Welcome psychonautic deep diver! You are in for a vortex of information that might lead you into different rabbitholes.
This paradigm of dadaistic, weird collage of philosophy appeals to me because it embraces humor, playfulness and happy anarchy and does not ask of anyone to take anything too seriously. As a discordian I playfully and some times more seriously embrace the the trickster archetype in the form of the greek chaos-goddess Eris and in me. Hail Eris!
If you do not know the jolly book yet, the magnum opiate Principia Discordia provides a good mindfuck and at least some laughter.
The Sacred Chao
The Sacred Chao as a symbol represents the CHAO (the singular unit of Chaos), which holds similarity to the TAO. It balances not the Yin and the Yang but the Hodge and the Podge: Order and Disorder. Pure Chaos itself resides beyond that what we can grasp on the conceptual level. On the level of man-made concepts we can perceive Order and Disorder as the two sides of the polarity of Chaos. Depending on what kind of cultural paradigm we use to look at reality, some Chaos appears ordered and some Chaos disordered. If we change the paradigm the same Chaos will appear differently ordered and disordered.
The distinction about this polarity captivated me when I discovered the Principia Discordia and it shifted my perception in a transformative way. Our civilization usually holds the tenant that Order is good and Disorder is bad and thus we put a lot of effort in creating and maintaining of Order to the degree, that we believe any given Order promises security, stability and growth.
It is called THE SACRED CHAO. I appoint you Keepers of It. Therein you will find anything you like. Speak of Me as DISCORD, to show contrast to the pentagon. Tell constricted mankind that there are no rules, unless they choose to invent rules. Keep close the words of Syadasti: ‘TIS AN ILL WIND THAT BLOWS NO MINDS. And remember that there is no tyranny in the State of Confusion. For further information consult your pineal glandPrincipia Discordia 00009
Neither side of that polarity is good or bad though, they both serve their function of balance in Chaos. Creative Order can nourish us by giving us structure and providing some ease and security to thrive and expand. On the other side Order can turn destructive, become rigid and oppressive and suffocate life, creativity and innovation in the attempt to make life more secure. Perfect Order might even bring stagnation. To keep evolving we need the element of Disorder that can manifest as a creative disruption of structures and thinking patterns or habits or an outburst of creative artistry or civil disobedience. It can manifest as destructive Disorder too, like wars, terrorism, natural disasters or a pandemic.
Evolution happens when this forces of polarity dance with each other. We find ourselves in the middle of such a dance in this times. We witness an eruption of destructive disorder challenging the social order we were used to when everything shut down and the forces of order respond with destructive disorder to contain the viral agent of change we are dealing with. We find ourselves in a dynamic of the destructive side of the polarity and are called to bring in more creative disorder to balance out destructive order and creative order to birth new structures and systems that are more nourishing to us and the planet.
Magic is about change. Changing your circumstances so that you strive to live according to a developing sense of personal responsibility; that you can effect change around you if you choose; that we are not helpless cogs in some clock work universe. All acts of personal/collective liberation are magical acts. Magic leads us into exhilaration and ecstasy; into insight and understanding; into changing ourselves and the world in which we participate. Through magic we may come to explore the possibilities of freedom.Phil Hine, Condensed Chaos
If you ask different Chaos Magickians what Chaos Magick is, you will get a ton of different answers. To me Chaos Magick represents a meta-paradigm of psycho-spiritual practice with the aim of illumination and liberation and taking responsability for the creation of your reality tunnel. I see it as an approach of brain hacking to access the power of altered states of consciousness and our subconscious and to play around with our perception and thus experience of reality.
This approach to the old quest for liberation resonates with me, because it does not rely on spiritual authorities but your own experience as a psychonaut (explorer of consciousness) and eclectic practitioner. “Nothing is true – Everything is permitted” to me as an agnostic provides me with the freedom to explore whatever paradigm of BS (Belief System) resonates with me, without having to adopt their claims on absolute metaphysical truths.
I appreciate the tenet of “Belief is a tool”. We can choose what we belief in and whatever BS we adopt will have an impact on our perception of reality and thus on our living experience and how we relate to the world. I have found the art of paradigm shifting to be fun and illuminating. I find it amazing how much the experience of the game of life changes, when we switch reality tunnels and explore different gameworlds. A city like Berlin offers ideal ground to experiment with this, as there are multitudes of gameworlds one can play.
