Noosphere vs Brown Study

Hello dear friends, I do hope you are all safe and whole while staying inside for the sake of others. Our media echo chambers, memes and online chats have filled the week’s blur of days and hours, with some fancy cooking on the side.

From expanding outward we move to deepening. We have no choice but to deepen. All this is happening of necessity. Everything and everyone is involved and it is all shot through with grief. We go online to stay on top, to keep up spirits and connect with others, see the faces of others, be with others. And doing so we are transforming our world, our way of living.

This week I’ve experienced the paradoxical extremes of being both more grounded and more virtual.

We all transfer and transmit even more of our interactions into the virtual world. The transition is a leaving of our bodies and communing like in a witches’ sabbath or meetings of Siberian shamans - only now it is happening for everybody with wifi - all pouring our thoughts and beaming ourselves up through the shared electrified atmosphere.

Is it Teillard de Chardin’s noosphere? Do we approach the speed of light?

From Wikipedia: “For Teilhard, the noosphere is the sphere of thought encircling the earth that has emerged through evolution as a consequence of this growth in complexity / consciousness. The noosphere is therefore as much part of nature as the barysphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. As a result, Teilhard sees the "social phenomenon [as] the culmination of and not the attenuation of the biological phenomenon." These social phenomena are part of the noosphere and include, for example, legal, educational, religious, research, industrial and technological systems. In this sense, the noosphere emerges through and is constituted by the interaction of human minds. The noosphere thus grows in step with the organization of the human mass in relation to itself as it populates the earth. Teilhard argued the noosphere evolves towards ever greater personalisation, individuation and unification of its elements. He saw the Christian notion of love as being the principal driver of noogenesis. Evolution would culminate in the Omega Point—an apex of thought/consciousness …”

So many online meditations, shared watch parties, conversations, body workouts, news and commentaries! It is increasingly becoming natural for us. We bathe in the electric streams, and in this we live and move and have our being.

In this atmosphere, we are becoming one, and our physical individuality at home is relieved of the burden of acting out all the rhythms of this intense online universe. It happens inside us and beyond us. We’d been chasing this rhythm for some time, but our bodies really can’t take it anymore. So this switch to staying home is an unexpected relief. Our bodies feel more physical while our lives are more virtual. As this upload takes on a lot of our former earth-based activity, we come back home to a deeper sense of ourselves.


Today I read this from Phil Lane, Jr.

The Talking Stick and Related Teachings were prayerfully passed on to us by Elders Abe Burnstick, Dakota/Cree and Eddie Belrose, Cree, at the Sweat House Lodge, in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1975. ... these beloved Elders’ shared prophecies are now being fulfilled. One of these prophecies foretold, in detail, the coming of the internet. We could understand what they were talking about, at the time. They told us that when the “Everywhere Spirit was made Physically Manifest” that we should use this gift in a good way. Like all things, digital technology and the internet may lead to unity or disintegration. 

It was so good to see Abe’s name and to remember him in Edmonton, how he jiggled my baby Rosie from side to side on his knee. He often talked of “Those Ten Things” that were about to come to pass. In my mind, later, I conflated them with the Ten Thunders in Finnegan’s Wake.


Going outside

Heading out, I suit up as if I were leaving our space pod to explore the alien planet. At the grocery store, in my mind I admonish the others who are standing too close to one another, and my body tenses, fearful. Walking the dog in the same protective hat, scarf, gloves combination, it is easier for me, distancing is possible.


Friends don’t let friends fall into a brown study

The brown study was first mentioned in the 1532 book, Dice-Play.

Merriam-Webster: “Lack of company will soon lead a man into a brown study.” Whether or not it's true, that 1532 admonition is the first known example that shows the reverie sense of study combined with brown (in the old and now rare sense of "gloomy"). Today, not all brown studies are "gloomy"- some are merely abstracted - but not, we hope, to the extent that provoked the editors of an encyclopedia of the 1950s to call it "a state nearly related to hypnosis and characterized by the ... arrest of bodily movement."

This old phrase just might be returning, but let’s stay connected to keep it away, or from doing any harm.


Calvino update: I’m half-way through The Baron in the Trees, and it’s delightful to imagine living just a little bit above the ground. Rich interconnections of many thoughts and activities, just like the treetops. Next up: Invisible Cities. Read along if you like.

Geinrust Farm in Marshy Landscape 1906 by Piet Mondrian

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Remember last week’s proposed Journal Club? I only had a few responses so let’s wait for a time.

Top Photo: Rosie’s family game of bananagram last night

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