The Internet is Basically Our Superconsciousness

I feel that I should be quite explicit here in case this connection has not been fully formed for some readers. I’ve talked in this blog about the joining of our thoughts and identities, the convergence of our consciousness, and the internet is a huge part of that. Of course the internet isn’t everything. A vast amount of human information is transmitted and processed beyond the reaches of the internet, but the internet will soon inevitably consist of practically all human interaction.

Like each of us, the internet isn’t a “thing,” it is a verb. We are not our flesh and brains as the internet is not servers, computers, and fiber-optic cables. The internet is the interaction of these things, the network of information being transferred. With the internet we are able to expand our consciousnesses in many ways which would have been unthinkable to people even 100 years ago: we can see across the world instantaneously, download more text in a minute than could be read in a lifetime, and communicate efficiently with millions of people simultaneously.

Carrying a smartphone around drastically increases the user’s knowledge. You may say that a person with a cell phone doesn’t know the things that can be found on the internet through the device, but I don’t see that difference. if I was to ask a person what the population of Egypt was and they told me the answer after looking it up on their smart phone, I’d say for all intents and purposes that person knew the population of Egypt, and the only reason that it matters that they had to look it up was the time delay that caused.

Speaking of Egypt, remember that revolution that happened earlier this year? It had no real leaders, no organization except for the internet. Thousands of youth were able to form a coherent consciousness and purpose, a unity of spirit because of the communicative power of the internet. People speak of raising consciousness and the birth of nations as if these are figurative sayings, but there is a literal edge to the consciousness that encompasses a common people.

The internet brings us closer to our universal consciousness, closer to the components that consist of our collective being. These components are the same as those that make up our individual consciousnesses:

Memory

History is the memory of the human race. Like our own memory it is not so much a video recording of the past, it is a narrative of our journey. Our collective memories, like our individual memories, are illusions, mental constructs which we keep in our minds because they match up with what we know of the world and the narrative we’ve constructed. As individuals we store and access our information in specific ways, ways which can be inefficient at times (try saying the alphabet backwards). As a collective consciousness, we work to improve the way we store and access information, notably with tools like Google, which is spending much time and energy cataloging the world’s books and looking for new ways for everyone to search through the wealth of information about the human narrative.

Sensory Experience

As the Internet currently exists, we are fed primarily audio and visual information about our environment. We can use webcams to monitor remote locations, in effect having eyes miles away from our bodies (People should really be more creeped out by video cameras). Sensory experience is more valuable than purer information like text because it is personal. Being able to hear the voice of someone across the world is much more valuable than seeing a text message from them, and it makes us feel closer to each other. The more personally we can feel each other’s presence, the less it will matter how far we are from each other.

Information Processing

Actually thinking about information can be much more important than simply experiencing it, and the internet is certainly helping us do that. A network of blogs, newspapers, and forums are constantly interpreting information from each respective source, and spewing out new perspectives on world events. This is much like the way our individual minds reel from new information, reacting to it, reacting to our reaction, and eventually forming a happy middle ground of understanding.

Mapping

Our minds’ ability to map the external physical world is remarkable and incredibly important to our consciousness. Our personal kinesthetic awareness guides our body movements, and our mind simultaneously maps the three dimensional external environment and stores it in our memory. Once again Google (sometimes I feel like I’m advertising for Google) has been working to map the physical environment encompassing the human consciousness: our roads, our terrain, the insides of our buildings, our bodies, everything is being mapped by Google. GPS is another big tool too, akin to our kinesthetic awareness, our awareness of our personal placement. We no longer need to map our environments in our heads because the human race is handling it for us.

These properties of consciousness are just to name a few. There are many other similarities, such as the fact that 99% of the information contained on the internet is in the so-called deep web, parts of the internet inaccessible to search. This is akin to our own unconscious thought.

The growth of the internet and its spread into every facet of our interactions is the growth of our superconsciousness. As networks such as telephone lines and Television channels and security cameras get incorporated into the internet for greater efficiency, our knowledge and experience will become more connected. Through the internet we will all become the eyes of the human intelligence, and our thoughts will come to such a level of unification that our actions may seem to be delegated from a higher source. When the internet ceases to run, so will Man.

-Prometheus

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About Prometheus

I write about the coming technological singularity and its implications for our sense of identity, individuality, meaning, and existence. I argue that the most significant aspect of the singularity is the convergence of our consciousnesses into one superconsciousness, and that we should be very happy about this.

Posted on May 17, 2011, in Consciousness, God, Technological Singularity and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I am delighted by your perceptions – and also by the artistry of this blog! At the age of 78, I am “behind the times.”
    But what does that actually mean – when one thinks, for example of Ecclesiastes – and of Socrates – and of Lao Tse – and of the Buddha – and of you and me?
    One experiences that there are no “times” in regard to our direct experiencing of what is. And now the quantum physicists tell us that what might appear mystical is also scientific.
    I love what you have had to say about the absence of meaning. There is no meaning beyond “THIS – that we have NOW” (to quote Rumi) – this living moment.

