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the realm of interaction between nature and society, within whose boundaries human intellectual activity becomes the primary, decisive factor in development. (Among the other terms with the same meaning are “technosphere,” “anthroposphere,” and “sociosphere.”)

In the early 20th century, P. Teilhard de Chardin and E. Le Roy introduced the concept of the noosphere as an ideal, “thinking” membrane that envelopes the earth and that takes shape with the rise and development of human consciousness. V. I. Vernadskii gave the term a materialist content when he described the noosphere as the biosphere’s new, highest stage, which is associated with the rise and development of mankind. By learning the laws of nature and making technological progress, man becomes a very powerful force, comparable to geological factors, and begins to exert a decisive influence on processes occurring in the part of the earth that is subject to him and, subsequently, in near-terrestrial space. Thus, earth and space are profoundly altered by man’s labor. The development of mankind as a new force transforming nature was manifested in the rise of new forms of exchange of matter and energy between society and nature and in man’s increasing biogeochemical and other influences on the biosphere.

Since its origin on the planet, the noosphere has shown a tendency toward constant expansion. Thus, it has become a special structural element of the cosmos, distinguished by its social envelopment of nature. The concept of the noosphere emphasizes the necessity for intelligent organization of the interaction between society and nature (that is, organization that meets the requirements of developing mankind). This is the opposite of an uncontrolled, rapacious attitude to this interaction, which leads to the deterioration of the environment.

Insofar as the character of society’s attitude toward nature is determined not only by the level of science and technology but also by the social system, the conscious formation of the noosphere is organically related to the rise of the communist socioeconomic formation, which creates the conditions necessary for turning the knowledge and experience accumulated by mankind into a material force that rationally transforms the natural environment.


Teilhard de Chardin, P. Fenomen cheloveka. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from French.)
Vernadskii, V. I. Khimicheskoe stroenie biosfery Zemli i ee okruzheniia. Moscow, 1965.
Priroda i obshchestvo (collection of articles). Moscow, 1968.
Nauchno-tekhnicheskaia revoliutsiia, obshchestvo. Moscow, 1973.