The Gaia Analogy: A Planetary Life Cell

The Gaia Whole System Design Meditation



The Cosmos is composed of the interaction of holons , or units of organization, that together form a Gestalt--a set of physical, biological, and symbolic units that make up an integrated design pattern. One holon rests upon the another holon , a whole system within a whole system in which the configuration or pattern is greater than the sum of its parts. Each holon is more complex than the next in the sequence. It is simultaneously a part and a whole, local and global. Note that there is a bidirectional flow between the microcosm and the macrocosm. A holon is affected by and affects larger holons; the more fundamental holons make up the framework from which more complex holons evolve. Furthermore, as Ken Wilber has pointed out, more complex holons are dependent on the more fundamental holons, but the more complex or advanced holons are more significant than the simpler ones to the cosmic evolutionary order.

For example, eukaroyotic cells (animal and plant cells) contain fundamental holon of the prokaryotic cell (bacterium). The Cosmos has spent more energy to develop eukaryotic cells, which are more significant to cosmic evolution than the “lower” holons because they represent so little cosmic energy. Eukaryotic cells are more significant because they contain all the holons that make up our being: the atoms, molecules, prokaryotes, and eukaryotic cells that make up multi-cellular organisms.

The human body is at the same time a whole, self-organizing system that shapes the individual and part of the species. Humanity is both its own holon and a part of the larger planetary holon of life on Earth. Importantly, with each level of holon complexity there is a gradual rise in consciousness. As human beings, we now have the knowledge to perceive the Earth as an integrated “superorganism,” in which the health of each part is dependent upon the health of the whole planetary system.

It is important to recognize the holon nature of humanity in our continuing cosmic evolution. From the more fundamental holon of the eukaryotic cell, we move to the holon of the human body, then to the holon of the organization of the city--to the holon of humanity. Only by understanding this sequence can we discover the design blueprint we need to live by in order to develop a harmonic relationship with the Planet Earth or Gaia, a planetary life cell nestled within the holon of the Cosmos.

Such a natural hierarchy is a sacred order, a unified field of holons that cultivate a new structure of governance, a “holocracy. ” Seeing the world as a series of holons allows us to understand the importance of developing new governing and cultural systems that cradle the emerging holon of humanity within a new holistic organizational pattern. Unlike the political systems of the modernist era, that don't take into account the environment around us, holocracy is based on awareness of the holon system that in fact makes life on Earth possible. Since the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, holocracy affords us a knowledge that can transcend the parts and put us into the transpersonal cosmic space that is Gaia. We urgently need this big picture in order to gain the wisdom to manage our resources on a planetary scale. Holocray is a planetary ecological management system, a template for a sustainable planetary order. In Brian Robertson's words, holocracy “is about living and working together in the fullest possible way… It is about embracing everything we've learned so far about human organization and culture, and at the same time seeking to fundamentally transcend all aspects of our current organizational and cultural norms.”

Holocracy creates the mental space needed to govern and organize ourselves in a way that allows everyone to contribute their part to the whole in positive and creative ways. Holocracy is inherently egalitarian and unitive, because it is a whole vision that combines the insights of both parts of our species, female and male. As the artist within us knows, the fusion of woman and man consists not only of simple chemical reactions, but expresses that invisible, mysterious bond called “love.” Love doesn't happen under domination, dictatorship, aggression, or by adopting a mechanistic materialistic philosophy. Rather, it happens through cooperation and a deeply creative partnership with oneself, ones partner, others, and the Cosmos.

Thus, holocracy could be said to be is a love regime. The transformation of the landscape and mental sphere that occurs through its practice is— lovolution -- a world-wide non-violent evolution of revolution the purpose of which is to build a network of arcologies on Earth and extending into Outer Space. The love regime is the foundation of the new cities, arcologies, the containers in which self-organizing miniaturization of the biosphere can emerge. Technology and biology thus interact to form an entirely new type of human civilization.

Arcology, a new archetype in architecture, remains a hollow idea unable to manifest itself unless it is founded on an invisible social architecture. In turn, this architecture must be based on the principles of holocracy. Gaia Religion based on holocracy, then, is the underlying foundation of arcology. It provides us with the esoteric wisdom necessary to bring us back into alignment with our planetary source. By uniting the sexes, holocracy constructs a protoptype of a solar-power arcology that “symbolically links the microcosm of the individual to the macrocosm of ultimate reality.” Holocracy creates a morphic field —an energy field that guides the building of a network of arcologies needed to activate the quantum leap, the planetary reproduction of Gaia.

Modern city development clearly doesn't reflect a healthy eukaryotic cell. It reveals that humanity is out of control-- a cancer-like growth that acts like a planetary parasite sucking up nutrients and leaving behind a polluted wasteland of urban sprawl. Uncontrollable growth looses its bidirectional flow between smaller and larger holons. Cancer cells fail to differentiate, and the system breaks down, when human holons are no longer aware of their dependence on their subsidiary parts, and the parts no longer recognize the morphic field of the human body--the organizing authority of the whole.

Modern cities are killing themselves because the parts have no vision for the whole. Within this misguided worldview, civilization is attempting to rid itself of its social cancer by developing technologies such as nuclear weapons to wipe out the “enemy,” as if it were using it as radiation therapy to eliminate a tumor. The use of chemical weapons (or even pesticides and herbicides in agricultural fields) parallels is also like chemotherapy used in the human body to kill cancer cells, only to poison the other healthy cells. Cutting down the forest of the world and building monotonous tract housing is like a radical surgery that cuts into the landscape in an attempt to provide people with shelter, while in reality is it doesn't provide for anyone's sustainable housing needs. Rather, urban sprawl methodologies help destroy the life-support system of the planet.

As we face a global pollution and population crisis with attending global climate change that threatens our very existence, history is repeating itself. Our primitive ancestors, the prokaryotes, faced a similar crisis. To survive their crisis they began cooperating with their enemies, forming a new relationship that created the eukaryotic cell. A membrane was formed to protect prokaryotes from the toxic oxygenated atmosphere their waste had produced. The quantum leap we must make is as great and revolutionary as the forming of a new type of cell!

Modern cities already have various components that could be said to represent organelles within the eukaryotic cell. There is a waste and recycling system, a nutrient intake system, a transportation system, an energy system, a communication system, etc. What our cities don't have is a membrane that protects us from the surrounding toxic environment that we have thoughtlessly created. The wall that surrounded ancient cities is a primitive example of such protective barrier. By contrast, the megalopolis is a cancer, an out-of-control growth of urban sprawl that is a perversion of the healthy planetary ecosystem. To cure ourselves of this disease requires holistic thinking. We have to envision the components of the city membrane to function efficiently as organelles work within complex cells.

Arcology includes a web of interconnected knowledge and wisdom disciplines like that of the differentiated cells that make up the organelles within plant and animal cells. When intellectual disciplines work in cooperation their interaction, the cooperation of disciplines makes up a cell-body-arcology-planetary-- cosmic design system.

Cities evolving into arcologies become living organisms, organic machines that carry out our life-support activities as efficiently as the maintenance processes that happen within the cell. To live in harmony with life means to reflect the organization of the cell. Since human society is part of this cellular principle, to build a healthy city design, we need to model ourselves from cell structure. Arcology, the evolution of the city, becomes the membrane of the planetary cell.

When a society drops one set of design memes for another—one civilizational pattern for another--this is a sea change and a quantum leap. So leap into Gaia Religion with me and let's join our genius codes together so that we may begin forming that arcology membrane!



Human Extinction or Lovolution?