Science Fiction Novel
by David Brin
Played by: Connie McClellan

earth Main Quote:
"Nelson recalled his last conversation with his teacher when the topic had swung to her latest project--her bold new model of consciousness. 'The problem with a top-down view of mind is this, Nelson,' she had said. 'If the self at the top must rule like a tyrant, commanding all the other little subselves like some queen termite, then the inevitable result will be something like a termite colony. Oh, it might be powerful, impressive. But it will also be stiff. Oversimplified. Insane.' Remembering her words made Nelson smile. He turned again to stare at Earth, the oasis everyone now spoke of as a single living thing. It hardly mattered whether that was a new fact, or one as old as life itslef. Let the NorA ChuGas preach that Gaia had alway been there, aware and patient. Let others point out that it had taken human technology and intervention to bring violent birth to an active planetary mind. Each extreme view was completely correct in its way, and each was just as completely wrong. That was as it should be."

Relationship to the Core Wave:
"What is the cost of our division from ourselves and the earth we live on? What do we gain (or lose) in the attempt to attain true inclusiveness?" -- Connie McClellan.
"Is dark outside of light? Is light outside of dark? -- From Follow Up by Robert C. Cohen

Game I Core Wave: "The primary distinction between inside and outside."

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Connection Tunnels

  • Synthetic Pleasures
  • Pisces At The Beach
  • Madness

    Highlight Quotes

    "We are in a time of changes. Species will pass away and others take their place, as has happened before. An ecosystem frozen in stone can only become a fossil. We must become smart enough to minimize the damage, and then foster a new diversity, one able to endure in a strange new world." "Knowledge isn't restrained by the limits of Malthus. Information doesn't need topsoil to grow in, only freedom. Given eager minds and experimentation, it feeds itself like a chain reaction." "What do you get when you mix utter ignorance and a mind able to ask, 'Why'? Early human societies grasped at so many superstitions, pagan hierarchies, and countles bizarre notions about the world. Some folkways were harmless, even pragmatic and wise. Others were passed on as fierce 'truth'...because not to believe fiercely opened the way to something far worse that error...uncertainty."
    -- Earth, David Brin

    TAKE IT BACK by Pink Floyd:

    "Her love rains down on me easy as the breeze
    I listen to her breathing it sounds like the waves on the sea
    I was thinking all about her, burning with rage and desire
    We were spinning into darkness, and the Earth was on fire

    She could take it back, she might take it back some day

    So I spy on her, I lie to her, I make promises I cannot keep
    Then I hear her laughter rising, rising from the deep
    And I make her prove her love to me, I take all that I can take
    And I push her to the limit to see if she would break

    She might take it back, she could take it back some day

    Now I've seen the warnings, screaming from all sides
    It's easy to ignore them and God knows I've tried
    All of this temptation, it turned my faith to lies
    Until I couldn't see the danger or hear the rising tide

    She can take it back, she will take it back someday

    She will take it back, she will take it back someday."

  • Highlight

    I've lived long enough to understand how difficult adaptation can be when change accelerates beyond our ability to comprehend it, when what gives value to our lives is swept away, and when personal relationships seem ever more fragile. [In David Brin's novel Earth...] The earth of 2038 is much closer to the brink than ours, and even more deeply enmeshed in rapid change. It's also more closely linked than ours, by the World Net, the globe-spanning great grandchild of our World Wide Web. Everyone has a voice, even if it is more difficult to be heard. New relationships, new ways of thinking and acting are constantly being spawned, a new world in the making.

    I listen to the voices of doom and the prophets of hope and realize that neither side really knows what is happening or what the future will be like. I try, like some of Brin's characters, to remain open, willing to surf the changes rather than resist them. I want to experience both the fear and the exhiliration of the new and strange. Who said there are no frontiers left?

    -- Connie McClellan


    Brin's novel reminds me that each of us recapitulates the arguments for and against Descartes' I/It dualism, a position that enabled the West to dominate the world. Now that I/It relationship is seen as destructive in ways that humans could not have foreseen. But every process contains the seeds of a new creation. In EARTH, the world of 2038 is different from ours in detail, but illustrates the same processes. Personal reactions to those processes range, as they do now, from wisdom to fanaticism, peace-making to violent overthrow, acceptance to withdrawal.

    -- Connie McClellan

    Follow Ups

    From my perspective this move is completely related to the Gaia hypothesis popularized and modernized by James Lovelock. Peter Russell in his book "The Global Brain," describes Lovelocks development of the theory as follows, "Lovelock found that the chemical constituents [of the Earth] were far removed from equilibrium.....Lovelock came to 'the only feasible explanation': the atmosphere is being manipulated on a day to day basis by the many living processes on Earth. The entire range of living matter on Earth, from viruses to whales, from algae to oaks, plus the air, oceans, and the land surface, all appear to be a part of a giant system able to regulate the temperature and composition of the air, sea, and soil so as to ensure the survival of the life. This term Lovelock called the 'Gaia Hypothesis' in honer of the ancient Greek 'Earth Mother', Gaia (or Ge). In this context Gaia signifies the entire biosphere - everything living on the planet - plus the atmosphere, the oceans and the soil. "

    So the living systems are necessary to regulate the livability of the Earth the same way that our systems regulate our body temperature, supplies, etc. Russell's 'Global Brain' idea is the most exiting to me. He hypothesizes that human beings work like the brain cells in the living system of the Earth. For a good while brain cells increase in a developing fetus until a certain point where further expansion would be an overpopulation of brain cells. From that point on the brain cells in the baby and the growing person grow in connectivity. Russell points out that we have reached a point of maximum expansion in human population and that our activities are increasing towards connectivity as we get closer and closer with overnight mail, radio, telephones, television, satellites, FAXes, computers, etc.

    He also points out that our selfish behavior as a species is like cancerous behavior. Alan Watts called this selfish, isolated behavior "The Skin Encapsulated Ego." Russell goes on to explain it as, "What's inside the skin is me. What's outside the skin is not me. Biologically this is true. We are each separate biological individuals. But it is not the whole truth. We are much more than that. We are creatures with an inner life. With an existence that streches beyond our biological identity."

    He points out how difficult it is to define ourselves without describing our attachments to the world and that a lot of our destructive behavior toward the world stems from our seeing the world as external to us. What is needed is a shift in perspective and in being. A way of seeing our "fuzzy borders" that allow air and food and waste and the world to flow in and out and that we are part of and connected to the whole world.

    I think Peter is probably the most eloquent and balanced thinker on the subject of human development and survival today. He is one of the most spiritually and intellectually balanced individuals I have ever met. I have taken away from my interactions with his thinking that wisdom must no longer dissipate in a wasteland were the mundane is equated with the noble. Wisdom must connect up with wisdom and increase the strength of its messages. Connections and more connections are critical for balanced messages to meet up. We need to look into each others eyes and know that we are looking at ourselves and the universe that created us and know that we are responsible for creating the future of that universe, the future of ourselves.

    --Robert C. Cohen.

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