On the Earthquakes and Tsunami in Japan
The largest earthquake in Japanese history. Tsunamis. Are they manifestations of Earth reacting to systemic illness?
A human entity attempts to expel systemic poisons; it isn’t far-fetched to envision Mother Earth doing the same. Consider the Gaia Hypothesis or Gaia Theory. Gaia, a most ancient Greek goddess, was born of Chaos. She gave birth, without male participation, to Uranus (the Sky), Pontus (the Sea), the six Titans. Since the 1960s, our planet Earth has been referred to, by some, by the name of this goddess. Consider how this all intertwines. James Lovelock, a scientist working with NASA in the 1960s to determine if there might be life beyond our planet, observed Earth from NASA equipment in space. He decided Earth was more like a living thing than an inanimate object.
He suggested that Earth is a single living being, and pointed out:
• Earth exchanges gases, as though she’s breathing
• Earth is irritable, responding to stimuli
• Earth modifies the environment to make conditions hospitable
He then wrote a book (Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth) elaborating his thoughts:
• Earth’s surface temperature remains constant, despite increases in solar-provided energy
• Atmospheric composition remains constant, though it should be unstable
• Ocean salinity is constant
Lovelock named his hypothesis after the goddess Gaia when his friend William Golding , author of Lord of the Flies, saw the Earth’s role paralleling Gaia’s legend. Soon, scientists interested in Lovelock’s thinking began considering Earth as a creature. Plants, animals, and humans clinging to her were hypothesized to be like microorganisms found on our own skins. Some are helpful. Some, not so much.
Forty-some years have passed since the birth of the Gaia Hypothesis. Scientist have had numerous meetings and conferences to mull its pros and cons. There are those who think Lovelock is dead-on correct and those who figure he’s a bit out there. But more began to take him seriously everyday, and the hypothesis was re-dubbed the Gaia Theory, a step up in credibility.
All this confabbing hatched worldwide ecology movements. We began to take more interest in how we impact Gaia’s health and life. It’s a given now, in almost all quarters—the toxins, detritus, and debris we pepper her with are making Gaia sick. Maybe she’s reacting.
Think about humans. A disease like Lupus, for example, creates a situation in which the body begins to attack itself. The victim has terrible symptoms and may even die. In other cases, bacteria can begin as helpful organisms then mutate and turn mean, perhaps causing skin eruptions. The victim might have seizures or convulsions from a serious infection. This might be oversimplifying a complicated theory, but nevertheless, the idea is sound. James Lovelock and a myriad of other experts still seek solutions, convinced we are hurting our symbiotic host, Gaia.
Lovelock’s The Revenge of Gaia tells us that Gaia is still self-regulating, trying to fight the harm we’re inflicting. He believes Gaia’s self-regulation might ward off extraordinary, cataclysmic effects that would wipe out life itself. He says humans could survive and be changed if, our numbers reduce. Perhaps we can be brought to our senses as we gain awareness and Gaia struggles to survive.
James Lovelock has said that by mid-21st century, our overpopulation of billions will dwindle as we face a rash of floods, famine, drought, and mega-storms. His predictions are dire—we will scramble to grab land in inland areas while coastal areas become uninhabitable. He sees the Sahara desert encompassing Europe—as far north as Paris and Berlin. Feeding our population will become problematic, maybe further reducing our numbers.
Our choices seem to be, adapt and change immediately, or face incredible alteration of life as we know it. Is Gaia attempting to slough off large numbers of parasites? Can we envision her breaking her own skin and convulsing her skeletal structure, quaking to throw off physical insult? Are tsunami waves of her body fluids washing away irritants, reducing the numbers of organisms living on her?
It’s easy to wonder if the Maya grasped something modern man missed. If you stand with those who say the Maya calendar ends December 2012, and therefore, time ends, is it a stretch to see 2012 as Gaia’s death? Or, is there a more positive answer? Some say the Maya predicted neither a 2012 end of time nor the end of the world. Maya scholars may only have marked the death of the current age. If that’s true, 2012 signifies the dawn of a new age, an age of enlightenment and spiritual maturity.
May we live in the hope that Gaia will come of age with new strength and new cooperation from her parasites. If the end is near, let it be the end of selfishness and the end of our failure to embrace the beauty and bounty of our host.