*136* Novacene (James Lovelock)

I am not really sure of what made me buy this book. The cover is beautiful, yes, but I’m not that shallow. It just ‘called me’ and I simply answered.

I was intrigued by the byline ‘the coming of age of hyperintelligence’, I’ve been struggling how to make sense of getting older, of the meaning of life (ha!) and struggling to put into context the ‘computer’ age we’re finding ourselves in… is it good? or bad? is it progress? or the beginning of the end? People seem to be split into two opposing camp on this regard and I find myself firmly on the fence; I remember a world that functioned well enough without it, the slower pace, more human contact but let’s be honest, our life is much ‘easier’ now, everything at the touch of a button etc. etc.

So I thought perhaps Mr Lovelock, he who gave us the genius that is the ‘Gaia theory’, might have an interesting view on our future… and of course he has. (The Gaia Theory posits that the organic and inorganic components of Planet Earth have evolved together as a single living, self-regulating system. It suggests that this living system has automatically controlled global temperature, atmospheric content, ocean salinity, and other factors, that maintains its own habitability. In a phrase, “life maintains conditions suitable for its own survival.” . It’s not airy fairy stuff, and you can read more about it here).

First of all let me say that he turned 100 this past July. One hundred – and I’m sitting here less than half his age feeling about double.

Anyway, this book gives another innovative and new theory about the future of Life on Earth. What if, and I’m giving you the quote from the sleeve because it’s beautifully explained:

There’s a lot of more in the book itself, and it’ll blow your mind. Or maybe you’ll think it’s just rubbish. It’s only a theory, after all. But I like it. A lot.

What if, truly, technology is part of evolution, not detached from it? What if we are just a little cog, just a step in the process, like the dinosaurs were… Lovelock says at the end of the book ‘we are now preparing to hand the gift of knowing on to new forms of intelligent beings. Do not be depressed by this. We have played our part. […] That what we are, we are (Tennyson). That is the wisdom of the great age, the acceptance of our importance while drawing consolation from the memories of what we did and what, with luck, we might yet do. Also, perhaps, we can hope that our contribution will not be entirely forgotten as wisdom and understanding spread outwards from the Earth to embrace the cosmos’.

It is not a depressing thought. At least I don’t see it as such… it means we’ve HAD and still have a valuable place in this mystery that is evolution… that without us, and our intelligence ‘all this’ wouldn’t have happened in this way. That has the be reassuring right?

Genius.

PS my toaster has just launched the bread onto the floor for the dog to grab it … welcome back to earth.

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