The Global Commons

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In an earlier Science of the Noosphere conversation with John Arquilla that was focused on an article titled “Whose Story Wins: Rise of the Noosphere, Noopolitik, and Information-Age Statecraft”, we touched on the subject of the global commons. The term “global commons” comes up 153 times in the Noosphere and Noopolitik article, so we thought another conversation focused exclusively on the topic of the global commons might be an important thing to do.

So we sought out one of the world’s foremost experts on commons issues, David Bollier, who describes himself as spending “a lot of time exploring the commons as a new paradigm of economics, politics, and culture.” From our perspective, understanding the nature of the global commons is an essential aspect of understanding the nature of the noosphere.

What is the global commons? It encompasses a host of different domains such as the world’s oceans, the atmosphere, the polar regions, outer space, and even the Internet. One thing that all of these share is that they are not owned or controlled by any one nation. Another is that the health of these global, commonly-shared resources is critical to the health of the noosphere itself.

This conversation between David Bollier, a commons expert, John Arquilla, an authority on a new noospheric approach to politics, and David Sloan Wilson, a scientist specializing in both biological and cultural evolution is a fascinating entry into our Science of the Noosphere series. From this unusually complementary combination of perspectives, it delves into many of the practical issues in our efforts to build a global-scale noosphere amid the social, economic, political, and technological challenges facing humanity today.

Those challenges can seem overwhelming at times. Teilhard expressed a similar sentiment in the final section of The Formation of the Noosphere, titled The Rise of Freedom:

“At the beginning we seemed to see around us nothing but a disconnected and disordered humanity: the crowd, the mass, in which, it may be, we saw only brutality and ugliness. I have tried, fortified by the most generally accepted and solid conclusions of science, to take the reader above this scene of turmoil; and as we have risen higher so has the prospect acquired a more ordered shape.”

It’s our hope that this series of conversations brings a perspective that helps point the direction toward a positive future for humanity and the earth, by adding new evidence to support the “solid conclusions of science”, and take the viewers of these videos “above the scene of turmoil”, toward a noosphere with “a more ordered shape”.

David Bollier and John Arquilla Transcript