Defining Global Consciousness

December 24, 2009

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The emergence of the next generation Web forces us to engage ourselves in deeper and deeper conversations on the topic of global consciousness. While the concept has been around for decades, it’s starting to gain more and more attention as we crawl closer to a new Web experience where the amount of information and connections between peers is reaching heights never seen before.

Semantic definition

When we’re talking about global consciousness, it is not always clear what we mean by it. Jay Earley describes global consciousness as the next step in human evolution. His definition goes as,

By global consciousness I mean “collective global reflexive consciousness.” The word “reflexive” refers to the ability of consciousness to reflect back on itself, the ability of a being to be aware of itself. “Global” refers to all of humanity. I use the world “collective” because I am referring to the consciousness of the human race as a whole, not a global consciousness that any of us might have as individuals.

While Jay’s semantic definition is very clear and helps us a great deal to understand and visualize the meaning of global consciousness, it can’t be used for analysis exactly because of that semantic nature.

The Collective Entity Space

Jay Earley’s definition however, provides a framework in which a multitude of global consciousnesses may co-exist. These autonomous entities might agree in their components, but they may differ in the extent of individual engagement and awareness, as well as in the nature and technology dependence of connections between components.

These independent properties (components, engagement, awareness, nature, technology) form the grid of a multi-dimensional space in which a collective entity (collective reflexive consciousness) such as a global consciousness, manifests.

  • Components: A collective entity is formed by its components. Depending on the theory or technology the entity is fundamentally based on, components may be constituted by living, inanimate or even abstract entities.
  • Engagement: Engagement expresses the level of activeness shown by components. A collective entity is considered active, if its formation and functioning requires its components to actively engage themselves in the process. Consequently, the entity is passive, if they don’t.
  • Awareness: Whether components are aware of their contribution to the collective entity.
  • Nature: The process of maintaining connections between components, which is essential to the entity’s existence, must be rooted in natural phenomena: physical, chemical, bio-chemical, biological, psychical or social, or their combination. The exact mixture is often specific to the entity.
  • Technology: Connections, beside being based on a mix of natural laws, may also emerge by the use of technology.

Looking at the possible values each property may take, the possibilities are endless.

Quantitative definition

Using the concept of Collective Entity Space (CES), we can now put the definition of global consciousness in different wording.

A global consciousness is a finite volume in the Collective Entity Space, which, projected to the components axis, reveals the relevant components of Earth.

This definition has two advantages.

  • It’s applicable to analysis as it’s derived from the Collective Entity Space.
  • The possible existence of multiple global consciousnesses is obvious, since projection is surjective.

In the definition, I used “relevant components of Earth” as opposed to Jay Earley’s “humanity”, because there are theories out there that do not restrict components to human beings (e.g. the Gaia Theory).

Examples

The viability of the Collective Entity Space concept is proven by how existing theories and projects concerning global consciousness fit into it. Four examples are listed below with a short description and their CES properties.

Gaia Theory

The Gaia Theory presumes that the entire planet, including the biosphere forms an organic system that maintains a homeostasis in favor of life.

Components Engagement Awareness Nature Technology
All components of Earth Passive Unaware Mixed None

GCP

The Global Consciousness Project (GCP) is an experimental network of quantum random number generators where output patterns are observed, recorded, and correlated to world events.

Components Engagement Awareness Nature Technology
All humanity Passive Unaware Physical (quantum), Psychical None

Global Brain

The Global Brain theory, as described by Dean Pomerleau, compares the characteristics of real-time social networks, such as Twitter, to those of the human brain. Consciousness is reached by the ever improving complexity and responsiveness of these networks.

Components Engagement Awareness Nature Technology
Twitter users Active (retweeting) Unaware Physical (electrodynamics) Internet

Lightworkers

Lightworkers is a spiritual group aiming to create global consciousness (“divine consciousness”, or “collective whole”) on a spiritual level through meditation (“Global Unity Meditation”).

Components Engagement Awareness Nature Technology
Group followers Active (meditation) Aware Psychical (spiritual) “Hemisynch Meditation”

Conclusion

Comparing and analyzing instances of any concept starts with a clear and quantitative definition. In the very case of global consciousness one way of obtaining such a definition is through the Collective Entity Space which is constructed of generalizations made during the deconstruction of global consciousness itself.

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2 Responses to “Defining Global Consciousness”


  1. […] with the World Wide Web, which many view as a new form of global consciousness. Here’s a good link that drills down a little deeper into the […]


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