Sunday, November 06, 2011

Are we becoming a giant brain?

According to an article by Jane Thynne which I recently read in the April 2011 Oldie (I always read these articles ages afterwards!) we are running out of cyberspace on the internet, no more room for any more IP addresses left.   We tend to assume there is no limit to cyberspace and there isn't as far as we know, though the concept of eternity and never-endingness seems too much for our finite minds to bear.   There is, of course, a limit to the Galaxy we inhabit and even a limit to the Universe. But as far as we know - and we don't really know much - there are billions and billions more universes out there that stretch on an on.  Mystics would say each universe is but a cell in the body of Adam Kadmon, the Atman, and that must mean that there is even a limit to this or what sort of 'body' can we talking about?  Are there billions of Adam Kadmons also stretching on and on into infinity, that are also just cells in the body of the Absolute?

I agree - it's all too mind-boggling.

Apparently a new system called IPv6 has been devised to make extra space on the Web and this, we are assured, is likely to last well up to the time the Sun decides it's a dying star.  The web sites created with this will not be accessible to old computer systems.   Not much of a loss as there's enough already, if you ask me.  However, what interested me most was the fact that there is an enormous  'dark web' lurking beneath what we ignorant and ordinary people are so far able to access with the usual search engines. This is another world altogether, a place full of 'terrorist guides, pornography, pirated books, political samizdat and secretive networks' to use Thynne's description.  This secret and hidden area needs special passwords and codes to enter and can be used without leaving any traces of the users.   Lisbeth Salander springs to mind; she would surely know the codes and belong to this secret world of ideas and plottings and inventiveness, beyond the ken of most of us.

This revelation immediately put me in mind of Jung's concept of the Unconscious mind.  He showed diagrams of the mind as a mountain rising from a sea.  The conscious was a mere tip for the vast majority of humankind, a mere atoll even for the brightest of us,  while below lies all the dark, unknown territories of our inner psyche.  The Personal Unconscious is the more accessible upper regions of this sea, where we can travel and discover our own individual past, buried memories and inferior, savage feelings and confront our Shadow personality.  That's the shameful part we prefer to bury and forget while working carefully on our light, bright outer, conscious image.  Beneath this however, Jung also discovered the concept of the Collective Unconscious which everyone carries in them, stretching way back to pre-history, full of archetypal images, symbols, memories that belong to the whole human race and can arise spontaneously in the dreams of people from Africa to Iceland who know nothing about the other's culture.

The Web is beginning to look more and more like the collective brain of Mankind, synapses with information racing along from one neuron to another; every computer, i-pod and phone a neuroreceptor. . . something interesting is happening to us as a species and this is its product, this enormous brain that we have created which is beginning to rule our lives.  It is no respecter of individuality or humanity but seems to be forcing us all into submission to its enormous power.  It's hardly suprising that this Mind has a dark, unconscious side.  And interestingly, like the unconscious mind of every one of us, this may be the place from which great creativity will pour out and redeem Mankind - or the beginning of a huge human psychosis. Just at the moment, the latter seems more in evidence as we gaze around us at a chaotic and unstable world.

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