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I’m very pleased to welcome Anthony J. Gerst as a contributor to Below2C. Mr. Gerst is a long-letter writer whose letters have been featured in 20 countries including England, Spain, Hungary, India Australia and Brazil. A longer bio is found at the end of the article. (Rolly Montpellier, Editor)

Earth Centric Paradigm Shift, boomer warrior
Earth Centrism

The polarity of extremist views continues to increase. Fundamentalists tend to blame academics/liberals, claiming we must put God back as central to our government. The mainstream seem to accuse talk radio and the 24/7 news media, with MSNBC and Fox News whipping hysteria into the right and left wings of our two-party system. Conspiracy theorists and others point toward fiscal elitists using the divide and conquer method to keep the public at each other’s throats instead of uniting against them. The polarity of right vs. left, fundamentalism vs. existentialism is hardly restricted to the United States, it is a global phenomenon.

Earth Centric Paradigm Shift

As early as the mid 1990s, it was suggested that what we as a species are experiencing is a paradigm shift toward an Earth Centric ethical standard: a shift no less profound than the scientific revolution 400 years ago. The philosophical and scientific approach created by Rene Descartes, known as the Cartesian Method is a prime example of that paradigm shift. Descartes is best known for his philosophical quote, cogito ergo sum: I think, therefore I am. His philosophic endeavors of questioning everything perceived (sense imagery) and indoctrinated (taught from youth) brought forth a methodology of reasoning based on logic and a mechanistic interpretation of nature.

During that time Reductionism, the belief that any complex system can be understood by reducing it to the study of its parts, became the dominant belief in Western Civilization. Of course in 1543 Copernicus’s bombshell of heliocentrism did more to launch the revolution than probably anything else. The concept that the sun was the center of the universe and not the earth, sent shockwaves through the medieval church.

Earth Centric Paradigm Shift
Rediscovering Nature’s Paradigm

An Earth Centric paradigm shift will challenge many of Western civilizations’ underlying foundations, such as hierarchical ordering, viewing the universe as a mechanical system, and the belief that society must be a competitive struggle. This paradigm realignment challenges the deeply held belief that our species is above nature, and nature’s only value is being instrumental for our usage wants.

We are heading toward the historically held belief that mankind is just a strand in the web of life. We should be caretakers of this world, all of its life forms, and the earth itself, simply holding it in trust for posterity. In no way is this indicating that the scientific revolution was a waste of time nor that we all need to live in small hippie communes. Jumping to these conclusions is just another symptom of extreme polarity, a causal affect created by the anxiety of a paradigm shift.

Oddly enough, it is organized religion, especially the Abrahamic traditions, which opposed the scientific revolution (just think about the Inquisition) that are opposing this shift toward an earth centric spiritual/philosophical paradigm. Why? Organized religion is based on a patriarchal hierarchy. In contrast an earth centric paradigm engages in focusing on interconnectedness and the interdependency of interwoven systems, or “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Reductionism has led many scientists to find paradoxical conclusions. Paradoxes are the cornerstones of Eastern philosophic thoughts. An old Chinese saying proclaims, “Why matter, consciousness. Why consciousness, matter.” Scientists studying subatomic particles discovered that after a certain point Newtonian rules of physics do not apply. They learned what we view as reality, matter, is nothing but vibrating wavelengths of particles, mainly composed of empty space. (We know by now that empty space is composed of dark matter, but that is another entirely different essay.)

Many physicists and scientists across disciplines, having reached the limits of reductionism, have in recent years acknowledged that eastern philosophy and the ancient Greek philosophers were right all along. The meaning of life cannot be deduced from reductionist study of substance. It is your conscious self that gives definition to reality. For your information, consciousness has never been found to reside in the physical brain.

Your individual consciousness, soul, spirit or Divine Spark  is part of the universal consciousness, part of the world and cosmos. None of us will live to see this shift completed. It is my hope that the Earth System Gaia doesn’t reset the environmental balances before our species achieves this. It will be a bumpy ride but combining the knowledge of the scientific revolution with an earth centric ethical system, would be a marvel to behold.

