Global Brain: The Evolution of the Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century is Howard Bloom’s attempt to reconcile microbiology with evolutionary and social psychology.
From the beginning, we living beings have been modules of something current evolutionary theory fails to see, a collective thinking and invention machine.
This book will show you how without microchips or mystic intervention we evolved as components of subgroups, overgroups, and cross-group hyperlinks. It will show how our nature as nodes in a larger net has affected our emotions, our perceptions, and our ways of bonding with or tyrannizing friends and enemies. It will show how even when we battle using ideas or weaponry we are parts of a greater mind constantly testing fresh hypothesis.
We are all nodes in a collective thinking machine:
A complex adaptive system is a learning machine, one made up of semi-independent modules which work together to solve a problem. Some complex adaptive systems, like rain forests, are biological. Others, like human economies, are social.
If this sounds too new-agey for you, consider that when you drive you’re car, there is also traffic. Traffic is a collection of all drives, and traffic can be studied as a distinct phenomenon. You are controlling and being controlled by traffic.
When you’re in a room, you might feel like an individual, but the vibe of the group will change you. Bloom contents this human behavior also happens at a molecular level: “Molecular sensors, bacteria, crustaceans, ungulates, primates, and intellectuals–we are very much the same. We act as nodes in a neural net. Thanks to resources shifters, we follow the lead of victors in a mass perception game.”
Socially constructed reality vs. objective reality.
“Reality is a mass hallucination. We gauge what’s real according to what others say.”
Jump off of the Golden Gate Bridge, and you’ll die. This is objective reality.
Insult the King today and you’ll get a few thousands retweets and maybe a TV slot, where as centuries ago you’d be hanged. This is socially constructed reality. We act based on cues.
The Asch conformity experiment illustrates reality as mass hallucination:
Asch measured the number of times each participant conformed to the majority view. On average, about one third (32%) of the participants who were placed in this situation went along and conformed with the clearly incorrect majority on the critical trials.
Over the 12 critical trials, about 75% of participants conformed at least once, and 25% of participant never conformed. In the control group, with no pressure to conform to confederates, less than 1% of participants gave the wrong answer.
This experiment involved an objectively, clearly wrong result. Some claim the Asch conformity test results were a product of its time, and that the results may differ across cultures, which proves rather than refutes the global brain hypothesis. Our reality is shared.
How much of our reality is shared, and how much of it is true, is for you to decide.
P.S. I take 3 capsules of Gorilla Mind (Smooth) each day to boost my own brain.