What IS Gaia exactly?

Prospect Hill Friends Meeting has invited me to present to them this Sunday.
Lyn and I agreed on the topic, “What IS Gaia exactly?”

Here are my current thoughts, in preparation.
Today I say:
Vision is an active and constructive process.
I learned about “vision” in junior high school science class. They taught, “the process of vision begins when light enters the eye…” with a diagram of a cross-section to the eye, and the image of a tree upside down on the retina.
I believe the explanation and diagram are accurate, but woefully inadequate. Fundamentally short-sighted.
What we “see”… –reality-creation– is a dance
and the eyeballs are only the dancing shoes.
The process of “seeing something” –of reality creation– is well described as
a story we tell ourselves.

And the fullest expression of human “seeing”
is culture
, which is a many-layered fabric of stories.
The creation of culture is an amazing process. Archeologists report excitedly on the early stages of its development:
“We have found high concentrations of pollen grains among the skeletons buried in these ancient graves! This means these people from the dawn of the human era were buried with flowers. The creation of story, of meaning, of culture-mediated reality had begun.”
Culture includes stories which hold paradoxes. Example: a god, devoted to us, who punishes with death.

.: I thought your topic was
What IS Gaia exactly?
.: Thank you. That IS my topic.
Where I have gotten to, so far, in my presentation is:
I “see” Gaia.
If we are to “see” Gaia together, it will necessarily be a creative process, a dance between ourselves and unmediated reality, which we can know only by mediating it.
So far I’ve been talking epistemology: how we know what we know.
Talking Owen Barfield’s SAVING THE APPEARANCES
Talking Alfred North Whitehead and “process theology.”

Let me try to shift my focus from how we humans mediate unmediated reality
to the shape of reality my vision shows me:
Just as gestation is a process,
Just as the succession of forest types to a climax biome is a process,
I believe life on earth is a process.

A dynamic process we can recognize.
One we can try to work with, rather than against.
Indeed, I want to shout from the roof tops to the lost citizens of Industrial Civilization:
Here is organic wholeness!
Here is guidance for what ails us!
Here is a basis on which we can make our billions of choices.
And if we do
We will find
We will co-create
Our proper place in the world.

“How?” (You might ask.)
“Would this discovery of Gaia’s process take place in a laboratory?”
“Would we try to poll all of humanity, and maybe the animals too?”
“How would we learn what Gaia ‘wants,’ where she is headed, where she wants to go?”

Today, I say:
Just as the embryo is a pattern that becomes manifest through the process of gestation
So Gaia is a pattern
In the process of manifesting

So, before a particular process of Gaia unfolds in the world,
(Like an El Niño winter or a monarch butterfly migration)
Before the manifestation of a particular Gaian process into material reality,
There exists already, a pattern, a set of likelihoods associated with the process that will be unfolding.

And we have access to parts of that pattern,
We can P A R T I C I P A T E,
through prayer, intuition, tuning to the non-material world.
Not that any of us
Or even a unified world culture
Could apprehend the whole pattern. We are too limited for that.
But we can know a lot we are currently ignoring.
And, as Quakers say, if we follow the light we are given, more will come.

You might say:
“True or not, this is too grand for me. I have a few hours next weekend, but I’d have to bring the kids.”

That’s where Quaker Community Forest comes in.
Come into the woods with us.
“See” nature anew
while refreshing yourself,
as you almost always do,
“in nature.”
Join in a community of shared experiences
Making stories that explain what we are coming to know,
Creating a culture
Large enough to hold paradoxes of Love, Nurture, Death
And continual Rebirth.
Our Earth.

About Richard O Fuller

Quaker, living in the Twin Cities, Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Guidance. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What IS Gaia exactly?

  1. Liz Opp says:


    I enjoy “seeing” your passion come through as you explore Gaia. I’m also pleased to see that other Friends are inviting you to say more, say more…

    Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

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