Noogenesis (Ancient Greek: νοῦς=mind + γένεσις=becoming) is the emergence of intelligent forms of life. The term was first used by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in regard to the evolution of humans. It also used in astrobiology in regard to the emergence of forms of life capable of technology and so interstellar communication and travel.
Noogenesis is the fourth of five stages of evolution described by French Jesuit scientist and philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in his first posthumously published book, The Phenomenon of Man (written during 1938–40, published in French: 1955; English: 1959, p. 181). Noogenesis, the emergence of mind, follows geogenesis (beginning of Earth), biogenesis (beginning of life) and anthropogenesis (beginning of humanity), and is followed by Christogenesis, the genesis of the "total Christ", or the pleroma.
Noogenesis began with reflective thought; or with the first human beings. Teilhard believes that because human beings are self-reflective (i.e. self-conscious) they constitute a new sphere of existence on earth: the sphere of thought, or the noosphere. The continued consolidation of all human thought into the noosphere is noogenesis. It is a continual increase in thought and consciousness brought about by the increased socialization of mankind on earth. As human beings continue to socialize, or as Teilhard says, "totalize" upon themselves, the more complex systems of communication and exchange they will form, thus increasing the consciousness of the noosphere. The socialization of mankind is nothing but an extension of the Law of Complexity/Consciousness.
Teilhard imagines that noogenesis will eventually reach a critical point of consciousness, brought about by a maximum tension of human socialization. This critical point will serve to detach consciousness from time and space and to converge on Omega Point. In these terms, noogenesis is a form of orthogenesis, the progressive evolution of the universe due to some known or unknown force towards an ultimate goal.
In astrobiology noogenesis concerns the origin of intelligent life and more specifically technological civilizations capable of communicating with humans and or traveling to Earth. The lack of evidence for the existence of such extraterrestrial life creates the Fermi paradox.
- Ćirković M.M. (2009). Fermi's paradox: The last challenge for copernicanism? Serbian Astronomical Journal 178:1-20 doi:10.2298/SAJ0978001C
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