General Question

lloydbird's avatar

If the idea of a collective unconsious has any validity, with the same going for a collective super/higher or over-consious,does the internet represent a de facto collective consious?

Asked by lloydbird (8738points) June 20th, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

31 Answers

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

For a question that uses the word unconscious so much, you might want to learn how to spell it correctly.

arnbev959's avatar

I think of Fluther more as a collective conscious, or, as you put it so well, a collective super consciousness. Yahoo Answers represents a collective unconsciousness. At any rate, there are many collectives, but only one really great Collective. And we are certainly very conscious jellyfish.

lloydbird's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities You know,I thought it did’nt look right,but I relied on Spellchecker to guide me and it did’nt complain so I went with it.My wife, who is my de facto spellchecker is asleep right now(I’m good on meaning/she is good on spelling).Do you think the meaning is still conveyed in this question? If not I’ll try and work out how to correct it.

Bluefreedom's avatar

The Borg represents a collective consciousness. The Internet represents a huge melting pot of enormous diversity.

Jeruba's avatar

I think that idea was put forth in one of the Sheldrake-McKenna-Abraham trialogues * (perhaps one of those in this book), back when the Internet as a medium for the masses was pretty new. If I recall correctly, they used an image of the Internet being such a tight mesh over the surface of the planet that it is like a skin, organic, with the sensitivity and reactivity of skin and the effect of covering, protecting, and uniting the whole. At least, that is the way I remember it. If that is not the same as your idea, it is at least in some accord with it.

*I was present at the last of them, in June of 1998—a remarkable experience. McKenna died in 2000.

marinelife's avatar

Or perhaps the Internet is a collective lowest common denominator.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I don’t think it’s a collective consciousness anymore than a library could’ve ever been considered a collective consciousness.

lloydbird's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic But books don’t talk to each other.

lloydbird's avatar

@Jeruba I can only say that I am just staggered by the sheer artistry,skill and insight of your response. I am from now on a fan.

andrew's avatar

Well, I think Jung would have a field day with internet memes.

Jayne's avatar

Yes, it is. But all it does is look at LOLcats all day long.

SeventhSense's avatar

No doubt
Trialogues sounds like a brilliant concept.
Organized and with increasing unity and transparency of governments, I think our interconnectedness will only increase rapidly and foster world peace.

Trustinglife's avatar

I like your analogy of the internet as potentially a collectively consciousness. I’m not sure what a super/high/over-consciousness would be. But I wouldn’t say the internet is the collective unconscious. People post on the internet that which they are conscious of. If it were unconscious, how could we write about it?

The amazing part about the internet is how quick we are able to communicate worldwide, and how many millions are now using it daily. Ahem, billions. Something truly astounding is happening, right on these screens in front of us.

I got the chance to listen to Barbara Marx Hubbard speak live today. I wish I could ask her this question! She talked about how powerful it would be when we had a central place to look for projects in every sphere that are working. The internet would clearly be a big part of such a project. She was truly amazing.

Jayne's avatar

The idea of a collective consciousness is that the group is working towards a common goal that requires information and processing power possessed by none of its members. The structure of the group is such that small bits of information contributed by members are communicated and fitted together into a much larger whole, not by any one central hub or individual but by a logical computation, with each member performing the minutest calculation within it. The internet certainly has the potential to work in this way, but for the moment it does not, in large part for the following reasons. The internet, for most users, is not a vast network connecting all people. It is a collection of little neighborhoods, which have no reliable relationship with any of the other neighborhoods of the internet and are therefore incapable of forming a collective consciousness with them. The second problem is that the denizens of the internet have no common goal. They can be liberal or conservative, scholarly or anti-intellectual, any number of differences that not only impede communication but mean that neighboring groups or individuals will be performing the “calculation” in opposite directions. The brain cannot effectively decide what to eat for lunch when one neuron wants burritos and the next wants hot dogs, and is also calling the first neuron a faggot. And of course, many of them simply ignore the calculation, and look at LOLcats instead.

SeventhSense's avatar

The idea of a collective consciousness is that the group is working towards a common goal that requires information and processing power possessed by none of its members.
Contrarily all it’s members can access it, but not from an imagination of individual entities existing separate which negates it’s basis.
To clarify:
From Wikipedia:
Collective unconscious sometimes known as collective subconscious, is a term of analytical psychology, coined by Carl Jung. It is a part of the unconscious mind, shared by a society, a people, or all humanity, that is the product of ancestral experience and contains such concepts as science, religion, and morality.
Now there are universal understandings and developments that are archetypes from the unconconscious mind that defy description. Take one example art and we can extrapolate from it:
Universally, almost without exception when children can draw they depict a sun as a round object with points coming out of it although it’s clear that there are no points that come out of the sun. Furthermore as rays of light emitted from the sun may represent points, this requires abstract reasoning beyond their years. Another example is the lollipop tree with the hole in it for the squirrel. Now again they depict this without instruction and often though their trees have no similarities to such nor have they had contact with a squirrel.