The most basic technique used by chaos magickians involves the creation of sigils. We create sigils from a statement of will and transform them into a symbol or non-sense mantra and then use altered states to charge them into the subconscious. This aim can also be achieved by creating rituals that allow access to altered states. Whatever your imagination can bring forth can be used to design ritual experiences. This works way more effectively that telling yourself positive affirmations into the mirror, when there are parts of your system that do not buy the BS you are telling yourself.
Principles of Chaos Magick
- Avoidance of dogmatism: sometimes it is fun to just be wrong occasionally or contradict yourself, change your opinion and point of view. “We Discordians must stick apart, but it is more fun to stick apart together”.
- Direct experience: you can strip the practice down to basic tech, you don´t need to take any ones word for granted, also not mine and go make your own experiences.
- Technical excellence: yes, to be good at the woo, you need to put in the practice and keep track of what works and what not.
- Deconditioning: one of the most important tasks for a magickian! Deprogram all the standard societal and parental programming. All fictions and beliefs about Self, Society and the World can be deprogrammed. In this way we become less attached to a specific reality tunnel and our ego becomes more flexible.
- Diverse approaches: use whatever floats your boat and brings most fun.
- Gnosis: all efforts go towards entering altered states of consciousness at will to anchor ones own desire for change into the subconscious parts of the system.
The 8 Circuit Brain Model
This map of consciousness operates on theories and philosophical musings from radical thinkers, notorious psychonauts and visionary futurists from last centuries counterculture. The theory was dismissed by the academic mainstream and will mainly be considered euphemistically fringe science. The advancements in neuroscience and neuro-biology, behavioral psychology, cognitive science and developmental psychology, epigenetics, trauma research and somatic experiencing have produced far more accurate maps of the brain and central nervous system functioning. These all can be integrated into this model for the better understanding of the development of the lower four circuits, even though it might not fit neatly into this categories.
I find merit in using this map especially in the take on it that Antero Alli teaches for its practical application and simplicity. For starters the humorous approach to self-exploration, philosophical concepts and metaphysical musings I perceived as vastly entertaining. Robert Anton Wilson (RAW) and Alli propose a set of exercises and challenges for each circuit to engage in direct experience and to think outside the box, that have blown my mind a couple of times and helped my regain balance during the most chaotic times in my life.
The model allows psychonauts to understand personality patterns in the lower circuits and map experiences of phenomena available in altered states of consciousness for which there are no comprehensive guides provided by the scientific method with the upper circuits. It allows room for the unknown, magick and mysticism while remaining agnostic.
Also I love the paratheatre ritualistic approach to embodiment of Antero Alli and his take on how the lower four circuits build the foundation for the exploration of altered states and how he reverses the usual bypassing of spiritual seekers and psychedelics lovers wanting to go further and higher transcending and detaching from the body-mind-ego and its needs into a more embodied and ego friendly approach. At the end of the day we are navigating physical reality and how we relate to others and the world through our lower circuitry.
My take on the Model
tldr: C1-C4 represent the stages of psychological and nervous system development of human bio-computers. C5-C8 represent the range of experiences possible through altered states of consciousness. The upper circuits deliver shocks and bring in disorder, the lower circuits can absorb and integrate them for expansion and change or fail to do so and cause dis-regulation and disbalance.
Circuit 1-4 can be seen as the parts of the nervous system occupied with figuring out how to survive as a humanoid embodied emotional animal with conceptual intelligence and a social personality. This circuits represent the stages of development of the human nervous system and individual psychological imprints it takes from the environment while growing up. Most of that what we usually call the body-mind-system or ego-structure is represented in this circuits. I call this the inner order.
Circuits 5-8 can bee seen as the realms of transpersonal experiencing available to our nervous system by accessing altered states of consciousness by either practicing of techniques available through different initiatory paths for so called enlightenment or the use of psychedelic substances and plant medicines. Sometimes also life will gift us this experiences through random shocks of ecstasy, uncertainty, indivisibility or impermanence.
Neurons that fire together, wire together.Donald Hebb
Either way, experiences of this kind can shock the ego-structures of C1-C4 bringing in disorder. Disorder of the creative type that can be absorbed and integrated by the ego-structures and lead to more flexibility and expansion as our neuronal networks rearrange (Neuroplasticity). Disorder of the destructive type happens, when we can’t integrate the experiences and dis-regulation occurs. We might be declared insane, disordered or dysfunctional by the standards of western civilization.
