Subject: Gaia hypothesis (Re: Cosmo/theology ...) Yes, I've read James Lovelock's book _Ga

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From: Forrest Cahoon Subject: Gaia hypothesis (Re: Cosmo/theology ...) Yes, I've read James Lovelock's book _Gaia_, and would also refer you to the title essay of Lewis Thomas' _Lives of a Cell_ for a similar viewpoint. I'm very wary of the interpertataion of the Gaia hypothesis (and I think I remember seeing Lovelock saying something like this on Nova) that the Earth, in its miraculous balancing act, can take any punishment that the human race can dish out. We are part of Gaia, the brains in fact, and if we continue to deny our responsibility as such, we are quite litarally like a cancer on the face of this Earth ... and just because the holistic Earth-conciousness is named for (and *is*) a goddess doesn't make Her automatically immortal. I'm very much into the analogy of ecosystem as super-organism, and think that it could be a viable foundation for a utopian society. The problem I see with the Earth as super-organism guiding social concience is that it's just too big to be comprehensible to the individual humans living in it. I'm excited about the Biosphere II research at the University of Arizona, where a team of scientists is living in an isolated, totally self-supporting environment. It may be depressing for most people to think that such closed environments may eventually be necessary for survival, but what is lost in the wonderous enormity of our Earthly environment will be replaced by great vistas of true understanding of our roles within the holistic conciousness of the super-oranism, at last uniting the spiritual and the material. The most profound manifestation of such a super-organism utopia would be in outer space, in special space colonies I call Eco- cells, because they act just like cells, but on an ecological rather than biochemical scale. Here's what makes one so special: It would take materials found in outer space (asteroids, etc.), and build on to its outer shell, doubling its size. Then it would undergo a period of ecological growth inside, doubling its population & filling the new space. When a new ecological balance is achieved, the new part would be seperated from the old, forming two eco-cells. In this way, the process of mitosis, or cellular reproduction, is followed exactly, and Life would expand to fill the Universe. (Note how this fits in with my cosmo/theological premise of the Universe gaining self-awareness.) Thank you for that *excellent* soapbox opportunity :-). Forrest


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