The Global Consciousness Project

What is the nature of Global Consciousness?

Poetic History

I don’t know for sure when I first read Père Teilhard de Chardin’s The Future of Man; probably more than 40 years ago, in the 60’s, but this gentle and deeply passionate vision of purpose and possibility for human beings rang true, and settled deep within. Even though it may be premature to expect the full measure of our potential, we are growing fast, and as Teilhard observed, long before the age of the Internet, we are becoming one world; we have no other choice:

The Age of Nations is past. The task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the Earth.

You may be interested in a brief account of Teilhard de Chardin and his thought. The idea and implications of a noosphere were described even earlier by Vernadsky, and I suspect by other far-seers before him. But today we can almost touch the future they envisioned.

The GCP idea began to gestate about four years before the birth of the project, according to a logbook entry from December, 1994, just before a stimulating Esalen meeting on intentionality and consciousness. Not only the meeting, but the time surrounding it brought synchronistic interactions which powered delightful insights and intellectual extrapolations. In a premonitory description of the GCP, some of these connections were noted the logbook.

Dec 26 01:30 (1994)
How much web linkage would be required to to create an aware consciousness à la Chardin? If Hameroff is right, the fundamental necessary (and sufficient?) requirement is coherence of quantum optical events, which should be ... analogous to quantum coherence of other physical/electrical events. ...

The web analogy needs a fundamental unit, which might be a node, more likely a personal page, which has a self-organzing capacity, under the influence of the web field, i.e., the possibility of connectedness.

The conditions need to be right to establish coherent ideas, or maybe even to establish a coherent EM field phenomenon... In either case, if the coherence length and hence the capacity to interact with and stimulate relevant activity [is present] in ... the web, then a larger scale coherence will result, leading to an increase in the global coherence until a collapse [into consciousness] is self-induced ...

We experience the world with beautiful immediacy, and with a quality of direct participation that seems completely natural. And yet it is quite magical. We take meaning from music, we know our loved ones from afar, and we leap in thought to the stars. Sometimes we sense that we have dissolved ourselves into a group or a larger whole. And we always have prayed as if it could make a difference.

Three years after the Esalen meeting, at a mini-conference in Freiburg in late November 1997, several of us were talking with psychophysiologists about anomalies of consciousness, and thinking about measures, and trying to get closer to the live subtleties. During a hallway break conversation, Dick Bierman, Dean Radin, and I were playing with the links of psychophysiology and REG technology and consciousness, and Dean concentrated the notion, saying, we could make a World EEG.

With a little planning, mainly talking with Greg Nelson, Dean, Dick, Jiri Wackermann, and John Walker, we decided it not only could be done, but would be fun. We began building an electrogaiagram, to trace coherent thought and feeling in the world.

Even when it was most difficult, it was fun. And there are allies to help make matters including paradoxes and contradictions understandable, dreams, for example, and ancient wisdom like that of the I Ching, to help us stay on the path with a heart. There’s modern wisdom too, as some simple recomendations attributed to the Dalai Lama help us see. Indeed we can touch the perennial wisdom. Or consider A Congressman’s Prayer, by Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). And then there is Talking with Angels, who say What could be more natural than our talking with each other? And what could be more natural than a poem to ask a deeper question?

When the power of love
Overcomes the love of power
The world will know peace.

— Jimi Hendrix

According to the 20th-century American philosopher Susanne Langer,

under the influence of love, the membrane of individuality becomes porous.

— From Ode magazine, September 2008

If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.

— Fred Rogers

The truth is that all search for knowledge is essentially a form of prayer. The scientific observer of Nature is a kind of mystic seeker in the act of prayer. Although at present he follows only the footprints of the musk-deer, and thus modestly limits the method of his quest, his thirst for knowledge is eventually sure to lead him to the point where the scent of the musk-gland is a better guide than the footprints of the deer. This alone will add to his power over Nature and give him that vision of the total-infinite which philosophy seeks but cannot find. Vision without power does bring moral elevation but cannot give a lasting culture. Power without vision tends to become destructive and inhuman. Both must combine for the spiritual expansion of humanity.

