If Gaia exists, the relationship between her and man, a dominant animal species in the complex living system, and the possibly shifting balance of power between them, are questions of obvious importance… The Gaia hypothesis is for those who like to walk or simply stand and stare, to wonder about the Earth and the life it bears, and to speculate about the consequences of our own presence here. It is an alternative to that pessimistic view which sees nature as a primitive force to be subdued and conquered. It is also an alternative to that equally depressing picture of our planet as a demented spaceship, forever traveling, driverless and purposeless, around an inner circle of the sun.
Gaia: A New Look At Life On Earth - James Lovelock
Given that Savin has just confirmed that Nourasia’s magic and culture centers around the relationship they hold with a “Natural Spirit” of their planet has been formulating new headcannons in my brain.
It’s starting to sound kinda like how Eywa from James Cameron’s Avatar is depicted and described on a level but also it reminds me heavily, and I mean heavily - of the true nature of Oban itself. I’m starting to think that Nourasia is actually a planet seed that retained much of it’s sentient self from the mother planet Oban and has worked it’s way into influencing the life on the planet of Nourasia. In other words, Nourasia is the Gaia Hypothesis in action, with Oban being the mother of it.
Before really delving into the story of us, I want to work up some basic knowledge to fill your toolbox of analysis. The first concept I want to discuss is sustainability.
When you think of sustainability I imagine that two main ideas pop up. One is a radial person who does not shower and allows all of his/her body hair to grow out to its potential. The second is the assumption that sustainability is simply changing all of your bulbs to CFL or using natural gas. Neither of those things (alone) is truly sustainable. Here’s why.
Sustainability needs to take place at the “Gaia” level. Of course you can assess every act you make as sustainable or not but you going off to live in the woods does not make this planet a more sustainable place, I am sorry to say. This may upset a lot of you who think that you are saving the world simply by eating organic. If it were that simple, though, there would be no problem. Now this is not to say that individuals cannot make an impact or that you should stop doing sustainable things like using CFL bulbs. Instead, this is meant to be a “slice of humble pie” to let you know that you alone cannot passively solve all of the world’s problems with a light bulb. The most dangerous thing to this planet is blindly or intentionally engaging in unsustainable practices. But what is almost equally as dangerous is people closing off their minds because they think they are already being as sustainable as possible. To truly make a difference, you need to continuously challenge yourself and really look into the consequences of what you do. Changing a light bulb is great when the light is needed but what is even better is turning off lights that don’t need to be on in the first place.
Just as a disclaimer, this life is still yours to live. If it makes you happy to not shower and allow all of your body hair to grow out to its potential, more power to you! Not showering certainly saves water and other resources and expressing yourself is a major part of the human condition. Likewise, living in the woods or a commune is a great way to create the kind of community that will make you the happiest. I only used this lifestyle as an example because I want to highlight the fact that a person can wear hemp or a tie and still be sustainable. A sustainable person can live in a self-sustaining Ecovillage or an apartment in the city. My point is not to criticize or demean but to tear down stereotypes of what is sustainable. Likewise, I target the “organic crowd” because people often think that choosing organic is enough. But, organic often only falls in the environment piece. What about the societal or economic effects? Who if growing your organic food? Who is harvesting it? Where is it coming from and at what cost? Who is selling you the food and what is their employment like? I’m not saying that there is a clear answer when it comes to the food you eat but you cannot simply choose organic and “be done.”
So this is what sustainability looks like at the Gaia level.
Hold on now, I’m with you so far but are you trying to say that something that falls somewhere outside of the dead center is bad? No, but if it falls anywhere else on the board it is not sustainable. Think about environmental justice. If we started a project that made the environment a better place and created a more socially just community we would be doing something great! But, if it cost millions of dollars a year and we were all broke and just volunteering, the project would probably not last past the first year. So while we met two of the three, the project is not sustainable. Likewise, something like fair trade on its face is wonderful because it generates capital and provides for community development and equitable exchanges. But, if this is done at the expense of the environment, it doesn’t matter how great it is for the economy or how much it benefits poor communities: it will not sustain. Sustainability is hard and there are no easy answers. What are you as an individual supposed to do when you want to do something like buy coffee: you can buy something that is organic/rainforest certified (environment) or fair trade (society/economy) or you can buy something that is out of your price range and has both labels (environment/society but not economy for you). That is why neither of the situations I presented at the beginning is truly sustainable. Sustainability requires you to keep looking deeper and constantly be looking for ways to change. As difficult as it is, you really should question anything that you feel has a certain answer as “the sustainable” solution.
