Science, Intuition & Gaia
by Stephan Harding
Why Does Nature Matter?
Many people who come to Schumacher College ask why it matters that we are destroying so much of nature and possibly our own civilization as well. They ask: isn’t what we are doing totally natural, isn’t it an inevitable consequence of our deeply flawed human nature? Aren’t we Gaia’s way of bringing about a new mass extinction? Are we any different from any other global catastrophe like a meteorite impact or a flood basalt event? Shouldn’t we accept our fate as the nemesis of the current configuration of Gaia and enjoy ourselves whilst there is time? What is the meaning of it all anyway?
These questions are disturbing because they point to a deep sense of disillusionment, meaninglessness and inevitability that trouble the increasing numbers of people who are waking up to the horror of what we are doing to the Earth. The curious thing is that it is not possible to explore these questions from a purely rational perspective…When we are out in nature seeing the more-than-human world around us in all its beauty, we know intuitively that each biological species is a unique masterpiece as worthy of wonder and respect as is the work of any human artistic genius. After all is said and done, the same great creative forces of the universe have made human artists and non-human species alike. When we are in the place of awe and wonder, we know with unshakable inner certainty that the destruction of biodiversity is a crime.
We humans are blessed with many degrees of freedom. Now that our best science has informed us of the huge ecological and social crises we are unleashing upon the world, we can choose whether to remain in the narrow, objectivist mode of consciousness that has contributed to the crises, or to act from a deeper, wider mode of consciousness in which we experience our unity with the whole of Gaia and hence understand the importance of radically changing our way of being in the world.
Building on the revolutionary discoveries of James Lovelock’s Gaia Theory, the film Animate Earth goes one step further and explores opportunities to heal our relationship with the Earth through the new discipline of holistic science. It features interviews with leading environmental and scientific leaders, including Iain McGilchrist, Frijof Capra, Vandana Shiva, Jules Cashford and Satish Kumar.
For more information & to purchase the DVD, go here.