A Thinking Earth Brain

Our brains use electrical impulses to create thought and awareness. “Neurons generate electrical signals that travel along their axons. When a pulse of electricity reaches a junction called a synapse, it causes a neurotransmitter chemical to be released, which binds to receptors on other cells and thereby alters their electrical activity.” – From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain

Organic Brain uses Electricity

Organic Brain uses Electricity

What if organic brains are a relatively new player in the use of electricity/energy to create thought? Lightning is electricity. There are approximately 30-100 lightning strikes on the earth per second. That comes out to millions of strikes every day.

Lightning Strikes 30-100 times per second

Lightning Strikes 30-100 times per second

In addition to lightning discharges, there are lesser known discharges called Sprites. “Sprites are large-scale electrical discharges that occur high above thunderstorm clouds, or cumulonimbus, giving rise to a quite varied range of visual shapes flickering in the night sky. They are triggered by the discharges of positive lightning between an underlying thundercloud and the ground.” –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprite_%28lightning%29

Earth's Cerebral Cortex

Earth’s Cerebral Cortex…maybe

Furthermore, there is an electromagnetic field that surrounds the earth and permeates everything on it.

Electromagnetic Brain

Electromagnetic Brain, Scaffolding, Grey Matter?

Over the course of thousands or millions of years, the number of lightning discharges approaches the number of electrical signals generated in a living brain. Could the earth-brain be working at a slower rate than ours? In other words, operating over a longer time span. Would this earth-brain necessarily contain only one consciousness? Or even consciousness at all?

A thinking organism need not have an immediate or timely way of physically manifesting it’s will. Or maybe it does not need to manifest it’s will at all. We tend to think that intelligence evolves only when Darwinian, survival of the fittest scenarios force it to.  Maybe intelligence can emerge from a series of complex natural processes.

Imagine this series of events. A “slow” working planetary brain emerges. The resulting environment within this planetary brain allows for a faster organic brain to evolve. The life forms with the organic brains invent faster computer brains. We, our brains, our intelligence could be one rung on a ladder of intelligences.

Follow me on Twitter

21 thoughts on “A Thinking Earth Brain

    1. suegiplaye

      This planet is not comparable to the human brain. It is a well thought out theory but being a spiritual person I cannot compare this planet to the human brain. A thinking brain that is Earth is impossible. Very creative though for someone to think of that.

      1. Novelangel

        Yes, I agree. The article reminds me of the movie, Avatar, actually. In that premise, the planet was alive and thoughtful. It had a soul and could organize thought among all of the living entities on it. Makes a great movie, I suppose, but in reality, we all know that planets do not have souls and are technically not “alive” in the sense we know. They live only through the organisms living upon them, which is why Earth is the only “living” planet in our solar system.

    1. appdata

      Maybe it will decide that the entire human race shall be punished for all the damage we’ve done to it since the Indistrial revolution. We could be part of the Earth-brain, like smaller brains connected to the large whole, so the big brain would congratulate us on our human resourcefullness, remember all our inventions, then kill us off. That would be the apocalypse. (Disclaimer: I am 99% sure that that is just a weird science-fiction theory).

  1. Liv6

    I have never quite heard theories like this one before. It has a theological sound to it, in my opinion (e.g. we are the product of something bigger than us). I’ve never heard of sprites before, but I believe I have witnessed them. I do appreciate the concept of a ladder of intelligences; however, I am not so sure that I can fully accept weather phenomenons as a symbol of a higher intelligence.

  2. CrowdedHighways

    This is a great write-up. I can’t comment on the scientific validity of the post, but as a theory, it sounds very interesting. I guess we are all one with the universe, after all.

  3. rhauze

    Very creative idea! I’ve definitely never heard that before. I can’t rule it out as a possibility completely, but it does seem more science-fiction than science.

    1. oportosanto

      We can never rule it out because even if it seems fictional, it’s also something perfectly plausible and that could happen in reality. If we have the capacity to make this sort of analysis, we could reach another level of knowledge.