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  1. Hmmm – I must look into this Earth Centric Paradigm shift idea. It certainly holds more promise than our current thinking. Thank you for making me aware of it Anthony (and Rolly). I shall go and read up.

    Great writing Anthony – succinct and yet full of information!


    While I couldn’t find anything specific on Earth Centric Paradigm Shift ideas (other than the article above), I did find this rather interesting website about how our chemistry affects how humans behave and how we develop our resources. It seems to be a site with many contributing scientists and is written in simple terms for us lay people to get a better handle on what they have found.

    • Anthony – I looked at the article/link and read this (in the first paragraph).

      “paradigms do not in fact shift until their adherents are replaced with a new generation, however, is a daunting prospect. Now, with climate change, everything changes, and we do not have a generation to wait for adherents of the old paradigm to die off”

      I totally agree that we do not have the luxury of a slow generational transition to a new paradigm.

  3. Anthony – any suggestions on how the shift to a more balanced Earth Centric based paradigm might occur given that we do not have the luxury of generational change?

    Looking at the current rash of news… riots in Missouri, unprecedented Ebola outbreaks, the rise of ISIS and the horror they are inflicting on innocent people, the rise in nationalism world-wide (Russia/Ukraine spat) (Scotland separation bid) (EU divisions), I can’t see any sign of people coming together to consider a balanced ecosystem, combat global warming or identify with the rest of our symbiotic planet. We all seem to be out for ourselves lately. It doesn’t matter in which country you live, yours is all that matters – no one seems to care what is happening on the other side of the globe… “out of sight, out of mind!”

    Will this take a massive consciousness shift on the part of humanity…? and what will it take to make people wake up and look at the scientific data when they seem to be more intent on what affects them on a direct day-to-day basis?

  4. Many see the extreme polarity, the self centric ego of humanity gone wild, as an indication that the old paradigm is nearing its end. I will be submitting a piece that briefly mentions an epistemology of environmental ethos. This is the starting point, IMO, and sadly the economic powers of the globe must be made to understand this is necessary if we are going to save the planet for our species continual existence.

    As for the masses, it will be the harder to bring them along for the ride. Especially Christianity and Islam, they will put up the biggest fight against this. However, action is not necessitated by the will of the people. For the most part in history they follow along. It would take a couple of generations min., to get the masses on board and we don’t have that time, again, in my opinion.

    Therefore, unless we can convince the ruling fiscal elite that they are just as doomed as the rest of us and must move forward……….

    The epistemology I speak of needs, seriously, better minds than mine to work upon it. It needs an international group with a single guiding hand, or a small committee of people guiding it. I will work on a piece explaining my perspectives on the subject within a month or two. It is not an easy subject to approach. Sadly, as individuals, we can only continue to spread the word in the hopes that the world will awaken from the train wreck we are heading toward. United we shall stand or divided we shall perish and rightly so. FYI Colette, I am a bit of a Casandra so don’t forsaken all hope based upon my dismal outlook, please.

  5. An individual has pointed out a glaring flaw in this writing to me. I should have specifically pointed out the Roman Catholic Church as being the ones opposing the Scientific Revolution. Many individuals of Judaism and Islamic believes were scientists and philosophers who were persecuted at this time. Plus, I can think of no involvement of their faiths in the inquisition.

  6. Anthony – Colette’s insightful questions/comments are providing an opportunity for you to drill down more profoundly into the core meaning of your article and the challenges for humanity to attain ‘earth centrism’.

    I’ve been away for several days and just now following your dialogue. Thank you for supporting your article posted in BoomerWarrior.

