Week 3: Word of the Week – “Noosphere”

Here we go, it’s week 3 of Challenge #53 and it appears I have a thing for ‘oo’ sounding words …..


The part of the biosphere occupied by thinking humanity.

Any the wiser? No me neither. A concept that emerged in the early 20th Century, the definition goes on ….

(With reference to the writing of P. Teilhard de Chardin) a stage or sphere of development characterised by (the emergence or dominance of) consciousness, the mind, and interpersonal relationships, postulated as following the stage of the establishment of human life.

Well, I’m still at a bit of a loss in truth. But never one to relent easily, some googling has come to the rescue. So, crudely speaking it is an evolutionary concept. Teilhard believed that due to the spherical nature of the earth, ideas would encounter other ideas, which in turn would form a cultural convergence of thought and ultimately a single self-developing framework of pure mind that would encircle the biosphere.

I actually quite like Sir Julian Huxleys explanation from The Phenomenon of Man:

In Père Teilhard’s view, the increase of human numbers combined with the improvement of human communications has fused all the parts of the noosphere together. . . . But when it is confined to spreading out over the surface of a sphere, idea will encounter idea, and the result will be an organized web of thought, a noetic system operating high tension, a piece of evolutionary machinery capable of generating high psychosocial energy.

Some claim that the World Wide Web is an example of this happening.

That’s an over simplistic summary of a complex theory and I’m still struggling a little to get my head round the concept, but its been a fascinating discovery into the depths of such unknown realms of thinking. That’s what happens when you get drawn in by another ‘oo’ word. If you’re curious, or just confused, I’d recommend checking out Wikipedia as a starting point.

Pop back next week for another exciting instalment, who knows what the dictionary will have in store!

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