An activity of the Primer Group


A Special Integration Group (SIG) of the
International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS)
originally SGSR, Society for General Systems Research.






Time To Think The World
Back Together

by Noel Frederick McInnis

During the past four centuries of scientifically analyzing and technologically subduing our planet, we have mastered the process of thinking the world to pieces. Today, as a consequence, Earth's ecologies bear stark witness to our ignorance of the commandment, "What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder." Having already sundered the planet all that we may dare, it is prime time for us to think the world together.

Today most ears are still unable to hear that our planet is beyond restoration to its prior state. Earth can be restored only to a new state of realized wholeness, not to an old one. Accordingly, we are to "think the world together" as we would sing a song in unison: mutually complying with the song's integrity by respecting its particular togetherness. Thinking the world together--mutually complying with the planet's integrity--honors the truth in Ernest Holmes' declaration that we may have earthly dominion only to the extent that we are in harmony with the principles that govern Earth's being. "To command nature, we must first obey it," Holmes insisted, meaning that the ways of our being must be in compliance with the essence of whatever we would master.

There is only one intelligence governing all things, Holmes proclaimed, only One Mind within which everything is connected to everything else. "Everything exists for the harmonious good of every other part," Holmes avowed. Accordingly, the essence of all things in the universe, from thought forms to physical forms, is their interconnectedness. Since the essence of the One Mind is its interconnectivity, command of the One Mind in any of its expressions becomes possible only as we are in compliance with the interconnectivity of all things. Such is the deep ecology of Spirit.

Interconnectivity: a medium as its message My own awakening to the deep ecology of Spirit was triggered in the 1960s by media prophet Marshall McLuhan's quip, "In the electronic age we wear all mankind as our skin." I recognized that the potentials of electronic communication were far more than skin deep, and that one day we would think with all of humankind as our mind. We would then be thinking the world together. While thinking the world together, what would we think about, and what medium would serve as the conveyance of our thoughts? McLuhan's most famous statement seemed germane to these questions, his proclamation that "the medium is the message." The ultimate message of any medium, McLuhan maintained, is not its content; rather it is the change in our behavior and lifestyles that is brought about by the way the medium works and what it does. The "message" of TV, therefore, rather than the content of its programs, is the individual and collective changes it introduced into the way that people spent their time and money, altered their social activities, and revised their sleeping patterns, for instance. In contemplation of this relationship between medium and message, I concluded that while thinking with all of humankind as our mind, what we would think about would be our interconnectivity, and what we would think with would be a mass medium that reinforces interconnective behavior.

In keeping with this conclusion, from the late '60s through the mid-'70s, I was involved in the founding and development of environmental education in our country's school systems. I realized all along, however, that even though environmental education was increasing humankind's awareness of interconnectivity, the medium of schooling had a countering tendency. The uniform thinking that schooling and other one-way mass media enforce is counterproductive to the interconnectivity of independent minds.

It wasn't until 1977, upon discovering Science of Mind, that I found a more profound way of thinking about our interconnectivity. And it was yet six more years until I discovered a mindful theory of human interconnectivity while reading Peter Russell's book, The Global Brain. Observing that it takes the interconnectivity of 10 billion atoms to make a human cell, and of 10 billion human cells to make a human brain, Russell hypothesized that as we approach having 10 billion such brains on the planet, they will somehow interconnect to create a collective human consciousness. Earth's global body would thus acquire a global mind. A potential candidate for global-brain-like interconnectivity, the Internet, already existed in embryonic form when Russell's book was first written. Yet only today, with Internet activity increasing more rapidly than has any other technology in history, do we at last have a mass medium that reinforces the essence of our interconnectivity by empowering--as a consequence of linking--independently thoughtful minds.

Nonlocality is here to stay. The Internet reflects a recently discovered and mysterious quality of the universe, a quality of so-called "nonlocality." The term "nonlocal" was initially coined to describe observable and measurable interactions that seem to exceed the speed of light. For instance, certain influences of subatomic particles on other particles are instantaneous, occurring in less than the amount of time required for light to travel between them--as if the particles were telepathic. And in the cosmos at large, galaxies that are many more billions of light years apart than the universe is billions of years old respond identically to the same physical laws even though no signal could have traveled between them to convey the influence of these laws.

