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6187Teilhard's Noosphere (unification & growth of global consciousness)

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  • prometheus_973
    May 5, 2012

      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Noosphere ( /ˈnoʊ.ɵsfɪər/; sometimes noösphere), according to the thought of Vladimir Vernadsky
      [1] and Teilhard de Chardin, denotes the "sphere of human thought".
      [2] The word is derived from the Greek νοῦς (nous "mind") + σφαῖρα (sphaira "sphere"), in lexical analogy to "atmosphere" and "biosphere".
      [3] Introduced by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 1922
      [4] in his Cosmogenesis.
      [5] Another possibility is the first use of the term by Édouard Le Roy, who together with Teilhard was listening to lectures of Vladimir Vernadsky at Sorbonne. In 1936 Vernadsky accepted the idea of the Noosphere in a letter to Boris Leonidovich Lichkov (though, he states that the concept derives from Le Roy).
      [6] Contents [hide]

      1 History of concept
      1.1 Psychosphere
      2 Possible mechanisms
      3 Instances in popular culture
      4 See also
      5 References
      6 External links

      [edit] History of concept

      In the original theory of Vernadsky, the noosphere is the third in a succession of phases of development of the Earth, after the geosphere (inanimate matter) and the biosphere (biological life). Just as the emergence of life fundamentally transformed the geosphere, the emergence of human cognition fundamentally transforms the biosphere. In contrast to the conceptions of the Gaia theorists, or the promoters of cyberspace, Vernadsky's noosphere emerges at the point where humankind, through the mastery of nuclear processes, begins to create resources through the transmutation of elements. It is also currently being researched as part of the Princeton Global Consciousness Project.[7]

      For Teilhard, the noosphere emerges through and is constituted by the interaction of human minds. The noosphere has grown in step with the organization of the human mass in relation to itself as it populates the earth. As mankind organizes itself in more complex social networks, the higher the noosphere will grow in awareness. This concept is an extension of Teilhard's Law of Complexity/Consciousness, the law describing the nature of evolution in the universe. Teilhard argued the noosphere is growing towards an even greater integration and unification, culminating in the Omega Point, which he saw as the goal of history. The goal of history, then, is an apex of thought/consciousness.

      One of the original aspects of the noosphere concept deals with evolution. Henri Bergson, with his L'évolution créatrice (1907), was one of the first to propose evolution is 'creative' and cannot necessarily be explained solely by Darwinian natural selection. L'évolution créatrice is upheld, according to Bergson, by a constant vital force which animates life and fundamentally connects mind and body, an idea opposing the dualism of René Descartes. In 1923, C. Lloyd Morgan took this work further, elaborating on an 'emergent evolution' which could explain increasing complexity (including the evolution of mind). Morgan found many of the most interesting changes in living things have been largely discontinuous with past evolution, and therefore did not necessarily take place through a gradual process of natural selection. Rather, evolution experiences jumps in complexity (such as the emergence of a self-reflective universe, or noosphere). Finally, the complexification of human cultures, particularly language, facilitated a quickening of evolution in which cultural evolution occurs more rapidly than biological evolution. Recent understanding of human ecosystems and of human impact on the biosphere have led to a link between the notion of sustainability with the "co-evolution" [Norgaard, 1994] and harmonization of cultural and biological evolution.

      [edit] Psychosphere

      Oliver Reiser developed the theory of a "psi bank" which he claimed is a magnetic memory field around the earth that is influencing biological evolution. Reiser also believed the field acts as a depository for thoughts, and is held in place by electromagnetic bands around the earth. He wrote that this field is also affected by cosmic ray showers that originate from the galaxy. Reiser theorized that the brain was an amplification and receiving station for information stored in what he termed the "psychosphere" of the psi bank.[8][9]

      [edit]Possible mechanisms

      Living systems are dissipative structures that create internal order by expending energy in exchange for a local reduction in entropy. This is true at every level of biological organization and increasingly so the more abstract such order becomes within living systems.