One last thing to wrap up this discussion. Propose any solution and the first question will almost certainly be “is that financially feasible?” Isn’t that interesting? When you go to the bank to set up an account nobody asks you “what are the social consequences of this interest rate?” When a store enters into a contract nobody raises the environmental repercussions of the cheapest packaging and transport option. In reality, this is the scale of things:
Is the planet more important than the economy? Yes and no. That’s not the point of this exercise. If something is not economically sustainable (benefits the economy) it is not sustainable period and it will not work. So that is the wrong question to ask. The point is, rather, we need to shift our perspective. The economy and finances is very important (as anyone living on a dollar a day can tell you) but it is just a subset of society (or culture). The economy is an institution of our human culture and that is it. There is nothing magical about the economy that makes it more important than everything else. Beyond that, people are but a subset of what exists on Earth. What works for us does not necessarily work for the planet. But we are a part of the planet and we do have a right to exist here so it’s ok to favor things that are beneficial to us so long as it is not at the expense of everything else. The point of this diagram is to turn our thinking on its head: often we focus so much on work and making a living and think about the planet when we have time. Really it should be the other way around: we need to make sure the global ecosystem does not collapse into an apocalyptic mess and, in our spare time, we can work to make ends meet. Obviously that is a bit extreme but think about the madness that is just commonplace in our current ways of thinking. Doing that is the first step to understanding the history of us.
Satish Kumar explains the difference between shallow ecology and deep ecology terms first coined by the Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess. Drawing from his Jain religious background, he describes what he sees as the sacredness of nature. He suggests how the notion of deep ecology could be developed still further to form a reverential ecology that challenges the Darwinian notion of survival of the fittest.
We must draw our standards from the natural world. We must honor with the humility of the wise the bounds of that natural world and the mystery which lies beyond them, admitting that there is something in the order of being which evidently exceeds all our competence.
Also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. Topics of interest include how the biosphere and the evolution of life forms affect the stability of global temperature, ocean salinity, oxygen in the atmosphere and other environmental variables that affect the habitability of Earth.
The Gaia hypothesis is the idea that the ecosystems of Earth are so interconnected and complex (living beings evolve and shape their inorganic environment, and that environment affects the evolution of future generations of living species) that it’s possible to think of the entire planet as a body/living being.
When the Earth Gets Sick: Most Mass Extinctions Happened Slowly
In geology as in cancer research, the silver bullet theory always gets the headlines and nearly always turns out to be wrong. For geologists who study mass extinctions, the silver bullet is a giant asteroid plunging to earth.But an asteroid is the prime suspect only in the most recent of five mass extinctions, said USC earth scientist David Bottjer. The cataclysm 65 million years ago wiped out the dinosaurs.
“The other four have not been resolvable to a rock falling out of the sky,” Bottjer said. For example, Bottjer and many others have published studies suggesting that the end-Permian extinction 250 million years ago happened in essence because “the earth got sick.”
The latest research from Bottjer’s group suggests a similar slow dying during the extinction 200 million years ago at the boundary of the Triassic and Jurassic eras.
Scientific topics receiving prominent play in newspapers and magazines over the past several years include molecular biology, artificial intelligence, artificial life, chaos theory, massive parallelism, neural nets, the inflationary universe, fractals, complex adaptive systems, superstrings, biodiversity, nanotechnology, the human genome, expert systems, punctuated equilibrium, cellular automata, fuzzy logic, space biospheres, the Gaia hypothesis, virtual reality, cyberspace, and teraflop machines….Unlike previous intellectual pursuits, the achievements of the third culture are not the marginal disputes of a quarrelsome mandarin class: they will affect the lives of everybody on the planet.
Carl Gustav Jung says, upset, how the Pueblo Indians justify their existence by their ceremonies that help the sun rise every morning because it brings life, light and warmth to the world. For today’s man, this may seem naive and puerile. It is actually the expression of a capacity for wonder and a form of integral consciousness where the human being is inseparable from the whole of the cosmos and where nature is animated by a soul. This awareness still exists in the early traditions that are a source of inspiration for many ecopsychologists. These peoples, who do not know the opposition between nature and culture, did not wait for the Gaia hypothesis to know that the Earth is a self-organized living system.
