From CAWeb (http://www.caw.org/articles/index.html)
by Anodea Judith
Conspire: (from spiritus, or spirit) to concur or work to one end; act in harmony; co-operate; to plot together; breathe together.
Gaea Earth Mother Goddess of pre-classical Greece, creator of the Heavens.
Gaean Conspiracy: a movement to connect the subsystems of Gaea into harmonious cooperation through mutual recognition of their identity as part of an evolving planetary deity.
We are all part of the Gaean Conspiracy. Based on the scientific and thealogical (i) premise that the Earth is an enormous multi-systemic creature--a planetary deity we call Gaea--the Gaean Conspiracy is a movement to reconnect our social, economic, scientific, religious and political systems into harmonious co-creation with the larger, long standing bio-geological Gaean system. It is a recognition of the evolutionary process that must take place as our planetary being awakens to a more integrated, self-reflexive state of global consciousness. The coordination of this planetary harmony is the next evolutionary step that we face as a species and as a planet.
The Gaean Conspiracy is based on the following major premise: The Earth is a single living being, whose rocks, plants, animals, air, oceans and oozing mantle are all interdependent systems in a giant biological superorganism.
A scientific principle with religious overtones, this hypothesis states what ancient Paleo-Pagans knew instinctively: that the Earth and all life upon it are an interpenetrating system of divine proportion. Earth's ability to resist entropy and to regulate temperature, oxygen, ocean salinity, and other qualities necessary for life indicates that She is a biological superorganism having consciousness. This dynamic Homeostasis (self-regulation) of living organisms and their environment is the interface that human beings are constantly threatening.
Over two decades ago, an article by Otter Zell entitled "Theagenesis: The Birth of the Goddess" (Green Egg, Vol V. #40) contained the first published description of the Earth as a living Goddess. Otter's vision was based on the fact that all life in the biosphere began with a single organism, which has divided infinitely to form the incredible diversity of life that has evolved thus far. Much as a fertilized ovum divides again and again to make up the many organs of the human body, all life in the biosphere is part of a single living organism, of which we and the plants and animals are like cells and perhaps, collectively, organs.
The Gaia Hypothesis has been popularized by James Lovelock, an atmospheric scientist, and Lynn Margulis, a microbiologist. Through his observations of atmospheric fluctuations, Lovelock discovered that the atmosphere of Gaea maintains a consistent composition, defying the behavior of reactive gases. Such a homeostatic balance of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide is an anomaly in our solar system. Oxygen, highly reactive, should combine with the reducing gas of methane or react with the 78% nitrogen and fall to the ground. Instead, oxygen remains at a constant 21%. In addition, despite a 25% warming of the sun over geological time, there are homeostatic balances of world temperature and of the constant salinity of the ocean, which, logically should get saltier as it evaporates. In the words of Lovelock, "It must take a lot of work to keep up such a wild disequilibrium."
And who is doing the work? It is our biosphere, that arose over 3.5 billion years ago: the microbes and the plants and animals which interact with the seemingly solid organ of Gaea's crust. This as a spider's web, this delicate miracle of life is the chemical and climatic thermostat of the Goddess.
But Gaea is not the biosphere alone. Just as a living redwood tree is ninety-seven percent inanimate matter, just as a snail includes its shell, so Gaea is a total organism, comprising Her crust, Her flowing mantle and Her radioactive metallic core. Her changing biosphere is a thin layer of expression on Her beautiful face--the visage of the One of Whom we are a part and upon Whom we depend to survive.
Gaea is not only alive, She is conscious. An organism that is alive changes. As a thing changes it either moves towards entropy, increasing disorder, or towards organization and greater complexity. We see in every untouched wilderness that Gaea keeps Her house beautiful and balanced. We know by the proliferation of species and the perfection of untampered ecosystems that Gaea resists entropy.
The ability to resist the natural entropy of open systems implies the influence of consciousness or intelligence. Gaea's ability to sustain the wild disequilibrium of which Lovelock speaks is indicative of a feedback process that elicits a self-correcting response. She is able to sense and to change accordingly to maintain the exact conditions needed for life--operative intelligence at work.
While Lovelock was strongly criticized for implying that Gaea's intelligence had purpose, by definition a thing that is moving toward greater organization is evolving . Since She is alive and evolving, we watch of the pattern and ask the questions, "What is She evolving into?" and How can we help?"
The basic evolutionary pattern in biological organisms is movement toward greater consciousness. Since the animals with the largest brains are the most recent additions, this progression is called _cephalization_. Simple homeostasis does not require a great deal of consciousness--our bodies maintain their inner temperatures and chemical balance with little if any attention from our conscious mind. But a circumstances require greater effort to maintain balance, greater consciousness is also required: when it gets really cold, we put a coat on or make a fire.