This map can help understand how to maintain balance by integrating shocks so we can fly high with your feet firmly on the ground. It also helps to understand how we can intentionally create change in our neuronal networks through inquiry, experiments and ritual practices.
C1: Survival and Bio-Unit Maintenance
This level of our system is primarily concerned about our physical survival. In seeks nourishment, shelter, physical security and connection. Most of this processes go on autopilot and we just need to take care to regularly feed and rest our body.
In terms of neurobiology this circuit correlates with the autonomic nervous system as described by the Polyvagal Theory of Steven Porges. Brain activity comes from the brain stem, the cerebellum and the amygdala, which is constantly assessing the environments for threats. The basic imprinting of this circuit happens in early infancy depending on the nurturing connection to the mother and determines our fight/flight/freeze responses when confronted with threats.
Increasing intelligence in this part of the system consists in learning to take good care of the physical body and its ability to sustain life, learning to read the body signals from our autonomic nervous system and learning to regulate into safety through co-regulation with others.
When we feel safe in our body we can perceive the world as safe.
C2: Emotional Processing and Sovereignty
This level of our system regulates our emotional response, our sense of self and boundaries and our sense of self worth and sovereignty. The needs here are for self expression, agency, territory, emotional security and certainty.
In terms of neurobiology this correlates with the limbic system and I see a correlation to the relational developments in Attachement Theory.
How we react to threats to our sense of self, our autonomy or the crossing of our boundaries is imprinted by the way our caregivers respond to our self expression and our experimentation with boundaries and how much we are allowed to explore the territory on our own terms. The basic program imprinting run along the line of submission/dominance and influence or will power and ego-streght.
Any emotional charge that we experience as too much to process will get stored in the body and might come up to process at a later point, when we have built capacity. Shocks that cannot be integrated might about unhealthy coping mechanism, shadow behaviors, drama and control trips. I also would put the programming usually called “the inner child” in this circuit.
Increasing intelligence in this part of the system happens by learning emotional regulation through co-regulation with others and feeling the feels with presence and self compassion, integrating shadow parts into our full expression, balancing our responses between submission and rebellion to external authorities to ground in our own sovereignty feeling okay with our selves.
C3: Conceptual Map- and Sense-Making
This part of the system is in charge of making sense of the world and our experience. It is based on our capacity to create tools and use language to create maps, concepts and distinctions based on duality an logic as well as complex symbol-systems or belief-systems (a.k.a. BS) to create meaning. The imprints to this system we get by adopting our care givers world view and the educational system.
In terms of neurobiology this circuit correlates with the left hemisphere of the cortex. In our civilization most of us run under the dominance of this part of the brain, that thinks it is in charge and self-determined but often is influenced in its function by subconscious processes of C1 and C2.
The need from this part of the system is for sanity and meaning. We want to understand the world with our maps and theories that will help predict the behavior of our natural and social environment. Unfortunately this part of the brain relies more on the available maps and projections on the base of already stored information, than on direct experience itself.
“The thinker thinks, and the prover proves.” (RAW) in this context means, that we often have an idea about something and then set out to find prove of this idea in reality but end up finding only partial information because of the cognitive bias known as confirmation bias. There are around 50 mechanism of cognitive bias active in this part of the system, so that the question arises of how much we can trust our cognition and sense making.
Our sense making depends mostly on the paradigms, narratives and models we use to interpret sensory experience and craft meaning to the random events in our lifes. If we change those, we get to experience a whole different reality.
This is a level where a lot of coaching comes it to catalyze change. Intelligence increase in this area for me is about gaining more mental flexibility by playing around with paradigms, becoming aware of our projections and biases and making our mind our servant for problem solving instead of mastering us with the tirany of logic and concepts.
C4: Sexuality and Relating
This level of the system is concerned with social navigation, relating, mating and sexual expression, as well as morals or ethics. The need of this part of the system is to belong to a tribe and to contribute to the collective.
In terms of neurobiology it correlates with the prefrontal cortex. The right side of this relates more to our capacity for empathy and compassion, the left side more to morals and ethical decisions.
The programming in this part of the brain develops through the hormonal rearrangement of the brain throughout puberty and into the mid 20s as is highly influenced by our first sexual experiences. At this level is where we develop our social personalities and strategies for navigating social connections to answer the question of “who am I in the world?”
