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Neurosphere: The Convergence of Evolution, Group Mind, and the Internet Paperback – November 1, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Dulchinos, a manager in the cable television industry and longtime participant in the WELL, one of the first online communities, sees communication technology leading humanity toward global consciousness. Questions of whether the Internet might constitute a "group mind" have been newsgroup fodder for years, supplying a range of online material excerpted here. Dulchinos is also inspired by Teilhard de Chardin, whose concept of "noosphere" has been reworked into "neurosphere" to represent "a mature religious view commensurate with the evolutionary stage at which we find ourselves." Rather than developing a single line of argument, the text presents a collage of metaphysical speculation, punctuated with a touch of whimsy: "We may very well be on the verge of a consistent and simultaneous human experience... the ability to act with a single will. Hitler, among others, exploited this. Consider, on the other hand, that perhaps apparently benign 'personalities' like Madonna and Barney the Dinosaur likewise wield a perverse influence on large populations." Yet Dulchinos maintains the courage of his convictions, hoping to convince others "that each of them, even the most miserable and destitute, is an equally important part of this massively parallel, loosely affiliated, but still cohesive 6-billion-parts-strong Being. All of us together, we are God."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Donald P. Dulchinos has spent the last 15 years working in various aspects of cable television. He has been involved in online network communities for at least that long, as a charter member of the Boulder Community Network and an early, active member and conference host on The Well, an electronic community. He has written two books on consciousness and spirituality: Pioneer of Inner Space: The Life of Fitz Hugh Ludlow, Hasheesh Eater and Forbidden Sacraments: The Survival of Shamanism in Western Civilization, forthcoming in 2005
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In India Sri Aurobindo wrote volumes about the future evolution of not just individuals, but humanity as a whole. Meanwhile in the West, the French Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin spoke about the "noosphere" - a sphere of human thought - and his vision of humanity evolving toward the Omega Point. De Chardin envisioned a "single thinking envelop" surrounding the earth. He saw it as a kind of living intelligence comprised of the minds of all sentient beings.
The author of this book, Donald Dulchinos, has spent the last fifteen years or so working in various aspects of cable television. He was also one of the early and long-time participants in the Well, one of the first virtual online communities. In this fascinating book he says that he firmly believes that the Internet is fostering a global consciousness in humanity, akin to a spiritual awakening. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Marshall McLuhan began to use the term the "global village," by which he meant the psychological and social consequences of technologies, and most particularly radio and television. By the early 1980s a number of people began to speculate that communication technologies might provide the catalysts for the emergence of some kind of "group consciousness," which would turn us gradually from egocentric to geo-centric thinking.
Over the years, as the technology and our interconnectedness has leapt forward, many have continued to express this view, but few as comprehensively or eloquently as Donald Dulchinos in this book. By a strange "coincidence" he and I were writing about the same thing at the same time. And I am sure that we were not the only ones: that really suggests that there is here an important truth that many of us have been picking up on.
This book continues the discussion, supplying a range of examples from the digital revolution to buttress his central idea that the Internet is "rapidly becoming the central nervous system of a collective intelligence, a global brain, a giant leap forward in evolution."
The book covers a lot, from the author's own experiences of deeply meaningful interactions with others in online discussion groups, to the much less mundane topics such as mystical experiences, parapsychology and the perennial favorite of science fiction writers: the possibility of uploading consciousness into a computer.
I liked the book, although I am not sure that I can agree with his rather reductionist view of human beings: I am sure that we are more than just electrons whizzing around. And if the thesis is correct, and the Internet is providing the infrastructure for a leap forward in consciousness, then would we not expect it to be an emergent consciousness, rather than one composed of electrons, bits and bytes?
I think that he is on to something, and If he is right, then we would expect that unless we succeed in changing ourselves, this new global consciousness would carry with it all the monsters that continue to lurk in our subconscious and unconscious minds.
Though not a long book, it is thought provoking and should be of interest to anyone curious about the evolution of our species and what we can do to try and help nudge it in a more peaceful, cooperative and compassionate direction.