Friday, April 29, 2011

Tielhard de Chardin, noosphere, evolution, computers, internet...blah,blah,blah

“…I am convinced that only when the church sets out to re-examine the relationship between Christ and a universe now grown fantastically immense and organic will she take up her conquering march again.”-Tielhard

 Tielhard de Chardin was a mystic who foresaw the development of the information and communication technology web to its ultimate evolution-the emergence of a planetary consciousness or as he called it, the noosphere and the culmination of the convergence of consciousness into the Omega point.

My view of Chardin’s thoughts is not authoritative and I do not I claim complete understanding of his writings, I am just exploring and meandering in the richness of his ideas.

Chardin’s view of evolution did not end with the progress of individual species into its culminating ultimate development. The Darwinian view of evolution is biological and adaptational. Darwin’s  theory is a natural conclusion of formulation based on the observations that each specie adapts to its environment by mutating certain characteristics for adaptation. To differentiate Chardin’s view, Tielhard proposed that the evolution of Homo sapiens will lead to the development of a collective consciousness.

What is this collective consciousness? Most of us think of consciousness in our own subjective ways, a feeling, communicating and interacting. That is why we do not attach the term conscious to inanimate and non living objects like a stone, or a house, etc. and we also do not attach (though some may disagree) the term conscious to nonresponsive living organism like plants, trees, etc.  Consciousness is not necessarily an exclusive attribute of  a living organism. Our definition of life is unfortunately too specist . Such properties we relate to life like movement, reproduction, growth if we really think hard about may also be applied to "inorganic" on to non-living things. Are we sure that mountains do not move? Are we sure that rocks do not multiply? All these attributes of life are also time-bound-observable. What I mean is this what if a thing or a living thing breeds once in a thousand years? What if they move 1 millimeter in a century? What if they speak one syllable in a millennium? How could we be sure that they are not conscious? Imagine an organisms whose life span lasts a second, their definition of life and consciousness would be bound with their perception of time. For them an organism that lived up to 80 years old...their definition of life cannot comprehend it.

To think of consciousness as a detached or a separate entity would result to inconsistencies. The question of the relationship between the physical body and the non physical or the psychical consciousness has led to the meandering speculations of philosophers and to the growth of the different schools of thought from Plato’s dualism to the epistemological conflict between the idealist and the materialist, to the skeptics’ and even to the diverging schools of the philosophy of language. Though the relationship may not be clearly understood as to how a non-physical or the psychical mind is able to relate to the body, it is still clear that they exist as one and whether the mind has precedence over the body or the body over the mind is still open to exploration, experience shows that both exist indeterminate from each other.

Now what I’m leading to is that consciousness may not necessarily be an exclusively to an organic or carbon based organism.  Quantum physicists have wondered and some have hypothesized about the relationship between the relationship of the observed and the observer.  They have often wondered why these sub atomic wave-particles behave in an unpredictable manner as one physicist humorously puts it “the damned electron is watching us…if we observed that they behave like a particle, they change their minds and starts to behave like a wave and vice versa.” This phenomenon is called the Heseinberg Uncertainty Principle. 

This (may) shows that consciousness, or its basis or units, may well be that we are composed, theoretically and with some science behind it, of conscious units of sub-atomic wave-particles, judging from their behavior of indeterminism, this may well be the foundations of our consciousness. The observed and the observer relationship shows that as each observation is made and as each observation produces new result ,sit shows the direct relationship that the observer is directly changing the observed. Imagine every time this happens where in the interactions of change between the observed and the observer happening at the quantum/atomic level continuously working at the very atoms and molecules of our beings, organizing and somehow despite the randomness and the in-determinism there’s an ordering and organizing that may have its principles in the…here’s where I go blank…God factor.  As Einstein puts it, “God does not play dice.”   Einstein’s supposed said this when he   saw the implications of quantum mechanics. 

