Organizing – Constructing a World Encyclopaedia

from “Constructing the World Mind”

A common, systematic global organization of the world’s knowledge is conceived by H. G. Wells as the only way for humanity to achieve a “common conception of a common purpose.” What he called the World Encyclopedia would, he said, act as a “clearing house of misunderstandings” without being subject to “narrowing dogmas,” while remaining open to “corrective criticism.” According to Wells, this new organ would clearly distinguish “bed rock fact” from visions, projects and theories, but would have an inevitable “bias” towards “organization, comparison, construction and creation”. In 1972 Manfred Kochen envisaged many such “organs” would emerge with the aim of creating a global community brain which he named WISDOM (Worldwide Intelligence Service for the Development of Omniscience in Mankind).

Instrument of evolution

from “Global Learning – Constructing the World Mind”

For H. G. Wells, the purpose of the World Brain was primarily instrumental. It was a way to organise human thinking and knowledge by using information management techniques to make it easier for humans to learn. The matter-of-fact practicality of his vision contrasts with the more spiritual aspects expressed in notions, such as Sri Aurobindo’s “Supermind” and Teillard de Chardin’s noosphere in which the unfolding of complexity is conceived as a process of God meeting his creation at the Omega point.
The 1990s sources tended to conceive evolution as a process — now seen to be more of unfolding complexity, than of genetic competition — which is an end in itself. In the words of Hans Swegen, “we are in the forefront of evolution and evolution will use our abilities to shape its continued development” as an open process with “no defined goals.” The view is that a learning organ must be a means to its own end which is learning, the same as evolution. This linking of human intelligences into global — even galactic and universal — metaminds as part of the inevitable pattern of evolution, contrasts with James Lovelock’s much more practical and alarming view which sees a world knowledge compendium as “a guide book for our survivors to help them rebuild civilisation without repeating too many of our mistakes.”


“Clear and simple words against ignorance”

from “Global Learning – Constructing the World Mind”

James Lovelock echoes H. G. Wells in his plea for “a guidebook written in clear and simple words.” According to Lovelock, this book would counteract the influence of “books and television programmes that present, either the single minded view of the specialist or persuasion from a talented lobbyist”. He laments that the 1990s are “adversarial not thoughtful times,” hearing only the partial arguments of special interest groups.
They agree on the urgent do-or-die nature of the problem, as well as on the perils of ignorance. To quote Lovelock on this point: “We are so ignorant of those individual acts of genius [which] established civilisation that we now give equal place on our bookshelves to astrology, creationism and homeopathy. Imagine trying to cope with a cholera epidemic using knowledge gathered from a tattered book on alternative medicine.”
However, despite Lovelock’s misgivings, there is growing evidence that collaboration, as opposed to competition, is becoming increasingly part of 1990s rhetoric, and sometimes part of the practice in the spheres of management and

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.

Variants of Singularity Proponents

Clipped from
If the Singularity proponents are right, the world is going to get really weird—but not in the way they expect.
At the broadest end, the Singularity refers to a point in the future where technologically driven changes have hit so hard and so fast that people on the near side of the Singularity wouldn’t be able to understand the lives of people living on the far side of one; the lives of the post-Singularity citizens simply wouldn’t make sense to pre-Singularity folks.
In its narrowest form,
the creation of greater-than-human intelligence, which is then able to make itself even smarter, and so on in something that is occasionally called an “intelligence explosion”; whether or not the lives of post-Singularity citizens would make sense is an irrelevant question—the ultra-intelligent entities would be so much smarter and more powerful that human beings are little more than ants in comparison.
Somewhere in the middle are those who
tend to see the Singularity as
ultra-tech fun