Life on earth is an attempt the earth is making to imitate
or express the relation it has with the sun. Since the process of
life and death has left a humus of the past for the future to grow
from, the expression has changed over time. The earth, in all its
fertility and variety, is a product of the interaction between itself and
the sun--in which the sun gives a constant kind of energy, and
the earth gives a great variety of energies. The earth has a history
and an evolution; the sun does not, or at least does not seem to,
since its evolution is much slower. What happens in the present
on earth is based upon what is left from what happened in the
past. The layers of earth in which plants grow, and on which
people and animals walk, are by-products of past events, all of
which included the earth's use of the energy of the sun. Closed
systems, such as trees and blades of grass, lift themselves up towards
the sun. Having incorporated the energy of light, they are
themselves sun rays of the earth, or 'earth rays' reaching out toward space.
Animals and human beings who stand, on four legs or
on two, or birds flying up to the clouds, all are earth energy
moving outward. But beyond this is our capacity for locomotion toward
a goal. Guided by our sight, we move from one place to
another, much as the light moves from the sun to the earth. In
this dimension, life imitates its origin. Similarly, the sperm
moves toward the egg; the egg is produced and moves toward the
place in the womb where fertilization happens. But also, in
the dimension of consciousness, a self-propelling intention
arises. Like a sun ray leaping toward the earth, it moves toward its
goal or object, perhaps combining with some other past elements
of life to create an outcome, a sun ray incorporated in earth
rays, earth energies, bearing fruit.
Our voices and the voices of animals, fish and birds
issue from throats and arrive at the receptive ears, where they
are incorporated and become understanding and behavior
sensation. The sunlight of our attention illuminates our
past, present and future experience, as well as experience of
others brought to us through our senses, or through their stories,
or reading and viewing. Our conscious attention shines upon
our selves, helping us to plan and decide, clarify our intentions
and put them into effect. There has been created socially, however,
a sort of mirror game, where we are caught within our
reflection, focusing our energy within ourselves.
This has combined with the use of accumulated energy
of others, or of the group, to foster self-focusing energy. It is as if
the sun ray were incorporated into the earth and came back to
itself multiplied, as if the sun's rays were a closed system, too. There is
a confusion between life--plants and animals--and
energy. Moreover, in this form the self-focused attention of one may
harm others, as it appropriates their energy to intensify its own.
The sun does not do this. The mirror game creates an
insatiable hunger for energy to focus and shine on the ego more
strongly, attracting again and again the attention of others.
As human beings of many varieties and cultures, we
have tried to understand what we were, what we were doing,
or supposed to do and where we were living. Only recently has
our astronomy given us any inkling of a correct idea about
the universe, our planet and our star. It is not strange or
surprising, then, to think that we might have made mistakes in our
self-direction and the imagination of our goals.
Freud made much of the fact that in his epoch (it happens
in our own, as well) children sometimes have a very distorted idea
of what happens in sex--which influences their later thinking
and emotions. It would seem logical that a false cosmology might
have just as negative effects on our collective imaginings. The idea
that the sun is the center of the universe may have influenced
our thinking and our social behavior more than we know. And
the idea that we are on a tiny speck of dust near a spark of light in
the midst of billions of others is mind-boggling and also not
healing for the imagination. Instead, the view of the earth from the
moon allows us a perspective from which we can perhaps place
in a productive context. Earth is a very special place, a
shining drop of life. We are part of it.
Not Copernicus but Ptolemy was right: the earth is the
center of the universe, our universe, because we are human beings.
Now that we are beginning to be able to see what earth is, maybe
we can see better what we are and what we must do.
First, we must respect our planet, the life of which we are all
a part. What is unusual here is not that the sun's rays shine in
our direction, but that the earth is able to create something
with them. We must see ourselves as incorporated light,
incorporated life. We need to be like Goldilocks and find the cosmology of
our own dimension, the view of the earth that is 'just right' for us.