Our bodies are (or maybe) composed of conscious units at the sub-atomic level or at the quantum level. This may well explain the freedom in our thoughts because of the un-deterministic behavior of wave-particles at the sub atomic level and the programmed growth and development of our body as a result of the deterministic behavior of the macro world. In a way, and maybe using a larger picture, we are, our consciousness, may have its analogy in Chardin’s idea of the noosphere on a planetary scale.

Chardin proposed the development and envelopment of thinking layer over the earth. This he called the noosphere. This is the “collective consciousness of humanity which will have its convergence in the “Omega Point.” The Omega Point is open to many interpretations especially theological ones, and I will leave it at that. One way of understanding Omega point is that there will come a time when humanity will stop thinking as individuals, and as time progresses, humanity will also stop thinking in terms of nations and nationality, and there will come a time when the whole humankind will converge at one point and think on a planetary level and usher in a new age of consciousness ruled by peace and harmony. 

Imagine this at the quantum level. This convergence on a sub-atomic and atomic level and imagine each individual sub-atomic and atomic wave-particle as having consciousness and converging to form a higher state of unity and consciousness each one contributing to the development of a larger consciousness, the energy forming matter and then controlling these matter to combine to form organism with evolving consciousness as each micro-consciousness converge and merge. This is comparable to the coalescence of materials of the universe right after the big bang and what is happening on the sub-atomic level may be happening at the planetary level, of course the perception of time , space and consciousness differs at each  level.But with each converging materials it carries with it the consciousness of the sub-atomic units of matter. Are inorganic matter conscious too? It now depends on the instability and relativity of the term and definition of "life." It may be that all matters possessed some parts or may I call them units of consciousness at their subatomic level. 

If we look at the human and understand the human nervous system, even at an elementary level, we could see that what makes the nervous system, which is the physical seat of our consciousness, works-the neural network. Without the neural network each individual nervous cells, though it contains the information, the electricity or the energy, individually it cannot create a system capable of collective consciousness. Though it may not be far fetch to think of them as having consciousness since they are capable of retaining and transferring information, unfortunately individually each nervous cell or neuron (whatever you call them) is incapable of processing all the data. The solution is the networking. The idea  of this neural network when applied on a planetary level may be unthinkable because we think of neural network exclusively pertaining to our body. Also we cannot think of an inorganic object creating and having tnrves. This is because we are biased into thinking that a living conscious organism is mainly carbon based. We cannot process the possibility that life and consciousness may exist other than that of a carbon based. But it may not necessarily be so.Its  just we are to biased and a specist-individualist that we find it hard to picture each individual person as just part of a nervous cell or a neuron in the evolving planetary nervous system as is now happening with  the  growth of the earth's neural network- the net. The evolution is now on its second phase.

Using the nervous system as an analogy of the development of the omega point, we may also take to notice how the computers have been evolving. There is a possibility that we may be creating life in an evolutionary fashion. From monster mechanical computers to vacuum tubes to transistors and solid state to integrated circuits to microchips etc. and then there’s the development of the internet. The internet may be likened or maybe it is the neural network that is slowly making the convergence of humanity into the creation of the noosphere and the culmination of the systems called the omega point.

The creation of a larger consciousness with the transformation of the earth to a living conscious Gaia amy have us wondering what will happen to me or to humanity…would they exist in a ‘Matrix like world” feeding the machine. I don’t know….I dare not speculate….but if I understand the relationship of the sub-atomic world to the macro world, the sub-atomic “people” somehow maintained their  in-determinism or freewill, if I may so, while at the macro level the laws of physics and determinism applies. 


I am troubled because quantum mechanics seems to be favorable and compatible the eastern religions that's why many quantum physicist are taking up Hinduism and Buddhism. Tielhard is the only Christian theologian that I know of (actually I only knew and read a few hehehe) that somehow offers possibilities for the exploration and dialog between Christian theology and quantum mechanics. There is an impending paradigm shift and are we prepared for it?

Anyway….ayaw ko na nagugutom na ako....

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