  7. Ah… religion raises its ugly head and it is my fear that this will be our undoing! I myself do not have any faith in any religion (though of course I was raised in a religion that I find is so self-serving as to be corrupt in my opinion)! The problem with religions (of any description), is that eventually, people separate themselves to the point of war, often over supposed divine inspirations/rules given to us via prophets, saints, gurus, and a host of other such named “enlightened peoples” and “Gods.”

    While politics is blamed for most conflict, it really only hides underlying religious beliefs that we employ when scientific foundations cannot be found for unanswered questions like “why are we here on earth?”

    Mankind has constantly sought “purpose” and “higher-self” promulgations since humans first became self-aware. The problem is that we have not seen ourselves as anything more than “God’s Chosen Ones” with dominion over every other creature and Lords of our environment (no matter how you package it). It has drilled down into the variety of belief systems in use today (and with Islam it seems to be further dividing much more quickly than in the other religions).

    Anthony, I do understand that change needs fast action to save our climate from killing us (along with everything else), but hoping that the powerful elites (government, big business) will want to save themselves (and thus us too), could have some dire outcomes.

    Hitler had some great ideas in his World domination schemes – he wanted a beautiful world, full of only what his ideas considered to be “beautiful.” Unfortunately for many peoples of the world, that vision didn’t include them and as we all know, his “genocide” crimes were not acceptable to everyone… and the world fought back.

    A move to improve the world must include everyone to work. The road to “improvement” is littered with bodies. We have not gained any insight since we lived in caves and fought others over the local food and shelter resources. In the four million plus years when we began our development, we have learned only to get rid of anyone or anything in the way of our beliefs – this is the thinking that must change…. and we must all start thinking differently – a mass consciousness of thought to embrace the world and all its animals, peoples, and resources with love and care must prevail, or we will be doomed to perpetuating the same destructive cycles until we annihilate ourselves.

    Like you Anthony, I too fall under the metaphor “Cassandra.”

  8. Colette:

    I am in the middle of major tomato canning run this evening. I glanced over this comment and like it a lot. Part of the epistemology of environmental ethos is about creating a new belief system. One that is centered on earth centric principles. I will try and put a partial listing of materials I have been reading up here for you to look at. I still have a couple of books I want to add to this list. Bear in mind, this is just for a rough outline which, will have some depth to it.I look forward to being done with canning this season so I can concentrate on reading and note taking to format a rough draft.

    Unless the people awaken and seriously revolt, the only means I see of addressing the issue is via using the rich and powerful to advance this concept. I have been giving the means of how to accomplish much thought lately. Not all of the rich and powerful are of the same mindset, you of course, realize this. Sadly, I don’t get much sleep. At night my mind is always upon this subject matter. For now, take care. Anthony out.

  9. Good luck with the canning Anthony – a noble feat to preserve nature’s abundant bounty for use when winter doesn’t provide local fresh produce. Your efforts do help to conserve the environment in that you do not need to buy tomatoes that have been produced elsewhere and shipped at great cost to the planet! It is little things like “spending some time” to stop “throw-away” attitudes in a culture filled with waste products everywhere, that give inspiration to all people to change to this better thinking.

    I look forward to your updates in time… and perhaps (and it is my belief), there will be others who come to to read the ideas toward resolving our world climate crisis. “The Hundredth Monkey Principle” may just come into play and start a “thinking revolution,” leading to a dynamic of energy that positively affects the psyche of all humans everywhere. All good ideas lead to new inventions, new possibilities and to the preservation of life.

  10. Colette and Anthony – I look forward to your (response) Anthony on Colette’s brief essay on her experience with religion. I too am of the same thinking over religion Colette. But I will wait to jump back in a little later once you’re back Anthony.

    As for trusting the elite to take care of “things”, good luck with that.

  11. I will be addressing these issues in a future writing. As per the elites, all one needs is two or three that would back a research team something akin to the Macy Conferences regarding the epistemology of environmental ethos. I really don’t think that is as far from a reality as you might think. It would all boil down to how it was handled.

    I will still try and get some info out on the readings I have been using. Until later, this guy needs rest.


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