Imprints, structures and circuits and the evolution of the brain

I have read some brain-blowing books over the years. “Prometheus Rising” is one is definitely one of the weirdest, but also one of the most interesting. Particularly if you are interested in the mind, self-awareness, mindfulness, quantum physics. Reminds me of “The not so secret rules to the game of life“. Here is what I took out of it:

You are what you think

All books about mindfulness start the same way. You are what you think. Mind and its contents are functionally identical. All that we are is the result of all that we have thought. It is founded on thought. It is based on thought. Whatever the Thinker thinks, the Prover proves. What you do know, and consider “the universe outside” is another part of your brain, which has made of its circuits a model which you identify with the universe outside

Tools to think

Why be depressed when you can be happy, dumb when you can be smart, agitated when you can be tranquil? Most people are depressed, dumb and agitated most of the time because they lack the tools to repair and correct damaged, defective circuits in their nervous system.

Your brain

The brain is an electro-colloidal information processor — a living network of over 110 billion nerve cells capable of (102,733,000) interconnections, a number higher than the total of all the atoms in the universe. In this elegant, micro-miniaturised biocomputer more than 100,000,000 processes are programmed every minute.

Your brain determines your reality

The brain, in the routine course of the before-mentioned 100,000,000 programs per minute, takes in, edits, orchestrates, organises, packages, labels, etc., all raw “existential” experience and classifies it according to the neurological Dewey Decimal System. This system varies from society to society; hence, cultural relativism — what is “real” to the Eskimo is not quite the same as what is “real” to a New York taxi-driver.

You are what you eat

The brain appears to be made up of matter in electro-colloidal suspension (protoplasm). Any chemical that gets into the brain changes the gel-sol balance, and “consciousness” is accordingly influenced. Thus, potatoes are, like LSD, “psychedelic” — in a milder way.

Your brain is the biggest treasure

The brain produces all that we experience — all our pain and worry, all our bliss states and ecstasies, all our higher evolutionary vistas and trans-time peak experiences, etc. It is also “the greatest treasure in the universe” in the most materialistic economic sense: it creates all the ideas which, socially employed, become wealth: roads, scientific laws, calendars, factories, computers, life-saving drugs, medicines, ox-carts, autos, jet planes, spaceships . . .

Your brain is like a computer

Every computer consists of two aspects, known as hardware and software. (Software here includes information). The software consists of programs that can exist in many forms, including the totally abstract. On the other hand, the software is more “real” in the sense that you can smash the hardware back to dust (“kill” the computer) and the software still exists, and can “materialise” or “manifest” again in a different computer. (Any speculations about reincarnation at this point are the responsibility of the reader, not of the author.)

Your software

In speaking of the human brain as an electro-colloidal biocomputer, we all know where the hardware is: it is inside the human skull. The software, however, seems to be anywhere and everywhere. For instance, the software “in” your brain also exists outside your brain in such forms as, say, a book you read twenty years ago, or the movie you saw last week.

Operating systems

You have four versions of software:

  1. Genetic Imperatives. Totally hard-wired programs or “instincts.”
  2. Imprints. These are more-or-less hard wired programs which the brain is genetically designed to accept only at certain points in its development.
  3. Conditioning. These are programs built onto the imprints. They are looser and fairly easy to change with counter-conditioning.
  4. Learning. This is even looser and “softer” than conditioning.


Imprints (software that has frozen into hardware) are the non-negotiable aspects of our individuality. Out of the infinity of possible programs existing as potential software, the imprint establishes the limits, parameters, perimeters within which all subsequent conditioning and learning occurs. As soon as the first imprint is made, a structure emerges out of the creative void.

Negative imprints

If this initial imprint is negative — if the universe in general and other humans, in particular, are imprinted as dangerous, hostile and frightening — the Prover will go on throughout life adjusting all perceptions to fit this map. Specifically, it is characterised by the respiratory block first noted by Wilhelm Reich: a chronic muscular armouring that prevents proper, relaxed breathing.


To the first Christians, as to the Buddhists, awakening literally meant coming out of this nightmare of terrifying thoughts. In our terminology, it means correcting the editing that causes us to behave and perceive like very badly (inappropriately) wired robots and suddenly seeing the unedited world. When the accumulated facts, tools, techniques, technology of neuro-science — the science of brain change and brain liberation — reaches a certain critical mass, we will all be able to free ourselves from these robot cycles.

The imprint sets the structure

The growing mind becomes trapped within the structure of the imprints. It identifies with the structure; in a sense, it becomes the structure. Each successive imprint complicates the software which programs our experience and which we experience as “reality. The total structure of this brain circuitry makes up our map of the world.

We all have different structures

Each individual has a neurological system, or game, different from other members of the same society. Therefore no two brains have the same genetically-programmed hard wiring, the same imprints, the same conditioning, the same learning experiences. We are all living in separate realities. That is why communication fails so often, and misunderstandings and resentments are so common.

The evolution of the brain

The function of the domesticated primate brain is to serve as an “organ of adaptation”. Specifically, the oldest, most primitive, most mechanical centres serve simple bio-survival. The more recent (500,000,000-year-old, roughly) emotional territorial centres serve to maintain pack identity, habitat-space and hierarchy. The distinctly hominid semantic circuit (100,000-year-old?) makes maps and models — reality-tunnels- — which we tend to confuse with reality itself, and, worse yet, with “all” of reality. The (30,000? year old) moral-social circuit creates the domesticated adult personality, or parent-role, or super-ego.

You are run by your reptile

It should be no surprise that most people, most of the time, are controlled more by the older reptilian-mammalian circuits than by the human semantic (rational) circuit, or that the semantic circuit is so easily perverted into false logics (bigotries, intolerant ideologies, fanaticisms of all sorts) when the bio-survival circuit signals threat to life or the emotional circuit flashes threat to status.

The classic circuit types

Four of the circuits are “antique” and conservative, and they exist in everybody. The neurological imprint is the blueprint for the entire organism, including body types.

1. The Oral Bio-Survival Circuit. This is imprinted by the mother or the first mothering object and conditioned by subsequent nourishment or threat. It is primarily concerned with sucking, feeding, cuddling, and body security.

2. The Anal Emotional-Territorial Circuit. This is imprinted in the “Toddling” stage when the infant rises up, walks about and begins to struggle for power within the family structure.

3. The Time-Binding Semantic Circuit. This is imprinted and conditioned by human artefacts and symbol systems.

4. The “Moral “Socio-Sexual Circuit. This is imprinted by the first orgasm-mating experiences at puberty and is conditioned by tribal taboos.


It is the function of the nervous system to focus, to select, to narrow down; to choose, from an infinity of possibilities, the biochemical imprints which determine the tactics and strategies that ensure survival in one place, status in one tribe. In this process, each of us pays a heavy price. Survival and status mean forfeiting the infinite possibilities of unconditioned consciousness. However, as long as we remain on the antique circuits, we are not very different from the insects.


There is hope. Neuro-sociology is a history of massive brain changes, as we quantum-jumped from “tribal” reality to “feudal” reality, from “feudal” reality to “industrial” reality, and now are jumping to future reality and new circuit types. The second group of four brain circuits is much newer, and each circuit exists at present only in minorities.


And here is more good news. Life (evolution) behaves as if it were always aiming at higher coherence, i.e., higher intelligence. All dissipative structures are teetering, perpetually, between self-destruction and re-organisation on a higher level of information (coherence). In other words, in the intellectual conflict between utopians and dystopians, the mathematical odds actually are on the side of utopians.

  • It appears that the first forms of unicellular life — the first dawnings of circuit-I bio-survival “consciousness” — appeared about 3.4 billion years ago.
  • Vertebrates began to appear — with Circuit II emotional-territorial consciousness — about 0.5 billion years ago (500 million years ago).
  • The emergence of Circuit III human intelligence — language and “thought” — seems to have begun about 100,000 years ago.

It is only reasonable to assume that the higher circuits of the nervous system — neurosomatic holistic awareness, neurogenetic evolutionary vision, meta-programming flexibility — are developing to allow us to cope with this deluge of higher information

The new circuit types

5. The Holistic Neurosomatic Circuit. This is imprinted by ecstatic experience, via biological or chemical yogas. It processes neurosomatic (“mind-body”) feedback loops, somatic-sensory bliss, feeling “high,” “faith-healing,” etc. Christian Science, NLP and holistic medicine consist of tricks or gimmicks to get this circuit into action at least temporarily; Tantra yoga is concerned with shifting consciousness entirely into this circuit.

