Igor Khanin’s Philosophical Thoughts About Coronavirus and Noospheric Thinking

04 Jun 2020
Igor Khanin

Igor G. Khanin is a prominent Ukrainian scientist who shares our belief in Noosphere and promotes Noosphere’s philosophy. In order to foster the development of the infosphere, which is the main focus of his scientific interest over the past few years, Dr. Khanin had the idea of creating a few events. Together with Max Polyakov, he initiated a series of conferences. The first one – International science and practice conference “Modern Strategic Solutions for Information Development of Economy, Society and Business” was held as far back as 2012. Four other Science and Business conferences took place in different corners of Ukraine in 2013-2015. As a follow up to these conferences, the International practical science forum “Science and Business” was held in 2015 and 2016. Such events gather great minds from around the country to exchange their knowledge and find new innovative solutions for science and business to interact.

In light of recent events related to the coronavirus pandemic and Noosphere’s participation in  NASA Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge as a local organizer, Dr. Khanin couldn’t help but express his philosophical point of view. He packed his thoughts into this little article: 


A CORONAVIRUS has demonstrated once more that the Planet Earth is not as big as it might seem. The virus laughingly transcends distances around the globe,  both geographic as well as social. Local thinking is losing ground.

The coronavirus once again reminded us that we need to think globally, and that we are all living in a common home: NOOSPHERE.

This home is like a nesting doll with permeable membranes. The inner layer is the geosphere with its problems, specifically those related to climate, seismic activities, etc. The middle layer is the biosphere, with its food, medical and other biological problems. The outer one is infosphere. Here such social, economic and cultural “viruses” as wars and terrorism occur.

NOOSPHERIC THINKING integrates the natural sciences and humanitarian knowledge. It is characterized not only by the planetary (to be more precise, holistic) nature, but also by a CONVERGENCE of knowledge about geosphere, biosphere and infosphere. The play of similarities and differences gives rise to diversity, blooming complexity, order and change.

Today’s flow of knowledge is increasing exponentially. It gets out of control and ceases corresponding to reality. The abundance of knowledge produces an effect of unawareness of what is going on. The well-ordered ancient Cosmos turns into an uncontrolled Chaosmos. Humanism is losing its ground to weird and sinister trends. The convergence is an effective tool for systematizing knowledge, simplifying the world picture and strengthening human self-control based on humanism.

Steve Blank, “the Father of Silicon Valley”, concluded that in today’s innovations, which occur in emerging information technologies, everyone from venture entrepreneurs to the highest economic management bodies are too absorbed in the processes of activities. He calls for a return to the solid base of physical technologies – to rockets, motor vehicles, and such. In these cases, the objects that already have a known essence rise to the forefront, and the processes of their creation and application take place around them. Such activities rely on ontology and are of an essentiality nature. Steve Blank actually suggests retreating and halting the siege of the fortress called INFOSPHERE. There is a lack of knowledge resources.

Today, this resource is NOOSPHERIC THINKING, which considers information phenomena, taking into account their specifics and integrating them with physical phenomena. Where the information technologies are applied, consciousness acts reflexively, being directed towards itself. It therefore seeks, but fails to become, an object. These are, however, quite objective material results of the activities of consciousness. These are laws, customs, literary and artistic works, computer programs, databases and knowledge bases, and any type  of artifacts of sign nature, which represent and materialize knowledge. All are of a quasi-physical nature.

In terms of ontology, they are the signifier and the signified parts of sign, interrelated by correspondence relationships which are established and maintained by CONSCIOUSNESS transferring these functions to automated devices. Thus, a programmer should bring computer data processing activities into correspondence with a user activity aimed at his/her own interests, and the data itself with something that it signifies (program text), with system-wide software and programming system capabilities. The correspondence ensures the integrity of the object instead of physical relationships.

The real problem is with something that requires a fundamentally new thinking in order to be solved. A coronavirus pandemic is not only medical or biological, but also a social, economic, culturological and overall humanitarian problem. And where there are humans and society, there is always information (i.e., signs). Today, people have learned to digitize the existing forms of information created for paper carriers. Their rigidity and variability results in strong fragmentation of a single data field of the Planet Earth. It is a significant barrier to social and economic development. Big Data, blockchain, artificial intelligence as well as any other invention or modelling does not address this problem. What is required is the destruction-reconstruction of understanding elaborated in the course of knowing in XIX-XX centuries.

The Earth’s civilization has attained such a high level of complexity that merely calls for a global view, clear vision and focus on something relevant are not enough. The ontology of knowing and economic management should become a specific consequence of such requirements. The PLANETARITY, CONVERGENCE, ONTOLOGY, REFLEXITY and INTEGRITY of noospheric thinking make it a tool capable of addressing problems like a coronavirus, the last of which is not yet seen on the historic path of mankind.”