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Abstract:
Overview of the Gaia hypothesis, a concept which regards the entire planet as a living organism.
Notes:
See enclosed Compilation on Nature.

The Gaia Concept

by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice

1992-06-08
To: The Universal House of Justice 
From: The Research Department

In his letter of 15 April 1992, Dr. xxxx states that he has received an inquiry on the Gaia hypothesis, which regards the planet earth as a living organism, and asks if we have prepared a memorandum on the subject.

The Research Department has not previously received any inquiries on the Gaia hypothesis. We can, however, provide the following for Dr. xxxx's consideration.

Briefly stated and in the words of its originator, James Lovelock, the Gaia hypothesis postulates that "the physical and chemical condition of the surface of the Earth, of the atmosphere and of the oceans has been, and is, actively made fit and comfortable by the presence of life itself ... in contrast to the conventional wisdom which held that life adapted to the planetary conditions as it, and they, evolved their separate ways.''l

We have attached a selection of extracts from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and the Writings and Utterances of 'Abdu'l-Bahá on the subject of nature. [online here -J.W.] The extracts neither confirm nor oppose the Gaia proposal, the resolution of which would appear to be in the domain of science. They do, however, state some fundamental principles about created phenomena and their inter-relationships, subjects that bear reflection by those who investigate the Gaia hypothesis. Among the points made in the attached extracts are the following:

- Nature is regulated by God; nature is God's Will. (Extracts 1, 5, 6, 9, 12)

- Nature is bound by strict laws from which it cannot deviate. (Extracts 3, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13)

- The physical world is a closely integrated, cooperative, coherent entity. (Extracts 3, 4, 5, 6)

- Every natural phenomenon "exerteth its influence and is likewise influenced in its turn." (Extracts 4, 5, 8)

- The existence of every created thing is dependent on the composition of simple elements; created things are not annihilated, only changed in composition; created things are myriad and numberless. (Extracts 7, 8, 12)

- Every atom enshrines the signs of God and passes through all grades of existence. (Extracts 2, 8, 12)

- Affinity and attraction produce fruitful results; division and discord result in decomposition and destruction. (Extracts 7, 13)

- Man, through science, transcends the laws of nature. (Extracts 9, 10, 11, 13)

- Creatures are "attuned to the elements that have gone into the composition" of their environments. (Extract 14)

[end of letter]

Note

    1. Quoted in "Cuckoo in the nest" by Omar Sattaur, "New Scientist", 24/31 December 1987, pp. 16-18.
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