  4. Sparkster

    Intelligence and consciousness throughout the entire universe. The philosophy of panpsychism and the theory of biocentrism, along with modern science, seem to confirm that consciousness exists everywhere and does not just take place in the mind. Reality is a projection of the mind, of our collective unconscious. Everything is interconnect. Everything that exists and that we perceive is just a tiny fraction of the conscious being we call the universe, which is very much like a giant thought inside the mind of God.

  5. joshc428

    I’ve always been fascinated with the idea that the entire universe is just a microscopic element of some huge, higher being who in turn lives in a bigger universe that’s part of another organism and so on. However, I think the idea that Earth itself is a brain is a bit of a stretch. What does this brain operate? Where are its conncections? Another idea that I feel holds more validity is the idea that the Earth is a neuron, a tiny part interacting with other planetary neurons via electrical charges. Maybe our solar neighbors are part of this universal brain, maybe not. Perhaps my idea is actually hogwash, but it’s a fascinating thing to ponder about.

  6. Coolbutlame

    There are so many parallels to the universe occurring in the human body. Do you notice how our representation of atoms and cells function like planets and solar systems? Atoms themselves could have their own brains and functions. The layers of out reality are all the same things in smaller forms. We’ve got so much in common with things that don’t even have an awareness that it’s crazy.

  7. SirJoe

    I actually would go even further than that, what if the earth is just a cell of something larger. The model for a atom is very similar to that of the planets circling around the sun, and the the earth resembles a cell so what if, the earth is just a small part of something bigger.

    1. paultraining

      I actually would go even further than that, what if the earth is just a cell of something larger. The model for a atom is very similar to that of the planets circling around the sun, and the the earth resembles a cell so what if, the earth is just a small part of something bigger.

      Yea I agree we are probably part of something bigger. As we have examined the universe we see that it is made up of small parts which are part of bigger and bigger things and on a whole it’s complexity becomes greater and greater. We probably can’t even fathom what greater level of complexity our galaxy or even whole universe is within.

  8. loliveroliver

    Wow. This is just awesome, pardon my french but I feel completely mindf***ed and it feels good! 😀 I haven’t heard this one before and when put this way it kind of makes sense.

    Of course, this is likely absolutely impossible, but I will not forget this article, which is saying a lot. Good job to you, seriously!

    1. rz3300

      Is is absolutely impossible, though? I get it, and I would posit that it is 99.99% impossible, but something in me just has to hold out some belief for the strange and absurd. It is just what has always interested me, so that part of me must remain alive. I agree with you on the strong language though, and that is how I felt after first reading it, and that is always fun for me. Good stuff, and thanks for sharing.

  9. paultraining

    Yes we may not be the only ones who have intelligence for what is intelligence anyways? It is hard to define. Through observations of behavior you can conclude whether a thing has intelligence or not.

    Also we conclude intelligence when we see something we can relate to. For instance if we see someone find a suitcase full of money on the floor and take it we assume intelligence. Perhaps things we can’t even understand but see are signs of intelligence. Other organisms for example have reasons for doing things that we would probably never think of doing. They do these things because of different needs than ours.

  10. paultraining

    I was thinking about it some more and I would add there is signs that the earth and probably other planets and stars in the universe is a brain or group of brains. Our planet acts in an orderly way, orbiting the sun every 365 days. The way the earth, moon, and sun is work together to make everything the way it is. The earth even has an atmosphere which protects us from radiation. So it is like it is all acting for a purpose.

  11. oportosanto

    By reading this entry something immediately crossed my mind. What if those lightnings are nothing more than synapses from a giant creature and we are just a part of it? This is just a random thought, but it only proves how much we don’t know in this area.

  12. rz3300

    Well for one thing, I have never heard of sprites before, so thank you for introducing me to those. Second, this is really neat to think about. If I am understanding this correctly, which I very well may not be, then the earth is like a brain, and the lightning strikes and other electrical activity are like giant synapses. I can definitely connect the dots here, but I am sure there is much more to this as well though. Interesting stuff, and thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply