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CybertheologyThinking Christianity in the Era of the Internet$
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Antonio Spadaro

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823256990

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823256990.001.0001

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The Technological Tasks of Collective Intelligence

The Technological Tasks of Collective Intelligence

(p.93) Chapter 6 The Technological Tasks of Collective Intelligence

Antonio Spadaro

Fordham University Press

In this chapter, Spadaro outlines how the French writer, Pierre Lévy, thinks of collective intelligence. While we consider the Internet phenomenon to be very much a subject for out times, Lévy returns to the writings of Al-Fârâbi and Ibn Sina (Avicenna), the 11th century Islamic philosophers, for a departure point. It was they who first, in their neo-platonic way, thought of a form of overall human communal intelligence. This is self-thinking thought, a conjunction between God and mankind. All celestial hierarchies are implicated in the smallest act of knowledge. If theology’s schema had unidirectional diffusion, that descended and was centrifugal, Lévy’s anthropological inversion foresees an ascending, centripetal circulation. Spadaro outlines what he sees as the benefits and drawbacks of this viewpoint. The author briefly mentions de Kerckhove’s suggestion of a connective intelligence, rather than Lévy’s communal intelligence, which Spadaro suggests is quite Marxist in outlook, and then moves on to discuss the work of Teilhard de Chardin, the Jesuit anthropologist, whose work has become so connected with the Internet, despite the fact that he died before its invention. It was Teilhard de Chardin who developed the concept of the noosphere – a sphere of thought and knowledge – he had attributed to technology a fundamental role in creating a communal consciousness, a sort of brain made up of interconnections, not non-thinking fibres, but other thinking brains. It is this Web theory that is so often taken up as foreseeing the Internet. However, Teilhard’s end point to this Web was the Omega Point of salvation. Spadaro then draws in more contemporary thinkers to assist in the conclusion to his thesis.

Keywords:   Pierre Lévy, Internet, Teilhard de Chardin, Web, Omega Point

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