Re: Prometheus Rising

Holger Wagner (
Fri, 06 Feb 1998 18:40:29 +0100

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> I think it is a good book. Not in the sense that it is 100% true and
> useful, but it is a good starting point in meta-programming. One has
> to keep a critical mind when reading it though, since a lot of the
> stuff Wilson claims is of a questionable nature or made up (he would
> say that this is the point, of course, but I think it is true even for
> some of the things he didn't plan as trickery).

I've just started to re-read Prometheus Rising, and in fact, quite in
the beginning he says that the 8 circuit model is just "for
convenience". Since that particular model comes from Timothy Leary, and
I may still have a few prejudices against Leary (because Albert Hoffmann
critizised his "LSD-Propaganda" - for good reasons I would say), I was
quite "careful" while reading about them.

What fascinates me, is that without beeing too irrational, Wilson brings
in the idea that there possibly are things that cannot be explained
rationally. I once questioned pretty much everything, including the
concept of science (without even knowing what I was doing... I just
decided that it would be quite dumb to believe any single thing before
critically thinking about it). My idea was that "science" is only
possible with language, and language narrows your horizon extremely, so
obviously, science has quite rigid limits.

I didn't really follow that idea because I soon reached the point where
I couldn't get any further (how should I (verbally) think and understand
that language - which my thinking is heavily based on - is a bad model
for reality). Besides, I have a million other things to do which at
least promise bio-survival food-tickets ;-)

> And remember that any model which explains away attempts to
> check it, especially by "ad hominem" explanations of why you are
> trying to check them, is very liable to contain mistakes or falsehoods
> that are never corrected. Such defenses against falsification should
> really be reasons to intensify scrutinity - what is the model hiding?

That's perfect critical rationalism (my favorite epistemology). The
question is: will critical rationalism reveal *all* information? Not at
all - that's exactly what it's about. Maybe this finally helps me
understand pancritical rationalism: would that allow saying
"ok, here we have some knowledge which is ever increasing (hard
science), but there, we have something we can't really deal with (for
example because it doesn't allow falsification), so let's try making a
use of it, even if its on another 'dimension' of knowledge"

Understand 'dimension' in a strictly mathematical sense!

> I think the upper four circuits are not very well described (that is
> of course understandable, since they are outside normal experience)
> and unverified. The fifth circuit seems to have some basis in fact,
> during my studies in various subjects I have run into it, but the
> uppermost three might just be recurring myths among psychonauts,
> nothing real or useful at all.

Is there any physical way of brain/DNA-communication? I mean, some sort
of "scanning" the DNA with your brain? I sometimes theorize, that by
what we are (result of evolution + a lot of information), the DNA, and
so the whole evolution is "within us". If you look at it from one
perpective, it's totally obvious - we are the result of physical,
biological and cultural evolution. It gets more interesting when you
ask: is it possible for our conscious minds to get information about the
previous evolutionary states by only "experiencing" the result? If that
*is* possible, the 6th circuit makes sense... even though I can't
imagine any 'practical' use right now ;-)

Whatever, I'll see what I can do with the 5th circuit theory... I do
feel like being on that circuit pretty often, but I don't meet the
"haven't been sick for a long time"-criterion, yet (which seems the most
useful quality of that circuit... among fascinating people with your own
joy, which doesn't seem like a convincing proof for being on that
circuit, though).


| "That's the funny thing about memories, isn't it? We are not  |
| what we remember of ourselves, we are what people say we are. |
| They project upon us their convictions  -  we are nothing but |
| blank screens."      +$+      Trevor Goodchild in "Aeon Flux" | 
  "Best do it so"  -?-   \ |
!  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^%
PGP-Fingerprint: BD 78 AE 5A AD 20 91 AC  E6 77 A8 B4 12 D1 9C 39