangible, definite and scientifically analyzable. It is also, beyond all doubt, the medium through which we know everything we know, probably including much that we don’t even know that we know. All of our knowledge is neuro-logical; all of our evaluations are neuro-semantic; all of our reactions are neuro-muscular, neuro-glandular or neuro-endocrine. As Korzybski says in Science and Sanity, even mathematics (as known to us) is human mathematics, having the structure of the human nervous system. As Dr. Timothy Leary adds in Neurologic, “The body is the car; the nervous system is the driver.”
When we study Magick, then, we are studying the lesser-known and more occult functions of the human nervous system; but, since it is after all our own nervous system, we need not lose our heads, cry out about the “inexplicable” and the “unfathomable,” and abandon all scientific discipline, all common sense, and all logical thought.
Let us be as hardnosed as possible. We begin with one of the simplest of all magical acts (but one that contains, in kernel, the very essense of High Magick and all its dangers and secrets.) Let the men and women in the audience take alternative seats, and let each man place his right hand on the crown of the head of his female partner, his left hand on her solar plexus, palm inward. Let the man visualize vividly a white light floating above his head; let him pull down white light into his body; let him visualize it flow out through his right hand into the female partner, circulate through her body, and flow back to him through his left hand. Let the women visualize the same, and draw the energy into any physical ailment that may be bothering them (headache, cold, or whatever) or into any psychological problem such as depression or anxiety.
Let the women begin to intone the mantra “OM” when they quite distinctly feel the energy flowing into the problem and relieving it.
Now we simply reverse polarity. Let the women place their right hands upon the mens‘ heads, left hands upon the mens‘ solar plexi, and visualize the energy flowing back. This time, however, the men will not “OM” until they feel that they have received back more energy than they transmitted in the first round.
When this is accomplished, we reverse polarity again, and the women will not “OM” until they definitely feel that they have received more energy than in the first round and more than they transmitted in the second round.
This can be repeated several rounds more, as desired or felt necessary.
Now, this is the mysterious “multiplication of the first matter” in medieval alchemy. The energy used—“the first matter” of the alchemists, “animal magnetism” of Mesmer, “OD” of Baron Reichenback, “prana” of the Hindus, “mana” of the Polynesians, “wakan” of the Plains Indians, “orgone” of Wilhelm Reich, “bioplasma” of Dr. Pujarich—is the energy used in all Magick.
If the physical link between male and female partners is genital and loving, more of the energy moves, especially if the explosion of orgasm is renounced or long-postponed. This is the secret of Tantra, the yoga of sex, and of Aleister Crowley’s much-maligned “sex magick.”
The Tantric yogin keeps the energy moving indefinitely, renounces orgasm entirely, and eventually achieves that rare feat, a double-minded nervous system, in which the male and female are truly unified. This “delicate Hedonic engineering” (as Dr. Leary calls it) allows for the temporary creation of a new androgynous being where two separate beings had existed before. Prolonged, the one being itself vanishes into the Void (i.e. the joint two-person nervous system transcends all its historical imprints and becomes no-form, or omni-form, and is capable of imprinting itself for higher-level functioning than has hitherto been possible. This is the key to the 2=1=0 equation of Aleister Crowley.) The Void is nothing else but the temporary suspension of learned space-time-emotion imprints, i.e. imprints usually projected outward on the world and hallucinated as “reality.”
Similarly, in sex-magic (as distinguished from sex-yoga), the orgasm is timed to coincide with the climax of the magical ritual; the bio-energy is then cast outward onto the bio-energetic field of earth itself and “Magick” happens. That is, the energy produces results, just as electrical energy produces results, or heat energy, or atomic energy, all of which were equally “Magick” before they were understood.
We can now understand why it is that possibly the earliest and certainly the most wide-spread of all magical workings is the orgy or fertility ritual. This variety of balling has been universally popular with shamans of many cultures, not because people are very sexy animals (although we are the sexiest of all animals, according to zoologist Desmond Morris) but because it works. It works so well, in fact, that modern parapsychologists, investigating plant ESP, find that plants become emotionally involved when people merely talk of sex in the same room with them. (See Secret Life of Plants, by Tompkins and Bird.) In one case, plants reacted to sexual intercourse performed by their custodian when he was seventy miles away.
We have now extensionalized somewhat our expression “hitherto-mysterious functions of the human nervous system.” It ill becomes us to mock the primitive shaman for saying that the gods fertilize the crops after this sex-ritual is performed (at least, not until we are quite sure there are no gods anywhere…). It is rather more to the point if we pause a moment to admire the shamans‘ skill in discovering, without Cleve Backster’s polygraph, that plants do respond to human nervous system radiations. That some shamans discovered this as early as 30,000 B.C.E. (as indicated by sexual rituals in cave paintings) should provoke some lively respect for our ancestors, who in this case and many others used their nervous systems to such advantage that they obtained knowledge and power we are only recently learning to understand and duplicate with our scientific tools.
It seems that we can almost say: the human nervous system is the greatest scientific instrument we own. This is implicit, of course, in Aleister Crowley’s great mantra, “Every man and every woman is a star.” The reason I always begin my seminars with the “first matter” exercise is that it leaves no room for doubt about where the power comes from. It’s in each and every human nervous system. We can help each other—and we should, if we can spare the time from feeling self-righteous and sorry for ourselves—but, at the bottom, each of us is an independent star. I never teach anything in my classes; I show you, at most, how you can begin to teach yourself.
The Arch-Druid of the Berkeley grove of the Reformed Druids of North America has a saying, “A Perfect Master is ideal if you want to become a Perfect Slave.” It may be that somebody who’s new to Magick will have an experience in one of my classes and discover an entire new reality. I always point out that I didn’t do it; the student did it. I only showed the gimmick. Every man and woman studying Magick should memorize Ezra Pound’s famous definition, “A slave is a man waiting for somebody else to free him.” Or, as Eugiene Debs said to a socialist Congress once. “If you’re looking for a Moses to lead you out of the Capitalist wilderness into the Promised Land, don’t look at me. I wouldn’t do it if I could; because if I could lead you in, somebody else could lead you back out again.”