We need to understand our place on earth and within the
solar system, so that we can clarify our relation to each other.
One particular problem many of us are having right now is
seeing ourselves as single persons, related as individuals to a human
race of five and a half billion. It is remarkable how similar
this problem is to the one of seeing our earth and sun related
to billions of other suns and possible planets, as large numbers
of new galaxies are discovered.
We might call this a theory of knowledge
through projection. We project a pressing human question on
some branch of knowledge, and then we find it there. This is not
to say that the knowledge found this way is not true, but that
the motivation for seeking it is a social or collective
existential problem, rather than an individual purely scientific
aseptic motive of 'curiosity,' or even a not-so-aseptic individual
for-profit motive. And isn't the avidity for knowledge a sort
of translation of the greed or avidity for goods and money
that motivates our exchange-based society?
The theory of the survival-of-the-fittest evolution, which
was developed at the same time as a survival-of-the-fittest
capitalist economy, is another case in point. Perhaps, if we understood
the mechanism of projection, we could see why we are doing it,
what the personal or social difficulty that we are trying to heal is.
Then we could find out how much of our view is caused by
projection, what elements are seen or ignored because of it.
More important, perhaps we could heal our human difficulties, and
by doing so become also clearer perceivers of the universe. If
we know we are projecting, we can take it into account
and understand the distortions we ourselves are creating, and even
use this knowledge to consciously plan for a better world, in
which the problems that cause the projections do not occur.
Let us return to the view of the earth that sees her
in relationship with the sun. In our atomistic and
individualistic society, we have begun to degrade the importance
of relationships, seeing the well-being of the individual person
as the important goal of interaction and the social process, as well
as the individual's own reason for being. Therapies for
co-dependence and dysfunctional families have a wide
public following and acceptance in the US and produce both money
and social validation for their purveyors.
Our distress about relationships shows just how
important they are to us. Love songs fill the radio waves, love stories fill
the magazine racks, bookshelves and movie theaters.
Relationships really are important to human beings; they are (part of) the
way we become human. We just don't know how to have them.
We don't have many good examples. It is my hypothesis here that
the best model for a relationship that we have is the one between
the earth and the sun. We can project our problems out there,
then look at them more clearly in ourselves.
But why not look at it from a more intentional stance?
The Gaia Hypothesis1 considers the earth as a living being. In
this case, we are Herself coming to consciousness. She is coming
to consciousness of her relationship with the sun and of her
own part in it, of her creativity of the precious miracle of life.
Perhaps, then, we are her projection of her problem. Humans play the
roles of lover and beloved, of sun and earth. We internalize these
roles in our consciousness and our being objects of attention
(giving and receiving attention). Do we receive our own or others' care
the earth does light, using it for creativity, or do we reflect it
back (as does the moon) in a sterile mirror game of who is
brighter, bigger, hotter?
Is the sun the source of life or is the earth? As men
and women, we act it out: men are active, suns; women are
passive, earths. This is the perennial stereotype. Yet, if we look
again, both roles are earth's creations. So, the earth produced the
ones who play the sun and the ones who play the earth. In fact,
the whole play is being put on by the earth.
It is the earth who has made the sun a life-giver by
receiving the light creatively. As far as we know, other planets have
not done this. Similarly, male animals produce billions of sperm,
but, if there is no female's uterus or egg to meet them, no life
is produced. Seeds fall from trees or are borne by the wind but,
if they are not lodged in earth, they are lifeless. But, of
course, sperm and egg, seed and humus are all earth-produced.
As it happens in many of our heterosexual relationships,
we overvalue one person, usually male, and we undervalue
the other, usually female. A woman, by her creativity, attributes
a solar importance to a man, and he is seen as the source of
life, income, creativity. Receiving this attention (like the earth),
he becomes more actively creative, seeming to confirm the
truth of the attribution of value. The whole society participates in
a system, which privileges one pole in the relationship and
hides or ignores the other. We women define the definers as
definers. Then we cover up our own active role, and men are only
too happy to usurp the credit for it.
