My Views on Russell Brand’s “Trews” (Part II)

In Part I I discussed the premise of Trews and its good points, and attacked Russell Brand’s character by pointing out his various hypocrisies. I also entered a frankly bewildering discussion with horay_henry in the comments section, which turned into a Circuit II pissing contest despite my general intention to never have a Circuit II anything, ever — since to do so almost always results in a reinforcement of and double-down on one’s own existing views.

I think in future in such cases I’ll make one reply clarifying my views then disengage, since the human’s compulsion to filter everything through Circuit II will invariably see such a clarification as a “defence”, and thus: “Let the games begin!” That dynamic is strange to me because I’m dispassionate enough about my views to not have much desire to defend them. After all, they could turn on a dime in light of new evidence, experience or realization, and frequently do — sometimes even within the same day I wrote them. Hence, I maintain model agnosticism as a kind of “umbrella” view.

Maybe my new mantra will be similar to Blackdragon‘s “I don’t do drama”: I don’t do Circuit II.

Ultimately the conversation revolved around the apparent contradiction of being a model agnostic but still appearing to have views. I will explain why there is actually no paradox here in a future post. In short, it’s to do with behaving as though I view X as being true, despite maintaining uncertainties about its absolute truth — such as looking both ways before crossing the road.

Another interesting thing that happened was that, as a result of mentioning aerial surveillance drones in the post, I received a spam comment from a manufacturer of aerial drones based in China. Apparently you can just buy them now!

drone-comment

In this post I won’t be talking any more about Russell Brand himself, but will look at some of his ideas for a better world and give my initial thoughts on them. I don’t have any education in economics so much of that part of the analysis will actually be questions. It’s going to be very much a layman’s perspective. Feel free to help my understanding in the comments section!

Wealth Redistribution

One of Russell’s main ideas is that wealthy people should give their money back to poor people. In one episode of Trews he holds up a newspaper with a story that there are currently 100 billionaires in the UK. “That’s feudalism!” he says. “How about we get some of that money back off them?”

My first question is, how would that be done? Some personal wealth limit would need to be set (and would Russell fall above or below that limit? Hmmm…) and laws made to force individuals over that limit to hand over their cash. That means a more powerful government, and probably a bigger government too to enforce the new laws and maintain the system for redistributing the wealth. Then you’re stuck having to trust a bigger, more powerful government with the money. Is this really much better? Brand’s not a fan of governments, either, so it appears there’s some contradiction here.

In reality, both these systems are in play round the clock in whatever governmental system is in place in a country. There is always a pyramid with the few at the top being in charge of most of the resources. The point a country occupies on the Capitalism–Socialism spectrum simply seems to reflect the ratio of the potential for private corruption vs. governmental corruption respectively.

The Real Issue: Circuit II

The real issue seems to me to be that:

  1. There are limited resources.
  2. Humans are hardwired to form competitive hierarchies around those resources. That goes for any type of resource, even “intellectual resources” such as ideas (hence: “debate”, which is just a boxing match with words instead of punches).

In the Eight-Circuit Model of Consciousness, this hardwiring is described as Circuit II — Emotional–Territorial. To escape the framework of Circuit II behaviours, it seems to me there are two options:

  1. Create (practically) unlimited resources. This may be possible if humans figure out cold fusion (or some other practically infinite power source) and a way to turn that energy into required matter, for which nanotechnology might be a solution.
  2. Transcend the Circuit II framework on the neurological/consciousness level, and mete out limited resources fairly under a flat, non-pyramidal framework of cooperation and service-to-the-whole.

Option 1, if we ever achieved it, seems like an elegant fix-all solution. It is tempting to believe that if everyone had all the material resources they personally needed, and could ever need, Circuit II as a behavioural drive would simply vanish, relegated to “redundant legacy system”. History has shown us however that, when satisfied on the material level, Circuit II merely moves into other territories, e.g. cultural, intellectual and sexual battlegrounds. There is still plenty of room for human nastiness in these spheres. Solving the material resources problem, while likely lowering the level of urgency and intensity in those other battlegrounds (much in the same way team sports have generally replaced actual warfare in more materially well-off societies), is unlikely to completely eradicate the human desire to screw each other over on a regular basis and form vertical hierarchies. Circuit II is bred in the bone.

So the responsibility to make a fairer, kinder and more loving human society lies mostly with option 2: transcendence. Again, option 1 will likely help nudge more people towards pursuing transcendence of Circuit II, by making the apparent need for Circuit II behaviours less pressing. In reality, options 1 and 2 will help each other, as part of co-creating systems (my own hack for escaping chicken-and-egg causality). Option 2 will need to be the bigger system, however. This is why I still respect Russell for the message of love, compassion and sharing he broadcasts in most Trews episodes. I will speculate a little on the futurology of that vision shortly, but for now I’ll talk a bit more about wealth redistribution via the following question:

Would giving everyone more money actually change anything?

Let’s steal all the money back from those 100 billionaires, in our minds. Let’s assume they have £2 billlion each. Divided by the adult population of the UK (~50 million), that gives us each a spare £4000. Well personally I’m still in debt at that point, thanks to going to university. (However, I’d still use that money to leave the UK, but that’s a different story.)

Let’s say that leaves most of us better off, though. If Bill who runs the corner shop down the road suddenly knows everyone’s got a spare £4000 in their back pocket, what might he consider doing to his prices?

But let’s assume hyperinflation doesn’t kick in overnight. Ask yourself what you’d do with an extra £4000. I have no doubt there are many enterprising people out there who’d use it to give themselves a leg-up when starting a business, and do very well for it. I also reckon, for every one of them, there are 50 people who’d just spend it on a new flat-screen TV. They’d continue being consumers, like they’ve been programmed to be since the day they were born, and all the money would get funnelled upwards through a pyramid of tiers with the shrewdest or most cut-throat business people at the top, and we’d be back to where we were before long.

