Friday, October 7, 2011

Meditations on Gaia

Meditations on global unity and the Gaia paradigm. The song is Nominal Structures B by Teemu T.
The Gaia hypothesis is especially interesting if the macroscope is adjusted so that the only part of the ecosystem under observation is homo sapiens. On that scale, the neuro-mimetic structures are readily apparent, and the hint at a similarity to the individual mind - on the functional level, beyond mere aesthetic and form - can hardly be ignored. Asimov's predictions of a new branch of science, named psychohistory, is wonderfully topical - as, indeed, it always should be, by its very nature as an image of the Zeitgeist, or, to use another name, the Novelty Waves of Terence McKenna's Timewave Zero. The suggestion is to apply psychotherapeutical and psychiatric (indeed, why not neurological!) principles to the Earth-mind.
Perhaps the most revered Persian poet, Farīd ud-Dīn, the perfumer of Nishapur, describes the Concourse of the Birds, in his famous work depicting the search of a flock for the mythical Simurgh:
It was in China, late one moonless night,
The Simorgh first appeared to mortal sight --
He let a feather float down through the air,
And rumours of its fame spread everywhere;
Throughout the world men separately conceived
An image of its shape, and all believed
Their private fantasies uniquely true!
What follows is a quest, individual in shape to all who partake (and many are interviewed in private during the progress). The path is unique to everyone, and the destination can only be grasped by travelling to it:
But since no words suffice, what use are mine
To represent or to describe this sign?
Whoever wishes to explore the Way,
Let him set out -- what more is there to say?

And why not? The theory of fractal scales suggests that self-similarity is everywhere - as applies to the globe mind, the self-serving military-industrial complex of the United States is a jarring, but, one should hope, provocative example. Indeed, the Gaia-mind and the illusory self-mind become expressly evident (as contrasted with the merely implicit unity that is ever-present) in
The Global Village, as envisioned by the likes of McLuhan and Tim Berners-Lee, which exists beyond the quasi-real world of the WWW.  BBC's The Prisoner miniseries (remake of the one from 1968) explores this theme with cunning metaphor and insight. In the dream-world of the pueblo (a term more apt, as it refers to the people and the whole in one, inseparable as they are), the only limitation to imagination is the very existence of the Village. The protagonist, inflicted to identify himself to other nodes in this patchwork as "he who is Sicks" has reason to seek an exit. He seeks the portals to the equally real yet utterly different parallel-world of the ego-selves, the viewpoint that stresses the focus on the individual and not the whole, or the part in favor of the entirety - the subjective experience over the fluid dynamics of the dance. In this endless system, the most venerable is "he who is Too" - the power of relation. In this case, his message relentless but his interest unquenchable: beyond the Village there is simply... "more Village". You may recontextualize, but never truly disconnect.
Personally, I've been breathing in the pueblo ever since I found it, on a sidewalk...

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