Introducing Cognitive Circuits 

“Like begets like; honesty begets honesty; trust, trust; and so on.” — James F. Bell, III

The Four Sides of the Mind is a map. Not just a map, but a map that guides through the labyrinth of our psyche. Through the entrance to the dark — even blocked — tunnels, the knowledge of the Four Sides, and all accompanying mechanics, reveals to us the pathways through the labyrinth. 

The concepts of Cognitive Development, Integration, and Chaotic vs. Orderly transitions, are all helpful pieces of knowledge to use as tools for our journey. In this article, we will be zooming in on Chaotic vs. Orderly Transitions. We will be viewing Cognitive Transitions in a way that gives us the power to navigate our minds with more clarity and intention.

This new tool will be called “Cognitive Circuits.”  


What are Cognitive Circuits? 

A Cognitive Circuit is the culmination of the combined and simultaneous interactions of Axis, Orbit, and Reflection into one model.  


  • Cognitive Axis is communication between two of our functions within the same side of the mind. The Hero and the Inferior, as well as the Parent and the Child, sit in Cognitive Axis with one another.  



  • Likewise, Cognitive Orbit is also communication between two of our functions, but between different sides of the mind. The Hero and the Nemesis, as well as the Parent and the Critic, are in Cognitive Orbit with each other. 



  • Lastly is Cognitive Reflection. Cognitive Reflection is not exactly “communication” per se, but indirect influence from the tension created on the opposite side of the mind — revealed through what Chris Taylor coined “The Cognitive Battlegrounds.”  You can review the lectures on Orbit and Reflections here in season 18 in the members area. 



The Hero and the Demon, for example, have the same type of function (Introverted Perception or Extraverted Judgment, etc.) and they exert indirect tension on each other. Functions that are in Cognitive Reflection with one another hold the structure of our psyche together. They are like the corners of a box that press against each other so that the box does not collapse.                                             

Combining these three concepts reveals our tool. This is a Cognitive Circuit 



Why Make Cognitive Circuits? 

It seems intuitive at first — and maybe even foolishly simple — that this model should have its own concept. After all, it is just the combination of previous concepts Chase has been teaching for years. But just like cooking and chemistry, combining ingredients and elements often has the effect of making a new substance altogether. 

I cannot promise a new substance altogether today, as the properties of these individual parts will not change when combined. But I can show you where the Circuits’ unique utility exists through their application. 

Cognitive Circuits simplify the pathways of communication within our psyches. If we apply Axis, Orbit, and Reflection together, we find one Cognitive Circuit between our Hero, Inferior, Nemesis and Demon. This is a Cognitive Circuit between our Gateway functions — or the Gateway Circuit 



The Gateway Circuit represents all the communication that takes place between our gateway functions. Our Hero is influenced by our Nemesis and Inferior by Axis and Orbit respectively, and is pushed on by the Demon. 

But this is only half of our Cognitive Functions. What about the other half? They have their own circuit. If you’ve been following the cutting edge, you’ll remember Chase and Chris’ conversation about Guidance Functions. If a gateway function is the Hero of each side of the mind, then a guidance function is the Parent of each side of the mind. We call the second circuit the Guidance Circuit.                            


So why talk about Cognitive Circuits at all? One reason is because we can trace how the energy in our psyche affects — or dare I say, “infects” — the rest of our psyche. And, if we can trace the energy, we can change it too.  


Using the Cognitive Circuit 

We demonstrated that there are two — and only two — circuits running through our minds: the Gateway and Guidance Circuits, respectively. And each circuit can be expressed through a chaotic or orderly means. Thus, we have two different ways to activate each circuit: 

  • Chaotic Gateway Circuit 
  • Chaotic Guidance Circuit 
  • Orderly Gateway Circuit 
  • Orderly Guidance Circuit  

 We’ve talked orderly vs. chaotic transitions for years — since Chase started the Youtube channel. These same principles will show us the outcomes of the type of energy that courses throughout our minds.  

The Chaotic Circuits 

Both the Gateway and Guidance Circuits have a chaotic variant.  The label of the “circuit” resembles electricity in a fundamental way. Without getting too much into the minutia of the science of electricity, it is a useful metaphor — and perhaps is literal — for how energy travels in our mind.   

The Chaotic circuits show the cause and effect of using the chaos in our mind to steer our way forward.   

Chaotic Gateway Circuit:  


This figure demonstrates the consequences of chaos. The smugness of the Hero (not to be confused with the “Pride” deadly sin of the ENFJ/ISTP — Season 7, P2) is when we use Hero to do everything. We arrogantly put all our efforts into just the Hero — like a drunken farmer taking a garden shovel into a war zone. We takes no counsel, totally convinced that no foe can stand in our way. 

What happens when pride enters the Ego through the Hero? Pride from the Ego channels next to the Inferior, which experiences fear because the Hero will not share its power. The Inferior knows it is not capable of its own power. 

The pride of the Hero also leads to the ignorance of the Nemesis. Why does the Nemesis causes us so much worry? Perhaps it is trying to make us aware of our own ignorance?

Pride from the Ego spreads to the Inferior, where we experience fear because we don’t allow our Hero to share its power. The Inferior knows it is not capable without the Hero sharing it’s power. 

The combination of Pride, Ignorance, and Fear leads to Hate in the Demon. Not only does our Demon have hate for our Hero — because it will not listen to it — but we hate the things that emerge from our pride. Why? Pride, particularly when it is combined with ignorance and fear, diminishes the worth of something else. When we don’t understand what we are afraid of, and we have a prideful judgment toward that thing, hatred will grow. Prejudice is a classic example of this phenomenon.  

In the Cognitive Circuit, like begets like, and chaotic energy begets more chaotic energy.  Love, for example, cannot grow where pride, ignorance, and fear are present.   

Chaotic Guidance Circuit: 


This figure demonstrates the consequences of our maturity/immaturity. What is a misguided transition? It’s different from the chaotic transition in the Gateway function where the Hero may overstep. A misguided transition, however, does not occur so much because the Parent (or Critic, Child, etc.) was “chaotic,” but rather because it was absent.  

Just like a home is most chaotic with an absent parent, a chaotic transition moves the mind without the Parent’s oversight. And even in some homes where it is physically present, their parental influence is absent. This absence is what leads to unguided, and thus misguided transitions.

The absence of the Parent equates to its carelessness. It does not step in the way to deter the Hero from its pride. A careless Parent is not even watching.  

The carelessness of the Parent leads to the entitlement of the Child. The Child, optimistic and precocious, does not have the refining presence of the Parent to temper the Child’s immature edge. The Child then becomes convinced of its own divinity, and mimic’s the Pride of its Hero father through its own entitlement.   

The carelessness of the Hero also leads to the foolishness of the Critic. The Critic, the resentful, bitter, and senile elder sits on its cracking rocking chair, hoping to justify its insane cynicism. The Critic is dying to be proven right. And the carelessness of the Parent acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy to the Critic, who can double down on its judgments that only further propels it to the place of ignorant bliss. This becomes a breeding ground for foolishness.   

The combination of Carelessness, Entitlement, and Foolishness ultimately leads to a complete inability to strengthen ourselves where we are weak. We become Impotent through the absence of the Parent. 


The Orderly Circuits 

The reverse of the Chaotic circuits reveals the path of conscious, intentional, and orderly transitions throughout our psyches. To build up a side of the mind through orderly transitions requires the application of consciousness. That same consciousness, it can be argued, is first made available because of the chaos within us to begin with. In other words, if our use of the Circuit didn’t start out chaotically, it’s unlikely it would ever become orderly.   

Orderly transitions, then, become the transformation and repurposing of the chaos within us, which propel us toward the attributes of the Orderly Circuits. 

Orderly Gateway Circuit: 


Humility exists within us when we let go of our pride in the Hero. Or, as Chris Taylor said regarding his Season 33 opening, “When the Hero lets go of being Heroic.” In fact, the Hero’s identification with being Heroic often makes it the least Heroic of all the functions.  

Why? Because if the Hero embraces its orderly nature, it must have the humility to realize how unheroic it truly is. And this realization gives rise to the Hero’s transition to becoming a “Warrior”. The Warrior is one who allows the influence of responsibility (i.e. the Parent) to affect them fundamentally. A Warrior is a Hero who accepts the limitations of his responsibility. 

The Hero’s humility enables the Inferior to be become un-paralyzed in its fear. The Hero opens its hand and shares some of its power with the Inferior, which can allow the Inferior to temporarily take over the reins — such as it does through aspiring in the Subconscious. Humility emboldens us so that we find courage. Further, pride is NOT courage, despite so many people acting as if it is.

But humility also opens us up to the unseen. Rather, it opens us up to an awareness of not only what we don’t know, but what we don’t know we don’t know. And this is given by the Nemesis in the Shadow, the Hero’s inborn antagonist. 

In Greek mythology, Hubris (another word for pride) caused Nemesis to emerge. The more pride the Hero has, the harder the Nemesis pulls. Because the more pride someone has, the more ignorant they are. The Nemesis exists to alert us to our ignorance. 

But humility enables understanding. Humility lets the Nemesis not just speak but influence our actions. Where we were blind, we begin to see. Thus, understanding is gained through humility. 

Together, the combination of Humility, Courage, and Understanding give rise to Love. The orderliness of the Hero, Inferior, and Nemesis can finally create order within the Demon. Similarly to the Nemesis, these three orderly attributes equate to listening to the Demon — who has wanted to be heard for so long.  

Orderly Guidance Circuit: 


The Guidance functions serve as a companion to the Gateway functions. The Parent of each side of the mind is the companion of the Hero of each side of the mind. In many ways, how helpful a companion they are is a measure of one’s maturity and integration. 

The implication of “Guidance” is the following: A mature and well-developed person will actually LEAD with their guidance function. The gateway follows.

In practice, leading with the guidance function greatly helps one‘s chances of achieving orderly transitions. An orderly transition is found in the combination of an orderly gateway activation + an orderly guidance activation.  

The Parent is all about responsibility. What is responsibility? Accepting the burden of using a tool in a careful and discerning manner. Responsibility is a sacrifice because it forces you to commit to a certain attitude and behavior that requires awareness and strength.

The responsibility of the Parent assists with instilling humility in the Hero. To be burdened with a responsibility creates humility as you accept the limitations of your choices in any given moment.  

Responsibility is when the Parent chooses to be present, no matter the difficulty of the circumstance. Responsibility, ultimately, is holding oneself accountable in a particular area. 

Personally, the most fascinating outcome in all of these figures is the relationship between the Parent and the Child. “Joy” is the only immediate positive concept in the figure of guided transitions. The experience of joy is not in spite of sacrifice, but because of it. We can revel in the fact that where the Parent “misses out” on life, it can be regained through the Child.

Further, the responsibility of the Parent leads to wisdom within the Critic. The Critic helps build the Unconscious by showing the Nemesis that it doesn’t need to know everything to have understanding. Wisdom gives additional discernment to the Nemesis. It teaches us that in order to learn we don’t have to fill in every gap of our ignorance. The Critic helps the Nemesis choose what battles to fight.  

The Parent’s capacity for responsibility is also influenced by Critic’s capacity for wisdom. That is the connection of Cognitive Orbit through these two functions. Thus, being responsible also helps one become wise, just as responsibility leads to joy.

Finally, the combination of Responsibility, Joy, and Wisdom leads the Trickster to the complete opposite of impotence: Mastery 

As each guidance function is developed the Trickster, born incapable, eventually becomes the ultimate master, able to shift the weight of the world through its keen insight alone.  


Defined by their absence? 

Another application of the circuits could be considered semantics, but if you pick one corner of the circuit — any corner — it stands to reason that the other three remaining corners make up the concept of corner picked. 

Definitionally speaking, what is Hate? The combination of Pride + Fear + Ignorance. 

What is Foolishness? The combination of Carelessness + Entitlement + Impotence. 

And Wisdom? Humility + Courage + Love.  

Perhaps it is more appropriate to say that a concept isn’t “defined” by its absence, but by the habit of what is left. A single moment in time of humility, courage, and love may not make you infinitely wise; but weeks, months, and years committed to expressing these attributes builds wisdom up within you.  

This semantic implication borders on a philosophical insight: that something can only be defined by what it isn’t. Take away a thing, and whatever is left composes the essence of that thing.


What’s next? 

What’s lacking in this article is a descriptive analysis for each type. How does Ti Hero embody the understanding with Te Nemesis? How does Se Inferior embody the courage given by Ni Hero?  

Exploring these technicalities for every type would take away from our purpose today, which is to establish the system itself. However, in a previous article we presented a prototype for what is now the Cognitive Circuits. That article was solely dedicated to exploring how the Inferior function can benefit from a Circuit analysis. It can provide some more illumination on the application of these circuits.

Lastly, a topic that may receive its own follow-up article, is using these circuits on yourself. For example, if you realize you are feeling extremely fearful in your Inferior, there’s a good chance your Hero is trying to do too much — and convinced that it can do too much.  

The steps to fix that would be to use your Parent + Hero (the gateway + its guidance function) to orderly transition back into your Ego. Then, help your Hero gain the humility it needs and share it’s power with the Inferior. When our Hero is humble enough to share, we will become courageous. Then, using your gateway to your Subconscious (Inferior) plus the guidance function for the Subconscious (your Child), you become more capable of transitioning to your Subconscious in an orderly fashion. Remember, the Ego is our home base. 

The implication of the circuits, then, is that once we not only have the tools, but the knowledge of how to use them, we can consciously move to a side of the mind when we need to. We can enter there not just on good terms, but on our terms. 



















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