Corpus Callosum of the Global Brain?


Anthony Judge – TRANSCEND Media Service

Locating the integrative function within the world wide web.


The global brain is a conceptualization of the worldwide network formed by all the people on this planet together with the information and communication technologies that connect them into an intelligent, self-organizing system. The term was was coined by Peter Russell (The Global Brain: speculations on the evolutionary leap to planetary consciousness, 1982).

The original metaphor was first presented as a model by Francis Heylighen and J. Bollen (The World-Wide Web as a Super-Brain: from metaphor to model, 1996). Heylighen reviewed the history of the underlying ideas in terms of four perspectives “organicism”, “encyclopedism”, “emergentism” and “evolutionary cybernetics” (Conceptions of a Global Brain: an historical review, 2011). A basis for simulating the operation of the brain in terms of the connectivity of its elements has been suggested in terms of the thousands of interlinked online profiles of the Yearbook of International Organizations and the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential (Simulating a Global Brain: using networks of international organizations, world problems, strategies, and values, 2001).

Exploiting the metaphor, rather than the model, the concern here is the nature and location of the integrative function within the worldwide web. This follows from questions raised with regard to integration of the right and left hemispheres of that brain, however these are to be understood (Engendering Viable Global Futures through Hemispheric Integration: a radical challenge to individual imagination, 2014)

It is appropriate to ask whether the current challenges to global governance, and any requisite integration of the global brain, could not be fruitfully explored with respect to split-brain pathology, any form of split consciousness, hemispheric specialization, or bipolar disorder. “Hemisphere” is also a reminder of its metaphorical appropriation from the potentially complex patterns of geometry — rarely explored in relation to globality (Metaphorical Geometry in Quest of Globality — in response to global governance challenges, 2009). Ironically, with respect to the argument here, “hemispheric disassociation” is only too evident between the cybernetic preoccupation with the global brain (as modelled by the internet) and its use as a metaphor for emergence of planetary consciousness.

With respect to strategic vision, the requirement for separate hemispheres to achieve stereoscopic depth could also be understood as a challenge to implicit assumptions regarding any “cyclopean” form of globality (Cyclopean Vision versus Poly-sensual Engagement, 2006). Such integrative implications are also evoked with respect to political economy (Diego Sánchez-Ancochea and Kenneth C. Shadlen, The Political Economy of Hemispheric Integration: responding to globalization in the Americas, 2008; Maxwell Cameron, The Future of Hemispheric Integration, The Mark, 7 March 2012). These currently play out with respect to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).



This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 8 Dec 2014.

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