Guest Author - Linda Joan Paul
Is the Earth alive? Is it a conscious organism? Does it recognize the life that it sustains? If so, what form does that recognition take? Would it equate to a dog with fleas? The dog responds to the irritation from the flea by trying to itch the afflicted area. The dog most likely has no idea of what a flea is- he is just instinctively reacting to an itch. He still doesn’t get the point even when he is given a bath and dowsed with flea repellent. In short, the dog doesn’t recognize the living organism that is parasitically sucking his blood. The flea, on the other hand, also doesn’t have a clue that it is riding around on a giant living organism. It doesn’t recognize “dog” as being anything other than an instinctual source of food. So, here we have two living organisms who are inter-relating in an entirely oblivious manner.
Given the above analogy, does the Earth recognize us as her “fleas”? And, by the same token do we recognize the earth as a source of energy that sustains our lives? Are we, in fact, as oblivious to one another as the dog and the flea? The difference is- humankind should know better. As conscious, reasoning organisms we should see the destruction we cause when we alter the Earth’s biospheres by over population, pollution, over industrialization, and just plain laziness. Like a dog that is overrun with fleas, the host organism, Gaia, will eventually sicken and possibly die. Instead of working in harmony with the earth, we have worked directly in opposition to it’s natural rhythms. What makes us any different than the fleas that drain the life’s blood from the dog?
Taking the flea and dog analogy one step further, enter the dog’s owner. The dog’s owner loves the dog and takes it to the vet, gets it flea repellent, and makes sure that the area the dog lives in is flea free. The owner has now become the dog’s higher power, and doesn’t care a fig for the lives of the fleas it is driven from the dog. If there is a higher power why would one assume that the fleas would be foremost in it’s heart and mind? What if it loves the dog a whole lot more than the fleas?
Consider the movie “Avatar”. The Nav’ii people never lost their connection with their host. You might say that the “fleas” in this case learned how to live in a symbiotic rather than parasitic relationship with their host planet. They understood the web that weaves through all things and became living extensions of the world that they lived upon. They had no understanding of ownership of the land. It was just the opposite. They were owned by the land. Energy was borrowed, and given back when the body died. The body was returned to the land and thus provided sustenance to the other creatures who were still alive.
This is the natural order of things.
Where and when did humankind become parasitic instead of symbiotic? Was it with the advent of the industrial revolution? Consider that as little as one hundred and fifty years ago there was no electricity, no television, no computers or internet and no charge cards. People still used the horse and buggy as a primary form of transportation, and they grew their own food. Families settled together and took care of their elders and neighbors helped each other in times of crisis.
What if technology had taken a more Earth friendly twist and the two major world wars had not taken place? What if we had never used nuclear energy to kill one another, and we had directed our energies into peaceful negotiations? What if we had used our technology to help save endangered species, provide healthy food to all and learned to dwell along side one another in self-sustaining communities? What if we taught our children to love one another, to cherish the planet that we live upon, and to raise their own children in a world free of disease, hunger, racism, and greed?
Is humankind capable of understanding that Gaia is indeed alive? Are we capable of understanding that a host organism can be killed by an over whelming number of parasites? And, are we capable of understanding that without Gaia none of us would be alive? Can we reverse the harm that has been done, or will some higher power step in at some point and declare “Enough is enough”?