According to the macrocosmic view of nonlocality, any particles that have once been in local relationship remain forever within each other's immediate influence, no matter how far apart they may drift. This suggests that everything has always been in relationship with everything else ever since the "Big Bang," the moment of cosmic origin during which all of the matter and energy in today's far-flung universe was initially localized at a single point.

Universally distributed influences are termed "omnipresent" when they are considered to be spiritual. They are called "nonlocal" by those who conceive of them as purely physical. Regardless of what we may choose to call them, such influences by any other name are just as mysterious, and they are likewise just as lacking for an explanation within the limits of current scientifically ordained reality. Another type of omnipresence, or nonlocal everywhereness, is also characteristic of holograms in which the totality of the holographic image is present at every point.

What is thus non-locally characteristic of the hologram is likewise for the Internet: the entire Internet may be accessedfrom any computer, even though none of the Internet's contents reside in most of the computers that access it. Furthermore, only a minute fraction of the Internet's information is resident in any single computer.

It was experimentally confirmed almost a generation ago that the human brain processes data as if its information, as well as some of its "programs," were holographically distributed. And so it is with our most likely candidate for a global brain, the Internet. Mind-at-large comes down to earth. Ernest Holmes often remarked that "what exists in mind anywhere exists in mind everywhere." So it is with the Internet, which also tends to exemplify Holmes' other descriptions of the way the One Mind works. The message of the Internet--how it works and what it does--is the global interconnectivity that it is rapidly establishing among people and ideas. The Internet "behaves" in much the same way as "The Thing Itself"--i.e., Universal Intelligence, Ultimate Reality, or God. We are now consciously creating within the universe "below" the dynamics of Spirit that hitherto have functioned only unconsciously from "above." The Internet is replicating the One Mind!

The Internet has already begun to restructure the way business is done, the way work is done, the way money flows, the way learning takes place--and virtually every other form of human interaction will undergo revision in response to the interconnectivity of the "information superhighway." Everyone's way of life is being reshaped by participation on the Internet, whether or not they themselves are among those participating! This is because, like radio and TV, the Internet is a mass medium. Yet, while all previous mass media have communicated one-way, confining us to information consumption, the Internet is omniparticipatory--an every-way mass medium that empowers us to be producers of information as well. The Internet is to the mobility of our minds what the wheel has been to the mobility of our bodies.

Everyone who has access to the Internet can participate equally in addressing a global audience. And the prevailing trend is toward making Internet participation as affordable and accessible as TV. Thus may the Internet become the physical world's first truly democratic institution. (The metaphysical domain, of course, has always had the One Mind.) The new natural selection. Ever since the publication of Darwin's Origin of the Species, it has been scientific dogma that environments select for survival only those creatures who are appropriately adapted thereto. This process is characteristic of technological as well as natural environments. Thus the mechanical environment of the Industrial Revolution favored the survival of those who were adept at linear logic. Today's newly prevailing electronic environment, which is epitomized by the Internet, favors the survival of those who are adept at nonlinear logic.

Survival in an information environment requires the ability to exchange information rapidly, accurately, and honestly. The information environment itself is an ever-deepening sea of information which, traveling at the speed of light on a very small planet, creates a nonlocal collective consciousness that is most readily accessed and fathomed by nonlinear mindfulness. The highest expression of nonlinear mindfulness being intuition, and one of the highest expressions of intuition being telepathy, the Internet environment is akin to "training wheels" for learning to be telepathic. It is no mere coincidence, given the way that natural selection works, that telepathy is the most rapid, accurate, and honest mode of information exchange that we know. We have now reached a point in the evolution of our planet where the global information environment is selecting for the same consciousness as the cosmic One-Minded environment. Accordingly, the Internet presents an ideal environment for the natural selection, or realization, of Ernest Holmes' vision of Science of Mind as "the next great spiritual impulsion."

Noel Frederick McInnis is the minister of the Celebration of Life Church of Religious Science in San Carlos, Calif., and the Web Wizard for CeleNet (, an emerging World Wide Web directory to all expressions of Religious Science. For further information on this topic, see Kevin Kelly's book, Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World (Addison-Wesley, 1994).

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