Language is another area that defies description. The rapid advancement in learning has no precedent and a child can acquire vocabulary that is beyond their exposure. The physiology of the body and the structure of the inherent components are not what makes up mind nor is it the deciding factor. Mind is far beyond the inherent components of a localized field of “matter”.
We constantly communicate the unconscious. For example, the look across the room at her or him with intent says more than “Hi”. It can be, “I want you and I find you terribly alluring”, or “I can’t believe you’re cheating on me”,“You look good enough to eat.” etc. Now the viewer can read something entirely different, “He’s looking at me like he wants to eat me, rape me or he’s glaring like he hates me”. or “Look that guy’s being friendly and smiling at me”. The unconscious mind is constantly at work without or awareness. And as far as the LOLs. These can communicate far beyond a simple tag. They can say “I like you”, “I’m shy” or “Please like me”, and of course “I’m laughing out loud”. And in response I can feel, “Protect this shy one”, “I also am laughing out loud”, “Don’t manipulate me to feel pity”, etc.
So the unconscious is constantly at work and there certainly seems to be a super unconscious at work with the quantum leaps in advancement that we experience practically overnight. This massive experiment in projection, transferrence and communication in a purely imagined mental space being perhaps the best example. It’s not the code across the page that is the wonder but the place we call the internet itself as having imagined existence.

lloydbird's avatar

@Trustinglife The idea behind my question was inspired by the ancient Polynesian Huna tradition as outlined in the book “The Secret Science Behind Miracles” by Max Freedom Long and the idea that each individual possesses three ‘souls’ or ‘spirits’ – ‘the Higher Self, the Middle Self and the Lower Self’, with the Higher and Lower Selves having a collective nature that communicates on some level with all other individuals, and the Middle Self (which corresponds with our conscious selves) being particular to each individual.
With respect, I didn’t say that the internet would represent a collective “Unconscious”.
That’s a great link to Barbara Marks Hubbard. I haven’t heard of her before and shall be looking more into her work. Her cupboard seems far from bare!

Jayne's avatar

@SeventhSense; your use of the term is an entirely separate topic than the one here; you are talking about psychological phenomena that are shared by all members of a collective (attributed, rather tenuously I think, to extra-experiential causes), while I am talking about the formation of a separate consciousness or mind that is the product (rather than the summation) of the individual consciousnesses of the members. In the same way that a brain is composed of neurons, each operating on fairly simple rules, a collective consciousness is composed of people, each operating on fairly complicated rules. No one person can ever operate on the same level as this collective consciousness, and it is not the thoughts of the members that matter; what matters is only the behaviors they display to one another, and the overall behavior manifested by the ‘consciousness’, with the group members as its physical appendages, as the result of the complex interactions of those behaviors. Anyways, both uses of the term are legitimate, but the latter is the one being discussed here. It should perhaps be referred to as a ‘hive mind’ to distinguish the two.

SeventhSense's avatar

Are you sure? Maybe @lloydbird can clarify.

Jayne's avatar

I don’t see how the link could possibly be made between your unconscious ancestral/cultural memory and the open communication of the internet. The question only seems to make sense if it is asking about a hive mind, and, moreover, the internet as a hive mind has been seriously explored by academic writers. But, of course, I could very well be missing something, or it might just be a bad question.

SeventhSense's avatar

The idea of a collective unconscious and the term itself was coined by the psychologist Jung. Any further forays into the concept have it as a foundation

Jayne's avatar

Yes, but I don’t think this is a foray into the concept, but rather a foray into an entirely different concept, the two being confused by the asker’s unfortunate phrasing. But really, all we are doing now is trying to read someone’s mind over the internet, which I don’t think either theory claims to be possible, so let’s give it a rest until @lloydbird clarifies.

fireside's avatar

The Higher, Middle and Lower selves described by @lloydbird above match up quite well with Jung’s idea of Animus, Persona and Shadow.

The Middle self is the Persona which is a person’s outward expressions.
The Higher self, or Animus, is used to explore and lessen the darkness of the Shadow, or Lower self. If one searches deep within the Shadow, Jung hypothesized that you would find the unchangeable Collective Unconsciousness.

I would agree that the internet would be more of a Collective Conscious than Un- or Super- due to the segmentation described by @Jayne.

lloydbird's avatar

@Jayne @SeventhSense @fireside We consciously use the internet,and are therefore consciously connected to each other. Something we couldn’t do before we had it.

Jayne's avatar

@lloydbird, so are you proposing that this might enable individuals to act as the neurons of a larger “brain” or consciousness (which I addressed in my first serious post), or that this connection promotes the existence of common psychological elements within the subconscious of all individual users (I suppose the second idea has some validity, but not only is it less interesting than the other, but the explicit method of communication of the internet renders Jung’s philosophy irrelevant).

lloydbird's avatar

@Jayne The former.The consciousness/brain of the ‘body’ of humanity.

atlantis's avatar

A collective conscious only of the people who really use it. There is a broader collective conscious outside the internet and if you live where some people don’t have access to it, it is clearly prononunced.

So the internet may be on its way, if it remains democratic and free, but right now, no.

Harp's avatar

(This was Jayne, sorry)

SeventhSense's avatar

What was Jayne?

Jayne's avatar

@SeventhSense; I am Harp’s son and we share a computer, so sometimes I forget to sign out of his account before posting. I don’t feel like retyping my response, however, which was a reiteration of my first serious response on the thread.

atlantis's avatar

@Jayne wow that’s Stochastistic
I was gonna say hurry up Harp :)

Jayne's avatar

I wrote most of my answer last night, then left it open to eat dinner and play badminton, and then I forgot about it until this morning, when I finished and posted it, but by that time my dad had logged in on a different window, so when I posted my comment it automatically flipped it to be written by Harp. I quickly deleted it, but forgot to copy it so I could paste it to my own name, so here we are :)

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