The Global Brain Awakens
Our Next Evolutionary Leap
The Emerging Global Brain The interlinking of humanity that began with the emergence
of language has now progressed to the point where information can be transmitted
to anyone, anywhere, at the speed of light. Billions of messages continually shuttle
back and forth, in an ever growing web of communication, linking the billions of
minds of humanity together into a single system.. Is this Gaia growing herself a
nervous system?... With near instant linkage of humanity through this communications
technology, and the rapid and wholesale dissemination of information, Marshall McLuhan’s
vision of the world as a global village is fast becoming a reality.
From an isolated cottage in a forest in England, I can dial a number in Fiji, and
it takes the same amount of time for any voice to reach down the telephone line to
Fiji as it does for my brain to tell my finger to touch the dial. As far as time
to communicate is concerned, the planet has shrunk so much that the other cells of
the global brain are no further away from our brains than are the extremities of
our own bodies. At the same time as the speed of global interaction is increasing,
so is the complexity. If this rate of increase is sustained, the global communications
network could equal the brain in complexity by the year 2000...
The changes that this will bring will be so great that their full impact may well
be beyond our imagination. No longer will we perceive ourselves as isolated individuals;
we will know ourselves to be a part of a rapidly integrating global network, the
nerve cells of an awakened global brain. A New Level of Evolution One philosopher
who spent much of his life contemplating the integration of humanity into a single
being was the French priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. One of his principal conclusions
was that humanity was headed toward the unification of the entire species into a
single interthinking group.
The fulfillment of this process Teilhard referred to as the Omega Point, the culmination
of the evolutionary process, the end point toward which we are all converging...
Another philosopher with a similar vision was the Indian mystic Sri Aurobindo, a
contemporary of Teilhard’s. Sri Aurobindo saw evolution as Divine Reality expressing
itself in ever higher forms of existence. Having passed from energy through matter
and life to consciousness, evolution was now passing through the transformation from
consciousness to what he called “Supermind,” something so far above consciousness
as to be beyond our present dreams of perfection, the ultimate evolution of Spirit...
How far away are we from the point in time when this might happen? This new level
may well come even faster than either Sri Aurobindo or Teilhard envisioned. It could
possibly happen within a few decades. Such a transition is going to require some
very rapid changes on the part of humanity. On the one hand, an individual need only
pick up a newspaper to see just how far humanity is from being a cohesive, integrated
whole. On the other hand, society is much more than a collection of disassociated
individuals going their separate ways. Evolutionarily speaking, we may be in a sort
of twilight zone, neither one thing nor the other.
As it turns out, this is also a characteristic aspect of evolutionary transitions.
Opening Of The Heart The enlightened person experiences a deep and universal compassion,
and his life usually becomes one of service, not just service to humanity but to
the whole world. In the words of a Buddhist scripture, “The fair tree of thought
that knows no duality bears the flower and fruit of compassion, and its name is service
of others.” The enlightened person knows a reality that lies beyond the everyday
duality of “I” and “Not I” and the suffering it causes, and his compassion for humanity
makes him want to help others to achieve this realization as well. For this reason
many Buddhist teachings have proclaimed that the enlightened being does not rest
till he has seen the enlightenment of all beings...
It is toward this goal of universal enlightenment that humanity needs to move. Those
who have achieved enlightenment have generally been few and far between. But, if
the world is to be transformed and a high-synergy society is to become a reality,
such a shift in consciousness will need to be widespread. Unemployment Revalued One
change in particular will be our attitude toward work. Traditional areas of employment
may very well decrease in the future. Increasing technological innovations and automation
is a diverse range of occupations will mean that society will not need everyone to
work full time.
If, in addition, there were to be a significant shift toward higher states of consciousness,
with a consequent decrease in our material needs, employment will drop still further.
The net result will be a considerable freeing of time and the opportunity to explore
other areas of our lives in greater depth... Currently most of our intellectual and
mental abilities virtually stop growing around the time we finish our formal education,
unless we are engaged in activities that require continual updating, reeducation,
challenge, and stimulation. With lifelong education the opposite trend would occur:
the continued growth and unfolding of our innate, and largely untapped, potentials
will become the norm rather than a privilege.
Moreover, the current emphasis of education on facts and information will give way
to a balance between the development of knowledge and the development of the knower.
Society will enter a new renaissance as creativity, intuition, and personal development
became valued as highly as science, technology, and economic development are today.
Technological progress will be seen not as a threat to the quality of life, but as
a liberator, allowing people to move on in the direction of self-actualization, thereby
improving the quality of life in the most fundamental way possible...
Peter Russell earned a first class honors degree in theoretical physics and experimental
psychology, and a master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Cambridge,
England. He then traveled to India to study eastern philosophy. Since then his prime
focus has been the exploration and development of human consciousness, integrating
eastern and western understandings of the mind. Russell is author of several best-selling
books, including The White Hole In Time, The Brain Book, and The Creative Manager.