MAYA-GAIA INTRODUCTION & SITEMAP         Update 04 20 08

Note: My maya-gaia website, evolving since 1997, is a chronicle of my passing all considered opinion
through the lens of my Nirvikalpa Samadhi with both an open-mind and healthy skepticism.

Links to Eco Spirituality-Integral Spirituality Controversy

After organizations like the National Audubon Society and Sierra Club had brought wildlife conservation into mainstream awareness, Rachael Carson's 1962 Silent Spring and James Lovelock's The Gaia Hypothesis 1979, ushered in the movement of modern environmentalism. Since then a full spectrum of Eco Organizations have arisen evoking the massing scientific evidence that the global ecosystems, wildlife and human health are threatened by industrial pollution with recognition of the most acute crises of global warming. The intensity of concern has spawned organizations with even more passionate agendas for eco spirituality, green consciousness, deep ecology, pantheism or what some reactionary opponents disparage as eco fundamentalism, raising the scale and scope of controversy. Predictably there is a growing effort by the status quo industrial complex to denigrate the science and the complimentary discipline of Ecopsychology that are the basis of Green Movement credibility along with resistance by some religious fundamentalist who view the spiritual movement as threatening to revive a legitimacy to pagan and wiccan nature belief systems. What is most surprising is the disparagement of Eco Spirituality by the Integral Spirituality community and specifically the Wilberians who seem to view Gaian Consciousness as a distraction from their advocating the primacy of personal transformation. The following links present an overview of the controversy, which has arisen primarily between the Eco Spiritual and the Integral Spiritual communities over the issue- with some critiques from right-wing uber industrial advocates and religious fundamentalists.

About my Mystical Experience - the transcendent Nirvikalpa Samadhi which led to my Gaia consciousness.

See Dual/Nondual Model of Reality for my perspective on Ecospirituality and enlightenment.

Also Gaian Consciousness A shameful account of my rocky path to a Gaian Consciousness.


Ken Wilber's Critique of Ecological Spirituality by Michael E. Zimmerman- After many noteworthy achievements, the environmental movement is being confronted by critics who challenge concepts whose validity used to be taken for granted by most environmentalists. First of all, and perhaps most startling, many ecological scientists no longer support the ecosystem model, to which environmentalists and friendly legislators have long appealed as the scientific basis for establishing environmental law and policy. Many ecologists now base their work on population dynamics, which assumes that large-scale natural processes are not functions of an overarching "system," but rather are the unintended effects of the decisions made by countless individual organisms seeking to maximize their fitness. In addition to denying that ecosystems exist, these ecologists add that natural processes--far from being characterized by stability, integrity, and balance--are characterized by chaos, constant flux, and relatively unpredictability.

Ken Wilber’s Critique of Deep Ecology and Nature Religion: A Response by Gus diZerega: "the intuition can be genuine, but the interpretation can get fouled up." - Ken Wilber Modern environmentalists and spiritual traditions in sympathy with them constitute a great and dangerous error, according to Ken Wilber in his new books Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, and A Brief History of Everything. Wilber argues this in spite of agreeing that we face a serious ecological crisis, and that he is "in complete sympathy" with the attempt by many contemporary people to recapture the ecological wisdom of earlier tribal people.

Wilber on Ecospirituality I will begin this page by saying that while I do not know whether Wilber loves Nature as much as I do, I am sure that he has a great love of Nature. This being so, it is strange that he should attack those who argue philosophically for the values of Nature in its own right, and those who work in the activist movement against the current ecocide. But, with his "Mean Green Meme", this is what he certainly seems to be doing. The following passage from A Brief History of Everything (where the eco-movement is identified with the "Descenders", as opposed to the mystic other-worldly "Ascenders") shows that either Ken, although sincere, completely misunderstands the ecological movement (the way he misunderstands Darwinism, or Sri Aurobindo, perhaps), or he does understand them but is deliberately misrepresenting them.

Heidegger on Wilber Deep Eco on Wilber's critique of deep ecology.

Kazlev on Wilber Eco Sprirtuality by Alan Kazlev- Metaphysician I feel motivated to if possible bring in warmth and love and compassion into the Integral Movement, to give the Integral Movement the Heart to balance the head level. Hence Ecological Consciousness has to be central to the Integral Movement, not some lower tier green meme peripheral stage that is included and transcended, but CENTRAL to it. Integral to it, in other words. And the same with Animal Rights and Sentient Rights in general. They have to be central. They have to be every bit as important as human rights.