Here’s another little gimmick, to get the energy moving, borrowed from the Sufis. It’s actually a simplification of the Cabalistic Middle Pillar ritual. You visualize the white light above your head again, and then hold your right hand up into the light and intone a prolonged “Baaaaaaa…aaaaaa… aaa” as you feel the energy flow down your arm. Then quickly join the hands palms together over your breast, as in prayer, and intone a long “Raaaaaaaaaaa.” Complete by slapping the left thigh with the left hand and shouting “Ka!” Ba-ra-ka: three simple steps.
Whenever I ask how many people felt the energy, I get a lot of hands in the air—if we’ve done the “first matter” exercise first, but not otherwise. The reason is that the “first matter” exercise, by deliberately using the male-female erotic charge, taps the most powerful emotional force on this planet. There is no kind of Magick, I’m convinced, that doesn’t use this sexual motor-force, although some of the Christian magicians are pretty sneaky and indirect about it. I very much doubt that Tantrists and Crowleyans, who frankly go directly to the Source, are more lascivious than the rest of humanity; they’re just more honest and, therefore, more efficient.
Now we’re going to get a bit technical and look at our Table of Correspondences. Every school of Magick uses such analogs, because what we’re doing in Magick is moving from left frontal lobe domination to right frontal lobe domination. The average person does alt his/her thinking with the left front lobe, which is a digital computer. Magicians and yogis (and LSD trippers) turn on the right frontal lobe, as electro-encephalogram studies have demonstrated, and the right lobe is an analog computer. So we are switching from digital, linear Aristotelian thinking to analogic, synergetic, non-Aristotelian thinking.
What we’re using here as our analog console is based on Dr. Timothy Leary, G.I. Gurdjieff, Crowley, Cabala, Gnosticism, Sufism, poet Brian Barritt and my own small intelligence. By far the most important contributions come from the much maligned and persecuted Dr. Leary, and I want to emphasize that because I’ve found from experience that a majority of the people who are fervently convinced that Dr. Leary belongs in a cage for his ideas haven’t the foggiest notion what those ideas really are. Most of what follows comes from Dr. Leary; this is what he’s in a cage for; this is what makes him a menace to the good, decent, sober folk who elected Richard Nixon twice.
We assume eight circuits, or imprint-matrices, in the human nervous system. The first four, which comprise the tonal of Don Juan Matus, or the world of “normal” perception, are mediated through the digital left lobe. The second four, which comprise Don Juan’s nagual (nawahl), are mediated through the analogical right lobe.
The nervous system is the greatest scientific instrument we have, and its Designer must be reckoned the Highest Intelligence on this planet. Her initials are DNA; her full name is dioxyrubonucleic acid. She’s been around here for about 3½ billion years and evidently emigrated from somewhere else in the galaxy. At least, that’s the opinion of Sir Frances Crick, one of the three scientists (with John Watson and Rosalind Marshall) who discovered Her helical shape and Her method of templating (reproducing.) She came from Outer Space, Crick says, and She has been quite busy populating this planet for 3½ billion years. We are one of Her most elaborate creations; neuro-logically, we seem to be Her local masterpiece, although maybe the dolphins and whales are even more-neurologically complex.
She works in octaves, it appears; and in quartets within the octaves. Thus, the first four circuits are concerned with survival (and reproduction), the second four with transcendence. Circuit One, THE BIO-SURVIVAL CIRCUIT, which may be stimulated by visualizing a red chakra behind the genital and intoning low do on the musical octave, has the Gurdjieff vibration 384. This mediates immediate survival by digital computation, Aristotelian either/or-ism at its crudest and most urgent. Everything is quickly, efficiently, urgently categorized as SAFE or DANGEROUS—motherly-cuddly-nutritive or hostile-abrasive-noxious—and the computer programs a FORWARD (to the SAFE) or a BACKWARD (from the dangerous). See Table One for more details.
If you want to use the higher circuits, then, a first step is to turn off this first circuit and push the energy upwards. The yogin does this by asana, immobile posture. The magician does it by building his ritual to a climax of total stillness. The frustrated energy, refused its usual forward-or-back-ward outlet, can only go elsewhere in the nervous system.
Circuit Two, THE EMOTIONAL POWER CIRCUIT, which may be stimulated by visualizing an orange chakra at the base of the spine and intoning re, is Gurdjieff vibration 192, and mediates another Aristotelian dichotomy—UP or DOWN on the emotional power scale. The signals of swelling up, bluster, roaring (for domination) or cringing, shrinking, muttering (for submission) are remarkably similar throughout the animal kingdom. SEE TABLE.
To turn off this circuit and send energy to higher circuits, the yogin practices pranayama (liter-ally energy-control) via breath control. As Crowley noted, it is physically impossible to remain in an emotional state if you will stop and do 20-30 minutes of pranayama. The robot glands just don’t do their mechanistic trips when you’re in pranayama. Magicians and Sufis get the same effect by rhythmic movement or dance, when exquisitely orchestrated.
Circuit Three, THE DEXTERITY-SYMBOLISM CIRCUIT, stimulated by visualizing a yellow chakra in the solar plexus and intoning mi, is Gurdjieff’s 96 vibration and mediates OPEN or CLOSE— “open the fist to receive, close to grasp” being the dawn of manual intelligence; open-and-close the larynx rhythmically being the mechanism of speech; open-and-close also being the digital computer device of frontal lobe “thinking.” Circuit Three is very recent in evolution and allows subtleties (engineering, philosophy, science) not covered by the cruder Circuits I and II. SEE TABLE.
To turn off Circuit III, the yogin steps the mechanism of digital computation cold, by dharana (concentration on one image) or mantra (one sound.) Again, the energy must go somewhere and tends to flow into the higher, newer circuits.
Circuit IV, SEX-DOMESTICITY, visualized as a green chakra in the chest and intoned as fa, is Gurdjieff vibration 48 and mediates survival beyond the ego, through sex: that is, strutting, display, flirtation, mating, orgasm, care of the egg, nurture of the young.
To turn off this circuit, the yogin practices yama and niyama, the drop-out mystique, and abandons sexuality, sociality and attachment to the world. The magician and the Tantrist use the “first matter” exercise to transmute the energy directly into the higher circuits.
