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Gaia - Why Stop With Just The Earth?

The Gaia hypothesis was originated in the 1970's by chemist James Lovelock and microbiologist Lynn Margulis, although there were various senses in which this is a theory as old as humanity. The Gaia hypothesis states that the Earth is a living organism.

The Gaia hypothesis has also evolved over the years. Later iterations deemphasized that life was “collaborating” to transform the Earth, Jabr explains. Which still leaves a lot to be explored: Certainly living things don’t need to be thought of as conscious, or have agency, to be considered alive. Consider the clam, which lacks a central nervous system.

Jabr found in the years since Gaia was first introduced, scientists have uncovered more connections between biology, ecology, and geology, which make the boundaries between these disciplines appear even more fuzzy. The Amazon rainforest essentially “summons” its own rain, as Jabr explains in his book. They learned how life is involved in the process that generated the continents. Life plays a role in regulating Earth’s temperature. They’ve learned that just about everywhere you look on Earth, you find life influencing the physical properties of our planet.

(Via Vox.)

Science fiction writers will go to any extreme - why not go bigger than just a sentient, living Earth? This excerpt is from Short-Wave Madness (1939) by Robert Castle:


(The Galactic Superbrain from 'Short-Wave Madness' by Robert Castle)

"It's up there!" he cried, and as he saw by my dazed stare that I did not understand, he added fiercely, "Didn't you see that the last wavelength Gorrel listened to, the thought-waves of the super-brain, was exactly .001 Angstroms? The exact wave-length of cosmic rays!"

"Cosmic rays?" I cried. "Then cosmic rays are really the thought waves of the super-brain? But they can't be — it's been proved that cosmic rays emanate from the stars of our galaxy."

"They do!" Arthur cried. "But the stars are only atoms in larger space, and in that larger space the star-atoms could combine to form living matter, thinking matter, couldn't they?

"Our galaxy, a mass of star-atoms gathered together into living, thinking matter — our galaxy is the superbrain!"

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/18/2024)

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