The Future of the Concept Noosphere and the Modern Perspective

While Vernadsky's concept can be considered as maximally aggregated (it is like a view on the biosphere from the outside), the concept of the biogeocoenosis (BGC) first suggested by V. Sukhachev in 1945 and later developed by N. Timofeev-Resovsky, relates to the elementary units of the biosphere, and is a concept that is basically atomistic in nature. In accordance with the Timofeev-Resovsky's definition, the BGC is the part (area) of the biosphere, which has no essential ecological, geomorpho-logic, hydrological, microclimatic, or any other boundary inside itself. By this the whole biosphere of the Earth is divided into elementary systems, naturally separated from one another. According to Vernadsky, the biogeo-cenosis should have appeared immediately upon the start of existence of the biosphere.

In his last years of life, the works of Vernadsky were directed toward the future development of scientific thought as a planetary phenomenon. He perceived civilization as a form of a new geological force - scientific force performance. Vernadsky wrote:

In the 20th Century man for the first time in the history of the Earth knew and embraced the whole Biosphere.. .That mineralogical rarity, native (pure) iron, is now being produced by billions of tons. Native aluminum, which never before existed on our planet, is now produced in any quantity. The same is true with regard to the countless number of artificial chemical combinations newly created on our planet. Chemically, the face of our planet, the biosphere, is being sharply changed by man. .. New species and races of animals and plants are being created by man.

The biosphere is a powerful geological force that has transformed this planet and its geochemistry in a most spectacular way. Toward the end of his life, Vernadsky planned to consider the Noosphere - the supremacy of scientific thought that always existed (term introduced in 1922 by a French philosopher and mathematician Edouard Le Roy) in more detail but he had no time.

Vernadsky's ideas act on the contrary to doomsday scenarios since he views our civilization as a form of a new geological force - scientific thought and therefore it cannot destroy itself. However at present, despite its growing industrial power, our civilization is not yet able to reconstruct the biosphere in the desirable way, if the biosphere is near the critical conditions. It is practically impossible to predict the new quasi-stationary state, as any other possible states of the biosphere's equilibrium are not known. The model of coevolution of 'man' and the 'biosphere' as the main principle of global coexistence was suggested by Yu. Svirezhev. The basic idea is to study the dynamics of the biosphere as the entity and its reactions to human impact. In the framework of this research the study of possible ways of the development of human society as a natural component of the biosphere is of special importance. The problem of coexistence of human society and the biosphere, which is actually the problem of mutual co-evolution and harmonic coupling of humans and their environment, is now becoming one of the most important scientific and social problems of the modern society. This problem is multiscale and very complex, integrating natural dynamic processes operating within the biosphere with human dynamics.

In conclusion, we again would like to stress the significance of Vermadsky's ideas for the future and say that the concept of the biosphere and the following new state of it, Noosphere (from the Greek noo(s) (mind) and sphere), has shaped, and is continuing to do so, the global understanding of the origin and evolution of mankind, since as the teacher himself points out: It ''is a new geological phenomenon on our planet. In it for the first time man becomes a large-scale geological force ... Wider and wider creative possibilities open before him. It may be that the generation of our grandchildren will approach their blossoming ... Fairy-tale dreams appear possible in the future; man is striving to emerge beyond the boundaries of his planet into cosmic space. And he probably will do so.''

See also: Biogeocoenosis as an Elementary Unit of Biogeochemical Work in the Biosphere; Energy Flows in the Biosphere; Information and Information Flows in the Biosphere; Noosphere.

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