This is not a comment meant to inspire nihilism or hopelessness, but rather an observation on the general intractability of individuals’ internal reality maps. If your programmed worldview is that of rich man, poor man, consumer slave or slave-driver, you will tend to reject elements of your external reality which do not fit that model and thus, over time, your external circumstances, no matter how good or bad, will eventually realign to that internal model.

People Don’t Change

This is my core concern about giving people money, or in fact any sudden change in circumstance: on the whole, people don’t change. There’s a statistic flying around that 70% of lottery winners will squander their winnings within five years and be back to the financial position they were in before (or worse). I couldn’t find a source for that stat, despite it being repeated in about a million newspaper articles, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s true. In the UK there’s the well-known story of the “Lotto Lout”, Michael Carroll, who won £9.7 million on the lottery in 2002. After embarking on an 8-year crime spree, in 2010 he was worse-than-broke and reapplied for his old job as a binman. (I’ll talk more about low IQ and how it could well interfere with Russell’s plan for global enlightenment shortly.)

The point is, a change in external circumstances rarely results in a change in internal wiring. I have my own idea for why this is, and it concerns the corpus callosum acting as a kind of “lock” preventing the reality model in the right hemisphere from being “edited”. So, in short, babies start off right-brained (fact). They absorb the worldview and behaviours of their parents first and foremost, then others in their immediate environment, then society as a whole. By the time the child is 7 years old, the switch to the left brain is almost complete. The left brain, which can be seen as the “executive” in this model, carries out behaviours and strategies aligned with the “map” in the right brain. Whatever’s installed in those first 7 years of life becomes the map by which that person’s entire life then plays out.

“Personal development” can be seen as the struggle for getting new behaviours and worldviews into the right brain, and all “personal development methods” can be seen as attempts to open the lock of the corpus callosum and allow “write access” to the right brain again. If you think about how hard it is to change even one problem behaviour, and all the volumes of books you can typically find dedicated to trying to change that one behaviour, you will start to get an idea of quite what an issue this “lock” is for the human species. This “lock” reflects an inability to adapt to changing circumstances. All our “methods”, meditation included, are just trying to open that lock long enough to get something to copy across, or something to be shared between the hemispheres long enough to make a difference.

If change is so difficult for people who are actually trying (i.e. us), then how difficult is it going to be to get the whole species on board with change? Without significant futurological intervention, e.g. genetic engineering to make the corpus callosum function again, the answer is likely to be: impossible. What typically happens instead is that the seed of paradigm change is planted in the minds of the next generation. Since that generation also shares most of their reality map with their parents, this new idea isn’t going to “take” completely with this generation. You’re then waiting for the next generation to get the idea bearing more fruit. This is why it’s taken so long for, say, gays to be somewhat accepted in society. Or for racism to decrease significantly. You are literally waiting for the previous generations to die, because people cannot change. People not being able to change isn’t even the whole story; they have egos which hide from them even the need to change. People don’t want to change, they don’t see why they should, and they can’t anyway.

By viewing this as a biological fault, this actually gives us the opportunity to fix it. Think about it. If we assume there’s no fault, then we’re back to just struggling really hard to make everybody see how life could be if we all held hands and stood under a rainbow. Jesus said that 2000 years ago and it still hasn’t happened. Buddha said that more like 2500 years ago and it still hasn’t happened. But if it’s a biological fault, we can fix it via genetic engineering, bionic enhancement, or pharmaceutical breakthroughs, and people will do the right thing as a matter of common sense once their brain can communicate with itself again and act upon new input. At the moment it cannot. (In fact, it can, but long programmes of mental practice, e.g. insight meditation, are required to transcend the fault. Only a tiny fraction of the population of the world are even embarking in such practice.)

There is another way to look at this, however. Everything that happens globally can be seen as a zoomed-out, bigger fractal version of what goes on within the individual. In this sense, the emergence of the Internet represents a reassertion of the right brain. So the new spread of ideas we see sweeping the planet via the Internet (of which Trews is part) could be reflective of more individuals beginning to wake up within themselves, via their own right brains turning on. And since the Internet can spread the instructions required to turn on more right brains (e.g. meditation, and the other techniques shared on this site), we could reach a tipping point whereby humanity wakes up and has a right-brain revolution all by itself. Hey, it could happen! 😛

Smaller Societal Units

One of Russell’s other ideas for a better world is living together in small communities, the idea being that each community looks after its own within itself in a style reminiscent, I suppose, of early human tribes.

I believe this is an eminently good idea. But there is a caveat to that: it is only a good idea if the right-brain revolution doesn’t come, or human behaviour and worldview cannot be modified and improved in the short term via genetic engineering, bionic implants (“wireheading”) or pharmaceutical breakthroughs which “unlock” the corpus callosum locked-worldview problem and allow good maps for sustainable global communal living to be installed on a rapid basis.

In other words, if humans cannot be fixed in order that they can live together harmoniously in a global setting (which they cannot right now, and never have been able to), I see no other choice than to live in societies of no more than 50 people. I don’t know how that would be enforced, or if it’s even possible. But I will now talk about why it is desirable anyway.

Imagine a knob control for society size, ranging from 1 up to some arbitrarily enormous figure, say 7 billion for the whole world. Now, to the right of this knob is a meter labelled “Individual Focus” with a needle that moves on a range from “Community” on the left to “Himself” on the right. As you turn the knob to increase society size, the needle on the meter moves from individuals being community-orientated to them becoming more and more individualistic the bigger the society gets. This meter could easily be renamed “How Much of a Cunt You Are”. The bigger a community, the more the individual’s unskilful intent and behaviour goes unnoticed and is allowed to slip through the cracks. Defrauding the group becomes the primary occupation of every individual. Everything becomes someone else’s problem. The part played by the individual in the shaping of the destiny of the group-as-a-whole is noticed less and less. As every snowflake in the avalanche said, “It’s not my fault!”

