The Awakening Earth

Now that I have the catchy title, I can explain what I mean by that. For anyone that knows me, this is an idea that I love to bring up during deep conversations. Now I present this idea to a wider audience. I do not think I am the first to suggest such an idea by any means. However, here I present my particular telling of the story.

It begins with EMERGENCE. What is emergence? Emergence is a new state of being that is more than the sum of the parts. Such as you. By you, I mean your consciousness. That part of you that feels most ‘you’ like, your thought patterns, your thinking, and your internal dialogue. Your consciousness is an emergent property of your nervous system. You are the “ghost in the machine”, something that which exists due to the collection of your parts (e.g. neurons), but cannot individually be found in those parts. This kind of emergence is the greatest and most mysterious phenomenon of the universe.

What does this have to do with the Earth? Well, let us now imagine something similar arising at a higher level. What if you and I, and everyone else on Earth, served as ‘neurons’ on a larger scale. Our collective thoughts, interactions, and complex interpersonal relationships would form some kind of network. A network not that dissimilar to the complex network in which neurons interact within your brain. This inter-global network of interactions and relationships between people may act like a kind of global brain.

If this idea of a global ‘brain’ is true, then how does it ‘think’? It’s a hard question to answer from our perspective. Much as if an individual neuron questioned how your collective  consciousness thinks. In fact, I doubt that we, as collective members of the network, are able to even perceive the existence of a higher emergent consciousness. We can see the network connections, we can see where communication and messages travel and interact, but we cannot see the overall ‘whole’ at once. It is beyond us. Much like a single neuron in our brains cannot “see” the overall consciousness beyond its limited signal inputs and direct connections.

So, so far, I’ve argued that people on Earth form a collective network that may serve as a higher level emergent consciousness. Now I want to talk about time scales. It takes about 1 millisecond (that’s 0.001 seconds) for a neuron in your brain to send a signal to another neuron somewhere else. You might say that the “speed” of communication is on the order of milliseconds. I’d also argue that the “speed” of thought for human consciousness is on the order of seconds. It typically takes me a second or two to form a complete thought in my mind. Based on this analogy, it takes about 1000x longer for the emergent consciousness (e.g. me) to “think” compared to the timescale it takes for the underlying parts (e.g my neurons) to send messages among themselves. Additionally, it takes seconds (or even longer) to share those ideas and thoughts with others, and perhaps hours or days to actually act on those thoughts and ideas.

Therefore, if there was a collective, emergent consciousness formed by the collective interaction of humans on Earth, it might be fair to assume that this emerging consciousness “thinks” on a much slower timescale that we do. If we can communicate among ourselves on the order of seconds, this Earth consciousness might “think” on the order of hours, or even days. In fact, I’d probably take months or years for this collective consciousness of Earth to even act on its “thoughts”. Such a long timescale for a consciousness is hard to comprehend.

So, if this emergent Earth consciousness exists, when did it come to be? Another complex question, as its hard to define when any consciousness truly exists. There is no definitive line that is crossed. However, I do believe that the Earth consciousness has been developing for quite some time. Think of the advances in human technology that greatly enhanced our ability to communicate across the globe. Telegraph cables laid in the 1800’s were the early development of this global consciousness structure. Then telephone communications enhanced it even farther. The internet, however, was the greatest advance in the global communication network. I believe that the maturing internet is the great turning point in the development of the global consciousness. Cell-phone communications also greatly increases the point-to-point communication between individuals across the globe. Now, any two points across the globe can theoretically communicate and interact.

This vast network between human beings is far more complex and interactive than the connections of neurons in your brain. Perhaps, much like the network of your brain has resulted in the emergent consciousness that is you, our collective interaction has resulted in an emerging consciousness that spans the Earth. The Earth is awakening.

I hope I’ve convinced you of the possibility of a global emergent consciousness. Please SHARE if you find this as fascinating as I do.