The real object of prayer, however, is better achieved when the act of prayer becomes congregational. The spirit of all true prayer is social. Even the hermit abandons the society of men in the hope of finding, in a solitary abode, the fellowship of God. A congregation is an association of men who, animated by the same aspiration, concentrate themselves on a single object and open up their inner selves to the working of a single impulse. It is a psychological truth that association multiplies the normal man.s power of perception, deepens his emotion, and dynamizes his will to a degree unknown to him in the privacy of his individuality. Indeed, regarded as a psychological phenomenon, prayer is still a mystery; for psychology has not yet discovered the laws relating to the enhancement of human sensibility in a state of association.

— Muhammad Iqbal

The message Dancing Matt brings us in such a joyful way that we feel our interconnection:

And when we dance together, we will save ourselves.

Nothing is harder, yet nothing is more necessary, than to speak of certain things whose existence is neither demonstrable nor probable. The very fact that serious and conscientious men and women treat them as existing things brings them a step closer to existence and to the possibility of being born.

— Hermann Hesse

Religion is hard. But then you begin to lose the hard edges of yourself and start to glimpse the other. All of the Axial Agers practiced what the Chinese called jian ai or concern for everybody. Not just for your own group, but for everybody. And if we don’t do that, I don’t see how we can save our planet.

— Karen Armstrong

When you put a thing in order, and give it a name, and you are all in accord, it becomes.

— From the Navajo, Masked Gods, Waters, 1950

A human being is part of the whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences his thoughts and feeling as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal decisions and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Albert Einstein

There is a fundamental error in separating the parts from the whole, the mistake of atomizing what should not be atomized. Unity and complementarity constitute reality.

— Werner Heisenberg

Now, if the cooperation of some thousands of millions of cells in our brain can produce our consciousness, a true singularity, the idea becomes vastly more plausible that the cooperation of humanity, or some sections of it, may determine what Comte calls a Great Being.

— J.B.S. Haldane

Père Teilhard de Chardin’s Phenomenon of Man is, as are his other writings, filled with poetic expression, even for simple and scientific understandings. Here he speaks of elemental matter:

Observed from this special angle, and considered at the outset in its elemental state (by which I mean at any moment, at any point, and in any volume), the stuff of tangible things reveals itself with increasing insistence as radically particulate yet essentially related, and lastly, prodigiously active.

Plurality, unity, energy: the three faces of matter.

If any organism fails to fulfill its potentialities, it becomes sick.

— William James

Ask yourself. Is the Earth, teeming with organic populations, an organism? Are we billions of humans, who make up the primary intelligence of the Earth as an organism, fulfilling our potentialities? Are we doing well? Is the Earth well?

And again from William James, one of the clearest statements of how much we have to learn about consciousness, scientifically and experientially.

Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different.

Our most prodigious thinkers have seen us, humanity, as the culmination of creation, and this may be an acceptable view if we somehow fulfill our creative destiny. But there may be very little time, really, for growing up and reaching for the best we can be. The Earth, the beautifully balanced ecosystem, is badly damaged already from our point of view (whenever we look beyond the ends of our material noses to our future). Ironically and sadly, all the responsibility for the damage is ours — we have grown too quickly capable and too slowly wise — and rescue and repair are up to us, entirely.

We are not, thank goodness, utterly without insight. A small number of voices have always spoken out to teach, and to urge necessary actions. Here, a poignant and striking, terribly clear description of where we are and what we must now do, is presented as Four Prophecies given in 1920 by the American Indian medicine man, Stalking Wolf.

And here, a more recent note expressing a deeply felt dismay that we can hope will stimulate more and more of us to turn away from the Mauling of America that we have been teaching ourselves as if it were a good way of life.

Buckminster Fuller maintained, eloquently, that we have the power to think about and understand where we live, and ultimately to organize the materials of our world so that there is plenty for all of us, even for more of us if we intelligently decide that’s what we want.

And Erwin Schroedinger regarded science as the best bet for our future:

I consider science an integrating part of our endeavour to answer the one great philosophical question which embraces all the others ... who we are? And more than that: I consider this not only one of the tasks, but the task, of science, the only one that really counts.

Albert Einstein concurs, with an even stronger emphasis on the inevitability of a spiritual aspect:

Sensation of the Mystical

The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is
the sensation of the mystical.

