This planet is not terra firma.
It is a delicate flower and it must be cared for.
It’s isolated, and there is no resupply.
And we are mistreating it.
- Scott Carpenter, astronaut
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Epigenesis refers to the “unfolding development in an organism, the development of a plant or animal from an egg or spore through a sequence of steps in which cells differentiate and organs form.” But if as some believe, the Earth itself is as organism, where are we in the process now?
Gaia theory says that the Earth is not a ball of rock with life on its surface just “by random accident”, but a self-regulating system, alive for all intents and purposes. The Gaia hypothesis was formulated by the environmentalist James Lovelock and co-developed by the microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s.The term is derived from the primal Greek goddess who personified the Earth, “Mother Nature,” or the Earth Mother.
But it goes much further back than that, and is far less limited. If the Earth is a Living Entity, then it must follow that other worlds are living too ~ as well as stars, solar systems, galaxies ~ in fact, the Universe itself. This was the belief of the Ancients, including the Maya. Today, this view is being re-considered. Wild and “Impossible?” From a so-called modern, western viewpoint, maybe so.
We tend to think we’re sitting at the Pinnacle of Knowledge given our technology, our so-called progress and our scientific expertise, today. But so-called modern, industrial peoples are the ones committing Ecocide across every continent, so our theories and our “progess” haven’t haven’t proven beneficial in the end. We need to ask, why (if we’re so advanced) has our culture virtually destroyed the fragile eco-system we call home? Do we really represent the Height of human knowledge, or could it be, there were people wiser, smarter, more than advanced than us in ages past we in our smugness, dismiss or overlook?
Our technological society may have a false assumption of the Universe: namely, that the Cosmos is devoid of feeling, intelligence and purpose. With us, the Universe is studied from without, the way you’d analyze the contents of a petrie dish. The conclusion ever since the dawn of western science, holds that we, as humans, “just happen to exist” within a complex system made of waves, atoms, particles, sub-particles, time, null-time, space, dark matter, dark energy, probabilities and other yet-to-be-determined properties. But maybe this has been our downfall. We think of atoms and planets and stars and everything else, as “just things” while we observe it from the bleachers, utterly disconnected from the show.
The Ancients perceived it in a different way. They believed the Earth, the sun, the Galaxy, the Universe itself is not a system, or part of a system simply made of time and matter but rather, is alive, dynamic and intelligent. We can’t study it the way we would a petrie dish … because we’re in the petrie dish, ~ or, we ARE the petrie dish ~ one more facet of the all-pervasive Cosmic Mind.
It’s interesting, that quantum theorists are wrestling with the very same idea from a modern-day perspective, since the advent of Relativity, String Theory, M-theory, and the like. The two schools of thought may even meet in time, to form a post-modern, pan-human, holistic science ~ one which understands the Universe as a Single Multi-form Energy Event. “Thus, human consciousness and the human body (and the owl consciousness and the body of the owl) are all flowerings of one numinous Cosmic Process.”
Strange winds are blowing through the cracks in the myth of our technological superiority! I was at the first Earth Day ever held in Berkeley, California back in 1970. I remember the excitement. I had just read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (even now, a horrifying expose about the toxic petro-chemicals in which we drench our food crops and environment); not too long before that, was the Santa Barbara Oil Spill of 1969, which still ranks third among the most horrendous oil spills in history superceded only by the Exxon Valdez and the more recent BP Disaster in the Gulf. No one could foresee those, though… not then. It’s fairly safe to say, everybody in attendance probably thought what I did ~ that we’d take an uphill turn from there, solve the problems of environmental damage and pollution, save the Earth! But it’s been forty years. And as Earth Day rolls around again, it seems our fragile Mother Planet is in more distress than ever. Yes. There must be something deeply wrong about our way of doing things.
If the Maya had it right (and who’s to say they didn’t), maybe Earth is due to waken from a troubled slumber very soon and wake us up, as well! When the next phase of planetary Epigenesis begins, we may be in for a sudden shift in paradigm! I rather think we’re going to find that we were wrong… the Myth is not the Maya with their cryptic calendar, the Hopi with their 5th World or any such enigma from the past, but the “infallibility” of modern science and technology. I guess we’ve all heard the saying… “If the Earth is alive, she’s royally p**’ed off by now!” I suspect She is.
And I can’t say I blame her! But I hope we’re looking at a New Beginning, as the Mayans seemed to say… here and now, we need one.
(My thoughts for Earth Day… much of the above is paraphrased or based on, Brian Swimme’s introduction to The Mayan Factor by Jose Arguelles: recommended reading if you’re interested in Mayan prophecies or ancient wisdom and cosmology.)
Credit for elements used in this image goes to Tasastock at Deviantart.com (Mother Universe) and jraco (Earth). Stellar background, other planets, are from Hubble images. Multiple custom brushes are applied, as well as palettes and light-effects in CS2