Fri, Oct 9, 2009
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The Noosphere
Project: Polytopia

Omega Point and the Noosphere
By Jonathan Bethel -

With the convenience of modern telecommunications and cyber technology, it is now possible to interact and communicate with anyone in the world instantly. The distance gap between people has been closed and now brain can speak to brain directly. Vast webs of knowledge are now being created through the collaborative sharing of ideas. The many nodes and interconnections of this global network are rapidly increasing and proliferating throughout society. Many speculate that this super network is the central nervous system of the burgeoning global brain. According to futurists, this sheath of technology covering the planet, this technosphere, is the material basis of the now awakening Noosphere, earth's mental envelope or field. The word noosphere derives from the Greek "noos", or "nous", and means mind, while "Sphere", or "spheria," of course means globe. It is therefore the globe of thought, and includes all knowledge of collective humanity. This is a similar to Carl Jung's collective unconscious.

The Noosphere can be thought of as the complete and assimilated morphogenetic field of the planet, the integration of all knowledge ecologies. Decades before the advent of the internet and long before the World Wide Web, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest and paleontologist, promoted the idea of the Noosphere. Chardin said, "We are faced with a harmonized collectivity of consciousnesses to a sort of superconciousness. The Earth not only becoming covered by myriads of grains of thought, but becoming enclosed in a single thinking envelope, a single unanimous reflection... for. no one can deny that a network (a world network) of economic and psychic affiliations is being woven at ever increasing speed which envelops and constantly penetrates more deeply within each of us. With every day that passes it becomes a little more impossible for us to act or think otherwise than collectively." These seemingly prophetic words take on substantive evidence when we consider how modern man is inextricably connected to each other through a sprawling global information network that is increasing its interconnectivity and bandwidth daily. Is it possible that our machines and scientific insights are moving society towards the attractor that Chardin called the "Omega Point", a technological/spiritual singularity?

The Biosphere

According to Chardin and the Russian scholar and biologist Vladimir Ivanovich Verdansky, the planet is in a transformative process, metamorphosizing from the biosphere into the noosphere. The biosphere - literally the sphere of life - is the region for the transformation of cosmic energy on earth. It is a thin membrane or envelope of life which covers the crust of the earth, including oceanic basins, mountain ranges, and areas of the atmosphere where life is found. It is complex evolving form that is adaptive to external and internal forces and can be thought of as a homogenous entity or whole system. Verdansky defined the biosphere as,"the single greatest geologic force on earth, moving, processing, and recycling several billion tons of mass a year. It is the central subsystem of a centralized cybernetic system, Earth, which tends towards a dynamic disequilibrium and tremendous internal diversity." Through accelerated biochemical combustion and the release of "free energy", the biosphere has become a major geological shaping force within nature, extruding the sprawling technosphere. This artificial technosphere will culminate eventually in the awakened noosphere, the sphere of thought and its collective intelligence. According to Verdansky, the noosphere is currently surrounding the earth, yet it remains unconscious and operating on habit. When it becomes fully conscious it will invoke a new field of awareness with new possibilities and new horizons. Chardin believes that the concept of the New Jerusalem in the bible is a reflections of this world beyond history.

Verdansky termed this transformative phase in biospheric evolution the "Psychozoic Era." This is an era in geologic time when the biosphere becomes a major shaping force on the planet, extending all of its primary functions by use of mechanical devices.

The Techno Sphere

The transition form the biosphere to the noosphere takes place through an intermediary stage called the technosphere. The technosphere is the artificial sheath of technology that emerged from the biosphere and now encircles the globe. It is atransitional stage and is the mechanism and catalyst whereby the noosphere comes into being. The technosphere is comprised of the global financial markets and the military-industrial complex with their globe girding information network. Due to the release of large amounts of chemicals and radiation by the activity of technosphere, the biosphere has entered a phase of biochemical combustion. This is an "acceleration of biogenic migration of atoms precipitating biospheric crisis as a prelude to the advent of the noosphere; characterized by exponential curves of human population, machine, and money at the expense of biospheric integrity and stability," as stated by Dr. Jose Arguelles. In geological time, man's brief race from the jungle to the cities represents only a flash in the galactic pan; however, these several thousand years represent the emergence of man with his newly found information technologies from the misty background of animal organization.

If we look back through history we see the thread of progressive thought that leads from the African grasslands of our archaic past to the data clusters of information that we call cyberspace. The first major breakthrough in interconnectedness came with the advent of verbal language.
This represented a major breakthrough for the biosphere, for then we not onlt knew the contents of our own mind, but also the contents of another’s through communication. The shared knowledge base of the tribe formed and grew considerably. Now there existed a field of knowledge that could be accessed by most members of the tribe. This, in addition to a primitive tool technology, extended our physical force over nature and greatly aided the developed the human species, giving them an exponential edge over the rest of the animal kingdom.