Intelligence increase in this circuit for me is about ridding our system from judgement, cultural moral programming and the shame responses, getting clarity on our set of values to form our own code of ethics, increasing our capacity to love and be loved to form interdependent relationships and finding the people that most resonate with you to build intentional tribes. Development in this are leads to a sovereign adult taking full responsibility for their life situation and able to contribute to the well being of the collective.
Love and do what you will!
C5: Somatic Experiencing and Hedonism
This level of consciousness opens up our system for experiences of bliss, awe, wonder, flow and play. We enhance of sensory experiencing of pleasure and gain more awareness of our somatic experience, of how our body responds to stimulus from the environment. We learn to listen to our body and its signals even deeper.
Most yogic and tantric practices aim at opening up this level of the system, also cannabis lovers have access to this experiencing. In this states, consciousness focus on the immediate experience of the here and now through our physical sensing. The realm of hedonism and playfulness becomes available.
Experiences in this become available when our C1 level regulation moves towards safety. In an activated state of the nervous system we cannot experience bliss and flow. On the other side experiences of high voltage ecstasy might fry our C1 and leave us feeling like anxious monkeys for a while.
Too much emphasis on experiences in this circuit might reduce our ability to plan and take action to face the challenges on other circuits.
C6: Meta-programming and Possibilities
At this level we become awareness of being the pilot of a complex nervous system operating a body playing a character in the game of life on this rock floating through space. At least that is my metaphor for the sort of experiences available through this circuit.
We begin experimenting with the rich pharmacology of our brain and how manipulating it changes our perceptions of ourselves and reality and allows us to play around with creative disorder to rearrange our neuro-pathways, increase neuroplasticity and start changing our programming at will.
This is where Psychedelics, Chaos Magick practice and other form of initiatory rituals come in, that shock our system into opening this circuit. Our nervous systems increases its sensory sensitivity, often our sensitivity to light creating changes in visual perception. The sensitivity to the perception of energetic fields and neuro-electric signals increase enabling all kinds of experiences often labeled as intuition, clair-sentience or hallucinations.
We enter the field of possibilities as the perception of reality becomes non-linear and we gain the ability to choose from the possible reality tunnels available. The schock of uncertainty unleashed by this state can be difficult to absorb for our certainty-craving ego of C2 and cause emotional dis-regulation as we loose control navigating in relativity.
Venturing high without emotional grounding in our convictions might lead inability to bring any of our visions into reality or worse a total inability to make sense to fellow humans and be declared insane or/and become so emotionally dis-regulated that we are labeled bipolar or schizophrenic.
C7: Network Intelligence and Synchronicity
At this level of experiencing it starts getting more mystical. Any kind of experiences here go beyond the level of concept and how we can express this depends on the maps and BS running our C3 minds and the narratives available to create the mytho-poetic expression of what can be perceived here.
I like to run with the collective subconscious proposed bei C.G. Jung and see access to this realm as connecting with archetypes through the practice of invocation to gain access to intelligence and information outside of our system. Sometimes this archetypes unfold their influence on us without us realizing or we become characters of meta narrative unfolding without realizing that.
Other metaphors for this experiencing have been labeled the Akashic Record, The Realm of Ideas (Plato), the DNA-Matrix Record, The Realm of Non-Duality. Whatever works for you.
I sense a connection to a information network larger that what can be known through our logical thinking and to forces that go beyond our physical experiencing. The realm of the unknown and where synchronicity happens when we tap into that interconnection and consciousness of one-ness. Something that often gets labeled as Gaia Mind or Cosmic Consciousness.
Experiences from this level can deeply shock our C3 programming and if we can´t find language to express for others to understand, we might loose connection to inter-subjective reality and sense-making. If we find good metaphors that resonate with others, we might be on a Guru Type path. The shock of Unity (Non-Duality) can have us struggling with the phenomena we encounter in the world of duality and polarity.
“Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.”
C8: Void and Beyond
Here we encounter the great no-thing. The Void. The realm of out of body experiences, astral projection, lucid dreaming, near death experiences. The shock of impermanence (a.k.a. DEATH) of all that is can catapult us in a state of detachment to the ego structures and their worldly affairs and have us craving the dissolution into the void. Best case we can bring in more flexibility to the avatar we are inhabiting to enjoy the games that can be played on this beautiful gameworld called EARTH. From this emptiness we can also offer spaciousness to others to find release.