The Collective Consciousness

As we mentioned before, the ‘collective consciousness’ is the concept or idea which underpins novel technological innovations such as AI and the Cloud. It has been written that there are four dimensions or elements to the ‘collective consciousness’ which undergo change through the course of time, namely, the “volume, intensity, rigidity, and the content of the beliefs and values which compose the collective consciousness.” Arguably, the main point is that “if there is one truth that history teaches us beyond doubt, it is that religion embraces a smaller and smaller portion of social life” even though “originally it pervades everything.”

Over the course of time, either one religion will develop as a universal one, or no one religion will be able to dominate the others. Underlying the changes in collective beliefs, morals, ideals, values, and norms is modernity itself and the transition from traditional to modern life over the course of the last few centuries. As one intellectual wrote: “The process of development from traditional to modern society must therefore have involved a profound set of institutional changes, which have fundamentally modified the basis of social unity. This involves, of course, the progressive displacement of mechanical by ‘organic’ solidarity.” 

Hence, social unity is defined more by like-mindedness and elective affinities (organic solidarity) than by blood and race (mechanical solidarity) as a result of an evolving collective consciousness over the course of time which is now being aided and assisted by AI and the internet. There is also “the diversification of perspective and outlook enforced by the division of labor” which is fundamentally changing ideas and notions of social unity and this diversification of perspective is concomitant with an evolving collective consciousness as a result of AI and the internet. There are also “obscure forces” operating beneath the surface level of collective consciousness which is elucidating the fact that there is only “one society” amidst all the various societies and it is “human association in its entirety.” 

Sigmund Freud wrote: “No one can have failed to observe, in the first place, that I have taken as the basis of my whole position the existence of a collective mind, in which mental processes occur just as they do in the mind of an individual.” Freud also wrote that the “essence” of consciousness is “a special psychic act, different from and independent of the process of becoming fixed or represented, and consciousness appears to us a sensory organ which perceives a content proceeding from another source.” That other source, arguably, is the collective ‘unconscious.’ As Freud wrote: 

“The unconscious is the larger circle which includes the smaller circle of the conscious; everything conscious has a preliminary unconscious stage, whereas the unconscious can stop at this stage, and yet claim to be considered a full psychic function. The unconscious is the true psychic reality; in its inner nature it is just as much unknown to us as the reality of the external world, and it is just as imperfectly communicated to us by the data of consciousness as is the external world by the reports of our sense-organs.” 

And what is reality? Freud wrote: “Reality must, of course, be denied to all transitory and intermediate thoughts. If we had before us the unconscious wishes, brought to their final and truest expression, we should still do well to remember that psychic reality is a special form of existence which must not be confounded with material reality.” In short, there is a story behind AI and the internet and thus a story behind the collective consciousness and its evolution. To conclude with a quote from one entrepreneur:

“Beyond all else, it is a story of the future, of something trying to happen, of a four-hundred-year-old age rattling in its deathbed as another struggles to be born – a transformation of consciousness, culture, society, and institutions such as the world has never experienced. We must try.” 

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