If we are playing the earth's role, why should we
not recognize our/her power, creativity, life-giving and
value bestowing qualities? Loneliness perhaps? It is so far to any
other planet or sun. Is the sun alive, too, and of a different order?
Does the earth just want not to realize that she is doing it all by
herself? Could we human beings ever love her enough? Could she
ever love herself enough to make up for the sun's not being alive?
But maybe the sun is alive, as alive as she is and in the same or
a different order of reality and alone.
Our attention imitates the sun, but when we concentrate
on a star, the star is in the position of the earth. And the same
with space. Surely this dimension of receptivity around her
comforts our Mother Earth, and the knowledge we have gained puts her
in a context, gives her a home. The confusion arising from
the existence of millions of galaxies dissipates when we realize
that there must be other living beings out there.
Mother Earth, like ET, someday may be able to phone
home to her sisters. Meanwhile, we must keep up hope, learn to
live with one another and not ruin her exquisite beauty and
harmony before she meets other life. Are we being destructive so as
to better play what we perceive as the role of the sun, continuing
to discredit the role of the earth? Have we created a
male-sun-patriarchal God to keep us company as well, projecting our
and her problem beyond the solar system to the universe?
I think that we might accept the fact that we still do
not know much about the universe. What we have immediate
access to, however, is our perceptive apparatus and our social
context. We need to shine our sunny conscious attention upon
our psycho-social mechanisms, in order to find out why it is that
we are seeing what we are seeing. There are
unacknowledged mechanisms of selection that come from our motivation,
that make us look for and find some things rather than others.
These then feed back into the contexts in which the motivations
arose, reconfirming the problems that created them. Only when we
heal our motivations can these mechanisms function as clearly as
they should, creating an alignment of the various types of reality
of which we are a part.
Perhaps our conscious attention corresponds to the sun,
and our subconscious corresponds to the earth, because of
the internalizion of a social polarization between active and
passive. But our earth side, as we have been saying, is only
seemingly passive. It actively receives, not only giving content
to consciousness, but also giving it a context and a value. It
gives consciousness its potentiality to know, as part of a human
being, where many things are going on.
Consciousness is like the light of the sun refracted
through the atmosphere. There are so many more things for it to
pass through and touch upon than meet the eye. Since humans
are social products, there is a contribution by the many and the
past to each of us. Our sunlight consciousness not only
illuminates many aspects of this in succession, but is also defined by
it. Perhaps, like the earth, and like women in our giftgiving
ways, our subconscious produces consciousness, while
not acknowledging its own part. Thus, consciousness seems not
to come from the earth but from heaven.
In this century our knowledge (and through us the
earth's knowledge) of the solar system, the galaxy and the cosmos
has increased greatly, while the knowledge of the nature of the
earth and her relation to the sun has not yet become clear. Similarly
in our human relations, we do not understand the
mother-child, nurturing one-to-one relation, before we venture into
relation with the 'many.' We do not understand what is going on at
home before we venture out into the world. The relation between
the earth and the sun, which has produced so much miraculous life,
is not a dysfunctional relation. The solar system is not
a dysfunctional family. By identifying the sun with the
father, however, we have reproduced the social self-similar
masculated image of the sample under-emphasizing the activity and
creativity of the 'passive' female 'receiver' and the many
while overemphasizing the initiative of the 'active' male 'giver.'
The need is essential to the gift, for without it the gift
is nothing. Thus, the earth has created myriad needs, which the
sun can satisfy with her light--light which otherwise would be
unused and barren. The interaction of these needs with each
other recreates the giving-and-receiving interactions of the sun
and earth. The asymmetry is the key. The sun only gives, while
the earth both receives and gives again, though presumably
she cannot give back to the sun, since the sun is too far away
and presumably cannot receive. What happens, then, is that many
of the relations of life are really self-similar images of the
relation between the earth and the sun. They are role-plays, ways of
out giving and creatively receiving. The baby receives the
loving gaze of the mother--then, as she grows, actively relates herself
to the mother, taking turns.