It is the sower of all true science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger,
who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe,
is as good as dead.

To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists,
manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty,
which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms —
this knowledge, this feeling,
is at the center of true religion.

... I’m simply highlighting the single most important agenda that true ecologists everywhere ought to be engaged in, namely: the growth and evolution and development of interior consciousness itself. Gaia’s main problems are not industrialization, ozone depletion, overpopulation, or resource depletion. Gaia’s main problem is the lack of mutual understanding and mutual agreement in the noosphere about how to proceed with these problems.

... But most ecophilosophers focus on the thousand other things that need to be done, and utterly ignore the major and first problem: how to get people to see the other problems and agree on a course of action.

... And the only way we can do that is by developmental evolution of consciousness from egocentric to sociocentric to worldcentric (or global) modes.

— Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything

A Mother’s Day Proclamation, by Julia Ward Howe, Boston, 1870, according to Suzanne Taylor:

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts...
We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience...
Let [women] then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God...
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions.
The great and general interests of peace.

Beyond all else, it is a story of the future, of something trying to happen, of a four-hundred-year-old age rattling in its deathbed as another struggles to be born — a transformation of consciousness, culture, society, and institutions such as the world has never experienced.

It is written with deep conviction that it is far too late and things are far too bad for pessimism. In time such as these, it is no failure to fall short of realizing all that we might dream — the failure is to fall short of dreaming all that we might realize.

We must try.

— Dee Hock, introduction to Birth of the Chaordic Age

Your fervent wishes can only find fulfillment if you succeed in attaining love and understanding of men, and animals, and plants, and stars, so that every joy becomes your joy and every pain your pain.

— Albert Einstein

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?

— Mahatma Gandhi

The warrior of light is aware of his or her immense strength, and will never fight with anyone who does not deserve the honor of combat.

— Paulo Coelho, Ode, channeling Gandhi

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one"

— John Lennon, Imagine

No sweat. Just contemplate the heart. Works for me.

— Wayne Jonas, July 6, 2002

Earth Egg Number Eleven


given the seasons,
we eat the yellow squash
of summer

and spit the seeds
into still warm soil
of autumn.

New Moon Earth Mother
keeper of all unsorted seeds
keeper of curling green wands

Oh! protect the best of these
from the cutting knife-
reasoning beyond depth-

death-and all dark wisdom-
lift up now to light our
Earth Egg Number Eleven.

— Barbara Smith Stoff

Everything is about direction and consciousness. You can be wrong about the details. ... I don’t know what it will look like 200 years from now. But I know if we keep moving towards — again, it is somewhat spiritual, but if we keep moving toward a recognition of our common humanity and the necessary conscquences that flow from that, ... [the world] will certainly be more integrated.

... the main thing that we all have to do is put all the pieces together and sell it so that the world moves in the right direction. We can make a lot ot mistakes. That’s what people do. But we ought to be stumbling in the right direction.

— Bill Clinton, Fortune, Nov 11, 2001

Does the whole world have to be crying for us to know we are one?

— Artist at the Smithsonian reflecting on Sept. 11, 2001, as recalled by Greg Nelson

After a couple of years in the growing communication network that is the Global Consciousness Project, it became beautifully clear that there are many rivulets of conscious intention to effect necessary changes in culture. They are beginning to flow together into streams that may may become a river that will make it to the sea in time. To foster this flow we need to become more compassionate and less self-serving, and we need to laugh together!

In October of 2010, such a confluence was focused in Astana, Kazakhstan, when the World Forum of Spiritual Culture brought 500 people from more than 70 countries together to share ideas and intentions for the simple, but very challenging job of saving the future. Human intelligence grows much faster than human wisdom. We are quick to develop technologies that give us power over nature, and slow to understand the implications and unintended consequences. How shall we change this?

Science is the art of creating suitable illusions, which the fool enjoys or argues against, but the wise man enjoys for their beauty or ingenuity, without being blind to the fact that they are human veils and curtains concealing the abysmal darkness of the unknowable.

— Carl Jung

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

— Robert Kennedy, Capetown, 1966

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.