The next major development came with the written word and its trans-temporal ability to convey knowledge. Both written and oral language gave us the ability to shift from the genetic selection of the past into to the epigenetic phenomena of writing, philosophy, music, and poetry, the fabric of culture. Language allowed us to transform from biological evolution to mental evolution. Whole systems of thought began to form and flourish throughout the world. The accelerated growth of knowledge was fueled by several inventions, most notably, the printing press. With the advent of the printing press in the 15th century, previously ardous handwritten documents could now be churned out for the masses by mechanical means, greatly expanding and ramifying information. The interconnectedness and proliferation of knowledge intensified as the age of reason began to dawn. With the advent of the industrial revolution merged with the discoveries in science in the 19th and early 20th century, mankind leaped forward into a multimedia explosion of information, through radio, television, telephones, movies and photographs. Information and knowledge was growing now at a phenomenal rate and began to gain tremendous momentum. The military industrial complex and global financial markets fueled the spread of the techno sheath, the membrane that would aggrandize into the technosphere in the second half of the 20th century.

According to Dr. Jose Arguelles, the technosphere was heralded by the Atomic blast at Hiroshima, marking the birth of the now complete technosphere and the beginning of the cold war. Since 1945, the technosphere has spread over the earth like a progressive cancer, promoting its globalist agenda wherever it found new resources. Thus is the nature of the artificial stage of the technosphere, which appears as a consumptive destructive marketing machine. Thus we find ourselves today in a nihilistic trance, confounded by the myriad of global issues facing our species. It only requires scanning the evening news to be quickly reminded of the fact that time seems to be running out for Homo sapiens. It's always darkest before the dawn, they say! Enter Homo Sapien Cyberneticus!!!

Omega Point and the Noosphere

Chardin saw the awakening of the noosphere as a complete unification of materiality and spirituality hastened by what he called the Omega Point. He defined the Omega Point as, "the climatic convergent point of human evolution as the emergence of the hyper personal." This is a point of full super conscious global telepathy. The Omega Point is the culmination and
integration of all forms of art, philosophy, culture, and science into a coherent dynamic singularity. Chardin explains, "Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then, for the second time in the history of the world, [hu]mankind will have discovered fire." He goes on further to say,
"By its structure Omega, in its ultimate principle, can only be a distinct Center radiating at the core of a system of centers; a grouping in which the personalization of the All and personalizations of the elements reach their maximum, simultaneously and without merging, under the influence of a supremely autonomous focus of union." Will the coming mind grids of the future bring us into a cybernetic spiritual focus? From the viewpoint of many futurists and transhumanists we are well on our way.

Chardin placed the influence of evolution over that of entropy. Despite the ever gnawing grind of entropy, information has coalesced itself in our species and has been carried forward through our information technologies. Now it appears that information is on the verge of transforming itself, as well as our species along with it. Transhumanists believe this is the dawning of the God-Man, Homo Sapien Cyberneticus, the co creator of a new and more complex technological/spiritual universe. Chardin would agree. He considered evolution as a series of steps leading to greater and greater layers of complexity. This is very similar to Terence McKenna's novelty theory, based off of Alfred White Northhead's mathematical concepts of novel concrescence. Chardin contended that man represents a force in opposition to entropy. His Omega Point envisioned the space time continuum as a cone, in which the point is the outcome of evolutionary intent, the eschaton, omega, the divine.

For Chardin, the noosphere was the all, a dynamic mosaic of all culture merged into the hyper personal image of the god self, the next stage of our evolution. Modern skeptics argue that the noosphere is just a metaphysical explanation of today's global network, and there is nothing spiritual about it. However, this interpretation doesn't seem to fit with modern experience.
According to many modern futurist, the global Gaian mind is being hardwired by the internet and fueled by nodes of spiritual thought, of both futuristic and archaic flavors.

Concerning the noosphere, Philip K . Dick writes, "due to the incredible surge of charge from our electronic signals and information rich material therein, we have given it power to cross a vast threshold; we have, so to speak, resurrected what Philo and other ancients called the Logos.
Information has, then, become alive..."
According to Niel Freer, "We are at far more of a "turning point" than even the one Capra envisions; in possession of far more of a "web of reinforcement" than Baines could hope for; the morphogenetic-field potential is far higher than Sheldrake predicts; the groundswell documented by Ferguson is about to become a tsunami, with a capability to take the planet off hold and will close the "vision gap" in a way that is perhaps more comprehensive than conceived by Barbara Marx Hubbard." According to developmental psychologists, an embryo's brain develops in two stages. The first stage is a multiplying of cells; the second is the proliferation of interconnectedness of those cells. Realizing that it requires about 10 billion neurons to comprise a human brain, as the world nears 10 billion people has the first stage of the global brain formed, and now the second stage of interconnectedness commenced? As the technosphere spreads across the earth wrecking havock in its wake, and the global networks hum with the interchange of data bits, the embryonic collective mind stirs in its slumber waiting for the proper moment to announce its awakening.

Fri, Oct 9, 2009  Permanent link
Categories: Noosphere, Mind, Consciousnesses, Evolution, Singularity
Sent to project: Polytopia
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