In contrast, do some thought experiments to imagine what living in a tribe of 50 would be like. There would be far less opportunity to screw someone over since everyone would find out about it. Let’s really wind back the clock and say that the tribe has to provide all its own food and resources for itself. You literally depend on the other 49 people to live. How tempting is it to screw your neighbour over now? Frontal lobes would whir into action out of necessity, in order to ponder the real, tangible outcomes of each action. This is a societal structure which inclines one towards skilful intent and action as its default mode, as opposed to today where the exact opposite is encouraged.

Wind the clock forward to today. You personally know more than 50 people. If you found out one of them was now homeless, how would that make you feel? Provided you have a soul, you would feel shocked, and probably think about what you could do to help. But somebody being homeless who you don’t know barely registers an emotion in you at all. Don’t feel too guilty about that — it’s how we’re wired. It’s also why larger societies simply don’t function. People just think, “Oh, it’s up to the government to sort that out”. This is how it’s so easy for people to fall through the cracks. And the government gleefully takes on the responsibility of dealing with it because it means more opportunity for stealing powers and justifying its own existence. In my home town there are even signs telling you NOT to give money to the homeless. True story. It has pictures of drugs and booze on it. The government’s message is clear: “Leave them to us. And your complacency in expecting us to sort out absolutely everything for you is the reason we’re so big and powerful and our tentacles reach into and control every aspect of your fucking lives.” Told you I had a libertarian bent.

In a society of 50 you are guaranteed to know the homeless guy. It’s impossible for anyone to slip through the cracks. The more dependent upon one another the tribe is, the more friendship and cooperation arises as a matter of necessity. Enforced friendship! Sounds pretty good, eh?

I have no idea how that would play out in the modern world, though. How would you get communities of 50 people to feel dependent enough upon each other that they don’t fuck each other over on a daily basis? I can imagine things like everyone meeting up once a week at a community centre and each person having to say hello to every other person at least once, though. Hell, you might even meet sexual partners that way without having to get drunk and drugged out of your mind in a loud, dark, ridiculously artificial “designated mating area” such as a nightclub. Or maybe you’d like to keep that part. I personally find it to be a hack solution for an era of hacks.

So, small communities = good — provided we can’t fix the misfiring human circuitry (inability to adopt enlightened, transcendent reality maps) any other way. The closer match an environment is to the one which created that circuitry in the first place via evolutionary pressures, the more that circuitry will function how it should. I have the suspicion small human tribes functioned pretty harmoniously on the whole. There are upsides to each bit of circuitry which we don’t really get to see much of any more since we live in contexts that don’t support its correct functioning and which emphasize the negatives.

Transcendence and Intelligence

We have another potential problem blocking human global awakening: low intelligence. To even make the kind of connections that Russell has made between delayed gratification, love, compassion and sharing and a healthier, more harmonious human society requires a decent level of frontal lobe functioning. The frontal lobes inject time into one’s perceptions and therefore allow longer-term cause-and-effect chains to be perceived. They are also responsible for front–back neural inhibition, suppressing impulsive short-term actions in order that the longer-term goal can be realized. This is the definition of delayed gratification. Any time you have stopped yourself taking a swing at someone, smoking a cigarette you know will kill you, or having sex with the wrong person, you are flexing your frontal lobes. If you want to know what life with no frontal lobes is like, drink 10 pints of beer.

Frontal lobe capacity is intimately connected with morality. Meditation is also a kind of extreme workout for the frontal lobes, as it involves delaying gratification non-stop for long periods. Lack of frontal lobe power can be said to be the main reason for the continuation of humans’ self-destructive tendencies, both on the individual and global levels.

Human Archetypes

When I was around nine years of age, I began to notice that certain individuals strongly resembled each other despite not being blood relatives — almost as if they were of the same “type”. It was something to do with the shape of their face, their general energy or vibe, their behaviours and their shared interests. I came to start feeling that there were only around 12 actual people in the world, and everyone was just a copy of one of those 12. In short, I had made my own model of “human archetypes” despite not realizing that’s what I had done at the time. In particular, I noticed that whenever I picked up a newspaper and saw a burglar, football hooligan or other violent criminal, the same face was staring back at me each time. This was the same face of the “rough” kids at school, too.

This impression of a limited set of human “types” never went away, and I was relieved to find as I got older and started reading a lot that others had also noticed this pattern and made their own models. One of the most interesting human archetype models I have come across in recent years is Koanic’s How to read faces. This became more interesting when Koanic’s forum-goers collaborated to make the following chart of facial composites, clearly showing the different human archetypes:

Edenism Composites

Who do we see in the top-right corner, labelled “Cro-Magnon (Antisocial)”? Why, it’s our old friend the football hooligan. You’ll also notice that most nightclub bouncers are of this type. Look over the chart: you will see the faces of many people you have known throughout your life represented in the various archetypes.

I’ll get to the point. The antisocial type is lower intelligence, has less frontal lobe capacity, is more inclined towards impulsive behaviours, and cannot perceive or act in accordance with long-term chains of cause and effect. In contrast, the most successful societies directly and strongly correlate with higher average IQs. The highest-IQ country in the world is Hong Kong, with an average IQ of 107. It is also the freest country in the world, and has one of the lowest crime rates.

In one Trews episode, Russell gives a lesson on compassion via the following parable (paraphrased): “It’s like if you were mugged and had all your stuff stolen. You might immediately be very angry, and say things like you want to kill that person. But then you’d go home, have a cup of tea, calm down, and start to think things like, ‘Well, maybe they didn’t have much money and were all poor and that…'” etc. etc. His big idea seems to be that antisocial behaviour is all about money, and that if people grow up with money, they won’t be antisocial.

