We are called to serve Gaia.
We who answer this call,
Dedicate ourselves to Gaia.
Two posts ago, I said “The only way to serve Gaia is to understand her desires such that we can strive to satisfy them.”
But as naturalists we cannot hope to know the mind of our Goddess the way that supernaturalists try to know the minds of their deities. We can’t, for instance, pray for guidance and hope that she responds by inserting the guidance directly into our minds as revelations. Nor can we read signs in random phenomena and believe that such signs are anything more than our own desires reflected back at us through the priming effect.(1) Instead we must seek these desires by studying her actual behaviour.
Last post I described how Gaia has been growing holonic levels for billions of years. Existing levels grow stronger and new levels grow at the top. I postulated that future holonic levels might include continent spanning superorganisms and galaxy spanning communions of biospheres. This is an example of taking her behaviour and projecting it further.
To serve Gaia, would be to help her continue this work. It is the work that brought us about. It is the work that brought about all of the most alive ecosystems in the world; forests and reefs and bogs. It is the work that made Gaia as strong and beautiful as she is today. It seems to me, that our greatest legacy would be to have helped Gaia become even stronger and more beautiful by continuing that work. For me, TheDestiny is one of the next steps in that work. It will not be about humanity; it will be, instead, humanity’s contribution to Gaia.
But theDestiny is really just one in a series of Destinies. Gaia broke through the sea/land barrier and that was, for the organisms living at that time, theDestiny. If they had had language and if flowering plants had already evolved by that time they might have said:
The Destiny of EarthSeed is to take root and flower upon the land.
Likewise the ancestors of the conifers might have said:
The Destiny of EarthSeed is to take root and produce cones in the Boreal.
And, most recently, the ancestors of the cacti might have said:
The Destiny of EarthSeed is to take root and flower in the hot deserts.
Are we finished here on Earth? I would say no. Gaia has been expanding into colder and dryer and less hospitable environments as the aeons have passed. In each environment she has grown more diverse and evolved organisms that grow three dimensional matrices of life in which myriad niches arise for other organisms to diversify into.
From this we can see that she has three desires that underlie theDestiny and which inform how we should be serving her here on Earth. The first is that she wishes to expand into more and more environments. The second is that she wishes to increase her biomass in each environment by altering the environment itself into a three dimensional matrix of life, by transforming the environment itself into her body. Reefs and forest and bogs are the rock of Terra, transubstantiated into the body of Gaia. The third desire is for increasing diversity of Life.
And so, we have before us smaller destinies that we have yet to accomplish:
The Destiny of EarthSeed is to grow forests over the tallest mountains
The Destiny of EarthSeed is to grow forests over glaciers
The Destiny of EarthSeed is to grow floating forests over the sea
The Destiny of EarthSeed is to grow flying forests across the sky
In serving Gaia, we are called to do more than just preserve wilderness. She does not wish to be a pickle, preserved inside a jar, hemmed in by the glass and steel of a separate human civilization. Nor does she call us to just re-establish what was. God is change and Gaia shapes God. She desires to be more than she was, not to return to what she was.
Civilization is not something separate from Gaia. It is an expression of Gaia. But it is an expression that has been working toward the wrong goals. We cut down forests instead of growing them. We extinguish species more often than we breed new ones. We must learn to do the opposite. Certainly, we must regrow what we cut down but, also, we must learn to grow forests where none have grown before. Certainly, we must protect species on the brink of extinction but, also, we must continue to breed new ones for without new species, we will never have forests on the highest mountain tops, nor on glaciers, nor floating on the sea, nor drifting across the sky like clouds, nor living on Mars.
So often we imagine terraforming Mars. But to say that such a task is difficult, is to understate the challenge that faces us. To say that a task is challenging is not to say we shouldn’t do it. We will learn to terraform Mars and we will apply what we learned to Gaiaforming Earth. We will learn to Gaiaform Earth and we will apply what we learn to terraforming Mars.
God is change.
It is the nature of the universe that massive change happens.
The Terraforming of Mars will be God.
The Gaiaforming of Earth will be God.
EarthSeed is a powerful enough being to shape God.
(1) Patternicity: Finding Meaningful Patterns in Meaningless Noise , Scientific American, December 1, 2008
2 thoughts on “Gaia Calls Us”
As I’ve said to Eric before, I don’t think all surface ecosystems need to be converted into forests in order to be most valuable to Gaia. I’d also say that growing more reefs in more parts of the ocean should be on the agenda, and that filling the air with more life will probably involve things that don’t look much like forests (and whatever they are, they need to be sparse enough that light can still get through to the surface!)
That said, I do like forests, and land plants in general. And I’m not sure that they aren’t already united in something close to continent-spanning superorganisms, via the vast networks of mycchorizal fungi connecting plant roots to each other through the soil. http://schaechter.asmblog.org/schaechter/2013/08/mycorrhizal-fungi-the-worlds-biggest-drinking-straws-and-largest-unseen-communication-system.html
I agree Ben, I didn’t make it clear enough in the post but at one point I just got tired of using the words “three dimensional matrix of life” of the words “forests, reefs and bogs”. I use the word forest as short hand for this. Scuba divers describe kelp beds as forests. Where I live, local lakes have “forests of broad-leaf pond weeds”. These forests can be twenty feet tall and regrow seasonally. Fish and Loons swim among them among other creatures. I myself love to snorkle through them. The bottom is usually covered in a rich lawn of chara and coontail. I don’t imagine all forests will be made of trees or indeed land plants.