— T.E Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Throes of Sinful Hate, 6/7/06

Listless bodies sprawled and tangled on the ground
Cloaked in sanguinary wine
Like worn out, tattered leather flasks
Soaked in their own wretched, cherry contents
It matters not which side has won
Hades triumphs all the same
For here lie kinsmen, neighbors, friends
Carcasses mangled in a ghastly heap
Joined, as well, by pallid foes
For the hell born vampire, the child of War
Shows no partisan ways when woken
The devil gorges with no favor
Gluttonous in His carnal hunt
Good men and bad, coward and brave
All fall like martyrs for their cause
To feed His thirst for hemic fun
Until, alas, they’re all asleep
Their livid blushes freshly departed
They’ve all hit the dead-end clash
And under Death’s direction
Laid down their cumbrous ruby burdens
And intoned final wrenching howls
That sound music for that evil soul
That baneful, thorny, hated fiend
The sinful child of War

— Shuchorita Bose, Finals poem, Middletown HS

At the age of 84, Bertrand Russell added a five-paragraph prologue to a new publication of his autobiography, giving a summary of the work and his life:

What I Have Lived For

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.

I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy-ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness-that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it, finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what — at last — I have found.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.

Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a hated burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.

— Bertrand Russell

For in the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught.

— Baba Dioum, Plaque in Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo

I’m sure we are all already part of the great consciousness laser...the trick is the tuning...

— Ugis Oskars Ziemelis, Riyahd, SA

I am reminded that the most important thing a map shows, if we pause to look at it long enough, if we travel upon it widely enough, if we think about it hard enough, is all the things we still do not know.

— Stephen S. Hall, You Are Here

Message from the Hopi Elders

We have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now we must go back and tell people that THIS is the hour.
And there are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
This could be a good time!
There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold onto the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.
Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore,
Push off into the river.
Keep your eyes open,
And your heads above the water.
See who is in there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally,
Least of all ourselves.
For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey
Comes to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in

We are the Ones we’ve been waiting for.

Church leaders letter to Clinton, September 6, 2000, in part:

(signed by Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops; The Hon. Andrew Young, President of the National Council of Churches in Christ of the USA; and the Heads of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Mens’ Institutes, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Friends United Meeting, Mennonite Central Committee, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Council of Bishops),

The churches’ campaign to promote the principle of sharing Jerusalem between the two peoples and three religions is based on our steadfast commitment to an equitable solution for Jerusalem that respects the human and political rights of Israelis and Palestinians as well as the three religious communities. The churches’ interest extends to the living communities of believers as well as to the holy sites.

And finally, we appeal to you and the negotiators to accord Jerusalem a special statute for its governance with international guarantees to ensure its implementation. In November 1994, the twelve Patriarchs and Bishops of Jerusalem wrote, It is necessary to accord Jerusalem a special statute which will allow Jerusalem not to be victimized by laws imposed as a result of hostilities or wars and which will allow Jerusalem to be an open city which transcends local, regional or world political troubles.

War cannot be avoided until the physical cause for its recurrence is removed and this, in the last analysis, is the vast extent of the planet on which we live. Only through annihilation of distance in every respect, as the conveyance of intelligence, transport of passengers and supplies and transmission of energy will conditions be brought about some day, insuring permanency of friendly relations. What we now want is closer contact and better understanding between individuals and communities all over the earth, and the elimination of egoism and pride which is always prone to plunge the world into primeval barbarism and strife... Peace can only come as a natural consequence of universal enlightenment...

— Nikola Tesla, 1919

It is good to honor the Goddess. When she smiles upon you, all things are enriched and prosper.

— Cheryl Haley, Mill Valley, CA

According to Plato, two people, by challenging and responding to each other, can come closer to the truth than either one could by himself. The outcome of such a dialectic is not merely the knowledge of the one added to the knowledge of the other. It is something which neither of them knew before, and which neither would have been capable of knowing by himself. Such a twosome constitutes a whole which has properties irreducible to those of each individual by him- or herself.

— Ervin Laszlo, in Systems View of the World

At our best, our collective actions can become as resonant as a singing bowl, with a similar clearing, opening effect. And, as is true with the ringing of a singing bowl, a group’s vibrant creativity—informed by collective wisdom—requires a sense of emptiness, a lack of attachment to preconceptions, as an organizing princople. But, oh, the vibes that play in such receptive fields of resonant relationships often ring out with a deliciousness that sings through a group’s very bones.

