In GaeaGenesis, Oberon Zell proposes that the Earth is a living, sentient being, while the life forms that inhabit it are cells within a larger macro-organism. He first expressed this idea in 1971 and it took 51 years to evolve into its current form.
Oberon Zell and the Doctor James Lovelockan independent British scientist, environmentalist and futurist, came up with very similar theories regarding the Earth and all of its life forms in the 1970s. In 2011, Michael Rusephilosophy professor Lucyle T. Werkmeister, interviewed Oberon Zell and James Lovelock and concluded:
“My strong feeling from my interview yesterday is that Lovelock claims he always believed in level of consciousness but he didn’t want to point that out because then he would be even more identified with New Age thinking (I know you don’t think of yourself as New Age) – he’s very uptight about it…. The point is he wants Gaia to be scientific and contamination with people like you (pardon me for being blunt ) frightens him.
It would seem that Lovelock’s ‘Gaia hypothesis’ is the widely accepted core of the theory of the Earth and its biological systems behaving as one huge single entity, while Oberon takes this to its ultimate conclusion where everything is seen as sensitive.
The Gaia Hypothesis by James Lovelock
“The Gaia hypothesis was formulated by chemist James Lovelock and co-developed by microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s. Initially received with hostility by the scientific community, it is now being studied in the disciplines of geophysiology and earth system science, and some of its principles have been adopted in areas such as biogeochemistry and systems ecology.
According to PJ Boston, in Encyclopedia of Ecology, 2008:
“The Gaia hypothesis, named after the ancient Greek goddess of the Earth, posits that the Earth and its biological systems behave as a single huge entity. This entity has tightly controlled self-regulating negative feedback loops that maintain conditions on the planet within limits favorable to life. Introduced in the early 1970s, the idea was conceived by chemist and inventor James E. Lovelock and biologist Lynn Margulis. This new way of looking at ecology and global evolution differs from the classical image of ecology as a biological response to a menu of physical conditions.The idea of a co-evolution of biology and the physical environment where each influences the other has been suggested as early as the mid-1700s, but never as strongly as Gaia, which claims the power of biology to control the non-living environment.More recently, the terms Gaian science or Gaian theory have become more common. current than the original Gaia hypothesis due to modifications in response to criticism and the expansion of our scientific understanding.
Oberon Zellit is GaeaGenesis hypothesis
GaeaGenesis is an anthology of writings developing Oberon’s theory that the Earth is a living organism. The book is long and full of information. The first section is of particular interest to me where Oberon essentially reconciles religion and science, presenting spiritual writings and scientific articles.
Rather than drive home the point, Oberon chooses to present ideas that allow readers to draw their own conclusions.
A translation of Hesiod’s creation myth Theogony is provided where cosmic entities are easily viewed as living deities rather than concepts. Elsewhere in this text, personified abstractions also have a life of their own. For the ancient Greeks, everything was vibrant and throbbing with life.
The notion of anima mundi where the soul of the world is introduced, which goes back to Plato’s idea of the psychè kósmou]. According to several systems of thought, it is an intrinsic connection between all living beings, which relates to the world in the same way that the soul relates to the human body. This would imply that the Earth was ruled by spiritual forces rather than mechanical laws.
Although the concept of anima mundi originating in classical antiquity, similar ideas can be found in the thoughts of later European philosophers such as those of Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schelling and Georg WF Hegel (especially in his concept of Weltgeist).
Not content to trace the idea of a living Earth back to the ancient Greeks, Oberon points out that the archetype of Mother Earth or “Mother of all mothers” dates back to prehistoric times, and it’s something our ancestors understood. intuitively:
“We have always known, deep in our hearts, that the Earth is alive. All over the world, even small children intuitively recognize Mother Earth. It is the oldest and most universally recognized religious archetype in all human experience. Carved images of this primordial “Mother of all Mothers” date back at least to the Aurignacian CroMagnon peoples of 40,000 years ago (R) and are found throughout the Eurasian continent, from Spain to Siberia. Indeed, similar images have recently been found that date back hundreds of thousands of years – to Neanderthals and even Homo erectus. The October 2003 issue of Discover magazine shows a beautiful image of a crude two-inch prototype of the “Venus of Willendorf” carved from a piece of quartzite, mined from a 400,000-year-old deposit near the Moroccan town of Tan-Tan. Stone tools found in the same deposit were made by Homo erectus.
The idea of the whole Earth as one being permeates many philosophical and spiritual systems:
“The idea that all life or consciousness is interconnected is one of humanity’s most enduring spiritual traditions; in fact, it is the very essence of what is called “the eternal philosophy”. Human groups as diverse as the Iroquois, Sufis, and Western European Freemasons all incorporate it into their belief structures. References to it can be found in ancient documents from the classical world, both in the East and in the West. It’s a compelling idea, spanning both millennia and the wide variety and complexity of human cultures.
Carl Jung coined the term “collective unconscious” to refer to such a global mind: “As far as we can see, the collective unconscious is identical to nature. And Teilhard de Chardin described it as the Noosphere – an intelligence envelope for the Earth, and the inevitable extension of the planetary biosphere. But the real heart of this understanding is found in the alchemical mystical concept of Anima Mundi – “The Spirit of the Earth”. This term is nothing less than a medieval restatement of the oldest and most primordial theological premise of “The Goddess” as Mother Earth, or Mother Nature. And it is the Spirit that animates all of Jesse Wolf Hardin’s working life.
Oberon compares his work to that of Lovelock:
“The crucial distinction between my ‘TheaGenesis’ revelation of Gaia and Lovelock’s ‘Gaia hypothesis’ is in our direction of approach. I came to the realization of Gaea from within – from microbiology, embryology and paleontology. Lovelock, on the other hand, approached Gaia from the outside in – from atmospheric biochemistry and systems analysis. He analyzed and noted a remarkable homeostasis in atmospheric composition and surface temperature over the past three billion years and concluded that this could only be attributed to a biospheric regulatory mechanism. In Lovelock’s version, Gaia is seen more as a metaphor or allegory than an actual entity. This approach posits a Gaian superorganism as a cooperative aggregation or “colony” of discrete components. While I view the entire evolution of life on Earth as literally the embryology of one vast living being – a continuum of DNA and protoplasm replication, beginning with the first living cell, and its fertilization in “the Cambrian explosion”.
The Earth is facing climate change as well as many other environmental crises. Perhaps the best way to avoid disaster is to foster an Earth-based system of spirituality that fosters the mindset of cherishing the Earth rather than exploiting it. To quote environmental movement spokesman René Dubos:
“Our salvation depends on our ability to create a religion of nature… adapted to the needs and knowledge of modern humanity.”
What could be more effective in solving all our problems than a religion that teaches that the entire Earth and all of its life forms are alive and interconnected?
I see Oberonit is GaeaGenesis as being embraced by those who care about the environment as well as those seeking to enhance their spiritual practices by forging a more powerful connection with all that surrounds them.
Author of Hellenismos: practicing Greek polytheism today and Greco-Egyptian magic: daily empowerment.