is a philosophical and scientific hypothesis which says that the level of connectedness between the Earth and its biosphere is comparable to the connectedness of a live organism.
James Hutton was the first person in the scientific community who described this concept in 1785 lecturing at the meeting of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He claimed the Earth is a live superorganism with its own metabolism and breath systems expressed by such geological processes as erosion for instance.
In much closer form to contemporary scientific discourse, the hypothesis was stated by James Lovelock in 1965: the terrestrial life learned to maintain the required living conditions by starting mutually beneficial cooperation with the planet. William Golding, the novelist, suggested Lovelock calling the theory after the Greek goddess of the Earth – Gaia hypothesis.
Outside science the image of connectedness of all living beings goes far back in the past and runs through many worldviews of traditional cultures. The absence of connectedness of living beings is primarily an attribute of the modern civilization – we take at least ourselves out of this connectedness.
Certainly, the image of such a planet (under different names) moved from mythology and science to science fiction: Pandora from the "Avatar" movie, Gaia from the "Foundation" trilogy by Isaak Asimov, in some sense "Solaris" by Stanisław Lem.
All these images represent non-anthropocentric ethics and the problem of separateness of a human and the biosphere. We are individually and collectively mortal, our growth cannot be unlimited. The reason is that we actually are the part of nature, though this is beyond the frame of the conventional worldview of the modern civilization. In order to hold this feeling of separateness and the fear of death it is necessary to deny natural inside, to deny yourself as a part of the whole.
Modern civilized man is separated from nature by language. Languages of non-human entities such as forest, for instance, exist in different rhythmics and on a different level of complexity comparing to languages familiar to us. Now the "language" of the interaction of our civilization with forest varies from an axe to forestation: trees are planted in neat rows which complexity level has nothing in common with the real forest.
Rhythmics. It is easy to think that nothing happens in forest. Only branches are swaying in the wind. Very few of us had a chance to see how a tree fell because of its old age. We know that forest is changing, growing, dying and rising again, we know it from textbooks and concepts, but not from our own experience. And this knowledge doesn't help in rhythmics synchronization at all. Any common language is possible only with the common rhythm of systems. The higher the speed of our civilization, the more difficult for us to understand the forest.
Forest level complexity is much higher than the level of complexity of our technical systems, which form our daily life. Actually, those technical systems are like big Lego construction sets. Forest has not only a greater number of elements and connections than all technical systems we created, but those connections are also dynamic and part of them is implicit. For instance, now mycelium often referred to as "the tree internet" is in fact more complex than the internet, as mycelium and trees form a more complicated and resilient structure than calculated determine algorithms of the technosphere.
Many religious and philosophical teachings, spiritual, body and shaman practices are directed to building the communication with non-anthropic entities. Not diminishing the value of such practices, but on the contrary studying them, our workgroup sees value in adding technology tools to those non-anthropic communication practices. In the presence of non-technological practices, they lay beyond the scientific worldview, which is fundamental for civilization. As a consequence, the attitude to non-technological practices is polarized between people who accept them fully and those who cannot accept them at all. Adding technical tools allows one to "go through the filter" which makes it possible to start communication with non-anthropic entities, while remaining in in civilized rational discourse.
Our usual technologies are created to simplify systems they are working with. Consequently, they simplify also a person who uses them. The connection of technological and spiritual ontologies gets us closer to the rethinking of technology application possibilities in general. Besides such connection catalyses changes in a situation of reductionism of the scientific worldview and its defining meaning for the civilization. These changes are necessary in order to go through the phase barrier of complexity and to realize the future image which includes prosperity of all living beings.
Coming back to the mycelium image supporting forest connectedness we can notice that any infrastructure providing and moderating interaction between system elements in many ways defines the system. Thus, the Internet as people and machines network to a great extent constructed the techno-anthropic present. A communication network which includes non-anthropic entities will build the future with less separateness of a human and nature.
We want to give voice to nature. The voice we ceased to hear. We want to be the interpreter. The guide.
Currenty, we are creating the international work group on non-anthropic communication. We hope to include in this group:
- scientists in Plant Cognition and Plant Communication fields, also in communication theory on the whole;
- ecophilosophers and other thinkers working "on the edge" of worlds and ontologies;
- science-art artists, art-curators and other creators;
- engineers, programmers, and researchers in the field of neural nets and other evolutional deep learning algorithms, mobile applications creators;
- visionaries building the future;
- traditional knowledge keepers;
- permaculture and city-farming practitioners, specialists in the field of autonomous live systems;
- leaders and evangelists of hacker, biohacker and maker communities.
We invite you to cooperate. Write to us if you have ideas and wish to cooperate or if you just feel you need to write (this also happens): firstname.lastname@example.org