6. The Collective Neurogenetic Circuit. This is imprinted by advanced yogas (bio-chemical – electrical stresses). It processes DNA-RNA-brain feedback systems and is “collective” in that it contains and has access to the whole evolutionary “script,” past and future.

7. The Meta-programming Circuit. This is imprinted by very advanced yogas. It consists, in modern terms, of cybernetic consciousness, reprogramming and reimprinting all other circuits, even reprogramming itself, making a possible conscious choice between alternative universes or reality tunnels.

8. The Non-Local Quantum Circuit. This is imprinted by Shock, by “near-death” or “clinical death” experience, by OOBEs (out-of-body-experiences), by trans-time perceptions (“precognition”), by trans-space visions (ESP), etc. It tunes the brain into the non-local quantum communication system suggested by physicists such as Bohm, Walker, Sarfatti, Bell, etc.

The author then goes through the different circuit wirings of your brain. I will highlight them as (random) bullet points, and you will understand why this book is so very interesting.

The Oral Bio-Survival Circuit

The bio-survival circuit only divides experience into two sets: that which is good for me or nourishing, and that which is bad for me or threatening. The neurological components of the first circuit go back to the oldest parts of the brain; Carl Sagan called these functions “the reptile brain.” These neural structures are at least billions of years old.

  • Any mammal hooks the bio-survival circuit to the first imprinted bio-survival object: the teat. How important is this oral imprinting?
  • As for music — where did we first hear it, who sang or hummed to us, and against what part of her body were we held?
  • The bio-survival circuit is DNA-programmed to seek a comfort-safety zone around a mothering organism. In the modern human, this structure remains in the brain stem and in the autonomic (“involuntary”) nervous system, where it is interconnected with the endocrine and other life-support systems.
  • A man or woman entering a new situation with the anxiety chemicals* of a frightened infant coursing through the brain stem is not going to be able to observe, judge, or decide anything very accurately.
  • The bio-survival program first attaches to the safe space around the mother (oral imprint), and then with age moves further and further out, exploring what is safe and what is not.
  • The hard-wired programs act automatically because if you had to stop and think out each situation, you would be eaten by the first predator.
  • All of which is robotic, until one learns how to reprogram and reimprint one’s own brain circuits. In most cases, such metaprogramming skill is never acquired.
  • On top of the hard-wired imprinting of the biosurvival circuit comes “softer” conditioning. Every social animal has, in addition to the Darwinian “instinct” (genetic program) of self-preservation, a similar “instinct” to protect the gene-pool. This is the basis of altruism, and social animals could not survive without it. What has happened is that the conditioning of the bio-survival bond to the gene-pool has been replaced by a conditioning of bio-survival drives to hook onto the peculiar tickets which we call “money”. Bio-survival depends on getting the tickets.
  • Bio-survival anxiety will only permanently disappear when world-wide wealth has reached a level, and a distribution, where, without totalitarianism, everyone has enough tickets. The ideal can only be achieved in a technology of abundance.
  • A bad bio-survival imprint can only be corrected by working on the biological being itself, the body that feels perpetually vulnerable and under attack. Even Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) begins by inducing the patient to relax and breathe easily.
  • Wilhelm Reich discovered that he could understand his patients with remarkable clarity by imitating their characteristic body movements and postures. The bio-survival imprints, especially traumatic ones, are all-over-the-body, frozen in chronic muscle and gland mechanisms.
  • If you can’t understand somebody’s “irrational” behaviour, start by observing their breathing. You will very quickly get an idea of what is bothering them.
  • What the Thinker thinks, the Prover proves. People are strangling their inner organs every day because they are afraid. “All illness is manifested fear;”
  • Throughout human life, when the bio-survival circuit senses danger, all other mental activity ceases.
  • To create a new imprint, first, reduce the subject to the state of infancy, i.e., bio-survival vulnerability.