Ken Wilber's Critique of Ecological Spirituality by Michael E. Zimmerman (Ref. Deep Ecology and world Religions, ed. David Barnhill and Roger Gottlieb, SUNY Press, 2001) Essay basically supports Wilber's criticism of the spiritually-oriented deep ecologists (SDEs) explanation of the ecological crisis as the failure of modern people to revere the sacredness of nature.

Jeffry Mishlove Thinking Allowed interview of Jeffry Mishlove Thinking Allowed interview on eco-psychology Dr. Theodore Roszak, a professor of history at California State University at Hayward, a leading social critic and an author of numerous books including The Voice of the Earth in which he raises the notion of ecopsychology. (Freud) was convinced the human mind, the psyche, and life in general was a freakish development in the universe. And that decision on Freud's part haunts the practice of psychiatry and psychotherapy down to the present day. And it has led to the assumption that you can treat the psyche in isolation from the natural environment because there's no significant, meaningful, human connection. usually we think of the earth as a mother figure. And similarly his vision of the primal horde where the Oedipus complex was established comes very close to being another version of original sin. And what if the foundations of human madness have more to do with a crime against that mother than they have to do with any transgression against a hypothetical primordial father. At least that's what I'm suggesting might be the deepest rout of madness and that madness is most highly emphasized most crucially in a society that is becoming more and more urban and industrial and growing further and further away from the mother earth that bore us into life in the first place. So it's an interesting new image to use for understanding human nature, the nature of madness, the nature of sanity.

Skeptical Environmentalism By Robert Kirkman (Nature as Freedom p 97) In Skeptical Environmentalism, Robert Kirkman raises doubts about the speculative tendencies elaborated in environmental ethics, deep ecology, social ecology, postmodern ecology, ecofeminism, and environmental pragmatism. Drawing on skeptical principles introduced by David Hume, Kirkman takes issue with key tenets of speculative environmentalism, namely that the natural world is fundamentally relational, that humans have a moral obligation to protect the order of nature, and that understanding the relationship between nature and humankind holds the key to solving the environmental crisis.

The Transpersonal Dimensions of Ecopsychology: Nature, Nonduality, and Spiritual Practice by John Davis, Ph.D. 1998 The author argues that an integration of ecopsychology and transpersonal psychology is useful for both. Empirical research on nature-based transpersonal experiences is cited, and the contributions of Fox (1990) and Wilber (1995) are discussed. Nondual transpersonal states are found to be at the core of both fields. However, misunderstandings of nonduality have hampered this integration. A description of nondual dimensions of Being is presented, followed by discussion of ways to bring transpersonal practices into ecopsychology. (Includes an examination of Wilber's perspectives on ecospirituality.)

Earthdance: Living Systems in Evolution 1999 by Elisabet Sahtouris- evolution biologist, futurist, event organizer and UN consultant on indigenous peoples. Complete book and article archive online with forward by James Lovelock.

Essential Writings on Nonduality edited by Jerry Katz. Review by Alice A. Chestnut: Jerry Katz had me from the first sentence when he defined nonduality as "the experience of our true nature, the taste of being" -- what a clear, concise definition. Direct seeing itself is the experience -- you can call the experience itself Self, or if you choose, God -- and in this direct seeing one becomes whole. This is the experience of becoming a participant in the natural bliss of plants and flowers and trees, and it is one's death as well as rebirth. As soon as we drop the mind [ego] that is the source of all fear, this new world unfolds. In it, we become one with nature. Nothing is separate, nothing is different, and everything begins to throb in harmonious peace, which is our true nature.

Ecophenomenology or ecological phenomenology calls for originative thinking and an openness to the laying bare of essential elements of human experience with the world. It calls to enter, ever more deeply, into the sensorial present", and to recover the moral sense of our humanity by recovering first the moral sense of nature.

Will Ecology Become 'the Dismal Science'? by Murray Bookchin 1991 Today, the term "dismal science" appropriately describes certain trends in the ecology movement-trends that seem to be riding on an overwhelming tide of religious revivalism and mysticism. I refer not to the large number of highly motivated, well-intentioned, and often radical environmentalists who are making earnest efforts to arrest the ecological crisis, but rather to exotic tendencies that espouse deep ecology, biocentrism, Gaian consciousness, and eco-theology, to cite the main cults that celebrate a quasi-religious "reverence" for "Nature" with what is often a simultaneous denigration of human beings and their traits.