    -Gaia

  2. I stumbled across this page while researching brain topology (got the random idea that the neural connectome might display a measurable hyperbolic geometry), and while skimming your text a couple parts jumped out at me, and I felt compelled to respond. Not sure if this site is defunct or what, but anyway here’s my 2 cents – a differing view, obviously, but hopefully you understand where I’m coming from. I definitely do *not* identify with transhumanism, at least not in the silicon-tech-based and accelerationist sense, nor do I harbor any revulsion to ‘meatspace’ or desire to ‘upload’, etc. – I’m not a mind-body dualist, I guess you could say… more of a materialist-monist in some ways… exponential views of acceleration are very subjective and arbitrary to the individual, and Sol system is running planetary and geologic timescale as root, and no matter how hard we hack, we ain’t cracking that any time soon. But anyway, here was my impromptu response:

    ___________________

    An interesting quote I just ran across on some transhumanist blog. Call me old-fashioned, but I vehemently disagree, even though I can certainly see that perspective, and its appeal:

    “Carrying a smartphone around drastically increases the user’s knowledge. You may say that a person with a cell phone doesn’t know the things that can be found on the internet through the device, but I don’t see that difference. if I was to ask a person what the population of Egypt was and they told me the answer after looking it up on their smart phone, I’d say for all intents and purposes that person knew the population of Egypt, and the only reason that it matters that they had to look it up was the time delay that caused.” (psychesingularity.wordpress.com/)

    my response:

    If that were true, then wouldn’t we see evidence of more intelligent behavior overall, and measurably so from smartphone users specifically as opposed to non-users? The author here seems to be defining intelligence as a measure of potentiality; but I think it has to be active and kinetic before it can claim that name. The last I heard, Siri hasn’t hit any new growth spurts on her own, has she? No grey goo tunneling from Android casings? We’re all still pretty clear on when we’re awake and when we’re asleep? Laws of physics still working the same? Thank heavens; that means the Singularity is still as far as it ever was and ever will be.

    I can say that I’m a massive badass because I have the *potential* to work out my body and muscles to Chuck Norris levels, but we all know that I’m not, because I don’t. Same with intelligence; just because you have a device in your pocket that gives you access to yottabytes of information, doesn’t preclude you to being any smarter than anyone else. Statistically, you’ll probably use that device mostly to look at porn and LOLcats. Sorry Singularitarians, but I think this point goes to meatspace and that visceral mess *inside* our crania…

    (IOW if we don’t use it we lose it, and all the tech on earth, regardless of species, still hinges on the necessity of a meatspace vector if you will. You can’t just casually cut off the branch you are sitting on, because across time and space it ALL has to stand together, top to bottom.)

    • thanks for your comment. the site is half defunct, I stopped updating and coming back for a while because I chose to focus my thoughts in other forms.

      let’s see, where to begin… I guess from the beginning.

      exponential acceleration of computing power is a documented and objective phenomenon.

      and yes, we are seeing more intelligent behavior overall, just not relatively speaking. we are much more intelligent than our ancestors, not only do we have all of this information at our fingertips, we actually have developed and keep on developing better ways to process and use that information.
      intelligence doesn’t have to have a physical effect, that’s when it becomes action, but yes, it’s ideal when it does. but it does these days in bigger and bigger ways, which is why we have rocket ships and stuff, when we used to struggle with making a good spear. we are all more intelligent now, because we are standing on the shoulders of giants, who’s thoughts we have stored to share with everyone. the fact that we can build what we do build means we are all smarter, there is plenty of action to prove our intelligence.

      grey goo is like 20 years off.
      most of us aren’t always clear when we are awake or dreaming, only lucid dreamers have that ability.
      laws of physics aren’t working the same, there’s all sorts of quantum weirdness starting to intrude into our normal lives.

      yep, porn and cats are really great. wikipedia is also great. so is blogging about philosophical musings and opening up conversations about them with complete strangers.

      you can’t casually cut off the branch you are sitting on. certainly not. but in evolution, often those lower branches are lost. but they’re not really lost because their information lives on in DNA, and the same goes for us now. we’re only dying in a shallow sense.

      as to your second comment. yes, decentralized, also with centralized entities, kind of like society as it exists now, with individuals and governments and corporations and other kinds of entities that we consider capable of decision making as a unit.

      It’s funny that you referred to this as a “transhumanist blog” I don’t identify as a transhumanist, though I can see why you’d give me that label, what with all the promotion of all of those values. it’s just that the “isms” of the world are so inadequate to describe what’s happening. “ism” always meant more than just belief, it meant promotion of one value over another.

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