Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Cyberspace, Science, Technology & Religion

Borrowing stories

Over in his new blog Tall Skinny Kiwi has posted about people borrowing Teilhard de Chardin’s concept of the noosphere – a global mind or interconnected consciousness or even soul – to visualise cyberspace. (See: RecycledSpam: Noosphere). It was interesting to see it crop up as I’ve just finished writing a paper that looks at how cyberspace technologists “borrow” religious concepts or language to inspire or describe what they are doing, and Teilhard crops up being cited by a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds.

Teilhard’s vision of the noosphere, from the Greek nous for �mind,� is seen as the materialization of a global consciousness, that results the earth being clothed in a �new skin� and even a soul. Its arrival is portrayed by Teilhard in The Phenomenon of Man in terms of fire,

A glow ripples outward from the first spark of conscious reflection. The point of ignition grows larger. The fire spreads in ever widening circles till finally the whole planet is covered with incandescence.

If you’re interested in that sort of thing then the following books and articles will give you some idea of how Teilhard (and others) crop up in cyberspace creators’ imaginations.

Cobb, Jennifer. A Globe, Clothing Itself with a Brain [Internet]. Wired Magazine, June 1995. Available from

Cobb, Jennifer. Cybergrace : The Search for God in the Digital World. 1st ed. New York: Crown, 1998.

Davis, Erik. Techgnosis : Myth, Magic, Mysticism in the Age of Information. 1st ed. New York: Harmony Books, 1998. Reprint, London: Serpent’s Tail, 1999.

Wertheim, Margaret. The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space from Dante to the Internet. New York: W.W. Norton, 1999. Reprint, London: Virago Press, 2000.

Most of these people have also published stuff on the net so have a search there as well.

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