Noosphere: The Next Stage in the Evolution of Human Consciousness, A Testimony
To mark the recent passing of José Argüelles, we offer an excerpt from his upcoming book Manifesto for the Noosphere: The Next Stage in the Evolution of Human Consciousness, available from Evolver Editions/North Atlantic Books in October 2011.
We must enlarge our approach to encompass the formation taking place before our eyes ... of a particular biological entity such as has never existed on earth-the growth, outside and above the biosphere, of an added planetary layer, an envelope of thinking substance, to which, for the sake of convenience and symmetry, I have given the name of the Noosphere. --Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man
Manifesto for the Noosphere is the result of forty years of study, contemplation, investigation, and synthesis. While the noosphere may be beyond the grasp of conventional science, it is a deep and pervasive intuition that has gripped the minds of scientists, philosophers, poets, and artists since the concept first emerged in 1926. It is an evolutionary concept posited by studies in both biogeochemistry and paleontology. It is a whole-systems paradigm that melds prophecy and analysis of current world trends. It is a perception that the transformation of the biosphere is inevitably leading to a new geological epoch and evolutionary cycle, and it is due to the impact of human thought on the environment that this new era -- the Noosphere -- is dawning.
The term "noosphere," referring to the mental sheath or envelope of thought that encompasses the Earth, is derived from nous, the Greek word for "mind." The presentiment of the noosphere fully awakened in me in 1969 upon seeing the whole Earth from space on the television. Soon after, I organized the First Whole Earth Festival, and together with my students at the University of California, Davis, we transformed the central quadrangle of the campus into the "global village" -- all in anticipation of the first Earth Day set to occur a month later, on April 22, 1970.
Around the same time I had a fruitful correspondence with R. Buckminster Fuller, who first suggested to me the presence of an information storage and retrieval system existing as some kind of psychic field or thought belt around the planet. It was by this means, Bucky wrote me, that he could converse with the pre-Socratic philosophers as he strolled down the beach.
The First Whole Earth Festival roused the interest of planetary philosopher and astrologer Dane Rudhyar, whose book The Planetarization of Consciousness (1970) had just been published. A warm friendship immediately ensued, and among other things, Rudhyar exposed me to the work of University of Pittsburgh physicist Oliver Reiser. In his monumental volume, Cosmic Humanism (1966), Reiser proposes a vision of the noosphere as consisting of a psi field between and in resonance with the two radiation belts defining Earth's electromagnetic field. The psi field, a DNA-informed "World Sensorium," Reiser further hypothesizes, consists of two halves -- an Eastern (intuitive) and a Western (analytical) -- which function holonomically like the two hemispheres of the human brain.
I amplified Reiser's notion in my book The Transformative Vision (1975), where I link the two principles governing the history of human consciousness -- psyche and techne -- to the two sides of the human and planetary brain. While acknowledging the vision of Teilhard de Chardin, among many others, this book was also influenced in its perspective by Hopi, Hindu, Mexican, and Mayan prophetic traditions. But it is with the notion of the Earth and its hemispheres -- Eastern and Western as well as Northern and Southern -- that The Transformative Vision builds on the idea of a higher unifying principle of planetary consciousness governing the progression of history and the world ages in general.
In Earth Ascending (1984), elaborating greatly on Teilhard de Chardin's notion of "planets with noosphere," I put forward the existence of a psi bank -- the noosphere's coded information storage and retrieval system and DNA timing program, located between and in resonance with (as Reiser had proposed) the two radiation belts of Earth's electromagnetic field. The psi bank has been key to my later work, including The Mayan Factor (1987), The Call of Pacal Votan: Time Is the Fourth Dimension (1996), and Time and the Technosphere (2002).
My studies of the mathematics of the Mayan calendar and subsequent discovery of the Law of Time as the universal principle of synchronization, as well as exposure to the work of Vladimir I. Vernadsky, further deepened my comprehension of the noosphere. Through a number of visits to Russia and my dialogue with leading-edge Russian scientists, I saw how widespread the concept of the noosphere is in Russian intellectual life. By 2003 I had become an acting member of the Moscow-based Noosphere Spiritual Ecological World Assembly. Having already convened the First and Second Planetary Congresses of Biospheric Rights in Brasilia (1996, 2006), I proposed the First Noosphere World Congress to occur in Bali, 2009. This event evolved into a number of synchronized bioregional Noosphere Congresses convened on July 22, 2009. From this experience came my website.
All this would not have been if a Jesuit priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, had not coined the concept and word in a burst of inspiration while serving as a stretcher-bearer in the front-line trenches of the First World War. As a noted paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin went on to write extensively of the noosphere in books like The Future of Man (1959) and Man's Place in Nature (1956). In 1926 he and his Jesuit colleague and fellow philosopher Edouard Le Roy met with a Soviet geochemist, Vladimir I. Vernadsky, to jointly agree on the meaning of the concept noosphere. This meaning is spelled out very simply and clearly by Vernadsky, who wrote at the end of World War II:
The historic process is changing dramatically before our eyes ... Mankind taken as a whole is becoming a powerful geological force. Humanity's mind and work face the problem of reconstructing the biosphere in the interests of freely thinking mankind as a single entity. This new state of the world we are approaching without noticing it is the "Noosphere."
