Re: Prometheus Rising

Anders Sandberg (
10 Feb 1998 22:12:26 +0100

Eugene Leitl <> writes:

> I hope I am not commiting St. bovicide when questioning claims as to the
> reality of existance of such circuits, their analyzability via
> introspection and as of their mutability by any rituals.
> Besides of anecdotal, do we have any other evidence?

This is a problem. I think many adherents to the circuits hide too
much behind "it is just a model" - in science a model must be useful,
i.e. testable/falsifiable, make predictions etc.

I think it is fairly clear that the first two circuits are on a fairly
solid ground, most theories of personality seem to involve security
vs. exploration and aggression vs. submission factors. And the third
circuit seems almost as well founded. I don't have my textbooks within
reach, but one could probably make a good case for these circuits
being central factors of personality. I don't really grok the fourth
circuit as a whole, but it seems easy to deal with too. The circuit
model just says that these factors are fairly independent aspects of a
working mind, and that they are in general static except during
imprinting. This seems testable.

The fifth "rapture" circuit is less well understood, but I think it is
fairly clear that these states appear so often in the literature (both
mystical and psychological) that they can be said to be real. They are
however not well understood, and it is by no means clear that they are
all due to the same circuit.

Mystical experiences may be grouped together, but I'm not sure they
form useful circuits.

As a neuroscientist I'm interested in the neural correlates of these
circuits. Note that the monoaminergic projections might correlate;
serotonin and the first circuit, noradrenaline and stress hormones the
second, possibly acetylcholine for the third, oxytocine, vassopressin
and others for the fourth, and *maybe* dopamine for the fifth. But now
I'm just guessing and waving my hands :-)

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y