February 16th, 2002

Jivan Vatayan. responds to yesterday’s dialogue posted at CommUnity of Minds. The topic is GAIA and humanity’s role in her organization.


Jivan Vatayan Responds

Yesterday, Timothy Wilken wrote: The concept of GAIA is well known to synergic scientists. As I understand it the term Ecodiversity Lifeform is unique to your writing. If I have mischaracterized your term as just another name for GAIA, I apologize.
No reason to apologize. My preference is for a phrase that I see as more descriptive of this phenomenon. To me the word Gaia has induced human-centered and new age projections.
Timothy -> I am arguing that humanity is just as much a part of LIFE as any bacterium. We are just as much a cell in the body of GAIA as any slime mold. We humans are not separate from LIFE.
Yes, analogically the human species is (for the most part) a virulent cancer cell in the body of Gaia. Although present day technology makes it unlikely we will kill the whole body we live inside of, we can do and are doing damage to the health of the body, damaging its resilience (its analog of an immune system) and its ability to robustly create. We are living in an era of human-induced ecological catastrophe.
 
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Earlier, I wrote: There is NO evidence up to now (that I can discern) that The Ecodiversity Lifeform benefits whatsoever from human neurons. Rather the coupled and interdependent systems of compatible genetically adapted ecosystems and organisms that drive the Ecodiversity Lifeform are manifestly endangered by the human presence.
Timothy ->I absolutely agree that present humanity — Adversary humanity that believes success requires someone to lose. And, Neutral humanity that believes everything is only a product to be offered for sale, and that all problems can be solved with money. — have very little to offer GAIA. However, a future humanity committed to co-Operation, viewing itself as part of LIFE, with a responsibility to all LIFE and to EARTH could be of great value to GAIA.
I often use “Starhawk’s” term of power-with rather than power-over to describe the difference between adversarial and co-operative relations.
 
The power-over human-centered worldview continues to gain momentum in a fear-based world. The busy-ness of this world allows very little available energy left (in most people) to consider a complete change in the way the entire species views, lives and behaves on Earth. When people entertain such utopian notions their views tend to be so radically divergent that step one of an infinite number of steps to create a new world is hardly ever agreed upon.
 
Nevertheless, the possibility of a future utopian humanity with an entirely different worldview, way of being and living on Earth and relating to existence is an enthralling dream. Proposing the dream (no matter how unrealistic it appears to be) is the first stage in giving the dream any possible reality.
 
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The four EarthSelf principles represent an Earth Self (Gaian – if you will) bonding to four basic ways of experiencing the mystery of reality – (1 – body), (2 – feeling-relation), (3 – story-mind) and (4 – spirit). (Bonding represents our connection to existence. You have touched on the third EarthSelf principle with your statement:
“However, a future humanity committed to co-Operation, viewing itself as part of LIFE, with a responsibility to all LIFE and to EARTH could be of great value to GAIA.”
The third principle (story) asks – What is going on? What is the deeper story, the laws of life connection?
 
The existence of the holons (cells, individuals, species, ecosystems, The Ecodiversity Lifeform) of life, and life’s elaborations and diversity suggests that the role of competition, and power-over (that we humans have emphasized) is nested in and subservient to a greater field of cooperation. For life to assemble its dramatic array of evolving developments the role of disassembly and conflict must give way to the greater role of cooperation. Life elaborates through creative symbiosis. This is the deeper basis of cooperation and connection from which all predator-prey relationships and all forms of competition/cooperation arise. From this insight (for instance) it is now understood that parasitism is an essential form of symbiosis that drives evolution. The third principle states that to be synergetic with The Ecodiversity Lifeform we need to understand the deeper story of synergy and cooperation (creative symbiosis) as the basic compelling and underlying story we bond to.
Timothy -> Yes, as previously written here, we could protect GAIA from a comet. We could also clone and replace important, but lost species of plants and animals. We could begin protecting GAIA’s ecosystems instead of exploiting or ignoring them. In fact, we haven’t even begun to imagine the good we could do if we simply committed to helping Nature.
The essential protection we can do for the body of life appears to be to protect it from our own violent predations. This repressed field of hurt and harm to the body of life can be seen to come from our progressive ability to manipulate Nature, while we experience a lack of connection, feeling and understanding of ourselves and the body of life we live inside of.
Timothy -> The Trustegrity Guardians accept as their primary responsibility the protection of humanity as community and humanity as individual.
To be synergetic with the The Ecodiversity Lifeform the prime value needs to be the body of life itself rather than any of its parts. To change we need to value the health of the essential matrix of life needs to more than of any of its components. This is the first principle. The first principle looks at the question of what is the body of life? The tentative proposed EarthSelf response is to bond with The Ecodiversity Lifeform as prime value.
Earlier Timothy wrote: GAIA is a new organism that is currently self-organizing. Gaia is still a fetus. She had not yet been born. This is my fundamental point. The Earth and all LIFE presently on the Earth represent the tissues and organs of GAIA.
I disagree. The Ecodiversity Lifeform was likely born as soon as life became a planetary phenomena. As archaeabacteria spread across the Earth and began exchanging genes the entire Earth soon became the initial stage of the Ecodiversity Lifeform – the Bacterial Superorganism. Presumably – right from the beginning – through fits and starts – this superorganism began selecting for bacteria that stabilized the superorganism.
Timothy -> I would say that you are only describing the body of GAIA. In a fetus, life begins with two cells. The last part of the organism to be developed is the central nervous system. The brain continues developing even after birth. We do not consider human children fully capable of reponsibility until they are 18 years of age.
I do not see that the ontology of human development has anything to do with the elaboration of the integrity of The Ecodiversity Lifeform. To me your attempt to equate this with Gaia is a false and human-centered analogy.
Timothy -> We are now entering the final phase of GAIA’s evolution. This is where the brain of the new organism will emerge.
I do not see any evidence for this contention.
Timothy -> The brain doesn’t decide what to do. Decision making is not controlled centrally in the brain. The mind-brain appears to act as a coordination and consensus system for all the cells, tissues, and organs in the body. The brain doesn’t decide to eat. The cells of the body decide to eat, the brain coordinates their activity and carries out the consensus will.
 
The brain is a ‘government’ that truly serves its constituents– the cells, tissues, and organs that make up the human body. The apparent ‘I’ is not real. It is really a ‘we’. We have mistaken self-organization for directed organization.
I do not dispute this model. However, this view of decision-making does not support your contention that:
 “The Internet can furnish the basis for the creation of the ‘brain’ to serve a unified species serving GAIA or your contention that Gaia’s brain is now emerging.”
The Internet can, however, be a useful way to communicate and distribute information. If the human-induced ecological catastrophe is to be addressed the Internet is now set-up to be a good way to spread important ideas.

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