I think it’s probably more likely that the chain of cause and effect is actually the reverse: People are born into the antisocial type (via their genes) and don’t have any money because they lack the forward-planning and impulse control to accumulate and utilize resources. Their antisocial behaviour is also a direct result of their genes. Did Michael Carroll become entrepreneurial and better-behaved after winning the lottery? No, he embarked on an 8-year crime spree, and lost it all.

Assuming mine is the more realistic lens, the question now is, where does this type of person fit into Russell’s utopian future?

If we go back to the prehistoric 50-person tribe, the antisocial type could quite feasibly fulfil a role in tribal security. With hostile rival tribes nearby, it could be useful to have a few of those guys around. They are put to use in similar roles today. (Under this lens we can see human tribes as being a kind of fractal analogue of an ants’ nest — with genetically-determined roles such as “worker” and “soldier”.) The antisocial type gets to take out his genetic impulse for violence on rival tribesmen, and spends his time in warrior training in the meantime.

The antisocial type needs his rivalries and his violence. It is part of his genetic make-up. Today, without wars, he instead forms football hooligan “firms” in which to exercise his degenerate violent impulses, or criminal gangs and racist organizations.

But a utopian future by definition would have no wars or violence. So what place would there be for such people? Their defining characteristic (compulsive Circuit II competition behaviours) is the very trait preventing global harmony in the first place.

The antisocial archetype is an extreme of the worst aspects of human character. However, the truth is, these traits are present in all humans to varying degrees. Most of us are “part of the problem” in some way. Yet the archetypes model would suggest some of us are genetically less inclined towards violent, antisocial behaviour and are gifted (or cursed depending on how you look at it) with larger or more powerful frontal lobes which are the very traits needed to bring about a more enlightened society.

Due to the Idiocracy effect, the antisocial type has always outbred the more intelligent types. The balance is usually redressed via wars, which thin out the ranks of the knuckle-draggers as they’re the first to go to the front lines, and preserve the intelligent who are smart enough to get command positions, medical roles or technology jobs. However, the conservation of intelligence via this pathway is only partial; the march of endumbening continues apace — it is well established that the human brain is shrinking with each generation.

The very traits required for an enlightened society are being slowly bred out. It is likely that an intervention will be required at some point if humanity is ever to find itself on track to global harmony.

Futurology of a Cooperative Society

As posited earlier in this post, the main barrier to a cooperative society based on mutual prosperity is Circuit II Emotional–Territorial behaviours. The way I see it, there are only three possible paths available to humanity for navigating this barrier.

1) Adaptation

Rather than humanity transcending its self-destructive tendencies, adaptation means that society is restructured into a system conducive to mitigating those tendencies whilst emphasizing humans’ good qualities such as cooperation, compassion, empathy and a sense of unity. Adaptation has been the driving force of all political ideologies thus far, as the technology for changing those tendencies directly has only recently reached a level whereby serious discussion about its use can take place.

Russell’s ideas about breaking down societies into smaller self-governing groups resembling the early tribal structures in which human neurology evolved is an example of adaptation.

2) Manipulation

In this option, human neural circuitry is manipulated directly to emphasize the good and mitigate or eradicate entirely the bad. This is the Brave New World stuff which sends chills down the spine of people across the political spectrum. Neural manipulation could be achieved in the following ways:

Eugenics

This word is Ancient Greek and means “good birth”, translated in our parlance as “good genes”. Eugenics carries dark, foreboding connotations in most people’s minds, probably due to a few factors:

  • Its association with the Nazis.
  • The idea that it is “playing God” and the feeling that this is wrong.
  • It flies in the face of the current societal narrative (which has only been around for the last 50 years or so) that “everyone is equal”. My feeling is that, like it or not, eugenics is probably going to be essential for creating an advanced, healthy, intelligent and cooperative society, so the equality myth may well have set back the Western world for decades or centuries, since, as covered in the “People Don’t Change” section, it will take a few generations for the mistake to be noticed and corrected (if it ever is).

Eugenics can be achieved via selective breeding programmes, direct genetic engineering, or a combination of both. China is already running a breeding programme and has been for many years now.

Pharmaceutical Breakthrough

Circuit II is suppressed via drugs which also emphasize compassionate behaviours. This might look something akin to a sustainable version of MDMA. This is “soma” in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Bionic Implants / “Wireheading”

Circuit II is bypassed physically in the brain via electronic implants or nanotechnology.

The major problem with human neural manipulation is the question: Who is running these programmes? What are their objectives? Humans need benevolent leaders. Would you trust current governments to issue such manipulations in your best interests? Until governments are no longer part of the problem, trust in such programmes is unlikely to be sufficient for voluntary entrance.

3) A Global Awakening Event

In this scenario, which will no doubt be dismissed by most people as impossible or downright nonsensical, humanity spontaneously “wakes up” as the result of a global event. These events could be Circuit II–inclusive (utilizing Circuit II’s “Us vs. Them” programming to facilitate unity) or Circuit II–exclusive (transcending the circuitry altogether).

Circuit II–Inclusive

An example of an inclusive event would be alien contact. If the aliens are hostile, the people of Earth could be united in a common cause much the way countries pull together internally and become ultra-productive during wars. If the aliens are friendly, simply the knowledge that we are not alone could be enough for people to begin considering the whole of Earth to be a single community and, in the spirit of competition, to begin “looking after our own”.

