Is Nature Self Aware?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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No_Mind
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Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by No_Mind »

Note to mods - This is not a conversation about Covid-19, the statistics, deaths, so on ..

As a Buddhist, I am trying to explore if Nature is self aware at some level that we do not understand. I found this article. If the members have any other sources I would be glad to read.

http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issu ... Gar-Smith-

Please share nothing about conspiracy theories but only something that might allow a Buddhist to contemplate on it. Mythology is welcome.

:namaste:
"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”― Albert Camus
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Kim OHara
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Re: Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by Kim OHara »

It's an interesting question with a very long history but its modern form was defined by Lovelock, who gets a mention in your linked article:
These musings lead us to revisit James Lovelock and his Gaia Hypothesis of a "Conscious Earth" based on observable data demonstrating that the planet functions as an interconnected living entity.
I read his "The Revenge of Gaia" when it was new and I was troubled and frustrated by his apparent inability to maintain a consistent view.
It's fair enough for a materialist to say that the planet has regulatory feedback loops which tend to stabilise the climate and the living environment. It's even okay to take the next step and say, "the planet functions as an interconnected living entity." But Lovelock frequently slid from that to, "the planet really is an interconnected living entity," OWTTE, and occasionally even to saying near the end of the book that our proper response to that entity is to worship her as a goddess. At that point he has abandoned all scientific credibility, and by doing so has undermined all of the interesting and useful things he said earlier.
:toilet:
On the other hand, he was quite right in practical terms in saying that such a reverential response is exactly what we need to cultivate before business as usual makes the planet unliveable.

So when he's wrong he's right and when he's right he's wrong and ... as I said, unsatisfactory.

I think your question goes even one step further than Lovelock did, making it that much harder to answer. Many living entities are not self aware and don't need self-awareness to be capable of very complicated behaviours. If you're thinking about a self-aware planetary intelligence, you're definitely in religious territory, since there is no evidence for such beings in materialist territory. You will find lots of evidence for a "yes" answer scattered through religious history. The Greek/Roman Gaia is a starting point.

Good luck!

Kim
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by Ceisiwr »

Isn’t that Brahman?
“Accomplished in the four right efforts,
mindfulness meditation is your territory;
adorned with the flowers of liberation,
you’ll realize quenching without defilements.”


Devasabhattheragāthā
chownah
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Re: Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by chownah »

Glad to hear that nature has its very own self....I'm jealous....I wish I had a self.... I guess I'm not important enough to have a self but nature is.........
chownah
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Sam Vara
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Re: Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by Sam Vara »

Religion is the audacious attempt to conceive of the entire universe as being humanly significant
(Peter Berger).

Even if nature as a whole is aware, there is no reason to assume it has such humanoid preferences as a nice stable habitable earth for us to live on. Sub specie aeternitatis, what's wrong with an infinite sea of radioactive boiling methane?

Even if nature has the same preferences for planetary and biological survival as us, she must be a bit slow on the uptake if she is unleashing plague and earthquake to draw our attention to our misdeeds. These things need interpreting by human sages, who then have to prevail against the established order. Why can't she just write a big sign in the sky, or, better still, bio-program us to be more compliant?

Looks like theism and original sin, to me.
santa100
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Re: Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by santa100 »

No_Mind wrote:Is Nature Self Aware?
Kind of, I'd say a more accurate term would be Self-Regulated. And it doesn't require some kind of mysterious, super-duper ultra consciousness. Its operation can be explained right there thru your avatar icon, the Yin-Yang circle, which by the way is in perfect accordance with the Buddha's concept of Dependent-arising:
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
Or to put it more bluntly, as the famous George Carlin had said:
The Planet will be fine, the People are f...ed!
Spiny Norman
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Re: Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by Spiny Norman »

No_Mind wrote: Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:44 am Note to mods - This is not a conversation about Covid-19, the statistics, deaths, so on ..

As a Buddhist, I am trying to explore if Nature is self aware at some level that we do not understand. I found this article. If the members have any other sources I would be glad to read.

http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issu ... Gar-Smith-

Please share nothing about conspiracy theories but only something that might allow a Buddhist to contemplate on it. Mythology is welcome.

