The other day I received a url  ( to a posting by Duane Elgin.  You may remember him from his wonderful book in the 1980s – Voluntary Simplicity.

I especially liked the posting because it highlights the idea that we live in a living universe.  He gives four examples where science has discovered evidence of how it sustains itself which is obviously an attribute of living systems.  Further, he cites several spiritual masters from the wisdom faiths who speak of a living universe.

My attitude is that the universe is just too big and the energy too potent for me to get my mind or soul around it.  I prefer to look at Gaia, mother Earth, and feel that Gaia mediates the energy of the universe in ways that we can feel, touch and find sustaining both physically and psychically.  So, yes indeed, the universe is alive, but the living earth is where we must start in order to access sustaining energy and well being.

Another very well written paragraph – clear and concise – is about materialism.  I like the following:  “Materialism is a rational response to living in a dead universe.” and “Consumerism and exploitation are natural outcomes of a dead universe perspective.”

Along with Duane, I suggest that materialism does not keep its promise.  Having “things” usually result in boredom and then the desire for more things or replacement that are bigger, more powerful and red instead of the tired old blue ones. Then, in short time, these no longer satisfy.  The church of consumerism with the god materialism leaves us with the same fate as Ozymandias or Ramesses the Great, the Egyptian Pharaoh.  On the base of his statue is:  “King of Kings am I, Osymandias. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works.” 

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

Percy Bysshe Shelley 

Duane says it far better than I here:

“If we regard the universe as dead at its foundations, then feelings of existential alienation, anxiety, dread, and fear are understandable. Why seek communion with the cold indifference of lifeless matter and empty space? If we relax, we will simply sink into existential despair. However in a living universe feelings of subtle connection, curiosity, and gratitude are understandable. We see ourselves as participants in a cosmic garden of life that has been patiently developing over billions of years. A living universe perspective invites us to shift from indifference, fear, and cynicism to curiosity, love, and awe.”

Thank you Duane for this great posting.

So if Gaia is truly alive and we are in and around and integral parts, then who dies?