The Planetary Cortex
Lately, I have come across so many of us who are becoming a little lost in the proverbial valley of despair.
War, Peak Oil, Climate Change, Rampant Corporatism, the loss of the moral national soul, all lead the conscious mind and compassionate heart to a place where we find ourselves asking "what is happening to our world and why".
Is this all just a dance?
Is there some purpose to this madness?
It all leads me to remember Teilhard de Chardin.
"Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a visionary French Jesuit, paleontologist, biologist, and philosopher, who spent the bulk of his life trying to integrate religious experience with natural science, most specifically Christian theology with theories of evolution.
In this endeavor he became absolutely enthralled with the possibilities for humankind, which he saw as heading for an exciting convergence of systems, an "Omega point" where the coalescence of consciousness will lead us to a new state of peace and planetary unity.
Long before ecology was fashionable, he saw this unity he saw as being based intrinsically upon the spirit of the Earth: "The Age of Nations is past. The task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the Earth."
Teilhard de Chardin passed away a full ten years before James Lovelock ever proposed the "Gaia Hypothesis" which suggests that the Earth is actually a living being, a collosal biological super-system.
Yet Chardin's writings clearly reflect the sense of the Earth as having its own autonomous personality, and being the prime center and director of our future -- a strange attractor, if you will -- that will be the guiding force for the synthesis of humankind.
"The phrase 'Sense of the Earth' should be understood to mean the passionate concern for our common destiny which draws the thinking part of life ever further onward. The only truly natural and real human unity is the spirit of the Earth. . . .The sense of Earth is the irresistable pressure which will come at the right moment to unite them (humankind) in a common passion.
"We have reached a crossroads in human evolution where the only road which leads forward is towards a common passion. . . To continue to place our hopes in a social order achieved by external violence would simply amount to our giving up all hope of carrying the Spirit of the Earth to its limits."
To this end, he suggested that the Earth in its evolutionary unfolding, was growing a new organ of consciousness, called the noosphere. The noosphere is analogous on a planetary level to the evolution of the cerebral cortex in humans. The noosphere is a "planetary thinking network" -- an interlinked system of consciousness and information, a global net of self-awareness, instantaneous feedback, and planetary communication.
At the time of his writing, computers of any merit were the size of a city block, and the Internet was, if anything, an element of speculative science fiction. Yet this evolution is indeed coming to pass, and with a rapidity, that in Gaia time, is but a mere passage of seconds.
In these precious moments, the planet is developing her cerebral cortex, and emerging into self-conscious awakening. We are indeed approaching the Omega point that Teilhard de Chardin was so excited about." Anodea Judith
Developing the planetary cerebral cortex seems exciting enough.
And growing a new organ sounds pretty spectacular.
If you can stand it.
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