Robert Anton Wilson
on "The trick top hat"
Although the HEAD Revolution transformed the Terran primates at the time of this ancient Romance, nobody knows when it actually began. Some trace it to certain Alchemical cults of the early Dark Ages; some say it did not properly start as an organized movement until neuro-pharmacology began to replace old-fashioned "psychology" in the late Dark Ages (i.e., just before the time of this epic novel); some try to find its origins in primitive shamanism and yoga.
What is clear is that some primates on Terra began to transcend genetic four-circuit limitations many centuries, or even millennia, before true neuroscience appeared among them. Whether this was due to mutation, empirical hit-or-miss experimentation with alkaloid herbs, or other factors is unknown. In Egypt and China and other places, a few primates reported fifth-circuit raptures - the dawning of neurosomatic consciousness - two thousand or even three thousand years before the Space Age began.
The picture is the same on all planets. A few biots suddenly rise above the eat-it-or-flee-it imprints of the amphibian biosurvival circuit, above the dominate-or-submit imprints of the mammalian territorial-emotional circuit, above the either/or logic of the hominid semantic circuit, above the "good" and "bad" values of the tribal sociosexual circuit. They have transcended infantile feeding programs, childish emotional programs, adolescent philosophizing, and adult "responsibility" (pack role) all at once.
What has happened, of course, is that these biots have formed a fifth circuit in their brains. This is called the neurosomatic circuit because it allows conscious feedback between the nervous system ("mind", in prescientific primate language) and the soma ("body"). In the larval stages of this Hedonic Revolution, every planet exhibits the same monotonous pattern:
Mysticism and monomania appear. Many of the mutated biots become convinced that they control everything (the "I-am-God" syndrome), not realizing that they merely control their own perceptual field.
"Miracle healings" are reported. The neurosomatic ("mind body") feedback loop allows the mutant biots to become healthier, younger-looking, and sleeker ("handsome") than average. They soon believe, and are encouraged by their admirers to never doubt, that they can"cure" anything.
Neurosomatic intolerance appears. The mutated biots grow annoyed, and become extremely critical about, the robot-mechanisms of first-circuit approach-avoidance, second-circuit domination-submission, third-circuit either/or logic, and static fourth-circuit sex roles. They call on everybody to float free like themselves, or like the wind.
The other biots usually declare these five-circuit mutants to be divine, or else they kill them. Sometimes they do both.
The condition was just becoming understood on Terra at the time of this Quantum Comedy, as neuropharmacologists slowly traced the links between neurochemistry and the creation of perceived reality-tunnels.