Would global-scale Circuit II unity be enough to eliminate local resource/status inequality here on Earth? I doubt it. The class system survived World War II, despite there being a temporary raising of local compassion through shared suffering at the time. Regarding alien contact, my suspicion is that they are already aware of Earth and have specifically avoided making contact as we are still primarily Circuit II–driven (would you really want to meet us?) Films and science-fiction stories of alien invasion are our own Circuit II narratives projected onto an unknown enemy.

Circuit II–Exclusive

Here is my outline for a Circuit II–transcendence event. Step by step, it might look like this:

  1. The internet, as a zoomed-out fractal reassertion of the right brain, makes enlightenment technology available to those humans actually capable of using it. This technology has already existed for 2500 years in the form of Buddhism, and I will be writing more about the specifics of transcendence (how to actually do it) shortly.
  2. When enough humans have used the technology to transcend Circuit II, a tipping point is reached whereby the new worldview begins to spread to everyone else.
  3. The new worldview is spread to the rest of the population via one of the following vectors:
    1. Morphic resonance (one of Rupert Sheldrake’s models for how new traits and habits spread. YouTube it — it’s good stuff).
    2. Magick or intention-manifestation, a.k.a. consciousness creating reality. Enough enlightened consciousnesses are intending compassion that it begins to dominate consensus reality.
    3. Mirror neurons. The behaviours of compassion are spread unconsciously by way of example. This is Gandhi’s “be the change you wish to see”, and is also similar to how entire groups of people can get “contact highs” from a single charismatic speaker.
    4. Traditional media manipulations, except promoting only stories of kindness and love instead of the current paradigm of their only printing stories of fear and status, which is what Trews was set up to reveal. We would prefer not to have to use mind-tricks on people to get them to be nice to each other, but in the early days it might be necessary. Sooner or later however the stories would not need to be cherry-picked as love becomes the default basis for human existence.
    5. Some other vector.
  4. Epigenetics might kick in at this point and have the next generations born genetically-inclined towards compassionate behaviours, in much the same way the post-war generations were born inclined towards fear.

In the Eight-Circuit Model of Consciousness, such an awakening is represented by the activation of Circuit V — Neurosomatic. In the above event, the whole world learns to transcend Circuit II by moving to Circuit V, as the zoomed-out fractal version of the enlightenment change that can take place within the individual.

Transcending Circuit II (and indeed I, III and IV) is not a pipe dream. People around the world are doing it via meditation literally all the time. Circuit V is actually pretty easy to access via the first samatha jhana in Buddhist meditation, a state of high concentration which brings rapturous pleasure. Circuit II is easily transcended in this state, as one of its traits is the inability to hold or cultivate ill will towards others. I will be writing an article shortly on the importance of first jhana for all personal development work, and how to go about effectively cultivating it. It really is that big a deal.

Further Reading

Eight-Circuit Model of Consciousness:

Worldviews:

Manipulation of human neurology:

Need help with your meditation? Book a Skype coaching session →

You may also like...

23 Responses

  1. AJM says:

    Looking forward to your samatha jhana article!

  2. Pat says:

    I can see why you wouldn’t like the antisocial cro-magnon type shown on the face reading chart. How do you feel about the general population cro-magnon? I have realized a few of my friends fit this category, and I really dont think they are all that bad, just not particularly intellectual.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Hi Pat!

      Gen Pop Cro-Mag is like 60-70% of the population so, unless someone hangs out exclusively in a niche group (extreme example: Dungeons & Dragons club, which will be close to 100% very strong Neanderthal types) they are going to have probably quite a few Gen Pop Cro-Mag friends. I have a couple of very Cro-Mag friends, and most are Cro-Mag with some Thallish traits. It’s basically essential that Thallish types learn to get on with the general Cro-Mag spectrum — but I draw the line at Antisocial Cro-Mag. If one of them knows me from school or whatever and comes over on a night out, I’ll say hi and be polite — for the shortest time possible before leaving. Even that is often extremely trying, since they seem ONLY to be capable of operating on Circuit II.

      The main social problem with Gen Pop Cro-Mag is not their lack of intelligence, since you can have a wide circle of friends just to go drinking with or whatever with whom you don’t need to delve into complex topics of conversation (I have specialized friends for that kind of chat). The problem is how quick they are to anger, and how inclined they are towards making everything about status (both Circuit II behaviours). It gets worse the more you go towards Antisocial on the spectrum (at which point “status” becomes more based in fighting/toughness than material things). Here in England I have quite a short cut-off point because there’s a strong Antisocial leaning — leaving me about 40% of the population I would consider socializing with on nights out. England really is quite a cunt country.

      • Illuminatus says:

        P.S. For any Thallish types reading, the best way to make friends with Cro-Mag types is just to be friendly and happy as hell. Cro-Mags are less nuanced when it comes to perceiving others’ emotions — it tends to get filtered into broad groups like “happy”, “moody”, “pissed-off”, and they then relate these to their Circuit II model. So “pissed-off” becomes “challenge”; “happy” becomes “I’m OK; you’re OK!” (=friends). It really is that simple.

        If you’re moody, cynical or shy, you’re basically not going to make friends with Cro-Mag types. However other Thals will pick up on that and relate; that’s one reason why they tend to cluster. It’s definitely best to be able to get on with anyone, though, as it gives you a lot more social options and possibilities for networking. If you find a Thal type you can go into complex conversations quickly and easily. For Cro-Mags, just forget it. Stick to light and breezy.

  3. Jeebus says:

    I have read that only Asians and Europeans have Neanderthal DNA.. that interbreeding with Neanderthals happened after the species had left Africa. I know this may be somewhat taboo to say but do you think this is why there is such a disproportionate amount of crime committed by those of African descent? If you look at the figures they truly are shocking. I am sure that fatherless families, poverty, and culture do indeed all play a part, but I have long wondered whether there may be some genetic element at play.