It must be emphasized that only yogin and shaman deliberately turn off these primitive circuits. The imprints on these circuits are, to use a chemical analogy, thermo-setting; and most people never change after these programs are set: Circuit I at crawling, Circuit II at walking, Circuit III at grasping and asking, Circuit IV at puberty. These robotic imprints generally remain the same at age 30 or 50 or 70 or 90, which is why Sufis and yogins (as well as Behaviorists) regard ordinary humanity as very busy, very mechanical, very limited animals who have not learned to tap their own potentials. In Dr. Leary’s terminology, all Circuit I to Circuit IV behavior is conditioned by reward-punishment; only Circuit V to Circuit VIII behavior is unconditioned.
It must also be emphasized that, “reality” being a joint phenomenon of observer-observed, the human nervous system creates a new universe at each stage of its development. The toddler, begin-ning to mess in family politics (emotional games), sees and inte-grates Circuit II signals (emotional game cues) invisible to the Circuit I neonate.
Again, the talking-questioning older child, imprinting the tribal lore and techniques, integrates abstract Circuit III signals that are invisible or non-existent to the emotionally gland-activated Circuit II infant. (These abstract-logical signals again become invisible to us, in later life, whenever we reactivate the Second Circuit fear-rage secretions.) At puberty again, the nervous system mutates and numerous Circuit IV signals (invitations to sperm-egg fusion), previously screened out, become glaringly, urgently visible.
On the Fifth Circuit again, new signals are perceived, a new universe-Gestalt integrated.
Circuit Five, THE NEUROSOMATIC CIRCUIT, stimulated by visualizing a blue chakra in the throat and intoning sol, is Gurdjieff’s 24 vibration and mediates neurosomatic rapture. The digital reward-punishment (safe-unsafe, “good-evil”) dichotomies of the left lobe are “drowned” in an oceanic experience of multi-ordinal analog signals received by the abruptly-activated right lobe. This ecstatic, sometimes hilarious “turn-on” or “illumination” is the first unconditioned moment since infancy and is often called “rebirth:” the nervous system is again wide open and any stimulus will form a whole new imprint.
Circuit Six, THE NEUROPHYSICAL CIRCUIT, stimulated by visualizing an idigo chakra in the center of the forehead and intoning la, is Gurdjieff’s 12 vibration and unleashes neurophysical power (Magick). That is, the nervous system now communicates (transmits-receives) directly to-from physical fields, atomic, electronic, magnetic, orgonomic, gravitational etc. energies are directly activated. The “first matter” is neurophysical energy.
In another sense, if Circuit Five is turning on (receiving new signals invisible on the left lobe I-IV circuits), Circuit Six is tuning in (developing high fidelity reception-transmission of the trans-ego signals).
Circuit Five is bliss, rapture, ecstasy. Shamans and yogis on this circuit, like pot-heads, are (in psychiatric jargon) amotivational. There is nothing to do, nothing worth doing, the Buddha-land of Nirvana or Big Rock Candy Mountain is right where you are sitting now. Circuit Six transcends this drop-out neurology and re-imprints the nervous system for “High Magick“, “the Great Work“, etc.; that is, for fusion with the Higher Intelligences.
We need not define the Higher Intelligences at this point in our explorations. These “angelic” or “godly” beings (Secret Chiefs) can be conceived as time-travelers from the future, as advanced Adepts in Tibet or the Near East, as extra-terrestrials, as the trans-ego DNA code within each cell of our own brains, or just as the (temporarily) Unknown. Each experimental Magician will form a personal opinion about this, based on direct experience with these “allies” (as Don Juan calls them). My own theory is extra-planetary and interstellar, but you need not buy that theory. Do the experiments and find your own explanation.
Circuit Seven, THE NEUROGENETIC CIRCUIT, stimulated by visualizing a violet chakra at the crown of the skull and intoning ti, is Gurdjieff vibration 6 and mediates the inter-neuron “conversation” of DNA and RNA, the templating of individuality out of the collective 3½ billion year old gene pool. Crowley’s “Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.” It is from here that Jung derives the evidence for his “collective unconscious“, from here the Oriental tradition derives its “reincarnation” and “transmigration” metaphors; here Isaac Bonewits’s “psychic switchboard” is found and activated. Paradoxically, of all the Higher Intelligences in Magick, this one is most definitely “me” and also most definitely “more than me.” Here you learn concretely, beyond theory, that most of our ancestors were not mammals but looked like Gila Monsters or alligators. Here you obtain the futique visions of the Super-WoMan, the androgynous god of the future. The DNA blueprint for this planet (and beyond) is made visible.
Circuit Eight, stimulated by visualizing the white light a foot above the head and intoning high do, is Gurdjieff’s vibration 3 and mediates out-of-body consciousness. It is conjectured that the ultimate evolutionary function of this circuit is to allow the Higher Intelligences of the galaxy to merge eventually with metaphysiological (not metaphysical) electro-magnetic-orgonomic Intelligence existing throughout galactic space-time and matching all the extravagant descriptions of “God” found in theology.
It is possible that the Higher Intelligences (Gurdjieffian-Cabalistic “angels” and “arch-angels“) in charge of distributing DNA about the galaxy and guiding/aiding its evolution are also yearning for union with the metaphysiological Intelligence („God” ) and that the evolutionary blueprint transcends our galaxy, involving other galactic Intelligences throughout the universe, as suggested in Olaf Stapledon’s inspired PSI PHY visions (Last and First Men, Star-Maker.)
Jacques Bergier has suggested, somewhat whimsically, that the Parisian radio station which broadcasts a one-hour transmission on French civilization once a week may be an earthside analog of magick/religious/UFO phenomenon. That is, some central “station” may be broadcasting a one-hour transmission on Cosmic civilization. Space-time relativity considerations make it not unthinkable that the Transmissions received on Earth in the past 30,000 years—by shamans, yogis, alchemists; Buddha, Jesus, Joseph Smith, Bohme, Blake, Crowley, Mary Baker Eddy; flying saucer “contactees“; etc.—are part of the same educational project. These Starseed Transmissions (as Dr. Leary calls them) suffer a great deal of semantic noise in passing through the nervous system which receives them, but remain strikingly identical in emphasis.