The Anal Emotional-Territorial Circuit

The second circuit, the emotional-territorial networks of the brain, is concerned entirely with power politics. The second circuit structures appeared with the first amphibians and mammals, somewhere around 1000 million or 500 million years ago; Sagan called them “the mammalian brain.”In the modern human, it seems to be centralised in the thalamus — the “back brain” or “old brain” and is linked with the voluntary nervous system and the muscles.

  • The emotional-territorial circuit also divides the world into two halves: that which is more powerful than me (higher in the pecking order) and that which is less powerful than me (lower in the pecking order).
  • Depending as always on the accidents of the environment — what happens at points of neurological vulnerability — this circuit will organise itself into a strong, dominating role in the pack (or family) or a weak, submissive role.
  • Ego is simply the mammalian recognition of one’s status in the pack; the differences between domesticated primates (humans) and other domesticated animals are virtually nil, as long as we are talking only about the first two circuits.

The Time-Binding Semantic Circuit

Real differences in brain structures begin to appear when the third, semantic circuit enters the picture. The semantic circuit allows us to sub-divide things and reconnect things. The semantic circuit appeared perhaps 100 thousand years ago; Sagan called it “the human brain.” In ordinary language, the semantic circuit is usually called “the mind.”

  • Four imprint types are categorised as the four basic life scripts: Lion-Angel-Bull-Eagle.
  • The irony and the tragedy of human life is that none of these subjects are aware at all of their robotry.
  • Sociobiologists, who are very aware of these four quadrants in both human and animal societies, claim that each organism is born with a genetic predisposition to play one of these roles. We say merely that, whether or not you or I were born with a predisposition for one quadrant, all organisms are born with a predisposition for imprint vulnerability, and the imprint, once set in the neural circuitry, acts as robotically as any genetic hard-wiring.
  • The third semantic circuit handles artefacts and makes a “map” (reality-tunnel) which can be passed on to others, even across generations. These “maps” may be paintings, blueprints, words, concepts, tools (with instructions on use transmitted verbally), theories, music, etc.
  • The semantic circuit began functioning somewhere in pre-history. The process is, however, accelerating faster as time passes because the symbolising faculty is inherently self-augmenting.
  • In terms of Transactional Analysis, the first (oral) circuit is called the Natural Child, the second (emotional) circuit is called the Adapted Child, and the semantic circuit is called the Adult or Computer. In Jungian terms, the first circuit mediates sensation, the second circuit feeling, and the third circuit reason.
  • Whoever can scare people enough (produce bio-survival anxiety) can sell them quickly on any verbal map that seems to give them relief, i.e., cure the anxiety.

The “Moral “Socio-Sexual Circuit

The fourth circuit is located in the left neo-cortex — the newest part of the left hemisphere of the brain. It is linked neurologically with the genitalia and the breasts (fucking-hugging-embracing-protecting circuitry). It can almost be called the guilt circuit.

  • It is sometimes mistakenly stated that there are no universal sexual taboos. This is not true. There is one omni-purpose taboo which exists in every tribe. That taboo stipulates that sexuality shall not be unregulated by the tribe.
  • The actual function of such practices, of course, is population control.
  • Almost everybody, almost everywhere, is quite busy hiding their real sexual profile and miming the “accepted” sex role for their gender in their tribe.
  • In ordinary language, the imprint on the socio-sexual circuit is generally called “the mature personality” or the “sexual role.” It is “the Parent” in the jargon of Transactional Analysis.


The easiest way to get brainwashed is to be born. Society has always known how to wire children. Human society as a whole is a vast brainwashing machine whose semantic rules and sex roles create a social robot. From the viewpoint of neuro-sociology, how I perceive “myself’ and “my world” depends on how each circuit has been wired in your brain. Each of us has a “favourite” circuit — that is, a circuit that has been more heavily imprinted than the others. We all tend to assume that the person we are interacting with is on the same circuit we are. They are called reality tunnels. Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, between them, are the most potent brain-programming institutions on this planet.


