Monday, December 19, 2011

as above, so below: the worldview of Lynn Margulis

realitysandwich | "In the arithmetic of life, One is always Many."

Lynn Margulis, biologist and Distinguished Professor of Geosciences, composed a grand and powerful view of the living and the non-living. Integrating the work of obscure Russian scientists, DNA pulled from cell organelles, computer-generated daisies, and the hindguts of termites, her vision was wider in scope and more profound in depth than any other coherent scientific world view. At the time of her death on November 22nd, 2011, it is a vision that remains misunderstood and misconstrued by many scientists.

Much of this view came from her uncanny ability to first lean forward and see the smallest inhabitants of the Earth; to hover there, and then to leap back at the speed of thought to conceptualize the entire planet. Lean forward, then stand back. This inner movement, this seeing from soil to space, marked a unique scientific endeavor.

This perspective was earned only through walking through diverse areas of study -- geology, genetics, biology, chemistry, literature, embryology, paleontology. Those fields, are sometimes separated by an untraversed distance at universities: they are housed in separate buildings which may as well be different worlds. In Margulis, they found agreement and discussion with each other; they were reconnected, just as they are intrinsically connected in nature.

This journey led her to emphasize in all her scientific work two phenomena -- the fusing of distinct beings into a single being: symbiosis; and the interaction of organisms and their environments to create relational "loops" that led to regulation of many Earth systems: Gaia Theory.

Taken separately these concepts have the ability to redefine, respectively, how we understand organisms and the environment.

Taken together, they can redefine our consciousness.


nanakwame said...

The sages knew and spoke of this a prior- it took a smart person, to take the tools to prove it against the arbitrary dogma of the Theocracy and  myopic.