"Giants of Gaia" - Diana Stanley
Introduction, Foreword and Summary to this Publication
Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia in the Southern Autumn of 1996
The Gaia Hypothesis was first put forward in the very late 1960's and early 1970's by Dr James Lovelock - a british atmospheric scientist, in collaboration with Dr Lynn Margulisis - an american microbiologist. Welcome to this resource document. When it is completed, its purpose is three-fold:
Chapters 2 and 3
Firstly this document represents a rather extensive collation of existing resource documentation surrounding the more technical (Natural Science) issues relating to the The Gaia Hypothesis. It attempts to cover the basic scientific specification of the Gaia hypothesis from a multitude of views. Firstly we examine a representative selection of writings, quotations and other references, relating to the two principal researchers and proponents of the hypothesis, Dr James Lovelock and Dr. Lynn Margulis.
Secondly, in presenting an account of what the Gaia Hypothesis is all about, we look to provide some measure of documention concerning the history of the development of such a theory of the Natural Sciences, and in this area we cover the work and selected writings of Gregory Bateson and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
Thirdly, we examine a broad range of constructive contribution and support to, and contemporary application of, this "Gaian world view" by various writers, scientists, researchers , critics and educationalists in the last few decades since the concept was introduced. In this section we have attempted to bring together therefore a wide range of existing reference information, web articles, interpretations and other commentary.
Now - quite clearly - the Gaia Hypothesis is often strongly linked to and supported by - many "New Age" philosophies and publications and, while I have no real problems with a certain amount of NewAge Literature, my instincts tell me loud and clear that there exists just as much hype in this area as there exists in the strictly commercial, industrial and technological arena, and that this - to my sensibility - is to be avoided. On the other hand, my instincts also tell me loud and clear that the mainstream contemporary doctrines of the physical sciences (and in particular Physics) - which experimentally research the fundamental Laws of Nature in a pre-established mechanistic and causal framework - are similarly guilty concerning the formation of opinion in research areas which are not conducive to their education or experience.
The totality of open enquiry concerning the world, the cosmos, and all thing which are therein was once - a few hundred years ago - known as the Natural Sciences. From the body of knowledge inherent in this common descendant, the traditional physical sciences emerged and then diversified. With the work of Newton, Maxwell and Einstein this became known generally as Physics (which in the ancient Greek "physis" meant nature). In the application of the reseach undertaken in the diversifying fields of the physical sciences, and coupled with the parallel and integrated discipline of mathematics, came the steam engines, the harnessing of electric power, the internal combustion engine, the realisation of flight, the realisation of machines of world war, the realisation of the communication potentials of radio and television and in the closing years of the second millennia, as the age of information systems technology dawns upon the terrestrial planet, space flight, the data processing engine and the realisation of the communication potential of the internet.
In parallel streams of research, other disciplines of enquiry have also evolved from this common descendant body of knowledge known as the Natural Sciences. The earlier and traditional strands of this diversification included those of Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Astronomy and Meteorology. Likewise, in the last few centuries these too have been transformed by the application of research and development and likewise have fragmented into a huge diversity of specialised fields.
Up until the last half of this century, after the passage of two world wars, those strands of "Natural Science" which had not yet developed the peer reviewed status afforded by the traditional physical sciences, or which, by their nature were more holistic in approach rather than specific in application, were commonly grouped under the general discipline of the Social Sciences or Geography. Ecology, the scientific study of living things in relation to each other and to their environment, was once such science which has recently emerged from this group.
There are probably many reasons why the disciplines of Environmental and Ecological Science did not emerge until relatively recently. However the acknowledgement of the importance of ecological systems and processes on a global basis was boosted by mankind's first actual visual photographs of the planet Earth during the early space missions of the 1960's.
It may be contended that the ancient peoples of all the lands beneath the sky have been just as cognisant of these basic principles which are expressed the following account of the Gaia Hypothesis. Translation of these ancient and natural terms to the parameters of the twentieth century is thus required so that the evolving doctrines of the western civilisation are cognisant of the nature which surrounds them.
Perhaps the best manner in which to express this is the following quote from Fritjof Capra, in his work entitled "The Turning Point", in which he references the earlier work of Bateson:
In conclusion, I naturally dedicate this compilation and resource to the global internet community and thus - through this channel - to the planetary future of the third millennia wherein - just as there have been in the ages long passed - there will be always the scattered students of life itself - who seek to perceive the nature of nature.
NOTE: Although there are 9 sections listed in the contents, only three have been completed to rough publication phase. There are as follows:
It is expected that the remaining section swill be published during the southern Winter of 1996.
It depends on the surf ....... :)
Dont laugh! This is no joke .... after all, perhaps we may say all that life came from the sea, but in retrospect we could equally say that all life came from the sunshine, being the eternal input into the terrestrial eco-systemic environment.