Could the planet be functioning by way of a central nervous system controlled by the Internet? A San Francisco physicist cum futurist thinks it's a plausible hypothesis and tells us to prepare for a new spiritual plane that involves social networks.


Peter Russell, who did a stint at Cambridge under Stephen Hawking, is the leading guru of a new Internet-centric collectivism. After years of expounding on the attitudes and preconceptions that affect behavior in the workplace, Russell has turned his lens to the unifying advantages of the Internet.

Never before in the human story, he notes, has there been a network, or multiple networks, with the potential to mobilize humans collectively at the cerebral level. You Tube, Facebook and countless fora have emerged as the defining communities of our time where ideas ferment to the point of a Gaia-like consciousness.

Perhaps all those years of yoga, Qigong, Falun Gong, aromatherapy and soul retrieval could have been substituted with a few avatars and usernames.

Ask Mr. Russel for directions on the path to Internet Enlightenment at Ode Magazine and continue your discussions of spiritual catharsis here at Big Think.