The Book of Mormon, Crowley’s Book of the Law, the Judeo-Christian Bible, the Upanishads and Vedas, etc., when closely and dispassionately studied, appear very much to be the same signal with encrustations of local prejudice, ignorance, bias and distortion. The signal seems to say:
—Turn off the lower circuits (I-IV); transcend. Turn on the higher circuits (V-VIII); become more aware.
—All the lower circuits are addicting, hallucinatory, mechanical, robotic, “sleep-walking“, maya; the higher circuits are where true freedom and the goal of all our desires can really be found.
—We have reached a crucial point in cosmic time (30,000 B.C.E. earth time to the present) at which increasing numbers can make the transition from left-lobe lower circuit robotism to right-lobe higher circuit freedom.
—There is a work for us to do.
The last part of the message (our “work“) is traditionally the most jumbled. Various seers have come back from these Contacts gibbering that we must drink tea every afternoon (a New Guinea messiah in LeBarre’s Ghost Dance: Origins of Religion), cut off the foreskin of our penis (Moses), give all our property to the poor (Jesus), burn, all our crops (an Amerindian messiah, LeBarre), sacrifice our children in furnaces (Moloch cult, Carthage), become very ascetic (St. Paul, Hindus ad. lib.), become very sensual (Tantrists, Blake), become more intelligent (Leary), etc. etc. Others have worshipped cargo planes, snakes, ghosts, Holy Virgins, buffalo, cats, ad. naus.
A little neurogenetic perspective is needed: The majority of humans at this date have imprinted survival programs on the first four circuits only; many of these programs are bizarre, contra-survival, “neurotic”—results of traumatic shock during imprint moments. A large group are aware that some of their programs have this bizarre “crazy-robot” quality and are seeking professional help from local shamans (or, in urban areas, psychotherapists) to re-imprint more rational programs. Such help in our culture varies from the mediocre to the inept.
A growing minority of post-larval humans has developed a five-circuit nervous system and has experienced some of the “transcendental” bliss states. The fad of metaprogramming chemicals (the “dope menace”) has made such post-larval states at least temporarily available to several millions, whereas yogic and shamanistic re-imprinting was previously achieved in only a few dozen post-larval persons each century. Again, on the fifth circuit, bizarre imprints are often taken and behavior is observably no whit less contra-survival and contra-intelligence than that of the most poorly-programmed I-IV circuit larval humans.
Circuit Six neurophysical awakening is even more rare. Many develop this circuit by sheer accident (the head injury that unlocked ESP in Danish psychic Peter Hurkos is an example). Others force Circuit Six opening by illadvised dope or occult experiments without first obtaining training in objective observation, rational thought or decent interpersonal relating (fill in your own Horrible Examples; the occult world is full of them.)
Circuit Seven neurogenetic intelligence (access to the planetary and extra-planetary life-script) is badly needed, as ecologists are urgently aware; but there are far, far fewer Circuit Seven types even than Circuit sixes. The earliest shamans opened this genetic archive far enough to communicate with such distant DNA-relatives as the plants (hence, their development of fertility Magick), but even today a Luther Burbank or a George Washington Carver, despite all his scientific education, cannot explain how he works clearly enough to teach the art as efficiently as dentistry or chiropractic is taught.
Circuit Eight meta-physiological functioning (“astral tripping”) is at an equally rudimentary stage.
We can only conclude that 30,000 B.C.E. to the present is an absurdly short time, cosmically speaking, and that these higher neurogenetic reception-transmission functions are in their infancy. Indeed, despite the brilliant gropings of William James, Freud, Jung et. al., serious scientific study of these functions, massively pursued by thousands of researchers, has virtually only begun in the past ten years. What many regard as the most promising line of research (investigation of meta-programming substances traditionally used by shamans) has been blocked by governmental hysteria as soon as it became public knowledge, and is now pursued only by subterraneans and outlaws, like alchemy and Craft wisdom in the Dark Ages.
I want to show you another metaprogramming console, the Structural Differential of Count Alfred Korzybski, the pioneer semanticist. The parabola at the top of this diagram can be regarded as the universal energy process, best represented by the open equation f (x) = y (or, as Eddington said, “Something unknown is doing something we don’t understand.”) The cut-off line with jagged edges at the top of the parabola indicates that this universal energy process has no limits that we know of. That is, whether it is finite or infinite in space time (what means finite? what means infinite?), it is infinite in aspects. There is no way of writing enough declarative sentences to describe it in full because, among other things, it is changing while you write.
This universal energy process is the Ain Soph Aur of the Cabalists, the Limitless Light. Consciousness of this is only obtainable on the Sixth (neurophysical) Circuit, when we literally tune in to the orgonomic, bio-energetic, vegetative, cellular, molecular, atomic and subatomic “vibes”—a dramatic experience elsewhere called “the White Light of the Void”, Satori, Samadhi, Cosmic Consciousness, etc.
Below the parabola is a circle representing ordinary perception (Circuits I to V.) At any given instant, we are abstracting such a perception from the universal energy process; it is the world we perceive at that moment. This world can be scanned as safe-dangerous (Circuit I), stronger-than-me or weaker-than-me (Circuit II), comprehensible or incomprehensible (Circuit III), loveable or hateful (Circuit IV), or simply marvelous beyond all categories (Circuit V.) Whichever circuit we are operating on, that is the kind of world we are perceiving-creating.
The principle of relativity refers to Neurologic even more than to physics. “Everything we see is inside our heads,” as Buckminster Fuller reminds us. (Skeptics should consult the first illustration in any optics text.)
Thus, if two organisms are “in” the same space-time situation, they will not perceive-create the same space-time world around themselves. The man is “in” one world and his dog, Fido, is “in” another world. The same holds true if our two organisms are man and woman, or two brothers, or any two entities whatsoever. Even if you and I are both shouting at each other in rage-fear (Second Circuit behavior) we are still each abstracting through a different nervous system and are not “in” the same world. (You are in the “outside” part of my world, as I am in the “outside” part of your world; but you and I are both on the “inside” of our own worlds. “Every number is infinite; there is no difference,” as the Book of the Law says.)
