Gaia faces a Crisis-of-Crises. Humankind is both primary cause and potential savior for Gaia. Gaia is the whole organized system-of-life on Planet Earth interacting with its geological environments: land, waters, and atmosphere. Humankind is part of Gaia. Gaia gave rise to humankind within herself for two INTENTIONS.
Later, I will give scientific reasons why we can hypothesize Gaia as a living entity with both capacity for foresight and agency (to act with intent on foresight). To hypothesize is not to claim truth. This scientific speculation presents an alternative context on which we humans can “understand” our common, reported phenomena. It has as much potential reality as the established scientific context positing an expanding physical universe created in a Big Bang, with the yet unexplained emergence of life, love, beauty, and creativity as “natural/unintended” processes in this cosmological universe. It is also a more useful alternative story of “creation” than provided by diverse human religions.
- Please, leave your Occam’s Razor in its holster. This razor is not a confirmed scientific principle or law, but a sharp tool used by scientific establishments slipping into dogma to eliminate opposition. The “simpler” solution is only simple because it is consistent with the established/assumed frame/paradigm/context of the current discipline. Most scientific revolutions shift paradigms and are usually more complex than what they replace.
- Foresight and agency are demonstrated to “exist” in humankind, although their “exact natures” remain controversial. Their “existence” in other components or subsystems of Gaia or Cosmos is thus possible. The human forms of foresight and agency are probably but one of many forms, which we don’t as yet comprehend or recognize. They may apply at radically different space-time scales. We have but a single slice of our cosmological universe from Gaia on Earth over a very short observation interval. Might the physical structures of stars and galaxies be the material skeletons of other “living” entities, with dark matter the “flesh”? Plasmas, the 4th state of matter common to stars and interstellar space can form holarchies (systems within systems within systems), a characteristic of Living Systems. The sponge-like distribution of galaxies (concentrations and voids) suggests a different temporal path for the cosmological distribution of matter. This recent video is astonishing.
Both above and later I write with language implying an external, knowable, existence. This existential ontology is deeply engrained in our contemporary languages. I confess that I often think within this existential ontology, as it is engrained in our intuitive/emotional minds. However, my conceptual/rational mind has accepted a complementarity of perspectives and I view ideas about existence as but tools to guide decision-making and action. A tool box can contain many different tools. Nu Genesis is only a set of tools that might facilitate relevant and sufficient human action as we face our challenges. I make no claims on objective reality.
Humankind is the budding frontier for the next major advance of Gaia’s self-organizing/learning/creating (as a whole and for its various parts). With humankind, the domain of information is liberated from the domains of matter/energy. Until the emergence of humankind within Gaia, information was bound in the matter/energy domain. Example: inheritance information was bound in the physical structure of DNA molecules. Today we can play with this information on our computers and can use that information to create new DNA sequences in molecules. InFORMation gives specific form and structure to our material world; inFORMation is embedded in the fundamental laws of physics. If this assertion is correct, the advent of humankind is a major cosmic event in the many billion year history of the cosmological universe. Humankind is very much more than another species new in the biosphere, even with all its advanced competencies. Humankind represents a discontinuity in the emergence of Gaia, a value not at risk being lost.
The emergence of humankind represents a major shift in the nature of Gaia of significance compared with prior shifts: the consolidation of the DNA/Protein molecular mapping (triads of nucleic acids in DNA matched to amino acids in Proteins), the innovation of photosynthesis, the emergence of multi-cellular and social organisms, and the emergence of neural networks.
With symbolic language humans create patterns (inFORMation) on matter/energy substrates. Examples: sound/pressure patterns from speech in air or symbols carved in stone, inked on paper, or pixelated on computer screens. These inFORMation patterns are independent of the physical nature of the substrate. I call these patterns semiotic structures (sems) when they serve as “exchange tokens” between human mind/brains. This is a truly COSMIC innovation, even if occurring on the surface of a planet in a galaxy in a cosmological expanding universe; and within a recently emergent subspecies of primate/mammal/vertebrate. Later, I may outline the current scientific story of this cosmic emergence.
The second INTENTION of Gaia, for emerging humankind, was to quickly develop sci/tech competencies so as to create means to protect Gaia from future planetary disasters causing mass extinctions. Prior mass extinctions liberated evolution from stagnation, enabling new living forms to emerge with greater complexity and beauty. Gaia forecast that another mass extinction may actually decrease complexity and beauty. Although planetary disasters may not be always stopped, a sci/tech competent humanity could insure survival and continued evolution/emergence of Gaia.
