Putting Verdnsky’s Noosphere at the centre of SDGs

The article entitled The Biosphere & the Noosphere by Vladimir is reproduced here without any changes to understand the concept of noosphere & its importance. The article is as follows:

In In today’s intense and complicated world, it’s easy to forget that he, and all of humanity, from which he is inextricably linked, are inextricably linked with the biosphere—with the specific portion of the earth where they dwell. It is common to speak of man as an individual who freely walks about our globe and creates his own history. Until now, neither historians, humanities scientists, nor, to some extent, biologists have actively considered the laws of nature of the biosphere—the Earth’s envelope, which is the only area where life can live. The ecology and man are inextricably linked.

And we’re just now starting to see the full extent of this inseparability. In reality, no living organism exists in a free state on Earth. All of these organisms are inseparably and continuously connected—first and foremost by feeding and breathing—with their material-energetic environment.

Mankind, as living matter, is inseparably connected with the material-energetic processes of a specific geological envelope of the Earth—its biosphere. Mankind cannot be physically independent of the biosphere for a single minute

The historical process is being radically changed under our very eyes. For the first time in the history of mankind the interests of the masses on the one hand, and the free thought of individuals on the other, determine the course of life of mankind and provide standards for mere ideas of justice. Mankind taken as a whole is becoming a mighty geological force. There arises the problem of the reconstruction of the biosphere in the interests of freely thinking humanity as a single totality. This new state of the biosphere, which we approach without our noticing, is the nöosphere.

The noösphere is a new geological phenomenon on our planet. In it for the first time man becomes a large-scale geological force. He can and must rebuild the province of his life by his work and thought, rebuild it radically in comparison with the past. Wider and wider creative possibilities open before him. It may be that the generation of our grandchildren will approach their blossoming.

As for the coming of the noösphere, we see around us at every step the empirical results of that “incomprehensible” process. All of the strategic raw materials belong here. Chemically, the face of our planet, the biosphere, is being sharply changed by man, consciously, and even more so, unconsciously. The aerial envelope of the land as well as all its natural waters are changed both physically and chemically by man. The noösphere is the last of many stages in the evolution of the biosphere in geological history.

The unfolding of the Universe results in a layered structure. The history of the Universe can be conceived of as progressing (complexifying) through five stages: radiation-predominance, matter-predominance, the geosphere, the biosphere, the noosphere, each one of which emerges within the context that is the previous one. A time-line may be given for an over-view of the history of the Universe.

This hierarchy is the hierarchy of levels in the process of the complexification of matter which the Universe goes through in its evolution. Disciplines of human enquiry correspond to these levels of the complexification of matter. Physics studies level 0 to 2, from the unification of matter and forces through subatomic particles to atoms proper. Chemistry studies level 2 to 4, from elements of the periodic table through molecules and ending with cells. Biology studies level 4 and 5, single-celled and multicellular organisms. Human sciences — history, anthropology, social and political sciences, psychology, linguistics, economics — study level 6, the level of the human social collective. (Collective existence of other species is left aside for now.)

Human world history is the last stage in the drama of the complexification of the Universe. It is the process of self-replication and, through it, evolution, of a particular type of supra-organism (corm) that is the human social collective. The stages in the evolution of the human collective (from tribes through kingdoms to ecumenic empires and the global civilization of nation states) are reflective of its speciation (the unfolding into species). Human world history is the history of the Noo-sphere. It is spiritual because this global self-consciousness is preservative of everything orderly in the manner of love and respect, and also because it is supposed to transcend the geo- and the bio-sphere in being “preserved” after the dissolution of the bio-spheric bodily forms as ordained by the second law.

 “Noo-sphere” in its general sense as is used here means the realm of consciousness in general, and so certainly includes this spiritual reflexivity of the Universe as part of its meaning. But the search for spirituality hardly exhaustively characterizes the activities of the Noo-sphere, since, in fact, especially in the modern world of consumerism, for most of the people during most of the time the mind is engaged in meaningless consumption just as the body is, except that instead of fast food and junk food it is consuming fast movies and junk music. Thus, in a way, the “meaning of existence” for the Noo-sphere is really not much different than the “meaning of life” for the bio-sphere, i.e. consumption and defecation. The “pure” noo-spheric dissipation “part” of this is the watching of fast movies, etc., and the forgetting of them immediately afterwards. Such pure “noo-defecation” called “for getting”, where the mind is just a transitory station for the coming and going of meaningless sense impressions, i.e. where the mind, instead of reflecting on the sorrowful intestine through which order (food) passes into entropic waste, is itself reduced to an additional intestine for sense impressions and being dissipated thusly, has the effect of destroying the thinking capacity of the mind — and the destruction of the mind is essential to the blooming of consumerism, as the latter depends on people’s addiction to consumer products and someone capable of “thinking” (e.g. a philosopher) is less likely to take meaningless consumer products seriously.)

In human history, the trend of human consumption habit has been the general replacement of the consumption of food by the consumption of consumer products as the central concern of life — as the axis of the material meaning of life. By 1990, in the case of the most advanced consumerist society, the U.S., only 3% of its economic work force is engaged in food-production (farm sector) and another 7% in food-processing and distribution (retail). (Lester Brown, “New Era Unfolds”, State of the World, 1993, p. 15) The rest are engaged in the production of products, services, and pure noo-spheric consumerism (entertainment industry).

The “defecation” of consumer products (substitute food) — their disposal as garbage — is one of the major sources of environmental degradation (the other being carbon emission by the burning of fossil fuel; Biosphere — food-chain — is essentially the recycling of chemicals already there (organisms eating each other) with the energy poured in from the sun. The problem with noo-spheric dissipation (defecation) then is that many of its waste cannot be recycled by the natural order: plastic bags and computer chips thrown away are not bio-degradable, thus polluting the environment.

The search by consciousness for spirituality (such as the philosophies and religions of the past and this book here at the present) is really a tangential development from the Noo-sphere of which the main trunk of meaning is really just dissipation. Thus the full meaning of life is really a composite thing: it is at once mere consumption and defecation in which most of the people are engaged most of the time with their busying themselves with their “career” — this is the material meaning of life — and also the search for the meaning of life and the truth of existence in which certain social outcasts (the philosophers and mystic ascetics) have been engaged from time to time.

The danger of feminism is that it is the most successful of all modern movements of this type of material pursuit (e.g. Marxism, Aryanism, humanism) to have fooled people into believing that it represents something like philosophy, some sort of pursuit or fulfilment of the spiritual meaning of life, more than just a movement promoting mindless consumption and defecation.) While the Universe does complexity, Chardin’s Omega point — the converged centre of the spiritual, planetary collective consciousness — or any other sort of postulation of spiritual consciousness as the end-point toward which Universe evolves in its complexification is a tangential development contingent upon the main trunk of evolution which is complexification toward complex dissipative structures.


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