The noosphere can be seen as the "sphere of human thought" being derived from the Greek ("nous") meaning "mind" in the style of "atmosphere" and "biosphere" [Reclamation of Mind 1-6: Atmosphere and Biosphere metaphors (here and again here and here)]. In the original theory of Vernadsky, the noosphere is the third in a succession of phases of development of the Earth, after the geosphere (inanimate matter) and the biosphere (biological life). Just as the emergence of life fundamentally transformed the geosphere, the emergence of human cognition fundamentally transforms the biosphere. In contrast to the conceptions of the Gaia theorists, or the promoters of cyberspace, Vernadsky's noosphere is not something that is just now coming into being, or will emerge in the future; it arrived with the birth of the first cognitive human being, and is manifested throughout the geosphere and biosphere in the form of human intervention, which principally takes the form of physical economic development of the planet.
The word is also sometimes used to refer to a transhuman consciousness emerging from the interactions of human minds. This is the view proposed by the theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who added that the noosphere is evolving towards an ever greater integration, culminating in the Omega Point-which he saw as the ultimate goal of history.
A somewhat different approach focuses on "sustainability," and begins to look at this concept in terms of "co-evolution" [Norgaard, 1994].
History of this expression:
E. LeRoy's Les origines humaines et l'evolution de l'intelligence (1928)
Vladimir I. Vernadsky (1863-1945)
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)
Omega point is a term invented by French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to describe the ultimate maximum level of complexity-consciousness, considered by him the aim towards which consciousness evolves. Rather than divinity being found "in the heavens" he held that evolution was a process converging toward a "final unity", identical with the Eschaton and with God. According to Chardin and the Russian scholar and biologist Vladimir Vernadsky (author of The Geosphere 1924 and The Biosphere 1926), the planet is in a transformative process, metamorphosing from the biosphere into the noosphere.
In philosophy and religion, the word noetic, from the Greek (nous) is usually translated as "mind", "understanding", "intellect", or "reason". Most dictionaries define the term noetic as a synonym of "mental" or "intellectual." From the nous emerges the world soul, which gives rise to the manifest realm. [Mammon's mass psychosis(-sys)]
The ancient Pythagoreans and Platonists used the term to mean "the cosmic soul". According to Neo-Platonic cosmology, the nous emanates from the One. Anaxagoras wrote:
All other things partake in a portion of everything, while Nous is infinite and self-ruled, and is mixed with nothing, but is alone, itself by itself. For if it were not by itself, but were mixed with anything else, it would partake in all things if it were mixed with any; for in everything there is a portion of everything, as has been said by me in what goes before, and the things mixed with it would hinder it, so that it would have power over nothing in the same way that it has now being alone by itself. For it is the thinnest of all things and the purest, and it has all knowledge about everything and the greatest strength; and Nous has power over all things, both greater and smaller, that have soul. (Translation by J. Burnet)
In recent decades, the term has taken on new usages. Edmund Husserl used noetic (from noesis) to refer to the intentional act of consciousness (believing, willing, hating and loving ...). Walter J. Ong and James A. Berlin used the term noetic to describe a "noetic economy", "noetic processes" and "noetic field." Cultural historian William Irwin Thompson refers to a "noetic polity." The Institute of Noetic Sciences defines noetic as, roughly, 'relating to consciousness or intuition'. The mystical, cosmic and holistic connotations of the term are why the New Age movement has embraced the term noetic and used it to refer to the exploration of individual or cosmic consciousness.