On our diagram, this is illustrated by having two circles at a slight angle to each other. Each circle is a perceived-world abstracted from the same universal energy process by a unique never to be repeated organism. (Heredity is not identity.)
Below the circles are squares, representing higher-order nervous system activities. Thus, after I perceive-create the world-of-this-instant I can mull over it, think about it, talk about it, and generally program all sorts of signals having only arbitrary “associational” conditioned reflex links with the original signals from Outside Me that started this chain of perception-creation.
Thus, even when my world-circle expands to “infinity” and the parabolic universal energy process is included therein (Sixth Circuit Samadhi) the next distinct state is another chain of “associational” conditioned reflex links (internal monologue, subvocal speech) symbolizing the event. We can go on doing this endlessly. When signals from the cellular archives‘ DNA “brain” are received (Seventh Circuit)—the encounter with Pan—the next distinct event is, again, more associational programming.
Crowley symbolized this process by the Soldier (!), his name for the exclamation point, and the Hunchback (?), his name for the question-mark. Each Soldier (!) is the opening of a new signal-reception network, or even, on higher circuits, a new me-world Gestalt. This high-circuit Samadhi can be symbolized by a row of soldiers: !!!!!!. The self-programmer can then mull over and reprogram these unique experiences, bringing in further Hunchbacks: ???. There is no end to this process and the unfrightened human lives in a constant parade of Soldiers and Hunchbacks: !!!?!!??!???!!!!???!!!! etc.
I call this Transcendental Atheism, since any “God” on any Circuit is immediately recognized as partial and delusory on the next higher Circuit. Every step up we can see that we were fools and robots on the Circuit below. (The Cosmic Joke.) It seems that we wake from one delusion into another. Yesterday’s freedom is recognized as today’s robotic habit and tomorrow’s idiot addiction (unless we change course and reprogram again).
My current addiction is to believe in the Seventh Circuit, which tells me that we have work to do (every Starseed Transmission ends on this upward-and-onward note) and that, in this junction of history, the work involves Immortality and Serial Reincarnation in the same body. That is, the chemistry of immortal life is at our door (informed estimates assure us that life extension to centuries will be available by the late 1980s, to millenia sometime in the next
half-century) and this changes the whole Neurologic of humanity. It is Utopia or oblivion from here on out. We really make it or we really break it. It is time for us to “put away childish things” in St. Paul’s metaphor and become Cosmic adults.
Sufis and alchemists began talking of the Next Step nearly one thousand years ago; the Starseed Transmissions have increasingly invoked the notion of evolutionary change ever since. The DNA wants a new game; death-rebirth is a worn out program. Listen to Nitzsche (“Man is a creature that must be surpassed”); UFO “nuts” (“I hear those starry voices calling…”); Crowley (“Verily: thou shalt not die but live”); Gurdjieff (“My way is against God and against Nature”); science fiction bards and holy visionaries of pulp; Kubrick’s 2001; Teilhard de Chardin; and all the seers of the past century. They tell us: the Age of Aquarius is more than a change of style. It is a biological-cosmic mutation.
My DNA is telling my RNA, and your DNA is telling your RNA, that the birth-death 70-year-robot-ride is over and done with. A more interesting game is afoot; larval life is falling behind and the post-larval stirrings are in all of us. The metamorphoses is happening before our eyes, every minute. The war on metaprogramming chemicals escalates from $22 million per year to $212 million per year (Nixon’s Crusade), but the chemicals are only a small part of the upheaval. They can outlaw bio-feedback machines next year, but some bright post graduate will have a “pranameter” (to do pranayama scientifically) on the market the year after that. The djinn is out of the bottle. Technology is going where only a handful of brave, brilliant, mostly “primitive” neuro-programmers (shamans) have gone before. and (like it or not) Technology means results. You can hear the Gurus shrieking from Camden to Benares as their monopoly is obsoleted to the junk pile. “God won’t get‘ into a pill. God won’t get into a electro-encephalogram. God won’t get into a polygraph. God won’t do it any way but my way. Come to me and be saved.” Nobody’s buying at that stand anymore.
It should be obvious by now that, from the point of view of Neurologic, my “I” sees exactly what it looks at. “I” am the creator of my reality, and responsible for it. The depth and profundity of Intelligence discovered throughout the cosmos, especially on Sixth Circuit neurophysical channels and Seventh Circuit neurogenetic channels, dwarfs all our old Third Circuit digital pictures of the universal process. The great English biologist J.B.S. Haldane, after taking up yoga, lost all his Marxist dogmas and said, “The universe may be, not only queerer than we think, but queerer than we can think.” We now know that the universal energy is, not only more intelligent than we have thought, but more intelligent than we can presently think. Thales said, “All things are full of gods,” but this remained a dark saying to all but a few other futique visionaries for twenty-five centuries; now any biology graduate knows that each organism consists of billions of cells each of which has more moving parts, intelligently integrated, than a city the size of New York. The message of this cellular intelligence, when one is able to open Circuit Seven and scan it, is more intelligent than Einstein, more optimistic than a puppy, more erotic than a Tantric temple, more awesome than any myth, more joyous than Beethoven’s Ninth.
All of which is the rhetorical version of what I said more cynically before: I’m currently hooked to Circuit Seven, addicted to the evolutionary pan-urge, which wants to grow up from earthside temper tantrums to being a cosmic immortal adult. Every Starseed Transmission for several milleniums has told us to come home to the stars (“Heaven”) and live forever; now the mutation is at hand.
