Gaia Theory, the Noosphere and GaiaMind

Gaia Theory was originally proposed as The Gaia Hypothesis by James Lovelock in 1972 in a paper titled, Gaia as seen through the atmosphere, and popularized in the 1979 book, Gaia: a new look at life on earth. The scientific hypothesis proposes that the whole Earth behaves like one self-regulating organism wherein all of the geologic, hydrologic, and biologic cycles of the planet mutually self-regulate the conditions on the surface of the Earth so as to perpetuate life.

I coined the term GaiaMind in 1996 to describe a variation on an idea first suggested by Teilhard de Chardin in 1955 in "Le Phenomene Humain", namely that the whole of the Earth is conscious, or more accurately, is in the process of becoming self-conscious, and that collectively we and our technology essentially are that process. Teilhard called this phenomenon the noosphere - derived from the same root as the words biosphere, lithosphere etc. However, that version of the idea, as first put forward by Teilhard, often tended to emphasize our separation and departure from nature, as if each stage transcends and supersedes the previous one. This version of the idea of emergent global consciousness has become widespread with the advent of computers and the Internet, but has also often been criticized as focusing on technology at the expense of nature, as if the two are inherently antagonistic. By contrast, the term GaiaMind is intended to emphasize our continuing connection to nature and that the whole process is fundamentally an expression of the living Earth, as a totality, becoming self-aware and self-conscious rather of man, or humanity alone, doing so through technology.

Gaia References:

Lovelock, J.E. 1979. Gaia: a new look at life on earth. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

The original scientific literature on the subject (cited in the above book):

Lovelock, J.E. 1972. Gaia as seen through the atmosphere. Atmospheric Environment 6:579.

J.E. Lovelock and L. Margulis. 1973. Atmospheric homeostasis by and for the biosphere: the Gaia hypothesis. Tellus 26:2.

Margulis, L. and J.E. Lovelock. 1974. Biological modulation of the Earth's atmosphere. Icarus 21:471.

Lovelock, J.E. and S.R. Epton. 1975. The quest for Gaia. New Scientist 6 February 1975.

Noosphere English References:

Teilhard de Chardin. 1959. The phenomenon of Man. Harper & Row, New York.