Meet the giant brain

A theory often put forth by New Age hippie types is the notion that humanity is part of some kind of shared consciousness. In this complex network, each individual human is a node, not unlike an individual cell in the much more complex human body. Hippies often use this hypothesis to make the dubious assertion that we should work together as a species, and not smash and destroy those who annoy and confound us.

Of course, you could take this idea even further. Could this “shared consciousness” be even bigger than just one species on a planet, but comprise the complex network that makes up the entire universe? Apparently, physicists are recognizing this possibility, though with various caveats.

The idea of the universe as a ‘giant brain’ has been proposed by scientists – and science fiction writers – for decades.

But now physicists say there may be some evidence that it’s actually true. In a sense.

According to a study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, the universe may be growing in the same way as a giant brain – with the electrical firing between brain cells ‘mirrored’ by the shape of expanding galaxies.

The results of a computer simulation suggest that “natural growth dynamics” – the way that systems evolve – are the same for different kinds of networks – whether its the internet, the human brain or the universe as a whole.

A co-author of the study, Dmitri Krioukov from the University of California San Diego, said that while such systems appear very different, they have evolved in very similar ways.

The result, they argue, is that the universe really does grow like a brain.

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