The eight-circuit model of consciousness is a theory in psychology proposed by Timothy Leary and expanded on by Robert Anton Wilson and Antero Alli. The model describes eight circuits of information (eight “brains”) that operate within the human nervous system. Each circuit is concerned with a different sphere of activity.
The lower four, the larval circuits, deal with normal psychology, while the upper four, the stellar circuits, deal with psychic, mystical, enlightened and psychedelic states of mind. These higher circuits are thought to have only recently evolved, with just a fraction of human beings using them. The higher the circuit, the fewer people have activated it. Leary describes the four larval circuits as necessary for surviving and functioning in a terrestrial human society. Leary proposed that the higher four exist primarily for future use by humans who might someday migrate to outer space and live extraterrestrially.
Leary, Alli and Wilson have written about the model in depth and how each circuit operates, both in the lives of individual people and in societies.
The term “circuits” came from the first wave of cybernetics research and development in the United States in the 1970s. (Others[weasel words] have proposed that the term “systems” should be substituted for “circuits” to reflect both a systems theory approach and also the changing anatomy of an entity as it goes through a neurological change).
Each successive circuit represents a more complex phase of evolution. In line with recapitulation theory, the model applies equally to the evolution of an individual organism and the evolution of the whole tree of life. Each neurological circuit provides a new cognitive function (whether or not the organism is aware of the circumstances that led to its activation).