Just as the biosphere is the unified field of life and its support systems -- the region for the transformation of cosmic energy on Earth, to use Vernadsky's phrase -- so the noosphere is the unified field of the mind, the psychic reflection of the biosphere. Because we as a species, the aggregate of consciousness-bearing cells of the evolving Earth, are not yet awake to our role as a planetary organism, so too the noosphere is not yet fully conscious. When humanity becomes conscious of itself as a single organism and unites to activate the noosphere, we will find the collective resolve and will to reconstruct the biosphere and divert the energy of the human race from a path of destruction based on a mechanized abstraction from nature to a new harmonic order of super-organic reality based on an entirely different state of consciousness than has yet existed on Earth.
Such is the fundamental premise that underlies Manifesto for the Noosphere. My feelings about the Noosphere run deep. While I believe it is inevitable, I also believe that its activation requires a collective conscious effort on the part of at least a critical portion of humanity. I further believe that its advent as a conscious planetary phenomenon approximates the prophetic date 2012, and provides the deeper evolutionary significance for the mass-mind focus on that date.
In studying all the data of the present world trends, it becomes evident that the year 2012 marks the crux of the biosphere-noosphere transition, a theoretical term that points toward resolution of the present planetary crisis in a new state of being. This, for instance, is the basis of Ervin Laszlo's WorldShift 2012 (2009): this author sees the date as the point to shift our human goals and objectives. As the next stage in the evolution of consciousness and life on Earth, the Noosphere is the only solution conceivable if we are to survive the effects of five thousand years of increasingly terrible war and five hundred years of all-pervasive materialism. By understanding and supporting all efforts to make the noosphere conscious, we assist our evolution from the current state of chaos and disorder into a "freely thinking mankind as a single entity" (Vernadsky). This is what will solve the crisis: the advent of a new state of consciousness that elevates and benefits all human beings without exception, and the planet as a whole, ultimately evolving our terrestrial sphere into a work of art.
A major theme of this book revolves around the notion of envisioning Earth as a work of art, for the transition into the noosphere indicates a profound shift in human values and priorities -- from materialism and consumerism to a normalized paranormal spirituality and the practice and elevation of art to the peak of human values and activities. A plethora of archetypal structures, repressed until now, will find release through the channeled means of hitherto unrealized artistic possibilities giving form to a symbiosis of the human imagination and the natural order.
Like the "dreamtime" known to our aboriginal ancestors, the noosphere is the collective unconscious impelled into conscious awareness by the crucible of history. The super-subtle telepathic medium in which we live -- whether knowingly or not -- and which orchestrates the whole of our reality is the noosphere. Throughout our history, human beings acted as agents of the noosphere, bringing about this epochal transition but without awareness of this process or the consciousness that our tribal and individual actions would eventually lead to a new state of collective planetary wholeness. Humanity is now going through its final preparation to enter, as a harmonized collective, into this new conscious dreamtime.
In speaking of it as an entry into a new dreamtime, we are casting the Noosphere into the psycho-mythic framework of a planetary emergence myth. In such myths of the Hopi, the people are warned and given signs to take action in preparation for the wiping away of the old world and emergence into the new creation of the next world. This concept is applicable to the Noosphere as a planetary rite of passage. From the Hopi perspective, such a change is the emergence from the fourth into the fifth world, and in the Aztec-Mexican mythos, from the fifth sun of change into the sixth sun of consciousness.
As the medium through which a galactic order of evolutionary intelligence interacts with and ultimately transforms the material processes and organic expressions of the Earth, the noosphere is not restricted to a limited rationality or a linear either/or meaning. Instead, once we align with the noosphere, we will perceive and know radially. We will experience everything as multiple sets of correspondences that link everything to everything else in a synchronically harmonized multidimensional universe.
Opening to the noosphere, we avail ourselves of the thinking layers of cosmic civilization. The highly advanced telepathic intelligence communicated through the noosphere resonates different dimensions of meaning according to daily codes of synchronicity; the most fundamental of these is encoded as the 13-moon/28-day calendar. Synchronized being and simultaneous knowing are the chief qualities and characteristics of the shift into the noospheric phase of evolution.
This new system of knowing and consciousness channeled through the noosphere will provide the basis of an advanced knowledge and a psycho-technology making use of our psychic capabilities. This knowledge will displace all the separatist fictions that now bind us to an ongoing conflict of self and nature. In 2012, we initiate the new paradigm of synchronization; in 2013 and beyond, we access the Noosphere to implement a transformation of the Earth. This phase of implementation begins the epoch of the Noosphere, the long-awaited "mind shift."
The shift into a noospheric state of being represents a collective focusing and unification of human consciousness hitherto undreamed. Synchronizing ourselves in ever-greater circles of harmony, we will become a new species -- Homo noosphericus. Creative peace will be inherent in our new self-perception and developing awareness of the universe in which we find ourselves. The problems we face today will dissolve in the light of a consciousness operating according to a unified planetary program. Spiritually interconnected and acting with a truly planetary and galactic perspective, we will dance to the greater rhythms of the cosmic Supermind. Art will become our way of life.