Teilhard de Chardin, apocalyptic theologian, spoke of the Earth growing a new organ of consciousness which he called the noosphere. The noosphere which is about two days old in Gaean time,(ii) is made up of creatures who are capable of sharing and spreading consciousness. It can be thought of as Gaea's cerebral cortex. Humans and animals may be the neurons of Gaea, growing neural networks via our wondrous communications systems, which are themselves only seconds old. This means Her consciousness is growing very rapidly.
What does a being do as it becomes conscious? Many spiritual systems, especially the older ones, have risen from the very fabric of this world. Gaea's evolutionary thrust is reflected in the spiritual goals of self-realization.
To realize one's self means to awaken to whom you are in your entirety, to harmoniously integrate your inner parts. Based on models of modern psychology, systems thinking and spiritual enlightenment, the next stage of planetary evolution will involve a reclamation of lost and severed parts; a reintegration and increased functionality of interdependent systems; and a continual self-examination and self-correction aiming toward complete identity as part of a planetary being.
Realization on a planetary scale means that a critical mass of the conscious aspects of Gaea realize the absolute importance of all the other Gaean components and unite with them. To come to understand that there is no "other," only a very large self that is highly diversified within, is a global process of epoch proportions which will extend far beyond our lifetimes.
Put simply, this means:
GAEA IS TRYING TO WAKE UP!
The noosphere is all sentient creatures as well as the interconnecting nerve fibers of the media and telecommunications networks. Even animals are part of this network: as we watch movies and documentaries about them, we bring them into our consciousness. In the same way that the occipital nerve of our central nervous system influences our consciousness by bringing visual information to the brain, the international communications medium is a neural network that affects our global consciousness.
While we sleep, we are unaware of external visual input and instead dwell in the archetypal realm. The process of awakening from sleep is reflected in an increasing ability to connect quickly and directly with what is going on around us.
So, too, is the planet awakening through the development of the noosphere. Once upon a time, war could occur in Europe without anyone in North America having any knowledge of it. Then the noosphere grew and we could know, but with a time lag, a buffering separation between the reality of the war and our consciousness of it. Now the planetary nervous system is awakening ever more and information about significant events reached a much larger body of consciousness more quickly. The experience is also a fuller one of sight and sound together. The noosphere is evolving, its body of consciousness self-organizing into an elaborate neural network.
When an injured person falls into unconsciousness, they cease to be aware of their wounds. As they come to, they first become aware of sensations and sounds. Then they open their eyes to their surroundings and next try to sit up, only to find their body racked with pain. Working toward awareness of the situation as a whole, they attempt to connect the sensory information impacting their groggy consciousness; they begin to remember who they are, where they are, and what happened.
Gaea is awakening now, as Her various members realize that they are part of a larger divine system. She got a look at Her face in the mirror when the pictures of Earth from space were broadcast into the minds of Her children. When all the part of Gaea recognize each other as participants in parallel growth heading for an Omega point of coalescence and integrative harmony, then the global consciousness of this planet will have awakened to a realization of identity as a global being.
We who are aware of this process are privileged to have a ringside seat. We are Her eyes and ears. Her voice and hands. Human beings, with our instruments of science and global communication, are in a unique position to understand the direction of this change and help it or thwart it--at our own liberation or peril. Asking and perhaps discovering in what direction Her evolutionary thrust is moving, in answering, we become partners in it.
Teilhard de Chardin observed: "Man is not the center of the universe, as once we thought in our simplicity, but something much more wonderful--that arrow pointing the way to the final unification of the world in terms of life."(iii)
But what expression is being carved on the face of the Goddess Gaea. In our rush towards planetary realization, we are creating the paralysis of _greedlock_.(iv) Since everything on this planet is part of Gaea, what in the world is She doing to Herself? Is destruction or our own habitat part of Her plan? Is She trying to get rid of us because we are a failed experiment? Or are we an inoculation hurrying Her own awakening? If we are She, and we are also destroying the most living aspect of Her, does that mean She is involved in self-destruction? If so, _why_?
GAEA IS REACTING TO A DEEP PSYCHIC WOUND
I return again to human beings as a model. People come to me in my healing practice to deal with self-destructive activities that they are unable to stop: drinking, eating, scratching themselves raw, ruining their relationships, hurting their children. They don't want to be doing these things and they aren't fully conscious of why they do. Our culture is full of this kind of addictive self-destruction.
In every case, the behavior was the result of one wound or several that had been glossed over, forgotten, discounted or distorted. An unhealed wound of any magnitude is an event that thwarts the evolutionary progress of the afflicted. Until the wound is healed, the organism cannot go on to become what it is meant to be.
