The Gaia hypothesis is the idea that the Earth itself is a living being, conscious, and was named and popularized by James Lovelock, born 1919: "Canadian atmospheric chemist, inventor and environmental theorist. An independent scientist who lives in Cornwall [England], Lovelock cooperated with NASA in their space program, advising on ways of looking for life on Mars.
“Lovelock's influence on the green movement stems from his portrayal of the Earth's biosphere as a complex, self-regulating, living 'being', which he named Gaia (at the suggestion of the novelist William Golding). Although the Gaia hypothesis extends the ecological idea by applying it to the Earth as an ecosystem and offers a holistic approach to nature, Lovelock supports technology and industrialization and is an opponent of 'back to nature' mysticism and ideas such as Earth worship. His major writings include Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (1979) and The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of our Living Earth (1989).”
"Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)
As consciousness arises from complexities emerging from information-processing, it is quite possible that the Gaia hypothesis has a basis in truth - or at least - it could be true in some way. The only problem is that it is impossible to investigate such a being, so it is a theory mostly loved by daydreamers.
Paul Harrison of Hampstead, London, is the founder and president of the World Pantheist Movement and it is this brand of pantheism that I discuss on this page. I toyed with the idea of being a Pantheist, but I have found that I cannot. This page is a quick description of Pantheism and a comparison to its beliefs and to that of Satanism.
What is Pantheism? - bullet points by Paul Harrison:
Pantheism accepts and affirms life joyously. It does not regard this life as awaiting room or a staging post on the way to a better existence after death.
Pantheism has a healthy and positive attitude to sex and life in the body.
Pantheism teaches reverence and love for nature. Nature was not created for us to use or abuse - nature created us, we are an inseparable part of her, and we have a duty of care towards her.
Pantheism is uniquely adapted to the space age. The Hubble Space Telescope has revealed the vastness, power, creativity and violence of the universe. We need an idea of divinity in keeping with this new knowledge.
Pantheism does not simply co-exist uncomfortably with science: it fully embraces science as part of the human exploration of the divine universe.
Taking the entire universe as a single divine object is not objectionable; the most senior and respected religious scientists of the past century have been pantheistic in their remarks about the nature of the universe. Pantheism is not a superstitious religion. Its appearance and texts are very positive, hippy, Earth-adoring, tree huggin' green-peace style melodrama. Its underlying beliefs are in a more mathematical Universal god that manifests itself purely through natural laws and particles; i.e., everything is part of it and it is formed by everything.
Pantheists therefore believe in a non-personal, non-anthropomorphic, non-personified god; that every thing has beauty because everything is divine. It takes a while to get used to their style of expression because it can come across as quite meaningless, but beyond the surface Pantheism is a quite powerful religion.
Pantheism is a very feel good religion; it is therefore good for the masses who in general, prefer to be told that things are going to be ok and that everything is taken care of. It has a very clean image and is perfectly accepting of science, because all science is viewed as gaining a deeper and more wondrous insight into God. It is scientifically and philosophically sound but impossible to refute. Its only weakness is that it may appear a bit too hippy for some people.
Pantheism is therefore the pagan religion that mundanes are most likely to buy; it is a good, strong threat to other religions. It isn't a new idea, but it is a new religion. It is comparable to the Upanishad teachings, and the Christian philosopher Spinoza. It is deist (see deism.com. Deists believe in god but not in organized religion or revelation).
Pantheism and atheism both have points in common with Satanism, including a certain amount of down-to-Earth materialism.
Pantheism is a valid and sensible religion. I also see it as one that is likely to continue its explosion. I see it as a threat to organized and established religion; in that it has a sounder philosophy, a nice attitude and is not associated with the guilt complexes of monotheistic religion, the bloodshed or bigotry.
In short the more exposure this religion gets the better. Also, Paul Harrison himself, his various writings and postings, appears to be a very down to Earth and go-get-it person. Hail Paul Harrison!
Pantheism (1999). Quotes from Element Books softback.
Political Ideologies (2003). 3rd edition. First edition 1992. Published by Palgrave MacMillan.