- This continued evolution/emergence of Gaia could include human-style information processing in other species and their integration into a Gaian mind/brain.
Actions within Cosmos catalyzed a premature emergence of sci/tech humankind within Gaia. Cosmos may be an “entity” like Gaia, but associated with the entire cosmological universe. This “action” occurred before (in causal time) the emergence of Gaia on Earth. Cosmos tinkered with the creation process of the Earth-Moon system such that, at the time of humankind’s emergence, the angle subtended from Earth by both moon and sun were identical. This permitted total solar eclipses at frequencies where, at any given location on Earth, humans would experience totality twice within the lifetime of some humans – so some would remember an earlier total eclipse. Later I will outline the consequences on humankind of this synchronicity. How Cosmos might accomplish this feat is another story, to come.
- This “action” occurred before (in causal time) the emergence of Gaia on Earth. Alternative conceptualizations of space-time (in relation to forecasting and agency) are possible whereby a “future Gaia” might “influence” the very formative processes of the Earth-Moon system. I have called this process “Feedpast Bootstrapping”.
The accelerated societal development within humankind (we call civilization) resulted in dysfunctional aspects for civilized humankind. These dysfunctions have resulted in humankind losing its identity with Gaia, becoming a metastasizing cancer on the body of Gaia – now threatening the continued life of Gaia.
Both humans and Gaia “suffered” under the dysfunctions of Civilization. However, the balance of gain and loss (re components, both individual organisms and species of Gaia) is an accepted feature of Gaia. All organisms are mortal and many more species have gone extinct than exist today. Actually, Gaia is a prolific new species generator. The objective has been achieved: humankind now possesses the requisite competencies to ensure the multi-millennial future survival/thrival of Humanity/Gaia. However, these competencies (and knowledge) are poorly distributed and unorganized in the collective mind/brains of humans and their archives of semiotic structures. This is adequate potential for applications and further fundamental knowledge gains; including technologies (both physical and social) to actualize this potential. Access is currently blocked by systemic dysfunctions of our societal systems and blindspots of potential human change agents. It is time to harvest these hard fought gains.
Was/Is Gaia “aware” of the risk, and was/is it willing to take the risk? Gaia is not “in control” of itself or its components and subsystems. Living entities LIVE – a PROCESS; they are not a casually deterministic process. Forecasts are not “reading THE future”. Forecasts (whether by humans or Gaia) “exist” in the Here&Now (as do Histories). An intervention, such as tweaking the Earth/Moon system in formation, would have had many alternative futures. Given that the path of emergence for humankind (within Gaia, within Cosmos) was itself experimental and uncertain, the “risk” may have been “underestimated”. I have anthropomorphized Gaia here; but the competencies we find in ourselves as human beings may just as well reflect some “universal” traits for “life” in the holarchy from Cosmos to the Quark.
What Gaia is to do about this challenge is a very delicate process. Through pandemics, Gaia could rapidly reduce the human population and collapse the mass destructive capacity of civilizations gone mad. But that would probably destroy the sci/tech infrastructure needed by Gaia to protect itself from future planetary disasters and another mass extinction. However, in doing so it has actually brought about a real risk of a self inflicted mass extinction. For we humans somewhat aware of the stakes, Gaia appears to be cutting it close – too close.
Gaia is not an omnipotent GOD. It is not in CONTROL of itself. Gaia is an integrated process constrained by “laws”. Gaia acts through its components, including us – humankind. We are not puppets being pulled by strings from Gaia. The agency of Gaia is far more subtle. Gaia may tinker with quantum probabilities, in ways that preserves the statistics. Exploring Gaian agency is a speculative game, to be played later.
Gaia may be attempting to tweak some humans in subtle ways hoping to divert the plunge into the abyss, but is experiencing inertia and resistance. The sci/tech development intended to enhance Gaian survival from future planetary disaster has been used by humankind-turned-cancer-to-Gaia to accelerate its metastasizing. The very nu consequence of humankind’s accelerated development, the liberation of information, has manifested in unexpected ways. The concept of money flattened the rich field of value into a single line. Manipulation of inFORMation enabled elites to enslave masses; and now amplified by inFORMation automation, computers facilitate manufactured consent. Even those not trapped by Main-Stream-Media cluster in silos whose exits are in their blindspots.
Has Gaia tweaked the distribution of cognitive diversity in humankind to enable a few humans to rise above the fog and discover the story being told here? That you are reading this implies you can become one of Gaia’s Pioneers. This story is not a proposal for action, but implies that strategies for action are in the making. Stay tuned.