Interactive processing – Emphasising the key concepts of cyberspace

from “Constructing the World Mind”

H. G. Wells emphasises the necessity to “fully recognise that communication is a two way process” and also the importance of effective presentation, while Alan Mayne calls the Brain a “social networking” organism or “nervous system.”


“Grains of thought”

H. G. Wells’ vision of systematic, self-managed collaborative learning is echoed in Peter Russell’s “superorganism” composed of “cultural creatives” engaged in the pursuit of higher levels of consciousness in which “wisdom rather than knowledge would have become our goal.” In Hans Swegen’s “post-human” terms, “hominid brains will constitute the grains of thought where the self-reflexive minds are based. Besides these biological structures of matter, the global brain will include various technological equipment that man is constantly introducing and that improves and expands neural communication between self-reflexive minds.”

As bureaucratic hierarchies break down, what used to be called management is increasingly about how to promote self-managed collaborative learning which forms the core of the learning organization. Also, science is portrayed in the New Scientist as reviving the ideas of the superorganism and James Lovelock’s Gaia theory “in the light of the modern mathematical theory of complexity.”


Atoms versus digits

There is a sharp disagreement between James Lovelock and the widely held 1990s view that the World Encyclopedia will be based on an electronic infrastructure of telecommunications and computer equipment acting, in Hans Swegen’s terms, “as a global middle term memory of hundreds up to thousands of years”. Lovelock is even more traditional that H. G. Wells when he talked of colour microfilm as being the distribution technology of choice. According to Lovelock, “It is no use even thinking of presenting such a book on magnetic or optical media, or indeed any kind of medium that needs a computer and electricity to read it… What we need is a book written on durable paper with long-lasting print.”
In the 1990s sources, there is little discussion of the information management techniques which H. G. Wells believed were the most important practical necessity in implementing a world knowledge source. Hans Swegen does suggest that it would be “worthwhile looking into the past when you try to orient yourself into the future”, while Peter Russell puts his faith in human beings “continually discovering new relationships” and “increasingly organizing their information about the world”.

World Mind

In March of 2011, I was handed a document  called Global Learning – Constructing the World Mind (photo).  It was written by Jan Wyllie and designed by Simon Eaton in 1997.   The material within the document has become the subject of my final paper, which I must write in order to graduate in International Studies.  With their permission I have posted the contents of this document, or “interactive book” on this blog.

Feel free to browse through the book using the page navigation on the left.  It is divided into a schema which has also been adopted by this blog, in an effort to categorize research pertaining to my paper.  All of the diagrams, except the one seen below, are currently limited to the print version.  A renovated website as well as hard copies may be available soon.  Contact me if interested.


In the late 1930s. H. G. Wells perceived the world to be on the edge of social, political and environmental disaster. In response. Wells conceived of what he called a “world knowledge apparatus’ based on the creation of an efficient learning network. This interactive book is designed to show how, through using both the World Wide Web and traditional paper and print, Wells’ vision could be implemented as a practical communication process. This document is organized by a framework of questions – those which were used to interrogate the source books shown on the opposite page. In order to identify the common threads of meaning in these books, we gathered and re-organized what the authors were saying under five categories.

Purposes: (what the World Mind offers)

Needs: (what the World Mind requires)

Components: (how World Mind can be designed)

Implementation: (how the World Mind can be put into practice)

Examples: (where the World Mind has been put into practice. which, as you will see, is a set of which this document is a member).

The Diagrams at the beginning of each of the main sections are designed to be read radiantly (or from the center out) and radiantly (or clockwise, usually starting at about one o’clock). The diagrams and the text are linked by the use of common ‘icons’ which illustrate an overview of Wells’ vision in each of the categories focused on in Alan Mayne’s World Brain compilation. This view can then be contrasted with those of a selection of key 1990s authors. Using this common framework it is possible to read the document as if H.G. Wells and the modern authors were conversing on the subject. To do this, compare the text on facing NOW and THEN pages by reading across these two sections. Alternatively the reader can focus on either period of time by reading the sections down the page in the conventional manner.

Still DIY research initiatives.Still DIY research initiatives.