Chapter

Collective Consciousness and the Quantum Mind

The promise of collective consciousness is typically one of great power but at a great cost. Let’s consider the Borg (“resistance is futile”).

A Comment from Amber Fundytus,
Kate Restivo, and Brooke Windsor:
“Resistance is futile” Contemplations on the Realities
of Post-Literacy via Science-Fiction

The Borg requires assimilation; it is the death of the individual to gain the power of the collective. The price of knowledge is the self. Will humanity willingly renounce individuality for collective understanding? Arguably, our sense of self is a construct of literacy (oral cultures are typically collective and communal).

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, in his concept of the noosphere (the mind sphere), has a different perspective on this. The collective realm is not about the loss of individuality but rather a diversification and specialization that add depth and capacity while retaining self. “Evolution is an ascent towards consciousness,” a  journey from single celled organisms to more complex life forms (Teilhard, The Phenomenon of Man, 1963). This is Teihard’s “omega point”, a view of evolution that is more spiritually based but similar to the singularity of Kurzweil (The Singularity Is Near, 2005).

In “From Noosphere to Theosphere” (2002), Ingrid Shafer links Telihard’s thinking to the emergent consciousness of the Internet. Is the Internet a manifestation of the omega point? Echoing the Borg, Chorost in the World Wide Mind welcomes the integration of the Internet and the mind, and celebrates (boasts?) that “the Internet will not assimilate us. We will assimilate it.”

Trying to understand if such a collective consciousness exists at all is the objective of the Global Consciousness Project is just that. It is designed “to explore whether the construct of interconnected consciousness can be scientifically validated through objective measurement.” Roger Smith, the director of the project, makes the point that “consciousness is a provider of information, a source … it isn’t random.” In trying to bring a scientific analysis to global consciousness, the project has data which demonstrates that “my consciousness and yours extend out into the world and intermix.”

Are mirror neurons a piece of this? Mirror neurons are activated in one person while observing those actions in another. If you wave at me, the neurons firing in your brain to enable you to wave are now firing in my brain (whether I actually wave back or not). This is widely believed to be the physiological basis for empathy. As Christian Keysers, Professor for the Social Brain at the University Medical Center Groningen, says:

“These brain circuits keep us from seeing other individuals as something ‘out there.’ Indeed, we are able to feel their actions, sensation, and emotions inside us, as if we were in their shoes. Other have become us.” (“Mirror Neurons: Are We Ethical by Nature?” In Brockman, What’s Next? Dispatches on the Future of Science, 2009)

Or as Jason Mitchell observes:

“the human mind naturally attempts to engage in the same kinds of information processing as neighboring minds – that our brains prefer to be in register with the brains around us. (“Watching Minds Interact” in Brockman, 2009)

This interconnectedness and this depth of awareness of each other, perhaps across vast distances, is corroborated by quantum mechanics. Is the hive mind realized in the quantum mind?

LinkLink: Quantum Entanglement and the Quantum Mind

A Comment from Laurie Near:
Cross Species Communication

6 Comments ↓

6 Responses to “Collective Consciousness and the Quantum Mind”

  1. gregorylent November 22, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    sometimes ancient traditional knowledge from non western cultures is much better at answering such inquires …

    that is to say, yogis figured this stuff out centuries ago.

    it is only the modern “educated” mind, separated from all that is as a result of that education, that needs to ask such questions.

    a saying i heard a couple of days ago, “we don’t know who discovered water, but we can be sure it was not fish”, fits the theme of my comment.

    • Peter November 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

      Heidegger called it poetic consciousness and somewhere along the line we analysed ourselves it rational and spiritual beings. Maybe a post literate world is a return to this integrated oneness. This raises a question about whether you see technology and education as a way of re-integrating our selves or is it always and forever the cause of our separateness?

  2. Marc August 30, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    This is so interesting you always think of becoming one as a bad thing. To think that it might already be happening on a much smaller scale is really interesting.

  3. Lexi September 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    This is extremely interesting, because it is easy to see this in my daily life. The one word that keeps coming to my mind is compassion, and maybe that is too much of a feeling word, but the part about being in another person’s shoes is what brought that to mind. The example of the waving hand is also interesting. To me it has always been that when someone waves at me, it is my subconscious, learned reaction to wave back, not that I can feel them waving and my body reacts to that.

  4. Hannah September 3, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    The idea that our consciousnesses are all interconnected and affecting things outside of ourselves, however small that effect may be, is really interesting. I think it will be really neat to see how testing of this continues and expands and what sort of options this could possibly help present to us for new ways of communication later on down the road. We have a whole World Wide Consciousness to tap into after all…

  5. Diana May 20, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    I’m truly fascinated with the subject of “Collective Consciousness”, and have been for many years. My earliest recollection is thinking about this idea in a quite serious manner when I was 6 years old, spending the entire day (in between roller skating and beach combing) trying to take the concept as far as I could go at the time.

    I’ve thought about it almost every day since.

    This project will try to determine if this concept can be scientifically validated through objective measurement. Wow.

    Think about it, as I did many years ago, and as I do today–the power of the (individual) mind, so untapped. The power of the Collective Consciousness of the Human Race? Unimagined.

    I have long known that my mind can ensure I have available to me the ability to “move mountains” for myself. To say “be careful what you wish for” is indicative of the power of an individual mind. We CAN control our individual destinies, however the steps to that goal must be so carefully mapped out that often we only achieve what we believed to be our goal–and we often find that it isn’t all that it cracked up to be, so essentially we were wishing for the wrong thing!

    As we mature in life, sometimes we are able to figure out the correct “method” and the correct “wish”, but for the most part, people stumble through life just trying to get through the day. And this is not a criticism, not at all, I am highly empathetic for my fellow man; I have an intuitive understanding of another person’s feelings or thoughts. It is simply a statement pertaining to how hard life can be–living on this glorious planet called Earth is not a free ride—there is work involved!

    So what would be the word used to describe the most powerful process that Man has ever known, or will ever know? I haven’t been able to think of one, a word more powerful than the ultimate power. So I go back to the beginning. Maybe the appropriate word is not a word, but 2 words: the answer.

    I think it is, quite possibly, the most powerful concept known to Man, coming straight from those who created Man. And meant to be “the answer”.

    To how and why we were created. Because it can’t be random. If you think it is a random event, I have to encourage you to seriously rethink that idea.

    We have been given the ability to figure “it” all out. We simply need to work together to find the answers and perhaps this project will allow this concept to become more than just a concept.

    And what a mind-blowing day that will be!

    “The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation” my personal quote by British Philosopher Bertrand Russell–who was of course so many other things besides a great Philosopher–check it out!

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell

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