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Noosphere (/ˈnəʊ.əˌsfɪə/; sometimes nosphere), according to the thought of Vladimir Vernadsky and Teilhard de Chardin, denotes the "sphere of human thought". The word is derived from the Greek νοῦς (nous "mind") + σφαῖρα (sphaira "sphere"), in lexical analogy to "atmosphere" and "biosphere".

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.


[edit] History of concept

For Teilhard, the noosphere is best described as a sort of 'collective consciousness' of human-beings. It emerges from 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 is an extension of Teilhard's Law of Complexity/Consciousness, the law describing the nature of evolution in the universe. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin added that 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 (1907) was one of the first to propose that evolution is 'creative' and cannot necessarily be explained solely by Darwinian natural selection. L'volution cratrice is upheld, according to Bergson, by a constant vital force that animates life and fundamentally connects mind and body, an idea opposing the dualism of Ren Descartes. In 1923, C. Lloyd Morgan took this work further, elaborating on an 'emergent evolution' that could explain increasing complexity (including the evolution of mind). Morgan found that 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.

The resulting political system has been referred to as a noocracy.

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 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.[1]

History of this expression:

[edit] Instances in popular culture

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 to Psychology by Colin Wilson, who discusses the concept of the Nosphere.

The Nosphere is an important element of Matthew Hughes's 2004 novel, "Black Brillion."

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 "Apocalypse: 2012", Vernadsky's thoughts on the noosphere are measured with interesting results.

In Neon Gensis 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.

[edit] References

  1. ^ However, the Vatican's position is to say Isidore of Seville is the patron saint of internauts, because of his pioneering work on indexing; see fr:Classement Alphabtique#Historique

[edit] External links

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