Collective wisdom—wisdom larger than one individual’s insight—draws near in such moments, as if to say, Here is a fertile field of people. Here are tenders of spirit. Let’s plant this creative possibility, so needed now on earth, right here.

— Rachel Bagby, in Shift, No. 6

When the mind is distracted, Chi scatters.

— Roger Jahnke, Esalen, July 2000

Breathe IN love, light and infuses every cell and system in my body, it enters simultaneously from the base of my spine and through my crown, converging in my heart, where it percolates until it boils over...then,

Breathe OUT love, light and gratitude...into Mother earth, out to Father Sky, and into the hearts and minds of every living thing...friend and foe...experiencing the space in me and around me being conditioned by the love-light-gratitude as a gift from the I AM Presence.

— Flesymi,

May the good belong to all the people in the world.
May the rulers go by the path of justice.
May the best of men and their source always prove to be a blessing.
May all the world rejoice in happiness.
May rain come in time and plentifulness be on Earth.
May this world be free from suffering and the noble ones be free from fears

— Traditional Vedic blessing

When you put a thing in order, give it a name, and you are all in accord: it becomes.

— From the Navajo, Masked Gods, Waters, 1950

R.D. Laing said, according to Bill Eddy,

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.

Human beings and all living things are a coalescence of energy in a field of energy connected to every other thing in the world. This pulsating energy field is the central engine of our being and our consciousness, the alpha and the omega of our existence. The field, as Einstein once succinctly put it, is the only reality.

— Lynne McTaggart, The Field

All nature, all growth, all peace, everything that flowers and is beautiful in the world depends on patience, requires time, silence, trust, and faith in long-term processes which far exceed any single lifetime.

— Hermann Hesse

We must know first that our acts are useless, and yet we must proceed as if we didn’t know it. That is a sorcerer’s controlled folly.

— Don Juan

James Redfield said, according to Greg Nelson,

We are all beings of energy, and are connected to one another by this energy. Once we observe this energy, we can realize that it is on the same continuum as beauty. These are phenomena that cannot be studied unless you suspend or bracket your skepticism and try every way possible to perceive them.

I’ve observed that elusiveness more times than I care to count. I agree that it would seem to be an element itself that requires study. There is always a tendency to search for order in the stream, when it may be a function of disorder being observed. Or perhaps a relaxation in the expectation for order.

— Joe McMoneagle

Creative source is an effortless state of being. Don’t confuse it with an attitude or identity that may be on automatic and seems effortless. This state is effortless, accepting and undefined. (Desiring and resisting are efforts. Accepting and appreciating are effortless.)

— Harry Palmer, Living Deliberately

There is another perspective, diametrically opposed in a sense. Werner Heisenberg showed that it will forever be impossible to know the basic reality because in attempting to see it, we necessarily change it. Daniel Menaker (NYT Magazine, Oct 17, 1999, pp. 96) describes this in human terms:

The greatest impact of the uncertainty principle on the idea of the self comes not from its implications about free will and determinism, nor from its suggestion that we can never really know the world, but from its thesis that we can’t know it because our very efforts to do so change and in a way corrupt the world we are trying to know. When Heisenberg threw this stone of hard mathematical physics into the pool of philosophy, its ripples required us to see ourselves, each of our own selves, as interferers with whatever we run across. Such ideas of the conscious human self as an automatic interferer, a changer, a polluter of reality, may have always been part of philosophy and even art, but it was Heisenberg who for the first time scientifically demonstrated that our very efforts fully to understand what surrounds us must defeat their own purpose.

Noam Chomsky thinks that what we know intuitively seems to lie far beyond what we can understand intellectually. He says, for example, that modern thinkers simply haven’t understood the full significance of Newton’s discovery of gravity:

The possibility of affecting objects without touching them just exploded physicalism and materialism. It has been common in recent years to ridicule Descartes’s ghost in the machine in postulating mind as distinct from body. Well, Newton came along and he did not exorcise the ghost in the machine: he exorcised the machine and left the ghost intact. So now the ghost is left and the machine isn’t there. And the mind has mystical properties.