I’ve read this entire book and can honestly say, this is one of my favorites. The author covers an extensive variety of subjects involving the feminine divine. Virginity, sexuality, death, time, triple-goddess ideas, this book gives an excellent overview of anything you can imagine. She includes goddesses and religious traditions from six continents!
“Drawing on myth, religious beliefs, and a revealing selection of iconography from the Paleolithic Venus of Willendorf and ancient Egyptian images of Isis to medieval Madonnas and contemporary visions of female Hindu deities, psychotherapist and folklorist Shahrukh Husain offers readers a comprehensive, cross-cultural panorama of goddess worship through the ages. Using a wealth of examples from every era and tradition, she traces a long and primal struggle that over the course of millennia saw originally female deities usurped by male-dominated priestly hierarchies, a process reflected both in myth and in actual religious practice, which saw the goddess principle attacked, diminished, and eclipsed, but never entirely eliminated. Husain examines cosmic concepts of creation and seasonal fertility, the mythic rivalries and partnerships between male and female divinities, and the explicitly sexual duality personified in the West by the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene (but common to cultures all over the world), as well as such other aspects as the warrior, the queen, and the witch or crone who snips the threads of Fate. Finally, she reviews contemporary attitudes, values, and rites, finding a new vitality after centuries of suppression: the goddess is today a subject of renewed interest to feminist theorists, cultural historians, Wiccans and Paganists, and even environmentalists, for whom the Gaia hypothesis offers a powerful metaphor reconciling modern science with ancient wisdom. Filled with vivid full-color illustrations and dozens of informative sidebars on subjects as diverse as the Vestal Virgins of Rome, the Matronit of the Kabbala, and the almost universal association of the planet Venus with goddess figures, this is a book that will appeal to a wide audience, from scholars in women’s studies, anthropology, folklore, and ancient history to more general readers interested in the female influence on cultural evolution and the antecedents to modern New Age thought.”
Imagine it: you have been rushed into the emergency room and you are dying. Your injuries are too severe for the surgeons to repair in time. Your blood hemorrhages unseen from ruptured vessels. The loss of that blood is starving your organs of vital nutrients and oxygen. You are entering cardiac arrest.
But this is not the end. A decision is made: tubes are connected, machines whir into life, pumps shuffle back and forth. Ice-cold fluid flows through your veins, chilling them. Eventually, your heart stops beating, your lungs no longer draw breath. Your frigid body remains there, balanced on the knife-edge of life and death, neither fully one nor the other, as if frozen in time.
The surgeons continue their work, clamping, suturing, repairing. Then the pumps stir into life, coursing warm blood back into your body. You will be resuscitated. And, if all goes well, you will live.
“I have a viewpoint that the planet’s kind of a self-regulating system, it keeps things stable, that’s basically the premise of the Gaia Hypothesis. Everyone’s saying that we’re screwing it up, but essentially it’s going to self-regulate in that if the sea-levels do rise, for example, it’s going to fix itself. Just not in the way that we want it to.“
Capture imagination Harness it Look to the mountains, the clouds, stars and start to wonder, then wander Feel the forest Dance with the druids Hear the trees whisper and Taste the shrooms fluids The magic, the enigma Perception becomes clearer, The soul of a warrior The mind of a traveler Dimensions cross over Is this the same flower? The rainbowed moonlight Illuminates the toadstools Freshens the forest Bewitches the woods and Space paints this pretty picture, Ethereal illusions, delusions Fermented fusions Ceremonious projections and astral musings, The bark is drooling The Sage’s mind’s oozing This fire is cooling But this giant’s just snoozing.
winstonsordeal asked you: 2012-07-01 20:18 Hi! I'm finding that I appreciate the beauty of both the animal, human, natural, and metropolitan spirit. I'm intrigued by sheer awesomeness of life but I do not believe in the use of these spirits for supernatural or magical purposes. I don't believe in a god Nor do I consider myself as Wiccan or neopagan and I like to experience life as it is. Can you please clarify if my beliefs are logical or credible? Thanks :D
I hope you don’t mind me answering this publicly–it’s a good question!
I’d say either animism would be a good direction for you to look more deeply. Animism is, simply put, the belief in spirits, with no deities implied (though theists can also be animists). However, you may also be interested in pantheism, “god” manifest in the natural world. That higher power doesn’t necessarily have to be a deity, either–the Gaia Hypothesis can also be seen as a secular form of pantheism.