Activism, Deep Ecology, and the Gaian Era: Panel Discussion- With Stephen Buhner, Lynn Margulis, & John Seed Moderated by Larry Buell of Earthlands- What is Gaian consciousness? How does an understanding of the planet as a self-regulating organism impact our collective human psyche, our values, our choices, and our perceptions? How is the world different now, after those first images of the blue, green, brown orb of the Earth wrapped in atmosphere arrived to us less than 40 years ago? In light of our culture's emerging planetary consciousness and global biological interdependence, how can individuals and communities best move forward with hope in an age of dramatic ecological disturbances?

Gaia embracing Earth The Meaning Of Gaia- Is Gaia a goddess, or just a good idea? by David Spangler 1990 Gaia is an important idea, both as a scientific hypothesis and as a spiritual image. However, I see it as a transitional idea. It is not so much a revelation in itself as a precursor to revelation or to new insights that can come when that idea is examined and lived with and given a chance to settle into our bones. Its meaning now lies in what it can inspire us to discover about ourselves and the nature of life, in rallying our energies to meet the needs of our environment, and through these processes of discovery and healing, to become a truly planetary species, blessed in ways we can now only imagine.

The Gaia Sutra by Tim Willard- examining Gaia concepts in terms of metaphysical/philosophical aspects. His current blog Green Future focusing on updates about issues concerning Gaia eco-sustainability.

Thomas Berry (1915-2009) was a passionate priest and self-styled "gelogian" - one of the most provacative figures among the new breed of eco-theologians. He pronounced that the human species has become "the affliction of the world, its demonic presence" and defended Deep Ecology - possibly the most misanthropic movement in history. His book The Dream of the Earth" spells out one of its chief principles - that human beings must substantially decrease so that other species may flourish. [Dirge for a Shaman by Anne Barbeau Gardiner- New Oxford Review, Oct, 2010]

The We Campaign is a project of The Alliance for Climate Protection -- a nonprofit, nonpartisan grassroots effort founded by Nobel laureate and former Vice President Al Gore. Our ultimate aim is to halt global warming. Specifically we are educating people in the US and around the world that the climate crisis is both urgent and solvable. We need an international agreement on the climate crisis that is consistent with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's findings. It must cut global warming pollution sufficiently to ensure our children and their children inherit a healthy planet, not one severely damaged by the effects of climate change.

In Newt Gingrich's 2007 book Contract with the Earth- a book on the environment co-authored by Terry L. Maple, President and CEO of the Palm Beach Zoo and professor of conservation and behavior at the Georgia Institute of Technology -- Gingrich and Maple advocate "Green Conservatism," an innovative, market-based, common-sense approach to protecting the environment by rewarding conservation through incentives while fostering "green" economic growth.

The New Scientific/Social Paradigm for the Coming Millennium A 1998 E.F.Schumacher Society Lecture by Bill Ellis- In the waning two decades of the 20th century a new scientific and social paradigm has been developing that could have the most, deep, fundamental impact on human civilization since man first moved out of the cave. The old paradigm placed humans in a purposeful universe created by some super normal power for the domination and use by man. The new paradigm suggests a self-organizing universe in which humanity is but one of the created interdependent webs of being.

The Transpersonal Dimensions of Ecopsychology: Nature, Nonduality, and Spiritual Practice by John Davis, Ph.D. (1998) The author argues that an integration of ecopsychology and transpersonal psychology is useful for both. Empirical research on nature-based transpersonal experiences is cited, and the contributions of Fox (1990) and Wilber (1995) are discussed. Nondual transpersonal states are found to be at the core of both fields. However, misunderstandings of nonduality have hampered this integration. A description of nondual dimensions of Being is presented, followed by discussion of ways to bring transpersonal practices into ecopsychology. (Includes an examination of Wilbers perspectives on ecosprituality.)

Integrative Spirituality a forum discussion on hokai blog generating some profound commentaries that relate to ecospirituality.

The Industrial Evolution to Extinction How we go extinct.

The Love of Nature and the End of the World: The Unspoken Dimensions of Environmental Concern by Shierry Weber Nicholsen. Nicholsen explores dimensions of our emotional experience with the natural world that are so deep and painful that they often remain unspoken. The Love of Nature and the End of the World is a gathering of meditations and collages. Its evocations of our emotional attachment to the natural world and the emotional impact of environmental deterioration are meant to encourage individual and collective reflection on a difficult dilemma.

