Noosphere is a word is derived from the Greek nous “mind” and sphaira “sphere.”  It was introduced by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in 1922 to mean the “sphere of human thought” and it was part of his idea of a cosmogenesis.

The concept was expanded in lectures given by Vladimir Vernadsky at Sorbonne so that the Noosphere was seen as the third in a succession of phases of development of the Earth. Phase one is the geosphere (inanimate matter) followed by the biosphere (biological life).

In this third phase of the noosphere, human thought  fundamentally transforms the biosphere. Teilhard believed that the noosphere would emerges and exist through the interaction of human minds. As mankind creates more complex social networks, the noosphere grows in awareness.

Teilhard de Chardin and Vernadsky and even others before them had no way of knowing that almost a hundred years later there would be social networks connecting human thought in a digital realm called the Internet.

Teilhard’s Law of Complexity/Consciousness attempts to explain evolution in the universe as ever increasing in its integration and unification. This progression would ultimately lead to an Omega Point of thought and consciousness.

There are stories, poetry and philosophy, from Henri Bergson, Teilhard de Chardin, Carl Jung, and others that examine consciousness. But Teilhard’s Noosphere as a layer of intelligence enveloping the earth (which he saw as more spiritual than scientific) has been a starting place for  scientific research.

Remember the 70 “eggs” that generate random numbers and record departures from randomness that are part of the Global Brain?  The Noosphere is part of what is being studied by the Global Consciousness Project. They are looking at patterns that shouldn’t be there, but are there. Not mind over matter, but a connection of mind and matter.

In The Future of Man, Teilhard writes about intellectual and social evolution, the coming of ultra-humanity and the impact of scientific discoveries on traditional religious dogma.

Others continue to think and write about this topic: Manifesto for the Noosphere: The Next Stage in the Evolution of Human Consciousness is one such book. And Neurosphere: The Convergence of Evolution, Group Mind, and the Internet, as noted in its subtitle, is examining technology merging with the human body itself via electronic prosthetics, direct neural implants, and the blurring boundaries between human and machine. What Dulchinos calls the Neurosphere in that book might also be called the Global Brain, or God, Group Mind or the Noosphere.

Watch this news story for a simplified explanation.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who died in 1955, was a French philosopher and Jesuit priest, but he trained as a paleontologist and geologist. (He took part in the discovery of both Piltdown Man and Peking Man.) His ideas about the Omega Point and the Noosphere were not accepted by the Catholic Church, and it censured several of his books. The book he is probably best known for is The Phenomenon of Man. His idea that just as living organisms sprung from inorganic matter and evolved into ever more complex thinking beings, we humans are evolving toward an “omega point” is one I find hopeful, whether you see it, as Teilhard did, as being as being a convergence with the Divine, or as human progression.