The word "Noosphere"
was coined in analogy with the "geosphere", the world or layer of dead
matter, and the "biosphere", the world or layer of living matter. Beyond
and superimposed on these spheres lies another dimensional sphere, the
"noosphere", from Greek "noos, nous" = "mind", and "sphaira" = "globe", a figurative envelope of conceptual thought, or reflective impulses
produced by the human intellect. It is not scientifically measurable, of
course, but its presence is strongly felt and its influence is all-pervading.
The concept was first
formulated by Vladimir Verdansky and elaborated by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
"Pushed one against
the other by the growth of their number and by the proliferation of their
connections,approached one to the other by the reawakening of a common
force and by the feeling of a common anxiety,the future human kind will
form nothing but an unified consciousness".(Teillhard De Chardin)
The unification of
humanity on a world scale coincides with the emergence of a Noosphere,
the world of thought, the global consciousness.
Willingly or unwillingly,
all our desires and needs converge to the same final goal, the Omega point.
Classical Greek philosophy
developed a concept of the world soul. Recent philosophical investigations
see social minds as "syntheses of individual minds into wholes with new
The concept of collective
consciousness was developed by Emile Durkheim as a derivative of Rousseau's
will and Comte's
Recently many alternative
groups use the term planetary consciousness ("Global Brain"). The
social significance of such initiatives was given its most eloquent form
in the H.G. Wells proposal for a world brain.
With the advent of
computers and, more recently, Internet and the World Wide Web, the concept
has been refined under the stimulus of information scientists such as Manfred
Kochen, Harry Schwarzlander and D. Soergel, who are linked through the
World Mind Group.
[see also: Societal
Learning, 1980 ]
There remains however
a fundamental difference between two concepts of noosphere. According to
a close study of the evolution process clearly shows that individual autonomy
is not lost during the socialization stage, the last known stage of cosmic
evolution. In other words: the noosphere remains a complex system of individual
minds although the "common" contents of the individual brains show a remarkable
convergence. According to Lovelock and other Gaia theorists as Heylighen,
the global brain becomes a superior entity, a kind of One terrestral intelligent
Being, wherein individual minds lose their independent view of the whole,
as cells, one evolutionary layer lower, lost their individuality in the
between these two extremes are possible.
According to Pierre
Teilhard de Chardin, the Noosphere is the ninth and last stage of universal
evolution. Those nine stages can be grouped into three fundamentally
different subgroups, which differ by the way they organzia themselves and
evolution in general:
(1) The lithophase,
lithogenesis or lithosphere (also called geosphere, cosmosphere or
physiosphere) is the first group, comprising 5 layers of "dead" matter:
strings, elementary particles (quarks, etc.), atomic particles (protons,
neutrons, the hadrons, etc.), atoms and molecules. Their behaviour and
changes are ruled by mechanical, physical and chemical rules, i.e. external
(2) The biophase,
biogenesis or biosphere, comprising the next 3 layers: eobionts (vituses
etc.), protozoa and metazoa (ibcluing primates and Man). Their behaviour
and changed are ruled by internal coding (DNA, chromosomes, nervous system).
The most apparent feature is their autopoiesis (self-reproduction) and
(3) The noosphere,
noogenesis of noophase, comprising the last level: socialization. Here
there are no more anatomical of striuctural changes. Behaviour is rules
by consciousness, psychologye, the software of the brain.
Teilahrd didn't describe
the Noospehre very extensively. He just indicated some differences with
previous phases, and made some considerations about the final state, the
Omega Point. Many authors, including Jean Gebser, Carl Gustav Jung, Antonio
Negri and Ken Wilber, made more extensive studies, and it appeared that,
generally speaking, the stages of individual development were to be mirrored
in the social.noospherical development, both reflecting universal stages
of organization and increasing consciousness.