The amoeba encounters some piece of matter which it
can receive and use creatively, as the earth on her voyage in
space encounters the light of the sun. So does the blade of grass use
the sunlight for her processes. The caterpillar actively finds the
blade of grass, this earth ray made of creatively incorporated light,
and uses it for her processes. The bird, on her more active paths,
finds the caterpillar.
But we and perhaps the earth herself (Does she have
a problem of self-esteem?) attribute more importance to the
male, identifying him with the 'one' and the sun (the son), because
we do not see the receiver as creative--and needs are seen as
lacks and not what is necessary to bring gifts to completion.
We could even consider most life relations as a metaphor
for the relation between the sun and the earthan enormous
variety of replays of that asymmetrical relation of unilateral giving
and creative receiving and giving again (and leaving the
by-products and waste from the process, which then become the gifts
for another order, or orders, of life). All of life could be seen as
an attempt the earth has made to give feedback to the sun, to
relate to her. To give as the sun does, she must create the needs
which can receive the gifts, that is, recreate something in her
own (earth's) position. Then she takes the sun's position giving
to satisfy them. Through life, she says to the sun, "This is what
is happening between me and you; this is what is happening."
All of this is taking place on the surface of the planet,
where the sun is shining, present (a gift) to its 'view.' Life in its
variety could be seen as an immense proliferation of images of
the relation between the earth and the sun, what in human
terms could be seen as an immense joyous philosophical
investigation into this relation. And, in human terms, this relation would
be called love. Perhaps it is the earth's attempt at
co-munication with another order of being, her labor of gratitude for
warmth that caresses her in the deep night of space,
an investigation into their identity and relationship with each other.
What it is important for us humans to do is to align
ourselves with this relationship, not misinterpret it, as we have so
often done, because parts of our social organization and language
have created the deep patterns of masculation which obscured it.
Since we could not see the earth from space, we did not even know
she was here or doing anything. We were too close to her; we
could only look outward. We thought she was passive, just receiving
the light, as we thought women were passive. We covered up
our giving, her giving, and saw only the sun, the privileged
light-sample as giver. Patriarchal patterns spawned phallic
self-similar images of themselves everywhere, and validated each other.
The moon and the sun seemed to vie with each other
as dominators of the heavens, each privileged 'ones' for
their allotted times. The moon changed through her phases and
was many with respect to the sun. The idea of reflected light came
to appear to be the women's, the moon's, identity. We forgot
that the great dark creative earth was the proper image of the
mother. But reflection which we attributed to the moon really was
the province of the ego which did not give, the false, static,
un-giving meta image of life and of the earth-sun relation.
We saw the earth and sun, women and men,
children, mothers, things and words, citizens and presidents,
commodities and money as not equally actively related to each other,
but caught in a more or less static imaging of reflection. Where
one was real, the other only served to give back that reality. Yet,
the moon does provide a sort of cosmic meta level for the earth.
It simply says, "The sun shines here, too, though I do not receive
it creatively like the earth. And dark and light happen here,
also." The moon has influenced the way earth developed life
and consciousness. Her beams elicit our imagination. She seems to
be a sort of self-referential aspect of the earth. Her light touch
moves our tides.
For centuries, for humans, the moon took the place of
the earth as the 'other' of the sun, whereas the earth was really
the sun's life-giving other. It seemed that the reflection of
the sunlight was the opposite and complement of the active giving
of the sun, whereas it was actually its creative use in
life-making. Thus, it could also seem that exchange, based on reflecting
back what was given, honored the sun more accurately, enhanced it.
What was given was given back in an equivalent.