      For instance, genes create an abstract information framework within which multicellular organisms may modify the topology of the epigenetic information state space in order to adapt and subsequently evolve. This may include changing the genes themselves that are involved in the abstract information framework or altering the manner in which these genes coordinate their activity. Nevertheless, as complexity and, therefore, order increases in biological systems, the amount of abstraction within that system also increases. This creates, in effect, an increase in information density. At the level of the brain, this abstraction becomes evident as the information structure known as the mind. Certain theories posit that such an ordering alters the information state of the surrounding environment such that, for ever decreasing levels of entropy, there is a net local entropy deficit or "information moment" impressed upon the surrounding environment by the extant local information structures. In this way, the mind, an abstract phenomenon seated in the physical substrate of the brain, may be capable of inducing a local entropic force that, when summed among many minds simultaneously, produces an even more amplified phenomenon known as the noosphere.

      [edit] Instances in popular culture

      American integral theorist Ken Wilber deals with this third evolution of the noosphere. In his work, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality (1995), he builds many of his arguments on the emergence of the noosphere and the continued emergence of further evolutionary structures.
      The term Noöcene epoch refers to "how we manage and adapt to the immense amount of knowledge we've created." [1]

      The noosphere concept of 'unification' was elaborated in popular science fiction by Julian May in the Galactic Milieu Series. It is also the reason Teilhard is often called the patron saint of the Internet.[10]

      Brian Stableford references human culture as a possible delirium or fever dream of the noösphere in his novella Mortimer Gray's History of Death, first published in 1995.
      Greg Bear used the concept of the Noösphere as the interaction space of his 'noöcytes' when he expanded his short story Blood Music to a full length novel in 1985.
      Ambient dance group The Orb, in the track "O.O.B.E." from the album U.F.Orb', use a sample from the reading of New Pathways in Psychology by Colin Wilson, who discusses the concept of the Noösphere.

      In The Gone-Away World, a novel by Nick Harkaway, Earth is devastated in a war fought with "Go-Away Bombs"—weapons which erase the information content of matter, causing it to disappear from reality. The fallout of these bombs, called "Stuff", subsequently draws information from the noosphere, "reifying" human ideas and thoughts into physical form and creating a fantasy landscape of monsters and horrors.
      In the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, the Human Instrumentality Project has the goal of achieving the state of a Noosphere.

      In the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R Shadow of Chernobyl, the nuclear power plant is being used for scientific experiments involving adjusting the Noosphere to remove aggression from humans. As a failed attempt at doing this, the "Zone" was created.

      Progressive Death Metal band Obscura have a song called "Noosphere" on their album Cosmogenesis.

      In the 2008 video game LittleBigPlanet, the titular planet is described in terms similar to a noosphere—that is, it is the physical manifestation of idle human thoughts. Users can further expand on this idea by creating levels and uploading them to the servers for other players to experience.

      In F. Paul Wilson's 2009 Repairman Jack novel Ground Zero, the recurring character of The Lady is revealed to be a manifestation of the Noosphere whose function is that of a "beacon" which informs a higher intelligence ("the Ally") that sentient life exists in the area where she appears.

      In the 2009 Warhammer 40,000 novel Mechanicum by Graham McNeill, the noosphere is an experimental communication infrastructure that empowers the user by harnessing the power of the collective mind.

      In the book Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky the Noosphere is mentioned as being destroyed during the last war, and with it also destroying paradise and hell.
      Dan Simmons's Ilium/Olympos novels use the Noosphere as a way to explain the origins of powerful entities such as Ariel and Prospero, the former arising from a network of datalogging mote machines, and the latter of whom derives from a post-Internet logosphere.
      Cory Doctorow's short story "I, Rowboat" refers to noosphere as a cyberspace inhabited by digitised minds of humans who have chosen to leave their bodies.

      [edit] See also

      Collective consciousness
      Global brain
      Knowledge ecosystem