:namaste:
You might say that nature is self-aware because we are products of nature, and we are conscious.
Buddha save me from new-agers!
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Dhammanando
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Re: Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by Dhammanando »

No_Mind wrote: Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:44 am Is Nature Self Aware
The idea is present in Buddhist texts, but so is its contrary. Sometimes both can be found in one and the same text, as with the Milindapañha, where we find, on the one hand:
'Venerable Nāgasena, you bhikkhus say that: "When the Blessed One walked along, the earth, unconscious though it is, filled up its deep places, and made its steep places plain." And on the other hand you say that a splinter of rock grazed his foot. When that splinter was falling on his foot why did it not, then, turn aside? If it be true that the unconscious earth makes its deep places full and its steep places plain for him, then it must be untrue that the splinter of rock hurt his foot. But if the latter statement be true, then the first must be false. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'

The Splinter Of Rock

'Thus was it, great king, that the broad earth, unable to support the unwonted burden of the heaped-up and wide-reaching force of king Vessantara's largesse, quaked and trembled and was moved.'

Vessantara's Earthquake

And on the other hand, plain ol' naturalism:
'Suppose, O king, that a man were to stumble against some root, or stake, or stone, or potsherd, or on uneven ground, and fall upon the broad earth. Would it be that the broad earth, angry with him, had made him fall?'

'No, indeed, Sir. The broad earth feels neither anger against any man nor delight. It is altogether free from ill-will, neither needs it to fawn on any one. It would be by reason of his own carelessness that that man stumbled and fell.'

The Dismissal of the Elders
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta
sentinel
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Re: Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by sentinel »

No_Mind wrote: Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:44 am As a Buddhist, I am trying to explore if Nature is self aware at some level that we do not understand.
:namaste:
The correct description would be , nature appear to inherit with attribute of awareness that is free of will .
You always gain by giving
binocular
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Re: Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by binocular »

What nature?

The Blessed One said, “What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All.1 Anyone who would say, ‘Repudiating this All, I will describe another,’ if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain and, furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range.”

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN35_23.html
If you can't build with them, don't chill with them.
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No_Mind
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Re: Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by No_Mind »

Ceisiwr wrote: Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:45 pm Isn’t that Brahman?
I was worried that this may come up so let me state that I am categorically not speaking of Brahman. Brahman has no characteristic so it cannot be self (or not-self).

No Upanishadic Hinduism other than mythologies please. Sure fire way to take this contemplation off track.

I find it unnerving that when climate debate hit crescendo, Covid-19 happened and all the talk of 1% reduction by 2050 went out of the window. We have about 50% reduction due to no vehicles plying.

I can see the stars from my rooftop after probably 30 years.

As Carl Jung put it - this is synchronicity - two occurrences that are not causally related but meaningfully related.

:namaste:
"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”― Albert Camus
dharmacorps
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Re: Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by dharmacorps »

As we discuss this speculatively, its worth throwing out there that from a scientific perspective, viruses are not living things and therefore not part of biology/nature. They have no independent functioning in the way that bacteria, fungi, and amoebas do.
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Sam Vara
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Re: Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by Sam Vara »

dharmacorps wrote: Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:36 pm As we discuss this speculatively, its worth throwing out there that from a scientific perspective, viruses are not living things and therefore not part of biology/nature. They have no independent functioning in the way that bacteria, fungi, and amoebas do.
I guess the relevance of that would depend on whether we think "nature" is living nature. I assumed it would also include material nature, rocks, seas, clouds, etc.
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Kim OHara
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Re: Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by Kim OHara »

Here's a good article which sees coronavirus as one symptom, among many, that we're over-stressing the environment and will suffer consequences.
I don't think that's particularly controversial, but the headline invites readers to see nature as a self-aware entity, doesn't it?
Coronavirus: 'Nature is sending us a message’, says UN environment chief

Exclusive: Destruction of wildlife and the climate crisis is hurting humanity, with Covid-19 a ‘clear warning shot’, say experts ...

Nature is sending us a message with the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis, according to the UN’s environment chief, Inger Andersen.

Andersen said humanity was placing too many pressures on the natural world with damaging consequences, and warned that failing to take care of the planet meant not taking care of ourselves.

Leading scientists also said the Covid-19 outbreak was a “clear warning shot”, given that far more deadly diseases existed in wildlife, and that today’s civilisation was “playing with fire”. They said it was almost always human behaviour that caused diseases to spill over into humans.

To prevent further outbreaks, the experts said, both global heating and the destruction of the natural world for farming, mining and housing have to end, as both drive wildlife into contact with people. ...
:reading: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... ment-chief

It's a powerful metaphor.

:namaste:
Kim
sentinel
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Re: Is Nature Self Aware?

Post by sentinel »

It seems that the Viruses resemble the Clinging aggregates where the virus attach to a host to reproduce themselves and the Clinging consciousness attach to the other 4 aggregates .
You always gain by giving
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