Growth is Madness! Website by John Feeney, Ph.D., (GIM) addresses the related problems of population growth and corporate economic growth as they degrade the global ecosystem. Though you will rarely hear it in the mainstream press, these issues represent the most urgent problems facing human society today. Acting in concert with growing per capita resource consumption levels, they are the root causes of the looming ecological collapse we now face. It is undeniable that well known problems such as climate change, overfishing, the extensive loss of coral reefs, deforestation, urban sprawl, the dramatically accelerated extinction of species, and the end of cheap oil would not exist, as we know them today, were it not for the interplay of population growth, corporate economic growth, and excessive per capita consumption levels. If these processes are allowed to continue, global crises of disease, famine, and war will be inevitable. Growth really is madness.

Gain Deep Ecology Joanna Harcourt-Smith- Closely aligned with deep ecology, and going deeper, we explore the power of human potential to shape society, serve the earth, and coevolve with the non-human world. We invite a future myth about being human, a story of our own making to align human ways of life with Gaia, the living planet...In metahistory the beliefs scripted into our most enduring stories are brought to attention so that our behavior can be liberated, re-aligned, and consciously guided. The purpose of the material in this site is not to present a specific agenda for action but to propose views for alignment and open new perspectives that can lead to optional ways of acting and believing.

The Need for Transcendence In the Post-Modern World by Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic, Independence Hall, Philadelphia - 1994 - I think the Anthropic Cosmological Principle brings us to an idea perhaps as old as humanity itself: that we are not at all just an accidental anomaly, the microscopic caprice of a tiny particle whirling in the endless depths of the universe. Instead, we are mysteriously connected to the entire universe, we are mirrored in it, just as the entire evolution of the universe is mirrored in us. The second example is the Gaia Hypothesis. This theory brings together proof that the dense network of mutual interactions between the organic and inorganic portions of the earth's surface form a single system, a kind of mega-organism, a living planet -- Gaia -- named after an ancient goddess who is recognizable as an archetype of the Earth Mother in perhaps all religions.

Encylopedia on Gaia resources

World of Earth Science on Gaia Hypothesis

The GaiaNet Committee organises a regular series of invitation meetings on topics concerned with the wider aspects of Gaia. You can see the position papers provided for these meetings here. Mary Midgley, John Ziman, John Turnbull, Anne Primavesi, Pat Spallone, David Midgley- Finally, I'm going to venture that Eco's understanding is part of a larger set of social transformations, something I want to call the Gaian turn. In my own areas of work, I see it happening in several places. It is happening in social theory in the concepts of 'new materialism'. It is happening in the practical discipline of medical ethics where the idea of the patient as autonomous individual, disconnected, is most fragile. I see it most clearly in the biosciences in the apparent turn away from reductionism towards 'systems biology'. Systems developmental biology may argue - this is very Gaia - that there is no such thing as the environment, but rather we are the environment, dependent and related and in the process of becoming. The organism is an agent in its own development.

Spirit, Land, and Home: Paganism and the Earth by Gus diZerega- Contemporary Pagan practices focus on the spiritual as it manifests immanently in the world rather than as existing transcendentally above it. From this perspective a person’s primary spiritual responsibility is to grow into greater harmony with the world’s underlying character rather than seeking salvation from it. And yet- The Pagan Roman Empire caused the extinction of elephants, rhinoceroses, and zebras in North Africa partly as a result of its using them in gladiatorial contests for entertainment. The Pagan Greeks deforested their land, although many realized what they were doing, even passing laws against it. The Pagan Easter islanders brought about the collapse of their civilization through the extermination of native palms.

Deep Ecology We begin with the premise that life on Earth has entered its most precarious phase in history. We speak of threats not only to human life, but to the lives of all species of plants and animals, as well as the health and continued viability of the biosphere. It is the awareness of the present condition that primarily motivates our activities. In recent years, the Foundation for Deep Ecology has been active in publishing large-format books on diverse environmental topics. These include Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy, Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture, Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West, and Clearcut: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture.

Introduction To Deep Ecology Deep ecology is a new way to think about our relationship to the Earth - and thinking is a prelude to action An Interview with Michael E. Zimmerman, by Alan AtKisson- One of the articles in Global Climate Change (IC#22) Summer 1989.