Reflection validated exchange as a way of life, and masculated ego
patterns, over-taking and competition, seemed ways to play the roles of
the active sun and the passive moon. Then the sun was seen as
taking the initiative towards the earth, seen as passive. The earth
does not give back just a reflection or an image of the sun but
many living images of her relation to the sun, many images of the
sun and herself and their relation to each other. There are also
images of the moon, reflections of the reflection of image-making
The fact that there are two heavenly bodies in the
sky suggested to us the importance of the two-fold relation,
even when we thought the earth was flat, because we saw the two
in the heavens and looked at them in terms of our gender
relations, which already were earth-made life images of the
earth-sun relation. We thought the sun-moon relation was the same as
the sun-earth relation and identified the moon with women, as
'lesser lights,' losers of the competition to be brighter. Perhaps, when
we began to know the relative sizes of the earth, sun and moon,
we began to think of the earth and moon as children and the sun
as father. So the image of the woman-child was superimposed
over the woman of creativity, concealing her.
Not only did individuals enter into and play out
these relations, but different kinds and orders of living images
of relations had themselves to relate to each other. This may
seem complicated, but it is really easy enough to follow if we see
the sun as unilateral giver, the moon as reflector, and the earth
as both giver and receiver, repeating (embodying rather
than reflecting) the relation. (A complete meta level would not
made of the simple reflection of the other but the reflection
of the giving and receiving relation to the other, including the
self, and the reflection of the relation of reflection.)
If we are the earth, coming to consciousness of herself,
we have had some major misconceptions due to our inability to
see ourselves in our (and her) real context regarding the moon
and the sun. If humans are images of our immediate cosmology,
it behooves us to understand it and align ourselves with it.
Aligning ourselves with the misconceptions is bringing us to grief and
our creative Mother to destruction.
If the life principle is in the creativity of needs to use
the gifts, we must not let the needs and the beings that have them
die because we are reflecting or trying to act like our idea of the
sun, falling into the patterns of masculation our society has
created. The needs form a sort of gravity, towards which our gifts
must flow--like water, the liquid gift which flows towards the center
of gravity, and rain, like transformed sunlight falls on thirsty
plants. Wind moves from high pressure to low pressure areas. Giving
to needs is the answer that is blowing in the wind.
The misinterpretation of our sexuality extends and fits
into the misinterpretation of our cosmology. We see our earth
as somehow lacking, rather than as the great creative receiving
and giving source she is. In fact, by ignoring her creativity, we
over-value the 'independence' of the sun, which, as we saw
from pictures of the moon, did not 'independently' create
anything there. Rather, it was the sun in relation to the earth that
was creative, and the earth in relation to the sun. Because of
the eminent presence of the sun, her visibility, and even that of
the moon, the earth was seen as 'less than'--because she did not
give light (she did give fire, however, which, like words, can be
given away while keeping it). All of this fit into (and resonated
with) the sexual and social pattern of men as active 'ones' and
women as passive 'manys.'
Perhaps the earth herself has felt incapable when compared
to the sun or the moon, and estranged and lonely, so far away
from other planets and stars. As her children, humans have
to this feeling. We have not only ignored and misinterpreted
her, attributing value to everything but her, including ourselves,
but with the same mentality that has taken us to space and
finally allowed us to see her from beyond, we have trashed and
degraded many of her greatest most delicate creations.
We consider ourselves children of the universe, and we
long to see the life on the planets of Aldebaran, if there are any.
We are willing to spend trillions of dollars on space programs
with that eventual aim in mind. Yet, the amazing variety of species
of beetles in the rain forests of the earth are so unimportant to
us that we render them extinct without lifting a finger in
their behalf. We must learn to attribute value to our creative
Mother--both our human mothers and our Earth Mother. We must see
that needs are not lacks, re-evaluate the symbolic vagina as the
great hidden creative place, where life grows and continues on, and
we must see that the type of single-shot creativity that the
symbolic phallus represents is based on the denial of the value and the
on-going labor of the feminine. Everyone must become nurturing
of everyone else and of the earth. We must restore needs to a
place of honor and fill them.
