Your amazement that we don’t see belief in Gaia as a living thing and a more immediate great ‘religious’ experience to choose may make more sense than you realize. There is a big gulf of separation between people who see the integrity and mystery of whole individual systems and those who still hold the wide belief that nature is ‘lifeless’ and controlled by math, rulers or ‘spirits’.
That is the belief our culture evolved with, though. Believing that individual whole systems of any kind exist actually conflicts with that basic inherited belief in determinism, and really does depart from the endless debates over which ruler is the real one as if debating over angels on the head of a pin.
As you point out, the misconception is astounding if also hard to convey. The presence of individually behaving systems of all sorts is about the most obvious thing to anyone who just freely looks around a bit, but it isn’t noticed by the determinists.
They only see information as a means of control, and alter their reading of the world by asking only that question. If they gaze at the world’s amazing behaviors with wonder, it’s just with wonder in how it could be controlled.
The word ‘alive’ for the earth both does and does not do justice to the difference in views. I don’t think it’s just the earth’s biosphere acting as an integrated whole that is ‘alive’ with self-organizing eventfulness of its own (and ready to scuttle us as an aggressive and thoughtless suitor at any moment perhaps…).
I think what’s technically ‘alive’ is every kind of behavior that has an individual beginning and ending process of development. Applying the word ‘alive’ to everything that is ‘lively’ is what I eventually have to do, from a basic physics of information point of view.
Every kind of system with a life cycle of growth and decay seems to build its organization from the inside, by elaborating local feedback loops in a way not communicated from outside. Given that controls for that couldn’t come from the outside or be pre-conceived from the inside either, I am left to say that the loops of animated self-organization develop locally.
They seem to use what they find locally, being more ‘opportunity’ driven and ‘exploring’ their worlds rather than being controlled by what’s around them. So, if there’s both lots of ‘lifeless’ and ‘lively’ behavior of many kinds, you get a world of living things connected by their environments, sort of like what you see… ; -) instead of controlled by their environments, as science, religion and politics try to explain…
I’ve been tossing that proposal out in various forms for a while, but nearly everyone seems to point out that that sort of ‘madness’ would leave us out of control of everything important, and then they wander off!! That you can become partners with living things not under your control seems to not get their attention. ; -)
I have a paper recently published you may find parts of readable, in the new “What is Life” special issue of the journal Cosmos & History.
Best, Phil Henshaw ——–
On Behalf Of Peter Chiavaro
Sent: Sunday, October 12, 2008
Hello Miss Karen and the Group, I been lurking because I am not sure discussions are allowed here since all I see are “announcement” type of posts. If I am out of line I’m sorry. I am relatively new to the Gaia hypotheses / theory /.. “belief” or whatever people see fit to call it. Gaia makes so much sense to me that,,, how about if you and I make it a “religion”??
I will admit that I am not very well educated. I had a problem getting passed grammar school. Keeping this in mind, why is it that someone like myself can “plainly” see that we are going down the tubes at breakneck speed. Why can’t EVERYONE see this?????????????????????????? Where are all the smart people in this world??????????????If Gaia is “not exactly” a religion, then I’d like to make it one.
We wouldn’t have to go to church on Sunday or study bible scriptures. PLUS… in our new religion, we are now able to SEE, FEEL, TOUCH, BREATHE and even PHYSICALLY EMBRACE our new God.One question asked by such a simple mind.. Why do billions of people, (past and present) feel COMPELLED to see God as abstract when he is right here with us in such a HUGE PHYSICAL way. He couldn’t be MORE PHYSICAL. And by the way… I keep saying “HE”… I think in our new religion,,, God is a female.MOTHER EARTH.
Peter C. Equine
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