Gaia and the Biospheric Imperialist Tavern
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Quotes for the Day
- In our journeys, Earthlings encounter other life.
- Beings and biospheres as precious as we,
- Joining us as fellow travelers on the great upward spiral.
- Open Ritual for the SolSeed Service during the season of Viventibus Galaxia
- "If you want someone to cooperate with you, it’s better to bribe the person with short-range benefits than punishing him right away."
-Freeman Dyson as quoted by Emily Singer in Quanta Magazine, 2015-02-12
Contemplation for the Day
You are riding your elephant along a sidewalk as the traffic rushes by. You are tired, having worked hard all week at your job and you are frustrated by the lack of meaning in your job and you are looking to lash out. You stop at a crosswalk to wait for a break in the traffic. No one stops at crosswalks to allow pedestrians to cross so unless there is a break in the traffic you won’t be going further. The powerlessness you feel about being at the mercy of the numerous car drivers irks you.
To your surprise, cars going both directions stop. And the ones behind them stop without honking their horns. In fact, as you cross the street and the drivers in the cars wave at you in friendly way, you realize that you are not hearing the same number of horns honking as you would usually. The traffic is quiet and smooth. You glance at the selection of cars waiting and see that they are all hybrids and electric cars. No gas guzzlers are roaring their engines or buzzing their mufflers.
You turn and ride into your favorite tavern. It’s a rough place where fights break out regularly and everyone minds their own business to avoid being drawn into fights that are not theirs. Large TV’s play videos of rough sports, Mixed Martial Arts and other worse things.
But It feels different today. For one thing, the sport on the TV’s is hockey and not just the fight scenes. Twelve riders gliding around the ice on skating elephants, carefully stick handling the puck and passing it back and forth with tremendous skill. The atmosphere in the bar is more jovial and less tense. Maybe you are just projecting your own shock at the aberrant behaviour of the patient happy drivers at the crosswalk onto the world.
You ride up to your favorite table and your stomach knots as you see someone else has seated themselves at it. But your desire to lash out at someone is about to be satiated. “This is my seat buddy.” You snarl, “leave now.”
The man turns his elephant to face you pivoting it’s bottom on the chair. He is looking surprised, “You are being rude, sir.” He says, “There are plenty of other tables.”
“But this is my table, “ You say, “Now move or I will make you move.” You brace. The man is bound to throw the first punch any second and then you will be able to lash out without mercy.
“You would never get away with that.” The man says, “Don’t waste my time and please stop being so rude. Why don’t you just join me at this table and we can get to know each other.”
“Ha. Get away with it?” You laugh loudly and then yell, “You and what army will stop me.”
Suddenly you hear dozens of chairs push back from tables. You look around and every patron’s elephant is standing and facing you. Every rider is staring at you. The only person left sitting is the patron you were trying to bully. No one looks happy anymore. They all look annoyed and shocked at your behaviour. What ever happened to everyone minding their own business?
You glance at the nearest TV screen and every hockey player has stopped skating. Every elephant is facing the camera, it is as if they can see through it to you and are just as shocked and annoyed as you were.
“What is going on?” you ask, “Why is everyone standing together?”
Gaia appears from behind a table surrounded by elephants and riders and answers you, “Why wouldn’t they? We are all one. Why would we tolerate someone who works against the body of all life?”
“But that is not how the world is.” You reply, feeling as shocked as the faces staring at you from all sides.
“It is how the world could be, Little One,” Gaia replies with a gentle laugh, “if only humanity could see their participation in the greater being of the body of all Life as their primary allegiance.”
You turn your back on Gaia and walk out of the bar. There is no need for you to listen to this craziness. If this is just a hypothetical world then it isn’t realistic and there is nothing for you to learn from it.
But outside, you see an even stranger sight. Every car is stopped. Out of every car a group a elephants has emerged and they are all standing beside their open car doors staring in disbelief at you. A flock of geese have landed on the sidewalk and everyone is staring at you, as if they too understand. You glance down at the sidewalk and see a colony of ants, having emerged from its hole in a flower box at the edge of the road, each ant is craning its neck, staring up at you. All of the flowers in the flower box are facing you. Every leaf on every tree that lines the street seems to have turned to face you.
You find it hard to believe. You can’t walk through a world where everyone is focussed on you. It is too much. You turn and go back into the bar. Gaia is sitting at ‘your’ table with the patron you had tried to bully. On the TV, a news report is playing, “… and preparations continue for first contact with the biosphere of Tess 7538d. Multiple scientists have warned that contact may spell doom for our biosphere as diseases from which we have no immunity may …”
“How could any world be so united? Evolution is based on competition not cooperation.” You say to Gaia.
Gaia laughs gently, “Little One, cooperation is one of the greatest tools, which evolution invented, as a means of competition. To unite a world, a biosphere, all you need is another biosphere with which to compete.”
You turn your attention back to the TV screen. Images of huge living ships carrying a vast array of alien organisms, entering our solar system and converging on Earth stream by. Your elephant moves behind the elephant of the patron, whom earlier you were going to bully. Suddenly it feels safer standing with him than facing off against him.
The dream fades, and you are back in your regular life, but you know that somewhere out in the universe, either now or in the future, there is another biosphere. This fact feels like it changes you attitude toward you fellow living beings on Earth.