As the consciousness of the earth we must be her
self-esteem, letting our love flow like water towards her centers of gravity.
She is suffering, as are so many of her people and creatures. We
must act in her behalf. How un-compassionate we are when we long
for outer space, while we do not care for this miracle where we
live. It is only our patriarchal mind-set, our misalignment with
the earth-sun relation, that bores us with the present and blinds us
to the Garden of Eden, causing us to be toxic to each other and
to blight the land. Poor people everywhere are forced to play
the part of the denied and exhausted mother, exploited, wasted,
and despised. They are the self-similar image of Mother Earth
being destroyed by a patriarchy whose healthy bright son goes forth
in his phallic space ships to 'fertilize' other planets.
We must realize the gravity of this situation and turn our
love and our money towards needs. In this way, we can follow
the Earth Mother's commandment, "Nurture one another,"
her clear, creative, cosmic relationship. We can liberate
ourselves and her from the false enchantment of the reflection and
the aggrandizement of the sample.
The multiplicity which earth has created with life rivals
the multiplicity of the galaxy. We must begin to value
'many-to-many' relations, which other-oriented egos can promote. First
we must turn our attention to the world we live in, honor and
bless our Mother, satisfy her needs, the needs of the folks at home.
Perhaps it is really true that we are able to say on one
level what we have learned and felt on another. I have often been
far away from those I loved, and now for many years I have
loved another woman unilaterally. Receiving no response to my
co-munication, I became more creative, as I went on giving
to projects for social change. I know how both the earth and the
sun must feel. I am in alignment with one part of the image,
then another. Of course, when human love is requited, we each
can take turns at being sun and earth to each other.
May I accordingly suggest that, as we liberate ourselves
from masculation, we return to our roots in our cosmology. Perhaps
our term 'hum,' which would unite males and females in
childhood with their caretakers, their nurturers, and each other, could
be replaced as they grow up, not with 'woman' and 'man' but
with 'earth' and 'sun.' This could only be a healing thing when
the earth herself is restored to her rightful place as creative source
of both male and female human beings, and the sun as
unilateral energy giver. Perhaps, indeed, we could take the cue from
those who now see us as androgynous, containing both male
and female, active and passive, and call ourselves 'earths' in
the moments when we were creatively receiving, and 'suns' when
we were unilaterally giving (in both cases, we would have
already consciously detached our selves from the one-many structure
of the concept and the distortions of the definition of gender).
We should try to co-municate with the earth, not with
the stars. If Gaia is alive, surely she has a language. She is the
goddess who speaks to us through synchronicity and nurturing and
in other ways as well. How can we speak to her? She is an
'other' order of being. We are like cells in the body trying
to communicate with the whole body. What gifts can we give?
First, I think we can give her the gift of peace with one
another, healing our societies. And this will help us give her the gift of
our respect for her beauty and creativity, ending pollution,
healing the devastation we have caused. With our gifts, we will find
our common Mother tongue.
Since all our focus has been on the 'one,' the many have
been in the dark, unknown and unrecognized, like stars in
other galaxies, where our answers might seem to be. The stars are
so many, like our brain cells. Are they images of the stars? Are
the stars the neurons of the earth, except outside it--like us
but backwards? The earth would be a tiny body within an
immense brain of stars.
I saw the stars this morning as I woke up. There seemed to
be so many. This is the problem, 'one-many.' The earth is
finding herself within this huge array of others before she knows what
she is--or the sun and moon are. Similar to us, with the 5.5
billion people on earth. We humans can form groups to relate to
larger groups, but can the earth form a group with other planets?
Aren't the living ones too far away? Is she the only living child of
Sol? Are the other planets alive, even though they don't have life
on them? Is earth trying to reach out to them through our
space travel? We need to form a co-munity with her here. We need
to comfort her in her being alone.
1James Lovelock, The Age of Gaia: A Biography of Living on
Earth, Norton, New York, 1988.