My Answer to the question: "Is Noogenesis Progressing?"


> Dear Duen, Finally, the three versions of my article "Is Noogenesis Progressing ?", made in collaboration with Janice, is on the Web, not in my Home Page yet, but hosted by Janice's pages. We worked hard, but now it's fine, and I 'd like to know your opinion, in the English version. The URL is :   Aloha !   Maria   E-mail :  

Dear Maria,

I think you and Janice have written a fine piece on the process of noogenesis and the creation of the noosphere. It has very much the flavor of Teilhard de Chardin himself.

Now, with regards to the question "Is noogenesis progressing?" is the idea of how aware can each of us as individuals be of its progression? The reason why I ask this question, is that each individual cell in the human body performs a function, a task, in concert with many other cells, and the end result is a functioning human being of amazing complexity. But how much does each cell really understand of the whole process? Each cell seems to do its duty, each has its role, for example, the muscle cells are commanded by neurons to contract, and they more or less obey, without really understanding why they are contracting. Each individual cell does not really think, in the way you or I do. Yet, the whole system works, because in evolution, if the muscle cells decided not to contract, and did so instead, of their own accord, then this kind of system would fail, because perhaps they were being stimulated to contract so that the entire host, ie the body it lives within, can find food, or avoid harm. And then the cell, due to its errant behavior, would subject the whole to suffering, due to the loss of nutrients, or a loss of a comfortable environment, more subject to greater extremes of temperature, or more noxious toxins building up in the fluid surrounding each cell, even perhaps leading to its demise.

Similarly, each of us as human beings individually, is like a cell working inside a body, except that body is now the world wide mind. Each of us is not really aware of the entire process. Each of us may have a job to do, we go to work, work at our computer, doing what has been asked of us, although many of us have the freedom to do what we think is best. But many just perform routine duties and that is OK too. So, how can one know that "noogenesis is progressing?" Well, perhaps I have answered my question, and that is, we will know when we feel an increase in our individual comfort. We feel better fed, we feel more security, our environment becomes cleaner and less polluted, we feel more loved. So we really are more aware, in a more complex way, of how "noogenesis is progressing." And we are becoming much more aware, that we as individuals, share collectively, in maintaining the health of our planet. Someone dumps toxic waste on one side of the planet no longer can hide this act of hurt from the rest of humanity, because of the rapid communication that present day communication networks, including the internet, enable all of us to be immediately informed. Thus, the party that has wronged us, can be warned not to do it again, or face the consequences of isolation, a loss in comfort, etc.

With regards to the greater stature of present day youth, you cite this as perhaps one piece of evidence that "noogenesis is progressing." I explain this observation to be the result of better nutrition and better public health systems worldwide. As a consequence, we feel a greater comfort and joy in living, and then we can conclude that "noogenesis is progressing!" Similarly, it seems our youth are gaining in IQ. Well, actually, we are all gaining in IQ and general knowledge. In the past, when we had a question, we might ask a friend for the answer, or go to the library to do the research. Finding the answer usually took a great deal of time and effort. Now, all I have to do is use a search engine on the Internet, and viola! I have the answer in a few minutes with almost no expenditure of energy. And thus, I am able to ask more and more questions, and get more and more answers in shorter periods of time, which causes my level of knowledge to increase exponetially! Yes, we are all becoming smarter, like it or not. Even for those who are not as well connected, they too, are becoming smarter, because presumably we, who are more knowledgeable, are sharing this information with them. This, after all, is the decent thing to do.

Yet, there are still many troubled areas in the world around us. Hopefully, the light of noogenesis will erase that darkness in the future. Only time will tell. It is not a sure thing, because just as those of us who care, are becoming more knowledgeably and powerful as a result of the Internet, similarly the opposing forces that increase entropy in the world, are similarly becoming equally knowledgeable and powerful. If the former succeeds, then we will have created a blissful condition of a caring world wide mind. But if the latter succeeds, then it is the end of the world, and we will all be suffering.



PS: I will let you forward this to the others in our group.


Last updated 10 May 1999

Copyright © 1999 by Duen Hsi Yen, All rights reserved.


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