While surely a poor shadow of really being up on the ISS, it was still humbling and beautiful and a way for a far larger number of people to experience the Overview Effect.
So…imagine that somewhere, or in many places at once, a self-replicating Gaia movement were to start, whose adherents call ourselves, simply, “Gaians.”
An ethical global perspective is necessary today. We must find the unity of Earth and the world. It would be helpful if we had a word, better yet a name, that encapsulates this unity.
If Earth is indeed Gaia, and we humans are a living part of Gaia, then maybe the living biosphere has something to say to us.
Deliberative democracy (DD) shares some key features with Gaianism and is intrinsically compatible with it, to the point that Gaians might think about taking an interest in practicing and promoting DD.
It’s tempting to equate Gaia with the Living Earth, or Mother Earth, and in fact I often say exactly that. Such constructions place emphasis on the element of earth beneath us, but Gaia is also constituted by the air around us, and the rivers and oceans, and all life — including us.
Indeed, this is where Jesus’ and Christianity’s teachings are so relevant: living simple lives—one might dare say “impoverished” lives at least when compared to the aspirational American lifestyle—in service to others and to Creation (i.e. Gaia) is an essential part of this transition.
What is the proper label for a community of people who share a way of looking at life, a way of understanding who we are, a worldview that encompasses so much? The word “religion” seems like the most appropriate descriptor.
It’s really weird, I know, to want to draw lessons from this repeat lockdown to the point of turning it into an almost metaphysical experience.
To steer ourselves towards compassion we need to dedicate ourselves to becoming Gaia-wise. Spending time in nature deeply listening to birdsong – that’s a good way to start.
Gaian self-regulation may be very effective. But there is no evidence that it prefers one form of life over another. Countless species have emerged and then disappeared from the Earth over the past 3.7 billion years. We have no reason to think that Homo sapiens are any different in that respect.
An increasing number of people are beginning to understand that the world we participate in is too complex, magnificent and changeable for any single perspective to do justice to its diversity and complexity.