    I’ve tried to ask anthropologists about this before but haven’t been able to get any answers, they simply answer every question with “race is a social construct”, before answering a load of questions I didn’t ask, and then leaving it at that.

  4. AnarchistSleeperCell says:

    Very good read:-)

    I like the smaller societal communities idea but in my view it can only work AFTER the right brain revolution. This is because the groups would just compete with other groups, form alliances to make their group stronger in relation to rival groups and we’d be back at square one in no time!

    The only way I see this coming about is over time….ALOT OF TIME, people waking up and others mirroring their behaviour. Society has made some baby steps over the years, e.g. Some countries don’t chop the hands off thieves anymore! Lots still do however, even our own U.K. still entertains the ridiculous idea of a hereditary monarchy:-)

    I’m reserving judgement on the Eugenics:-) What do you think about the idea that over time right brained humans can pass on mindfulness via DNA? In the same way as a baby is born with the instinct to suck its mums tit?

    • Illuminatus says:

      Hello old friend 🙂

      “I like the smaller societal communities idea but in my view it can only work AFTER the right brain revolution. This is because the groups would just compete with other groups, form alliances to make their group stronger in relation to rival groups and we’d be back at square one in no time!”

      Yeah, exactly. Tribal unity depends upon Circuit II “Us. vs Them”. So it needs a “Them” to be in competition with in order form unity on “this side”. What we really want is to move beyond Circuit II completely.

      “What do you think about the idea that over time right brained humans can pass on mindfulness via DNA?”

      Yeah, this was covered in the part on epigenetics. I believe this is how evolution tends to work anyway — in other words it’s more Lamarckian than driven by random mutation.

  5. horay_henry says:

    Hi Illuminatus,
    So I only get one response? I better make this comment count!
    Being bewildered seems like a consequence of exactly my point. I could explain in more detail, but really, the point about agnosticism was just one example (I pointed out some others) of what seemed to me a systematic pattern of behaviours. The bigger point I was attempting to make was about distorted conceptions of ourselves limit our self-understanding. And this leads me to questioning what your version of “self-development” is all about, and to what extent is self-knowledge and self-improvement in conflict? Having a distorted and inflated self-image seems like it might be good in the short-term, but potentially is negative in the long term.
    I look forward to your post on the jhanas also.
    Yours,
    HH

  6. Illuminatus says:

    Hi horay_henry,

    “the point about agnosticism was just one example (I pointed out some others) of what seemed to me a systematic pattern of behaviours.”

    Everything is a systematic pattern of behaviours. Our brain software programs our perceptions of and approach to reality.

    “The bigger point I was attempting to make was about distorted conceptions of ourselves limit our self-understanding.”

    Of course. But you won’t see the distorted conceptions until you hit those limits. Then it’s time for a change in understanding. It’s part of the cyclical step-by-step process of awakening. From what I can tell, it never ends.

    Meditation practitioners who have reached a high level of insight would say that the concept of “self” itself is the greatest distorted conception, being that self is one of the Three Illusions (along with permanence and satisfaction).

    “And this leads me to questioning what your version of “self-development” is all about, and to what extent is self-knowledge and self-improvement in conflict?”

    My version of self-development is all about accruing self-knowledge, which occurs in predictable cycles of realization and re-evaluation (usually with a Dark Night in between the two). “Self-improvement” depends on what you’re working to improve, but it is also based in gaining self-knowledge of how we fabricate our own limitations — and indeed our own goals.

    “Having a distorted and inflated self-image seems like it might be good in the short-term, but potentially is negative in the long term.”

    “Good” for what? See I feel we’ve been on different tracks this whole time. I literally haven’t known what you’re talking about most of the time, or what you are seeking to get out of this exchange.

    Regarding the value judgments of (my?) having a distorted and inflated self-image, first I will say that that is the de facto human condition and, if we’re practising insight (I am), then the goal is to be continually untying that perceptual knot in line with feedback from reality.

    However, also understand that that might be your perception of me (if that is the case) but that does not necessarily say anything about me, but it definitely says something about your lens of perception through which you view me. When you observe something the information you gather is always at least 50% about the observer (you in this case) rather than the observed (me in this case). Freud’s “projection” touched on some of this in an easy-to-understand way. The observer filters the observed through his own values and ascribes at least some of those values to the observed. This is most unconscious.

    In observation there is always an element of subjectivity and this even applies to viewing the material world (the intention of the observer affecting the outcome of the Double-Slit Experiment being a good example).

    Let’s make a human example. Take a hyper-Circuit-II-frameworked human (most of them) (A). He makes a challenge to someone (B). Person B refuses to enter Circuit II and bows out. Person A filters that through Circuit II regardless and presupposes a Circuit II “win” for himself. Person B might say, “I’m not playing that game,” which person A perceives as Circuit II weakness. Until person A can have a worldview not based in Circuit II, he cannot work within the same framework as person B in this instance, and nothing can grow, because Circuit II is a zero-sum game.

    Unfortunately, this is the state of humanity currently. And that is what the bulk of this post was about.

    So, let’s bring it back to this line: “Having a distorted and inflated self-image seems like it might be good in the short-term, but potentially is negative in the long term.”

    You don’t know I have a distorted and inflated self-image (if this is what you were driving at — I’m a bit lost as you may have been talking about Brand). It’s a presupposition on your part based on how you filter what you observe of me through your existing framework.

    But I certainly have self-image distortions, but they are “known unknowns” (to me) till a limitation is hit at which point they (might) become “knowns”. And then there are plenty of “unknown unknowns” floating around, too.

    As I said, high-insight Buddhist practitioners would regard any self-image to be a distortion, as they have directly seen through the illusion of self and perceived the truth of no-self.

    Once again, it really depends who you ask — who the observer is.