All of the above principles then immediately go into action, a process which social psychologists euphemistically call socialisation. The subjects come out of normal “socialisation” depending on where and when they were born as Eskimo totemists, Moslem fundamentalists, Roman Catholics, Marxist Leninists, Nazis, Methodist Republicans, Oxford-educated-agnostics, snake worshippers, Ku Kluxers, Mafiosos, Unitarians, IRA-ists, PLO-ists, orthodox Jews, hardshell Baptists, etc. There are people in each society who are easily recognisable as Narcissists (first-circuit robots), Emotionalists (second-circuit robots). Rationalists (third-circuit robots) and Moralists (fourth-circuit robots). Like the Emotional robot, the Moralistic robot, the Narcissist robot etc., the Rationalist robot cannot be “argued” out of his narrow reality tunnel. It is also obvious that most of these reality-tunnels contain elements so absurd that everybody not imprinted/conditioned by them looks at them with astonishment and dismay, wondering “How can a rational person (or peoples) believe such rubbish?”


Thus, a genius is one who, by some internal process, breaks through to Circuit VII — a minor neurological miracle loosely called “intuition” — and comes back down to the third circuit with the capacity to paint a new semantic map, build a new model of experience.

The Holistic Neurosomatic Circuit

The neurosomatic circuit of the brain is much more recent than the antique circuits previously discussed. Temporary neurosomatic consciousness can be acquired by the yoga practice of pranayama breathing and for those who can handle it, by ingestion of certain drugs. There is no tribe known to anthropology, which doesn’t have at least one neurosomatic technician (shaman). The fifth circuit, like the earlier circuits, is just another evolutionary mutation, necessary to us as we move toward a more complex neuro-social level.

The Collective Neurogenetic Circuit.

The biosphere — Gaia — the DNA script — is more intelligent than all individuals, gene-pools and species. The first to achieve neurogenetic awareness, a few thousand years ago, spoke of “memories of past lives,” “reincarnation,” “immortality,” Circuit VI neurogenetic consciousness allows you to “converse” with the evolutionary architect who designed your body — and billions and billions of others since the dawn of life around 3-4 million years ago.

The Meta-programming Circuit

The meta-programming circuit — known as the “soul” in Gnosticism, the “no-mind” (wu-hsin) in China, the White Light of the Void in Tibetan Buddhism, Shiva-darshana in Hinduism, the True Intellectual Center in Gurdjieff — simply represents the brain becoming aware of itself. The “soul” or Circuit VII is constant, because it is, as the Chinese say, void or no-form.

The Non-Local Quantum Circuit

In what are called “out of body experiences” (OOBEs) by parapsychologists, awareness seems to escape the confines of the nervous system entirely. OOBEs also occur with heavy does of LSD and with ketamine, an anaesthetic with strange psychedelic side-effects.  Bell’s Theorem is highly technical, but in ordinary language, it amounts to something like this: There are no isolated systems: every particle in the universe is in “instantaneous” (faster-than-light) communication with every other particle. The Whole System, even the parts that are separated by cosmic distances, functions as a Whole System. Dr Edward Harris Walker suggests that what does move faster than light, and holds the whole system together, is “consciousness.” Pure information, in the mathematical sense, does not require energy; it is that which orders energy. It is here, there and everywhere; now, then and everywhen.

The future

The highest historical concentration of wealth (real capital, and ideas generating new capital) now co-exists with the highest concentration of evolutionarily advanced nervous systems. We are riding a mounting tidal wave of rising consciousness and expanding intelligence, which is accelerating whether we like it or not.

  • Evolution is real: quantum jumps do occur throughout the biosphere and throughout human intellectual history.
  • The First Wave took millennia to occur, but it finally transformed the larger part of humanity from the tribal stage (simple hunting-gathering primates) to the stage of large-scale agricultural-feudal civilisations.
  • The Second Wave came much faster and, in a few centuries, transformed almost all of humanity from feudal-agricultural cottage economy to industrial-urban-market economy.
  • The Third Wave continues the trend toward acceleration and will happen in only a few decades. We call it “the information explosion,” “the post-industrial economy,” etc.
  • Toffler’s Third Wave is only the sociological aspect of a mutation that is also biological and “spiritual.” We are going to live a lot longer than we have expected, and we are going to get a lot smarter. A whole new reality will emerge from those mutations.

How to get there

Technology, neuroscience, martial arts, yoga, meditation, quantum physics and neuro-pharmacology (another word for LSD). It is that simple. The future looks bright.

sensemaking cover


Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

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