Let us look at our Neurogenetic octave again on a new, Helical console (figure 1). It can be seen that we have now included the octave of matter (Periodic Table of Elements) of Mendeleyev. Actually, this octave was discovered by John A. R. Newland five years before Mendeleyev, but poor Newland was laughed at on the floor of the Royal Chemical Society: the octave was so obviously an old magick device of Pythagoras‘ school that bright, up-to-date 19th century scientists couldn’t take it seriously. Only when Mendeleyev rediscovered the eight-fold path of matter (alkalis, alkalines, borons, carbons, nitrogens, oxygens, halogens, noble gases) did the Royal Society repent and give Newland a gold medal. It is extremely interesting that the same octave is found in the trigrams of I Ching (see figure 1). It may well be the eight-fold path (divided into two quartets) is a basic structural integrity of the universal energy process, just as Pythagoras believed. Buckminster Fuller, combining two tetrahedrons into his octet truss, decided that he had a mathematical archetype basic to all sciences he understood; and Dr. Fuller understands almost all the sciences fairly well. You might look in your own area of expertise for similar quartet-octet systems…
You will note that the Tarot and tree of Life can be expressed upon this octave of Neurologic. The total justification for these correlations cannot be given here, but the Tarot-Circuit relationships are worthy of some attention. Our adjustments are justified only by their results; theoretical debate without such results is that “great Serbonian bog where armies whole have sunk.”
We assume the following correspondences:
These four basic amino acids serve as bonds for the DNA helix. These chemical bonds are analogs of the sexual bonds at higher levels. (Here is some of the analogical, non-linear, non-Aristotelian right-lobe thinking we warned about earlier.) The pyramidines are “male analogs”, so adenine and cytosine are Wands and Swords respectively. The purines are “female analogs” so Cups and Discs are thymine and guanine. The lovely thing about this analog is that the phallic-vaginal symbolism (wands to cups, swords to discs) describes exactly the bonding system (adenine to thymine, cytosine to guanine) that actually does hold the DNA helix together.
The first DNA-RNA “conversation” (strategic-esthetic design decision) produces First Circuit intelligence (bio-survival programs) easily observed in unicellular organisms with their characteristic one-dimensional for-ward-back behavior. Watching closely, the ontological recapitulation can be observed in human infants at the crawling stage. The Tarot analogs of this circuitry are Fool-Magus-Empress representing input-decision-output. (We assume that each Circuit repeats the three-fold reception-integration-transmission function of the individual neuron (cf. inhale-retain-exhale in pranayama).) This is the imprinted intelligence of Circuit One.
The unimprinted Fool type (if encountered in adulthood) is the drifter, the floater, the unattached emotionless sociopath, the dumb-ox (Cabalistic correlate: aleph, ox) usually found in prisons, homes for the feeble-minded or “lunatic” asylums. Airy unimprinted Fools (Tarot number 0, void) have surprising social value in unforeseen situations, so “primitive” societies do not discard them as ours does; myths usually marry them off to the Princess in a surprise ending.
The Magus type is First Circuit braininess per se; the survival artist, the master-of-situations, a Juggler in old decks. This type advances-and-retreats with spectacular intuitive success, knowing just when to push and when to bend.
The Empress or Earth-Mother type is First Circuit bonding; based on the infant-mother and DNA-host planet bonds, this is the nurturing situation found. Daleth, the vaginal door. “Let’s face it, we all wanna go back there,” as Shelley Berman says.
Second Circuit intelligence (emotional power strategies) mediates the Sly Priestess/Emporer/Hierophant trio of emotional passivity, emotional domination, emotional bonding. (Just as the First Circuit bond is with the motherly Empress, the Second Circuit bond is with the fatherly-or-avuncular Hierophant, representing tribal game-rules sacralized by tradition.
The adult Sly Priestess is the type studied in Adler’s psychology, the quasi-masochist who wins by losing (scores “moral” points by submitting to the more aggressive emotionalists rather than resisting or dominating them), the quiet nun, the nebbish.
The adult Emporer can be studied in Richard Nixon, career of, see local library. The cop, the bully, the salesman are variations. Pure Second Circuit strategy programming. Crowley’s correlation with tzaddi (hook) rather than he (window) makes neurogenetic sense when one recalls that emotions are hooks, addictions, neuro-chemical repeating tape loops. The Emperor knows absolutely everything about emotional manipulation, emotional control, emotional power politics. The ethologists‘ alpha male is found in any territorial species but most resembling the human type among the alpha baboons.
The adult Hierophant (librarian, accountant, clergyman) has bonded to the tribal game rules. This person is all super-ego (Critical Parent); there is virtually no id (child) or ego (adult) in him/her.
Circuit Three intelligence mediates between the models of Lovers/Chariot/Strength. The two foldness of each card in this circuit emphasizes the digital either/or logic of the left frontal-lobe computer.
Lovers types are passive learners, always studying a new subject or programming a new hobby. Chariot types are forever building, structuring, designing. Strength types are bonded to the learned community (tribal elders)—T.S. Eliot’s wedding of Tradition and Individual Talent. Every person in a learned community or research project will easily be recognized as a passive knowledge-drinking consumer-Lover, an integrative knowledge-combining computer-Chariot, or a transmitting knowledge-creating output-Strength. In actual creativity we program each of these trips in rapidly repeating succession.
Circuit Four intelligence mediates between Hermit/Wheel/Justice. Passive sexual consumerism (masturbatory trips, with or without partners) are the Hermit (Monk-Playboy) mode. Integrative pair-bonding is the Wheel of Karma, the completing of the first four larval circuits, discharge of one’s DNA responsibility to reproduce the species entering the genetic roulette wheel for another DNA combination to come blinking onto the stage of life. The output of the circuit is social bonding, full membership in the tribe, full adult responsibility, usually full robotization as the tribal game becomes all-encompassing; Justice, the tribal game rules defined, exactly portrays this final stage of Circuit Four, the usual climax stage in the growth of the individual nervous system.
The second quartet within this octave can be considered the extra-terrestrial cards, the nagual transcendence of the tribal game tonal of the first quartet.
Circuit Five intelligence mediates Floating Man (astronaut?)/Death/Art programs. The Floating Man (Hanged Man) stage is the neurosomatic Turn On (dhyana). An oceanic flood of new signals as the nervous impulse leaps the gap between left lobe and right lobe, terrestrial survival and extra-terrestrial transcendence. The person is once again as detached from social reward-punishment as the unimprinted Fool; in the resulting Hedonic Boom many fuses are blown. (See LSD revolution, casualties of.) Watery, oceanic imagery comes spontaneously to all who have been there.
