Gaia’s Zones of Evolutionary Emergence

Integral City integrates and synthesizes the evolutionary dynamics of the city as the most complex human system yet created. Guided by Gaia’s Evolutionary Impulse, we can build Capacity for Peace when we honour Context and live the Master Code of Care: simultaneously Caring for person, people, place and planet.

Using Integral City Frameworks, when threats to Human Security destroy Peace we can use Gaia’s wisdom to design approaches to heal and rebuild Gaia’s living systems that she manifests through her human beings.

How can we imagine applying these principles to the horrors of war we observe every day of the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict?

I have pointed out (Hamilton, 2019, Chapter 6) in Security Systems: Evolutionary Framework for the Human Hive, that Gaia has evolved in a sequence of planetary evolution – translating the gifts she inherited from the evolution of the Universe and Solar System into the zones of our Lithosphere, Hydrosphere, Atmosphere, Biosphere, Anthroposphere and Civilization (Eddy, 2003, 2005) as seen in Figure 1

Figure 1: Gaia’s Zones of Emergence.

When we ponder this stratification of elements they challenge us to consider what would happen if any of them were threatened.  I identified the threats related to the last six of these zones as related to Energy, Water, Climate, Food, Biogenetics and Psycho-Cultural-Social impacts as seen in Figure 2 (ibid).

Figure 2: Threats to Gaia’s Zones

It used to be that the costs of wars would be “simply” measured in terms of the loss of infrastructure, human life and economic costs. Now we talk about the impacts of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as not just calculated based on those “traditional” valuations of the costs of war, but we are beginning to realize that this war is impacting our access to energy (oil, gas, nuclear), water (Black Sea), food (oils, grains) and that all these elements are interconnected on all the levels of planetary emergence.

Likewise, the threats we have endured in the last 2 years of the pandemic are clearly bio-genetic, while the IPCC’s latest report reminds us that climate change continues to threaten life on our globe.

So, through a natural convergence (not a conspiracy) of Gaia’s zones of emergence we sit on the edge of a perfect storm of ecosystem breakdown.

Integral City proposes cities are Gaia’s Reflective Organs, with humans the cells in those organs and our organizations their sub-systems/organelles (Lovelock 2009). Effectively what happens to Gaia happens to her organs and vice versa. And humans as those organs are now challenging the very qualities of life itself – failing to survive, failing to connect with our environment and failing to regenerate our capacities. We threaten ourselves as Gaia’s expression of consciousness.

What is Broken?    Click to continue to next section.