    In one of my models, reality is entirely subjective and the information you gather through an observation is 100% about the observer — there is nothing “out there” to be observed. It’s all about you. You see an object, you are seeing you. You see a person and his or her behaviour, you are just seeing your own mental impressions — your belief structure is literally creating the world you experience.

    I don’t take this model to be “true” any more than any of my other models, or the ones handed to us by different segments of other humans — e.g. scientific materialism, religious worldviews, etc.

    That I have no need to believe 100% in any model, in my opinion, makes me model agnostic. Then you could say I believe 100% in my “model agnosticism model” but that’s not true either. It’s self-referential and contains itself within its own set. That’s called a Strange Loop in Robert Anton Wilson’s books, and it turns out our reality seems to be entirely made of these Strange Loops (if you choose to see it that way 😉 ).

    The jhanas stuff will be coming soon — I just need to check with some enlightened people (yes, they actually exist) whether I’ve got it right before posting it.

    Edd

    • Vysotsky says:

      “In one of my models, reality is entirely subjective and the information you gather through an observation is 100% about the observer — there is nothing “out there” to be observed. It’s all about you. You see an object, you are seeing you. You see a person and his or her behaviour, you are just seeing your own mental impressions — your belief structure is literally creating the world you experience.”

      It reminds me of this post:
      http://anarchopapist.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/knowledge-isnt-important

    • horay_henry says:

      Ahh, shit, what I liked about your blog and forum posts about meditation “tech” is that it seemed very based on your own explorations rather than adopting other people’s models. And in your comment you seem to cross the line sometimes of talking about the perspective of “high-insight”/”enlightened” (in their view!) Buddhists and buying into that perspective yourself. And so it seems like your perspective will be less interesting if it all becomes (overly) filtered through the lens of MCTB. So keep it fresh, Edd! Keep that agnosticism working into overdrive.

      Re: distorted and inflated image – Right, I don’t know for sure (like, 100% sure), I am just going by my interpretations of representations of yourself that you portray to the world e.g. stuff like “I’m a model agnostic. That means I can freely move between any and all (human-capable) worldviews on any particular subject”. And consider me some feedback from reality! My observer dependent reality, of course.

      Re: Good for what..ok, yes that depends on your goal. A problem might be consequences of believing a bit too strongly in “magic bullets”.

      Watch out though, Edd, enlightenment is the ultimate “magic bullet”.

      • Illuminatus says:

        How did you know I was reading MCTB? 🙂

        “Ahh, shit, what I liked about your blog and forum posts about meditation “tech” is that it seemed very based on your own explorations rather than adopting other people’s models.”

        I won’t write a damn thing unless I’ve tested it a million times, and 99% of the techs I write about, I came up with.

        “And in your comment you seem to cross the line sometimes of talking about the perspective of “high-insight”/”enlightened” (in their view!) Buddhists and buying into that perspective yourself.”

        My MO:

        – If a reality tunnel appeals to me, I go into it as fully as I can (right now that’s MCTB).
        – I am fully knowing that at some point that “buzz” will wear off. It does not deter me. For however long that reality tunnel is compelling to me, however long it takes to feel like I’ve fully explored it, whether it be weeks, months or years, I will eat, sleep and breathe that reality tunnel. My writings will tend to become very focused around that reality tunnel at the time. In the past I actually used to believe I’d “found the answer” in these various reality tunnels.
        – Eventually the buzz will wear off. I don’t choose when this happens; I just come out of it, like waking up from a dream. The good stuff stays, the stuff I didn’t feel gelled well will be discarded. So it’s like bringing things back from these little reality tunnel expeditions to my “master reality tunnel”. It’s like another couple of pieces of the jigsaw puzzle have been collected.

        This cycle has been repeating ever since starting to look into these things, thinking for myself etc. And I LOVE it! 🙂

        So bear in mind I am aware of the inevitable impermanence of these detours and excursions but throw myself into them with full gusto anyway.

        “Re: distorted and inflated image – Right, I don’t know for sure (like, 100% sure), I am just going by my interpretations of representations of yourself that you portray to the world e.g. stuff like “I’m a model agnostic. That means I can freely move between any and all (human-capable) worldviews on any particular subject”. ”

        Right, I get you. Well that statement was a little overblown, I grant you.
        I think model agnosticism is a perspective well worth marketing, though.
        I have also switched between worldviews so often and so rapidly at times that I have had the sense of being able to move freely between certain ones. I think if you adopt model agnosticism as your primary viewpoint then this somehow takes off the “restraining bolt” to give you more flexible neurology. It’s certainly not something I’m making up to sound cool.

        “Re: Good for what..ok, yes that depends on your goal. A problem might be consequences of believing a bit too strongly in “magic bullets”.”

        I think believing in magic bullets is ubiquitous in humans. Laymen’s magic bullets are winning the lottery or getting some perfect relationship. In personal development it tends to revolve around the next tech being “the one”. As long as you realize this is the way your mind works, and are therefore prepared for the inevitable cycling once this occasion’s “magic bullet” wears off, I think you can have a lot of fun diving into these magic bullets and seeing what happens. Those are BIG “if”s, though. I only got to that level of understanding and acceptance around the start of this year.

        “Watch out though, Edd, enlightenment is the ultimate “magic bullet”.”

        From what I can tell, nobody can even agree on what enlightenment “is”. I am certainly not pinning any hopes on it for a “perfect future”. I abandoned that way of thinking quite a while ago, thankfully.

        However, I have had amazing experiences trying out the tech so far, and am looking forward to finding out what can be done. I imagine I’ll end up putting my own stamp on the stuff in MCTB and tying it into my own model.

  7. horay_henry says:

    Ok, I feel like we have made some progress!

    “How did you know I was reading MCTB? :)”

    Same way I know you are God’s gift to women!

