When I first heard the term “network externalities” I was kind of embarrassed that I did not know the meaning of this cool sounding term. The person who mentioned it to me said that it was a term used in economics. Later, I learned that “network externalities” and “network effects” are related concepts.
Short explanations of “network externalities”
A consequence of an economic activity that is experienced by unrelated third parties. An externality can be either positive or negative. – Investopedia
Network externality has been defined as a change in the benefit, or surplus, that an agent derives from a good when the number of other agents consuming the same kind of good changes. – http://wwwpub.utdallas.edu/~liebowit/palgrave/network.html
Network externalities are the effects on a user of a product or service of others using the same or compatible products or services. Positive network externalities exist if the benefits are an increasing function of the number of other users. Negative network externalities exist if the benefits are a decreasing function of the number of other users. – About.com
A phenomenon whereby a good or service becomes more valuable when more people use it. The internet is a good example. Initially, there were few users of the internet, and it was of relatively little value to anyone outside of the military and a few research scientists. As more users gained access to the internet, however, there were more and more websites to visit and more people to communicate with. The internet became extremely valuable to its users. – Investopedia
You can study the subject of “network externalities” and “network effects” in more detail. I recommend that you start with Arun Sundararajan’s summary of “network effects” and then follow the links there.
Now, a little speculation.
What happens when humanity gains a new member in this universe? Does the universal humanity – sentient beings in all galaxies -derive a benefit from the new member? The answer is surely YES. The answer would not be “yes” if human beings were not connected.
If the sentient beings of this universe are not connected there will be no additional benefit when the universal humanity gains a new member. Fortunately, all humans are connected,
We are fundamentally connected because our individual souls are references to the singular Cosmic Soul.
Our minds are connected through the Cosmic Mind. The causal layer of the human mind (Atimanas Kosha, Vigyanamaya Kosha and Hiranmaya Kosha) which is the innermost layer is the same as the causal layer of the Cosmic Mind.
The structure of the network is important too. The network externalities strongly depend on the topology of the network.
Notice that “Star”, “Mesh” and “Fully Connected” topologies exhibit 1-to-many connections. There is another type of network known as the synaptic or neural network (see picture below) which exhibits 1-to-many connections as well.
- Which is a better model of the soul-to-soul connection?
- Which is a better model for the mind-to-mind connection?
Modeling, by definition, is limiting but if the simplification helps comprehension then it should be employed with caveats.
I am leaning towards the star topology as the answer to question (1). The center node of the star topology, metaphorically speaking, is the Divine Center (Cosmic Soul, Parama Purusha, Cosmic Consciousnes). In a network with star topology all communication passes through the central node. Without the central node the system cannot function. In the case of the Divine Center, and the individual souls as ‘references’ to the Cosmic Soul, it is not a question of communication or functionality, it is a question of existence and life. There is no existence and there is no life without the Divine Center
For the mind-to-mind connection I think that the “Synaptic” topology is a better model.
In the “Different kinds of connectivity” article I mentioned that mind-to-mind connections are asynchronous. I can read your blog post many days after you finished writing it and click on the “like” button. Similarly, a scientist can read another scientist’s paper or book months or perhaps years later and respond in kind.
The soul-to-soul connection, however, is a synchronous connection, in my opinion. The “synchronous” in this context means that the soul-to-soul connection which always passes through the Divine Center is beyond the bounds of time.
Another property of the star topology is that the connection between an individual node and the central node is direct. Similarly, the connection between an individual soul and the Cosmic Soul is direct. There are no layers between the individual soul and the Cosmic Soul. There is no intermediary between the individual soul and the Cosmic Soul.
The synaptic topology, on the other hand, necessarily creates layers. Mind-to-mind (1-to-many synaptic type) connectivity quickly develops layers. There are layers of organization between the individual mind and the Cosmic Mind even though the “causal” layers are common.