An omnipresent organ

from “Global Learning – Constructing the World Mind”

H. G. Wells envisages a “new world organ” which would, “using the continually increasing facilities of photography,” render the world wide “reduplication of indexes of records continually easier.”  Wells even wrote that the World Brain “might have the form of a network” with its files and conferences at “the core of its being”. According to Wells, frequently reissued volumes of “the essential Encyclopaedia” would spawn “swarms of pamphlets.”


A new level of conceptual organisation

With the exception of James Lovelock who insists on durable paper as the only safe medium, 1990s sources agree that it will be multimedia computer networks and indexing systems which will form H. G. Wells “omnipresent organ.” According to Hans Swegen, “the self-reflexive mind and the global mind are both self-organised information processes in the mind dimension”. He sees human beings  as introducing a new “autopoietic” [self-organising] level of the “dissipative [input-output type] process of the self-reflexive mind.” He says it is the self-organising information process that has created the brain and its development, not the contrary.” Using processes such as computer conferencing, it is possible to construct self-conscious discussion threads in which different minds work on the same problem using a common intellectual framework. The process of sharing a framework of thought requires individuals to cede a small part of their ego sovereignty in order to participate more effectively in self-reflexive group collaboration.

Building One Big Brain

Does being a part of a giant superorganism scare you? (DD)

Failing to focus — succumbing to digital distraction — can make you lose your mind, fears Nicholas Carr, author of the much-discussed book “The Shallows.” At least, it can make you lose little parts of your mind. The Internet, Carr suspects, “is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation.”
But maybe the terms of the debate — good for us or bad for us? — are a sign that we’re missing the point. Maybe the essential thing about technological evolution is that it’s not about us. Maybe it’s about something bigger than us — maybe something big and wonderful, maybe something big and spooky, but in any event something really, really big.
it might help to understand what technology is marching toward.
On balance, technology is letting people link up with more and more people who share a vocational or avocational interest. And it’s at this level, the social level, that the new efficiencies reside. The fact that we don’t feel efficient — that we feel, as Carr puts it, like “chronic scatterbrains” — is in a sense the source of the new efficiencies; the scattering of attention among lots of tasks is what allows us to add value to lots of social endeavors. The incoherence of the individual mind lends coherence to group minds.
Could it be that, in some sense, the point of evolution — both the biological evolution that created an intelligent species and the technological evolution that a sufficiently intelligent species is bound to unleash — has been to create these social brains, and maybe even to weave them into a giant, loosely organized planetary brain? Kind of in the way that the point of the maturation of an organism is to create an adult organism?
If we grant the superorganism scenario for the sake of argument, is it spooky? Is it bad news for humans if in some sense the “point” of the evolutionary process is something bigger than us, something that subsumes us?Read more at