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Gaia or the Man Machine?
This is an excerpt from the e-book
The Gaian-Ego Hypothesis. Also see
The Man Machine - Organisms to Organisation, Consciousness or Materialism and Survey of the Central Idea.
Some have countered the idea of the planet as a holistic organism with
comments such as: "But the question for us as individuals is: do we want our
descendants to become like the cells of organs, organs which in turn comprise
some larger entity - that is, totally dependent on the functioning of our
civilised system as a whole, mere cogs in wheels? Is it inevitably to this end
that the human pattern, like the metazoan and the social insect patterns before
it, had to evolve? Lastly, if we should not want to evolve this way, are we
still able to halt the trend that is already in progress, and if so how?"
W. D. Hamilton [FR], the author of this comment was a leading evolutionary
biologist who was a forerunner to sociobiology and the scientific study of society as a
natural evolutionary phenomenon. But in subtle ways, like most of his
contemporaries, he was caught in a
mechanistic view of the world and didn't have enough systemic insight to
comprehend what it means to form a collective organism out of ourselves. Through
collective integration we cannot but help form a super-system of some kind, we
implicitly recognise that fact through the word 'civilisation'. It is the
nature of systems to integrate and create super-systems and we are not beyond the fundamental
systemic 'laws' of the cosmos.
The only way to avoid creating beyond ourselves would be to cease all
communication and cooperation and become isolated individuals or small
fragmented tribes living close to nature, but for that the population would need
to be massively reduced, the ecosystem massively regenerated and strict
prohibition of all cooperation must be enforced. But in
our current situation it is the case that for a long time we have already been
"totally dependent on the functioning of our civilised system as a whole". We
have already become sub-systems inextricably integrated into a super-system. But
the important question is what kind of a super-system do we create out of
ourselves, will it nourish us or devour us?
That depends on what ideas flow through our minds, what ideas flow through
the culture and the way that we structure ourselves and come together in order to
interact and integrate. These factors determine whether we create a fascist
machine that enslaves us as "mere cogs in wheels" or whether we create a vibrant
healthy living organism that can thrive and glow with health, where its health
is our collective health, its intelligence is our collective intelligence and
its joy is our collective joy. More >