Re: Prometheus Rising

remi sussan (
Wed, 11 Feb 1998 15:32:29 +0100

Anders wrote :

> 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.

The main problem being that perhaps different experiences are frequently
confused or wrongly organized in a vertical hierarchy ,although they
are completely different phenomena. It's interesting to notice that
Timothy Leary created the circuits theory in the 70's, and simply forgot
it during the following years (the circuits came back with "Design for
dying", but, for various reasons, this book is atypical).
There is apparently a "rapture" experience, which can be summarized by
the loss of the sensation of body's limits. This can be expressed as an
"out of the body experience", as a disappearing of the body (yoga), or
as a fusion between the body and environment. I'm not sure this can be
categorized as a superior circuit or state of consciousness, but it's
fun , and gives certainly good results against stress and on body's
The metaprogramming experience, that Leary names the sixth circuit could
be a completely different experience. I find it closer to ethological
mechanism of "insight", or, even better, to the Gregory Bateson's
concept "learning III". According Bateson, Learning I is the simple,
traditional, learning. Learning II (learning to learn) is the process
that, frequently through "insight", one can build a model of the world
based on previous experience (the monkey sees banana; the monkey sees
the rod; suddenly, the monkey has a mystical flash and takes the banana
with the rod; he just created a new model of the world, where things can
be used as tools). Leaning III (learning to learn to learn) is a more
complex experience where one's own model of the world is seen as a
relative reality, and can therefore be changed. This is the mystical
crisis, the conversion process, the Zen's satori.
The two states, the "rapture" and the "satori" are frequently confused
because the rapture experience can be so shocking that it can lead to a
mystical crisis, at least on the first time. On the other side, a very
intense satori, which "deconstructs" one's world model, can lead to a
state of rapture (because the body's limits are also a psychological
The difference between the rapture and the satori can be an explanation
of the fundamental difference between hindu and buddhic mysticism. The
first assumes that the highest rapture state (samadhi) is an expression
of reality, but buddhists claims that one can only understand reality
through awakening or crisis, rapture states being just a tool. As it is
easier to experiment rapture than awakening, the confusion between the
states began also to invade buddhism, until the "revolt" of the Rinzai
Zen masters, who chose to abandon the rapture way to awakening to use
instead a kind of shock therapy through violent or absurd behavior.