20 March 2015

Lovelock's newest idea: Humanity as Mind of Life

I confess to a bit of irritation with James Lovelock's new book (cited below), A Rough Ride to the Future. His basic thesis, that technology is a new form of evolution, and that human intelligence must become the directing mind of the biosphere if we are to survive as an intelligent race living within the mostly naturally evolved biosphere of a natural planet, is something that a lot of people have realized and talked about. It isn't exactly new. But, I suppose, since he is the one who took up the challenge and articulated the Gaia hypothesis, or as I prefer to think of it, the Gaia metaphor, he probably gets a pass on passing on relatively commonplace ideas as his own. (The basic idea, if you aren't familiar with it, is that the biosphere of the planet has feedback mechanisms and quasi-sensory systems that make it function almost as a meta-organism. There is a great deal of truth in this idea, although some take it way too far and make it into almost a religion).

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