Excerpted from Part Six of
‘Super-Smart Democracies: Dissolving Neoliberalism, Elitism and Managerialism’.
Gaia was the Earth Goddess of the ancient Greeks, mother of all their gods. If you are Latin American, you will be reminded of the ancient Inca goddess, Pacha Mama, which translates as ‘Mother Earth’.
Where the Gaian Systems concept differs from Gaia and Pacha Mama is that it is a model of how complex, adaptive, self-organising living systems have maintained themselves in balance with the geological, chemical and physical systems of our planet for billions of years. It is based upon precise scientific observations and mathematical calculations.
Thinking about our home planet from a Gaian Systems perspective has no religious or spiritual content: no dogma, no supreme being, no-one and nothing in charge, no conscious purpose, no worshipping, no veneration. Gaian Systems no more care what happens to us as a species than we do about the hair under our arms, our gut bacteria, our red-blood corpuscles, the wax in our ears, or the phlegm we expel when we cough or blow our noses. They are all part of us, and some play an important part in our continued health and well-bring, but, like every living species there has ever been or will be, they are ephemeral, constantly being created and then either re-absorbed or discarded.
Complexity and chaos theories were originally invented to explain and analyse how, for example, Gaia’s weather systems and river-flows work. The same principles explain how the shapes of trees and coastlines are self-replicating and are closely related to the principle of recursion which is central to the application of Management Cybernetics to every kind of human organisation.