This purely passive stage is gradually integrated (the new signals incorporated into Gestalts) and we pass to:
Death, the intelligence of the Fifth Circuit, usually symbolized by a gigantic white horse (the new body intelligence, or neurosomatic consciousness) and a skeleton riding him (the death of the old socially conditioned ego of Circuits I-IV). Those who do not pass through this Death-Rebirth slot and remain Floating Men are the passive consumers of the occult world.
Finally, Art, the bonding-transmitting of the Fifth Circuit, occurs when the Tantric Union is achieved. This is the first true transcendence of the individual nervous system, and the five-circuit two-person neural network of Tantra is the only known oath to the higher circuits. (Every Tarot deck shows the Tantric path in this card; Crowley’s is most clear in using the traditional alchemical symbols of lion-eagle for the male-female fusion.) The Floating Men who do not make this Tantric link-age are to the Fifth Circuit what the masturbatory Hermit-monk perpetual adolescent type is to the Fourth Circuit.
Sixth Circuit intelligence probably cannot be imprinted within a heavy gravitational field; it is only rudimentary in all known Earth WoMen to this date. When im-printed-programmed fully under zero-gravity (free-fall) conditions it will probably mediate the Tarot trilogy of Devil-Tower-Star.
The Devil (Samadhi, Higher Intelligence) is the telepathic bond to a non-human nervous system. (Holy Guardian Angel, ally, elf helper, deva). The Tower is the integration of such signals portrayed negatively to warn the student on this path that it includes total destruction of humanity (i.e. human chauvinism), a project somewhat beyond the “liberal” humanist transcendence of racism, sexism, nationalism and similar low level games. The extraordinary number of human-animal sexual contacts portrayed in cave-paintings leave no doubt that the early shamans sought to leap this gap by Tantric bonding with the only non-human systems physically available to them. (Cf. the love-bond between witches and their familiars.) The Star, the successful bonding-transmission stage, is so clearly portrayed in any Tarot deck that the meaning is inescapable. Crowley identified this card with Sirius, the giant star nine light-years away which has fascinated many other Circuit Six types, including Gurdjieff, the Yezidi sect of Sufism, and the Egyptian priests whose annual festivals of the dog-star Sirius give us the expression “dog days” still in our language, beginning July 23 when the occult link between Earth-Sirius (through hyper-space?) is most intense.
Seventh Circuit intelligence mediates between Moon/Sun/Aeon which we translate as passive neurogenetic receptivity, integrative neurogenetic programming, transmission of neurogenetic output. Moon: racial memory, past life memory, the opening of the genetic archives. Sun: integration of the genetic Gestalt, the evolutionary Great Work, the True Will—“why I am here and what I must do.” Aeon: output-transmission, the neurogenetic bonding of that Company of evolutionary agents which Dr. John Lilly and Dr. Timothy Leary have defined as interstellar.
Eighth Circuit intelligence is indicated in the historical Tarot by the Universe card, which we assume in the integrative slot of this circuit. We add an Astral Body card, for the passive consumer stage of galactic consciousness, leave the Universe for the integrating-programming stage, and add a Black Hole card for the link outwards to other galaxies and other galactic Minds (Gods?).
Dr. Carl Sagan estimates that, if only 1 per cent of all stars in our galaxy have solar systems, and only 1 per cent of the solar systems have intelligent lite, and only 1 per cent of such intelligent races are more advanced than we, then there are at minimum 100,000 races in this galaxy alone who are to us Superhuman. We define these 100,000 Superhuman groups as those who have fully programmed the second quartet (Circuits V-VIII) and act as Transmitters of Starseed Signals. The basic similarities in reception among such post-larval humans as Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Crowley etc. (despite local, chauvinistic, superstitious distortions) entitles us to assume that such cosmic messages are not accidental eaves droppings or galactic blunders; we are expected to receive the messages (eventually). The first four circuits, on any planet, will then deal with adaptation-survival-reproduction on that planet, and the second four circuits will involve reception-integration-transmission of the signals of the larger cosmic script.
According to Clark’s law (coined by English PSI PHY philosopher-fictioneer-scientist Arthur Clarke), “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” To look for advanced technologies encountering Earth WoMen, then, we need not dig through Van Danikanism for artifacts of dubious manufacture etc.; we need only study the scannings of magically turned-on post-larval Circuit VIII humans. The nervous system is still the greatest scientific instrument we have, and it is our chief clue to Higher Intelligences.
Try to imagine a Technology 1000 years beyond ours. The more science you know, the more mind boggling this exercise is. Assume that, among the 100,000 super-human races assumed in this galaxy, some have a technology 1,000,000 years beyond ours. What “magick” feat will be impossible to them?
Note especially the corrolary to Clarke’s Law: any sufficiently advanced parapsychology is indistinguishable from magick. Imagine galactic races with a science of parapsychology (high circuit Neurologic) 1000 years beyond ours, 1,000,000 years beyond ours…
This network of loving intelligence, when encountered on the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Circuits, is mind blowing. Remember Marxist-materialist biologist J.B.S. Haldane, who said, after personal yogic investigation of these circuits, “The universe may be, not only queerer than we think, but queerer than we can think.” One can no longer quite believe that these signals are really invisible to larval humans (Circuits I-IV) and begins to imagine that they are play-acting their blindness, engaged in some hilarious pantomime of folly for some mysterious reason; only slowly does one rediscover that the larval humans are indeed larval and that the social reward-punishment grid of Circuits I-IV thoroughly scans out these higher-circuit Gestalts.
As Dr. John Lilly writes in Programming and Metaprogramming the Human Biocomputer, in the province of the nervous system, “what is believed true is true or becomes true, within limits to be found experientially and experimentally. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended,” because in the province of the nervous system, “there are not limits.”
