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Elisabet Sahtouris
Occupation Author, Public speaker

Elisabet Sahtouris is an evolutionary biologist, futurist and author who spoke at the Gift Economy Conference organised by Genevieve Vaughan on 'quantum leaps' in evolution, when formerly discrete entities adapt so precisely to coexistance that it no longer makes sense to see them as separate. She suggests that the same process is happening to human beings.

Quotes-66.gif Jim Lovelock is an atmospheric scientist from England. He proposed that the earth was a living, self-organizing entity, and called it Gaia after the Greek name of the original goddess of creation who became the earth itself. I differ a little bit from Lovelock and Margulis in how I talk about Gaia because I never call it either a hypothesis (which is what they first called it) or a theory. To me it is a conceptualization of the earth as alive, to replace our conceptualization of the earth as an array of mechanisms. It’s part of the transition in general from a mechanical worldview to an organic worldview, to see the world as alive. For me it’s alive by definition. I use the definition of life which was proposed by two biologists from South America, Maturana and Varela, which goes by the name of autopoiesis. Autopoiesis is a Greek word, of course, meaning literally “self-creation.” The definition goes: A living entity is any entity that constantly creates itself. This really distinguishes it from a mechanism, because a machine is not constantly creating itself. In fact, if it changes itself at all it’s probably broken and you would rather it didn’t do that; while a living thing is always changing, or it’s dead. So, it’s a conceptualization, not a hypothesis or a theory. Within that conceptualization, that scientific framework, you would propose hypotheses or make theories about how it functions. Quotes-99.gif

— Elisabet Sahtouris

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