    I am getting a better understanding of where you are coming from model agnosticism. Belief agnosticism doesn’t really make sense to me – I don’t suspect you are agnostic about your model agnosticism, for example, and I generally equate agnosticism with poor thinking and lack of awareness (e.g. you might think you are agnostic but you probably aren’t). But model agnosticism – so it makes sense to consider models as methods – so when you are say you can switch models, it sounds like you are switching methods – and each model/method makes sense on its own terms and has a coherent perspective on a level of reality, and with it certain advantages and disadvantages. And by being aware of that, and diving into that worldview, you can reap the benefits of that model (though also encounter its drawbacks).

    I agree that much of the success of self-development stuff is built upon marketing it as magic bullets and people believing the hype – for example, the foundation training stuff – it doesn’t just help out back pain, it cures back pain, and transforms your life etc.. etc…But if you can ride the buzz then… yes, fads can be fun.

    h_harry

    • Illuminatus says:

      “Same way I know you are God’s gift to women!”

      Lol I wrote a reply to bait her after that then thought “WTF am I doing?” and changed it to something swatting her away.

      Do you post on there? Do any practice?

      Re model agnosticism, yes you’ve got it now. Except that you actually can change beliefs, too, if you stay with the model long enough. It filters down. This is the essence of metaprogramming. It’s done via emotional “forms”. It’s very difficult if not impossible to describe in words, but beliefs are imprinted via the body, so it involves letting body sensations “settle” into a new configuration, holding it, which appears to imprint it on the right brain via the right-brain/body feedback loop. The more fundamental to the biological basis (the body) the belief is, the harder it is to change. So you would have a hard time (almost impossible, but I never say never) imprinting that the colour red is green as a silly example, but cultural stuff such as political or religious belief is relatively surface and is actually pretty straightforward to change (if you have the tech).

      “I generally equate agnosticism with poor thinking and lack of awareness”

      That’s left-brain certainty-seeking. Ability to slot question marks into your model is a right-brain modality that the left brain cannot stand and rejects out of hand — the left brain needs everything in black and white. This is also why you can’t do model-change via the left brain — it assumes its current model is the black-and-white truth. That, plus the left brain has poor connections to the body feedback loop where beliefs are actually imprinted (beliefs are more like a body-wide “hologram” rather than being “stored on a hard drive” (the computer model of the CNS that left-brainers love so much)). So people typically need trance work (hypnosis etc.) or ritual (e.g. magick) to go via the right brain. After enough meditation practice I can see “the forms” and go straight into it, but it’s practically impossible to put into words how to do that (though I will try nonetheless).

      Model agnosticism actually requires more awareness because you have to be aware of what you don’t know and account for those, and also know that at any one time you are only looking through a specific lens.

      Both scientific materialism and mainstream religion both suffer the same problem of assuming there is only one lens — theirs — and it is the objective truth. They are both a left-brain modality, and this modality is at the root of the “human problem”.

      Sometimes I literally delay action when I feel “something is a big problem that needs to be fixed right now” (left-brain action-orientated “scrambling”, under the assumption the perspective is objective truth — the modality almost everyone is stuck in), change the lens, and find that the problem has solved itself. This is usually not painless, and entails a Dark Night in MCTB terms of varying lengths (I’ve got it down to about 2 days now for big lens-changes). The Dark Night, in my opinion, is a symptom of right-brain reorganization (its favourite neurotransmitter being norepinephrine, associated with negative affect). Obviously once the lens-change has been effected, I put the left brain back in the executive’s chair to do action under the new model.

      “for example, the foundation training stuff – it doesn’t just help out back pain, it cures back pain, and transforms your life”

      And yet that is still a brilliant exercise. I needed it to finish off my posture model. But I found= out a quicker way to stretch the psoas, hamstrings and all those essential muscles the day after posting that — stand up, bend your knees and turn your feet outwards. Now straighten the knees, “pushing up” through the ass and all those muscles. If done right you can feel the stretch all the way up to the neck. I can now get “fully stretched” within about 20 seconds of getting out of bed in the morning. It reminds me of a cat stretching itself out when it wakes up — stuff we should all be doing anyway via instincts that have been forgotten.

  8. hairy_huzzah says:

    Just delayed response to say thanks for your reply and a few comments: I do have practice and I do post on there – I am kind of a “big deal”.
    I didn’t think that reply was swatting away, but anyhow.
    I tried that stretch thing, don’t think I got it from the description at all.
    Equating dark night stuff with norepinephrine makes sense.
    I am bit skeptical of all this left/right brain stuff, but master and his emissary in on my reading list.
    Cheers!
    Hurahazzy

    • Illuminatus says:

      Just take up yoga — all the stretches are built-in anyway.

      What’s your name on there? Email me if you don’t want it public — illuminatus [at] personalpowermeditation.com
      Fair’s fair.

  9. hairy_huzzah says:

    I am a pretty bad-assed Dharma Cowboy. A heavy hitter. Really hardcore. They call me “The Violator” (see recent post about mod policy).

  10. Charlotte Clarke says:

    I’m a woman. I value and appreciate my cunt for its ability to reproduce and to receive and give sexual pleasure. Would you consider removing the word cunt as an insult from your vocabulary? It bothers me that a female characteristic is used by so many people to stand for “the worst thing I can think of”. No criticism of you personally implied of course; this attitude and usage of the word is deeply ingrained in our culture…as is much of the anti – female language we see generally. More of a question / request. Thanks for reading.

    • Illuminatus says:

      People are called “cock” and “prick” in equal measure and by your logic I should be horrified by that. But I’m not, because I’m not a child. Now, cunt off you cunting cunt.

  11. PsySeducer says:

    What a cunt!

  12. Diogo says:

    wow, much bother, such cuntiness, amaze

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *