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Thinking about Gaia
Writing my first book, I have read about development of organism and about Gaia. The Gaia-concept of James Lovelock is very interesting, because it shows the interdependence of living organisms and atmosphere and lithosphere. The chemical composition of the atmosphere would be different without living organisms at the Earth. Already I knew some ideas from the Noosphere-concept of the Russian scientist Wernadski.

Also I know that matriarchal cultures don't destroy nature, because they are living more "circular" in the rhythms of months and years. Gaia is often their goddess.

Modern Gaia-concepts refer to this ideas too. I am interested in the discussions in the Internet mailing list of the Gaia Preservation Coloalition (GPC). Maybe I can add some ideas:

1. The developing Gaia

The Gaia-concept don't show me a circular being. Rather I learned that all organisms change their environment and this change the conditions of their life. They must react - and so on. This became a Co-evolution in a shape of a spiral, not a circle. The first cells produced oxygen, which was a dangerous poison for the cell-material. The cells changed themselves so that they protected oneself from the oxygen and they learned to use oxygen for energy production.

Therefore I think that a "sustainable life" cannot be only a circular being. We (human as a part of nature in a developing nature)have to develop ourself too. Mere quantitative growth is not a development in this means. Development means the arising of other (new) qualities based on interactions with environment. Development need more energy and materials at some stages - at others not. I think that the modern world society don't need more energy and material for development. We must reach the "Plateau" :

In this meaning we must really reach a "Steady state" -economy. I think we must distinguish between quantitative growth and qualitative development. In refusing growth we need not refuse development. But there is nowhere an equilibrium in nature, there is everywhere evolution, development. Development is not more production, more work, more profit. It means today another production, another life, another culture.

We are on a "bifurcation point" we know from the self-organization-concept:

(see: Schlemm: "Dass nichts bleibt, wie es ist..." Part I, Muenster 1996 p.124)

In this time we are inside the jump to another state. This jump will be not only a cultural transformation, but also economical changes. But it will be see not only economic transformations, but cultural too. A stage is sustainable, if it allows jumps into new stages and don't destroy its basis.

I do not assume that we will reach an eternal stable, "the right" stage after the jump. Maybe other jumps again change the world and the cosmos. "Sustainable" means "Ability to Co-evolution".

2. Emancipation and Co-Evolution instead of "eternal stable ("right") stages" in a pregiven unity

All jumps have to maintain their basis for existence. Gaia is our basis. With Gaia only we will develop ourselves. I'm afraid that Gaians don't like emancipation of humans. Indeed we often forget that our emancipation needs Gaia too. But I won't forget our possible emancipation within a Co-evolution.

Bill wrote at the list discussion at the mailinglist that Gaia metaphor "creates a unity of science and humanity". That maybe right. But does Gaia define all values of humanity? Haven't humans possibilities to decide and create new possibilities and feasibilities? Bill said also "that we are all merely insignificant nodes in an almost infinite complex many dimensional cosmic network." I can't accept "merely insignificant". If we stay inside the Gaia metaphor we are the brain of Gaia and the brain is not "merely insignificant". Yes, Gaia may exist without humans. The working of Gaia is caused by the living of "primitive" organisms (organismic-atmospheric-lithosperic interactions). But I can't accept that this unconscious being is the essence of Gaia!

3. " unite human and nature in freedom"

The German philosopher Friedrich Schelling suffered from the distinction between human and nature too. He knew: Uniting is necessary. But he also knew that the difference of them is necessary in order to unite them in freedom conscious.

Ken Wilber uses a convenient presentation: the first "unite" is a "fusion" (mush without differences). But than we need the stage of differences to achieve the stage of "Integration". Integration has not the same meaning as "fusion"! In this way I can accept spirituality and wholeness.

Maybe you know these above mentioned states as stages of "dialectic" or "speculative thinking" of Hegel. There are new aspects regarding to Hegel. The new aspects contain the existing of the variants in a field of possibilities. There is not "the one synthesis", "the one way" to develop. There are many possibilities within a "frame".
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