The programming of the early circuits is total and invisible, while we are operating on these circuits. Consider Jones, worker, and Smith, employer, as Smith shows Jones to the door after an interview. Smith puts his arm around Jones‘ shoulder in a “friendly” (actually patronizing) manner. The picture is easily visualized and quite “normal.” Now start the movie again and watch Jones casually put his arm around Smith’s shoulder. Weird, isn’t it? The latter picture doesn’t seem right because, in Second Circuit programming, the dominant party may initiate touching but the submissive party may not so initiate touching. (A Martian would recognize this as a male-chauvinist society by noting that “normal” men are allowed to initiate the touching of “normal” women—we are ignoring Bohemians or freaks here—but “normal” women may not initiate the touching of “normal” men.)
Circuit Three programming is even harder to spot; often we can only get clues by studying who’s in jail lately. When a poet, a philosopher, a scientist etc. is jailed, you can be sure he or she has somehow violated the Circuit Three programming rules (epistemology). Dr. Wilhelm Reich did this by allowing Fifth and Sixth Circuit energies into his bio-psychology; Dr. Reich died in prison. Today, Dr. Leary is in jail for the same variety of thought-crime. Tomorrow it will probably be the turn of the vitamin therapists. Only the domination of the first quartet by powerful Second Circuit glandular reflexes (fear-rage) prevents people from noting the absurdity of attempting to settle scientific-epistemological disputes by the devices of cops-courts-cages and the whole mad matrix of spies, double agents, no-knock laws, midnight raids, terrorism, etc.
“The human brain,” Norbert Wiener solemnly declared in his epoch making Cybernetics: Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, “probably works on some variation of the famous principle enunciated in The Hunting of the Snark: ‚What I tell you three times is true.’” This is the principle of redundancy in Information Theory; persistent signals are recognized, sporadic signals are ignored. If I see a chair one second and not the next, I assume my senses were scanning wrong for an instant; but if I see the chair continually, I accept it as “real.” Second Circuit emotional-intelligence types are all magicians in the bad sense: they program others into their own reality very quickly. It is a triumph of sanity and objectivity to remain in the company of Second Circuit types and see what is really happening. Few have this sanity and objectivity. Much of so-called “reality” is just the paranoid broadcasting of Second Circuit hysterics (Korzybski’s principle of “semantic contagion”). Post-larval humans, as they become aware of this, gradually drop out of the stage set “social reality” and retreat to monastic or crash-pad enclaves with similar post-larvals.
To remain in the neuro-semantic insanity of larval society, without laughing hysterically or otherwise giving away the secret of one’s mutation, is the path of the Boddhisattva, who, like Father Demian going to live among the lepers, steels himself against the risk of contagion and returns to the madhouse of Circuit I-IV humanity. It is no accident that witches and wizards are traditionally pictured as having a sardonic laugh, or that the humor of the Sufis and Zen Masters is inscrutible to Spiro Agnew. Most Circuit I fears are paranoid; most Circuit II domination is farcical; most Circuit III thinking is monkey chatter; most Circuit IV love is vampirism on the installment plan. Allen Ginsberg’s description of Earth as an “armed madhouse” is hardly poetic hyperbole; open the newspaper and look at what is reported every day.
We have been describing some of the behaviors of the human nervous system; and we have sketched a context of interstellar neurogenetics in which human evolution is one small part of a far grander design. Nothing we have uttered conflicts with modern science; much of it has strong (and growing) support in current re-search; and yet we have included virtually all the territory traditionally assigned to shamans and yogis. It is obvious, then, that Scientific and Experimental Magick is a discipline that can be approached by the same methods as physics, geology, genetics, social psychology, etc.
We know that shamans and yogis are exploring the higher circuits of the human nervous system, no more, no less; we know that their work is centered in the right lobe, whereas most human behavior is mediated through the left lobe; we know, at minimum, that some of their subjective impressions while on these higher circuits (e.g. human-plant ESP) have been scientifically validated. There is no reason why we cannot investigate this field further by scientific means. Every ritual is, as Crowley wrote, a “physiological experiment,” an attempt to reprogram the neural energies into new channels. The research at Max Born Institute, where Gopi Krishna is working with physicists in an effort to measure the kundalini energy used in the Circuit Six transformations, promises a breakthrough in understanding for the very near future.
It should now be obvious that secrecy is a doomed and counter-productive strategy. Many traditional magick lodges, such as the Ordo Templi Orient is, realize this and have allowed hitherto-hidden programming techniques (sex-magick) to be published. A World Esoteric Assembly, devoted to revealing all the mysteries rather than monopolizing them, is badly needed; I am glad to be among the founding members of such an Order. The choice of Utopia or Oblivion becomes more stark every day. As Dr. Leary wrote in The Curse of the Oval Room:
Secrecy is the enemy of sanity and loving trust. If you keep secrets, you are an insane paranoiac. Concealment is the seed source of every human conflict. Secrecy is always caused by guilt or fear. Liddy’s parents were guilty about sex. And Nixon’s parents….
Let’s break the huddle. Before J. Edgar Hoover there was no secret police in this country….
Now comes the electronic revolution. Reveal-ation. Bugging equipment effective at long distances is inexpensive and easily available. Good. Liberals want stiff laws against bugging. Its the wrong move. Legalize everything. Legalize bugging….
Secrecy is the original sin…the basic crime against love. The issue is fundamental. What a blessing that Watergate has been uncovered to teach us the primary lesson. The purpose of life is to receive, synthesize, and transmit energy. Communication, output is the goal of life. Any star can tell you that. Communication is love. Secrecy, withholding the signal, hoarding, hiding, covering up the light is motivated by shame and fear, symptoms of the inability to love….
As so often happens, the extreme right wing is half right for the wrong reasons. They say primly: if you have done nothing wrong, you have no fear of being bugged. Exactly. But the logic works both ways. Then FBI files, CIA dossiers, and White House conversations should be open to all. Let every thing hang open. Let government be totally visible. The last, the very last people to hide anything should be the police and the government….
There is nothing and no way to hide. This is the acid message. We’re all on cosmic TV every moment.
Blessed words, brothers and sisters. May the World Esoteric Order never depart from this attitude and may we also keep in mind, less solemnly, Crowley’s metaprogram for magicians of this century:
We place no reliance
On Virgin or Pigeon;
Our method is science,
Our aim is religion.
Scientific and Experimental Magick
by Robert Anton Wilson appeared in Gnostica, Volume 4, Issue 5 in January 1975.