The Skeptical Environmentalist reviewed by Jason Cowley. Bjorn Lomborg, associate professor of statistics at Arhus University, Denmark authored The Skeptical Environmentalist 2001- perhaps the most important book about the environment since Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (1962) awakened the world to the dangers of unrestrained economic growth. It is certainly the most trenchant, and has led to the worldwide vilification of Lomborg. Scientific American published a 12-page special report with the sole intention of discrediting him. Nature magazine accused him of the environmental equivalent of Holocaust denial. Even E O Wilson, one of the great thinkers of our time, expressed public regret that a distinguished academic press should have published such a book. Yet Lomborg remains committed to his war against eco-fundamentalism. He is an optimist, an unapologetic believer in progress. Western-style affluence, he believes, is important because it offers the possibility of "adaptive capacity" - the ability of humans to adapt to new challenges, such as the need to discover new sources of fuel, as and when they arise.

Pursuit of the Millennium by Norman Cohn- a review - The conviction that greenhouse gas-induced global warming is about to endanger mankind's survival is an article of faith rather than an assertion of science. The parallels with previous apocalyptic movements are readily apparent in Norman Cohn's classic, The Pursuit of the Millennium. That the greenhouse scaremongering is endorsed by so many people with science degrees says more about the state of contemporary scholarship than anything else. For, as Nigel Lawson so powerfully reminds us, the science is not settled and it is dishonest to pretend otherwise. Not only is it dishonest; it's also a betrayal of the West's tradition of reason and tolerance and a retreat into irrationality and dogmatic thinking.

Eco-Fundamentalism The former Conservative chancellor Lord Lawson will warn against "scaremongering" over global warming, taking a swipe at party leader David Cameron as he does so. He is to compare the "irrationality and intolerance of eco-fundamentalism" to the threat posed by Islamist extremism in a response to this week's Stern Report, which warned that climate change could cripple the world economy if action was not taken to tackle carbon emissions. "Even if we were...it would be useless unless the major developing nations - notably China, India and Brazil - were prepared to do the same, which they are manifestly and understandably not." He argues it is not clear that global temperatures are rising steadily, nor that any increase is related to rising carbon emissions. Even if they are, the cost of tackling emissions will be excessive and people would be better placed attempting to deal with the consequences.

Evangelists Environmentalism by Paul Nussbaum, 2005- Increasingly, evangelists are embracing environmentalism. One of Calvin DeWitt's favorite Bible verses is Revelation 11:18: "... The time has come for judging the dead ... and for destroying those who destroy the Earth." DeWitt, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin, is a leader in a growing evangelical Christian movement to protect the environment in the name of God. "This comes right out of the Christian calling of how we should live our lives on Earth," DeWitt said. "Christians are coming on board more and more because there really is an interest in seeking the kingdom of God beyond just individual needs." On such issues as global climate change, endangered species, and mercury hazards to the unborn, many evangelical Christians are parting ways with conservatives. They are embracing environmental protection as "stewardship" of God's creation.

World Pantheism The WPM belief statement is not like most religious creeds. It is not intended to be recited by rote or read out in meetings nor is subscription to every word of the credo a requirement of joining the World Pantheist Movement or its forums. We know that people are not zombies. Everyone has a slightly different slant on the world: if they didn't, there'd be nothing to talk about, nor would ideas advance. But people associate into social and spiritual groups because they share certain beliefs, so it is best to have a good idea of what those basic beliefs are before joining a group.

Pantheist Vision editor Harold W. Wood, Jr. is a co-founder of the Universal Pantheist Society. "We seek renewed reverence for the biosphere as the ultimate context for human existence.... Unlike some systems of meditation which go by the name "mindfulness practice", which may ask adherents to follow some complicated rituals or meditation practices, Pantheist do what comes naturally when a solitary person confronts the natural world in a quiet place in the out of doors. Most people - even non-Pantheists - readily say that they feel most "spiritual" when engaged in the most tangible - - taking a walk in the woods, climbing mountains, experiencing nature firsthand. That is the fundamental "Pantheist Mindfulness Practice".

On the Beauty and Necessity of Philosophy by Henryk Skolimowski. Firstly, it should embody ecological sanity based on the assumption that the world is a sanctuary. This new image of the world immediately implies that you have to take care of the earth and of all nature. You have to observe nature's constraints and limits, nature's laws of well-being. If you don't, you live in a filthy and poisonous world. Observing nature's constraints and limits immediately suggests that not "anything goes", that you cannot do as you please, that for the benefit of a larger whole, for a larger earth's community, you need to limit your wants and excessive consumption.

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