Human addictive destruction of the biosphere can be understood as a systemic reaction on the part of Gaea to escape from a wound. It is a sign of something having gone awry, of a negative conspiracy , a self sabotage reflex, a circuit breaker. If this is, then what is the wound?
The wound that Gaea sustained is the wound of Her children turning away from Her. If her children were to be the arrow pointing the way to unification, then we are surely missing the mark. Instead of unity, our separation from Nature has resulted in a fragmentation of Her energy. Culture is severed from planet, much as mind is "severed" from body, the ongoing condition from wounds suffered. As a result, we are living with a biospheric amnesia and Gaea is living in a state of partial dissociation. The noosphere has become what Theodore Roszak calls the neurosisphere.
The imposition of patriarchal dominator values, which destroyed the religions and cultural models that revered the Earth, was the original infliction of this wound. It has been a 6,000 year process of separation of human beings from Nature (long for us, but moments to Gaea). In this time we have moved away from biological models for our cultural structure, replacing them with mechanistic ones. Powerful, but out of step with Gaea, they take us away from Her and from ourselves as biological beings.
But in reality this separation is not actually possible--we are utterly dependent upon Gaea. Our separation is an illusion that unfortunately has us firmly in its grip. Joanna Macy points out:
"Trying to escape from something that we are dependent on breeds a love-hate relationship with it. This love-hate relationship with matter permeates our culture and inflames a twofold desire--to destroy and to possess. These two impulses , craving and aversion inflame each other in a kind of vicious circle."(v)
So our culture compulsively seeks to possess and destroy the very deity that gives us life. We are each part of Gaea. Her wound is our own wound. As we are separated from Mother Nature, we are simultaneously separated from our own nature. Our self-destruction is her destruction. As the face of our planet breaks out in biospheric acne, our social systems break down, our economic systems decline, our political systems wage war and our immune systems fail. Our despair is Her despair. Her pain is our doom.
But as we are microcosmic reflection of Her, so is our visions and our hope. Herein lies the good news.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Get rid of the illusion of separateness between yourself and other parts of the planet--"us and them" thinking. Look to heal the wounds within yourself and others--even your enemies are part of Gaea. Connect again with Nature, walk in the wilderness, immerse your consciousness in places where She is still whole and healthy. Help others to recognize the vision of global consciousness. Promote awareness of the Earth as awareness of our very selves and of our purpose in this amazing cosmic creation story.
Conduct rituals that strengthen the connection of human and Gaean consciousness. Recycle. Pray. Give money to environmental organizations. Write letters to your newspaper. Learn to love each other and appreciate the beauty and diversity She has created. Help to bring about the critical mass that can carry us on to global awakening. *Wake up!*
Ben Franklin once said that his greatest invention was the word "American" to describe the melting pot of cultures that were forming this country. It erased the differences emphasized by such labels as "Dutch," "Italian," "French," "Virginian," "New Yorker," "Catholic," "Jewish," or "Protestant." Otter Zell has suggested we being to think of ourselves as "Gaeans," a word that further transcends our races, religions, or nationalities. As Gaeans we can join together in this global conspiracy to awaken our Mother and thank her for the miraculous gift of life she gives us.
Humanity stands on the brink of a quantum leap in evolution. The effects of a global change in consciousness are truly cosmic, shrinking by comparison the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War, and the advent of computers. We have an enormous opportunity if we can recognize it before we destroy our chance. The Gaean Conspiracy is based on the belief that planetary awakening will occur through the mutual recognition and coordination of _all_ our major systems; from individuals and families to cities and continents; from politics and economics to religion and science. As Al Gore stated at the Democratic Convention, "The environment must be the central organizing principle for civilization."
As we balance our mechanistic models by integrating them with spiritual and biological models, we make the first steps in the transformation. This process extends beyond our lifetime. For this reason, it is difficult for us to conceive and implement it . But if homo sapiens is indeed the animal privileged to point the arrow, let us reflect deeply upon its direction.
i Thealogical, spelled with an "a" refers to the feminine aspect of theology.
ii Two days old is derived by setting the dawning of the noosphere at about one million years ago, the first use of fire. Figuring that Gaea may be one third of the way through her life of 15 billion years, one million years is about two days in our lifetimes.
iii Teilhard de Chardin, Phenomenon of Man, translated by Bernard Wall, Harper Torch Books, 1959 pp. 154-157
iv A term coined by Theodore Roszak, Voice of the Earth, Simon and Schuster, 1992
v Joanna Macy, World as Lover, World as Self, Parallax Press, 1991 p. 7.