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A CAT-Scan of the Global Brain (Part 4)

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If it's true that every individual brain is like a single neuron in the global brain, we are all connected at an invisible level. In itself this isn't a radical statement: scholars of art and myth have discovered countless similarities between cultures that were historically isolated from one another. The hero's quest, for example, cannot be claimed as unique to any one civilization. On a more mundane level, there is the sudden emergence of copper mining and smelting in parts of the world that occurred at the same time in widely diverse locations. The old assumption that a new technology started in one region and spread in a linear fashion to other regions seems not to be true. The global brain has always been thinking on a world scale.

What remains is this question: What is the best way to participate in the global brain? This isn't a theoretical problem, because global warming, over-population, and pandemic disease are forcing us to think outside old boundaries. The following suggestions might make the transition to global thinking more feasible.

--Colonialism must end once and for all.
--Each nation needs to be sensitive to the values of other nations.
--Individuals need to think outside ethnic and national borders.
--Nativism and protectionism must be seen as outmoded reactions to diversity.
--Economic equality should be seen as good for the whole world, not as a loss to richer nations and a gain to poorer ones.

To the extent that these changes are welcomed, the global brain can think as a whole. Otherwise, we find ourselves in a repeat of the age-old struggle between the lower and higher brain. Nativism, as displayed by many opponents of immigration in this country, is the same primitive defensive reaction that the lower brain exhibits when a perceived enemy approaches, only writ large. Protectionism is the social equivalent of "us versus them" thinking that is another lower-brain response to external threats.

Colonialism is less primitive but equally outmoded, since it is based on a typical ego response. If I am better than you, then I need no other excuse to place you on a lower order of humanity. In many ways the Iraq war is an egregious holdover from colonialism, in that a "civilized" higher power (i.e., Christian white males backed up by technology) invaded another country to bestow democracy on lesser mortals.

A more pressing challenge is to evolve beyond nations and tribes. Both are closed systems and thus they stand in opposition to wholeness. The human brain will die if partitioned into separate regions without communication, and in turn the body will die. Translated to the world scale, our planet is slowly dying because divisions between states and peoples generates a lethal form of competition. The U.S. continues to be the leading polluter of the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, for example, because we blindly follow an outworn concept (the nation state) that encourages selfish, uncontrolled growth no matter what harm that may bring outside our borders.

The good news is that switching into global thinking has happened with surprising speed, and emerging nations like China and to a lesser extent India want to expand into a world that has a future, as opposed to the reactionary U.S. administration whose chief goal is to protect the privileged lifestyle of the past. No doubt that will soon change. The majority of Americans understand that global thinking is the only survival mode we have left to us. When we are willing to change, there will be even more rapid response from collective consciousness.


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