Fiction leads us, as much as we are willing to be led, and it may be that there is no better guide. David Brin’s science fiction novel, Earth, is about a future not very distant, in which it is necessary for a global consciousness to arise and become aware, to save the earth from the consequences of our unending folly, our destruction of our nest and thus, ultimately, ourselves. At one point a bright, though uneducated young man (whose given name is Nelson) says,

In other words, the ideal government should be like a sane person’s conscious mind! The World Data Net is the ultimate analog.

Like a person, it too consists of a myriad of tiny subselves (the eight billion subscribers), all bickering and negotiating and cooperating semi-randomly. Subscriber cliques and alliances merge and separate ... sometimes by nationality or religion, but more often nowadays by special interest groups that leap all the old borderlines ... all waging minuscule campaigns to sway the world’s agenda and to affect their lives in the physical world.

We are one people...
We share one planet...
We have one common dream...
We want to live in peace...
We choose to protect and heal the earth...
We cherish the earth’s bio and cultural diversity...
We will choose to create a better world for all...
We will become stewards for the planet’s threatened and endangered species...
We will defend and protect the rain forests, redwoods, and other sacred places...
We will do our best to make this dream come true...
We will do this for our children, and our children’s children...
We will transform what needs to be transformed...
We will break free of our chrysalis limitations...
We will joyfully love, share, and forgive...
so that peace may prevail on earth!
May peace prevail on earth!

— Our Earth Proclamation, contributed by Alan D. Moore

We think the world apart, said educator Parker Palmer. What would it be like to think the world together? The philosopher Teilhard de Chardin had a word — unfurling — to describe that infinitely slow, spasmodic movement toward the unity of mankind. He saw education and love as the twin pillars of progress. At this amazing point in history, we have the opportunity to get things right.

— Mary Pipher, Nebraskan

Nearly 70 years ago, a Soviet geochemist, reflecting on his world, made a startling observation: through technology and sheer numbers, he wrote, people were becoming a geological force, shaping the planet’s future just as rivers and earthquakes had shaped its past.

Eventually, wrote the scientist, Vladimir I. Vernadsky, global society, guided by science, would soften the human environmental impact, and earth would become a noosphere, a planet of the mind, life’s domain ruled by reason.

Today, a broad range of scientists say, part of Vernadsky’s thinking has already been proved right: people have significantly altered the atmosphere and are the dominant influence on ecosystems and natural selection. The question now, scientists say, is whether the rest of his vision will come to pass. Choices made in the next few years will determine the answer.

— Andrew Revkin

Noosphere: The mental envelope of the planet above and discontinuous with the biosphere.

The first stage was the elaboration of lower organisms, up to and including man, by the use and irrational combination of elementary sources of energy received or released by the planet. The second stage is the super-evolution of man, individually and collectively, by use of the refined forms of energy scientifically harnessed and applied in the bosom of the Noosphere, thanks to the coordinated efforts of all men working reflectively and unanimously upon themselves...In becoming planetized humanity is acquiring new physical powers that will enable it to super-organize matter. And, even more important, is it not possible that by the direct converging of its members it will be able, as though by resonance, to release psychic powers whose existence is still unsuspected?

— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man

To sense that behind anything that can be experienced, there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness.

— Albert Einstein

I think over again my small adventures

My fears,
Those small ones that seemed so big,

For all the vital things
I had to get and to reach.

And yet there is only one great thing,
The only thing,

To live to see the great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world.

— Old Inuit song

It will in the end be poems, or beautiful photographs, that give some feeling for this quest to create a meaningful link to Mother Earth in the shape of scientific work. Artists and writers, and indeed nearly all people do have a deep and inchoate understanding that we are connected, in many ways. It is in our poetic arts that some expression can be given to the heart’s knowing.

There will be time, and there are endless possibilities, to add more material to this page, with the purpose of making a sort of backdrop in poetic form that can express the sources, and perhaps the partially unconscious understanding of a world in which a global consciousness is possible. For now, these are just a few examples of the thin places where we may touch on other possibilities.

O Mitakuye Oyasin » We Are All Connected

— from the Lakota,
    an invocation at the end of each morning prayer