Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
das monde, you raise some questions that are a bit prickly to grasp.  I am familiar with the Gaia theory, and I'll read through more of your diaries when I have some time.  From the titles of a few, I see we are running along similar themes with our explanation of our explorations.  I was amused to see the title of one asking if civilization is a pyramid scheme, because that's one I use from time to time, though I like the word "Ponzi scheme" because of what it evokes in my senses when I say or think the word: Ponzi.  Don't ask me to explain!

Traditional ecological theory, as I understand it, tends to limit itself to the observable mechanistic reactions of complex feed back loops based on theories of interspeciate competition for resources, of which many of the species themselves are counted as predation moves up the chain.  From your boom bust explanation, I'm confident you are familiar with the lemming population sine wave and the corresponding sine waves of their interrelated co species, but that whole explanation is based on observable mechanistic theories of predation.  It's much more difficult to observe "intentional" interspeciate altruism, so altruism is a more difficult hypothesis to support, I suspect.  But that does not mean it's not a valid question! Such questions have bearing when the underlying economic theories of our r-selection cultural mimic of free market neoliberalism are discussed, especially with adherents who view them as gospel.

The term "greed" implies to me a conscious intention, which I can easily overlook and focus on the functional elements the term describes, but for others I find it problematic, probably because it's laden with moral implications, so I personally tend to steer clear of it.  I avoid it even when describing capitalism and the implied ontology of infinite growth in the need for an expanding of capital accumulation as a necessary part of the investment/production cycle in order for the system to persist. It's not steady state in theory.  Very classic r-selected strategy, though.

The genius of Gaia as I see it is in the built in feedback loops in its systems that inevitably do limit the growth of the r-selected species, which seem inherently designed to get out of control when the opportunity arise, in any given eco system, no matter how "greedy" for resources.  The most effective means for achieving growth when resources are available have many other inhibitors when the eco system is complex, and that implies to me much potential truth in your argument that:

K-selected species can be suboptimally greedy because of a genetic or habitual trait from critical times, and that can be useful on the long time scale. Of course, the art of long term survival must include dealing with "foolish" r-selected species. Living is a complicated problem - so the biological world is becoming more complicated while solving those problems. I think that cooperation and contribution to resilience pf environment must be important part of solutions against r-species. In this light, the Gaia hypothesis might become more interesting.

Good thoughts, I hope to explore this more. Thanks.

"I would pillow myself on the stream, for I'd like to cleanse my ears" - Sun Chu (218-293) Chinese recluse

by Ren on Thu Apr 12th, 2007 at 12:23:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greed can be defined pretty mechanically, as seeking to maximalize some satisfaction or utilization. It is kind of compulsive algorithm.

A more tricky concept is "selfishness". To love yourself truely, you have to take care of long term perspectives as well. That implies planning, preferences, intention.

My definition of Gaia is a cybernetic system whose core functionality is preservation of livable conditions on Earth in the long term. The main characteristic of a cybernetic system is the perception-reaction cycle. It must be fascinating to pin down what things Gaia can perceive, and how can it respond. Above that, comes learning capacity, which means that things repeat themselves not so much because of causual forcings, but that there is a controlling code somewhere. How far fetched is that? There is something about holistic thinking...

[By the way, I'll be largely away next two weeks.]

by das monde on Thu Apr 12th, 2007 at 09:49:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My definition of Gaia is a cybernetic system whose core functionality is preservation of livable conditions on Earth in the long term. The main characteristic of a cybernetic system is the perception-reaction cycle. It must be fascinating to pin down what things Gaia can perceive, and how can it respond. Above that, comes learning capacity, which means that things repeat themselves not so much because of causual forcings, but that there is a controlling code somewhere. How far fetched is that? There is something about holistic thinking...

Sophisticated thoughts...

Neuro science is finding similar ways of describing the systemic interactions in our own brains it seems. Brings up questions about the nature of intentionality and consciousness that we can relate to experientially while finding relational patterns as we learn more about our planet and its living biosphere.  You call to my mind Gregory Bateson's Steps to an Ecology of Mind and his discussion of deutero learning.  Big questions about the nature of the desire to control, it being a possible neurosis and all.

I'll look for you when you return.

"I would pillow myself on the stream, for I'd like to cleanse my ears" - Sun Chu (218-293) Chinese recluse

by Ren on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 12:31:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is something about holistic thinking...

I hope this does not relate to wholeness of the infinity.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Fri Apr 13th, 2007 at 01:42:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Top Diaries

Occasional Series