Serena Gaia

Make love the ecology of your life

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Ecosexuality: What Does It Evoke in You? – Book Review by Robyn Vogel

“Ecosexuality: a word unfamiliar to many. What does it evoke in you? Curiosity? Perhaps it’s a bit titillating? Regardless, it is an attention grabber! And if you’re ready to embark on a quest of discovering what it actually is, well then this is the book for you! Welcome to the heartfelt compilation by SerenaGaia Anderlini-D’Onofrio and Lindsay Hagamen – the perfect place to start your journey.”

Here’s Robyn Vogel’s Book Review of Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love

Ecosex-FrontCover-Revised2“From philosophical discourse to practical applications, from self-awareness to global awareness, from the spiritual to the physical, from the intellectual to the sexual, from the weightiness of the threats to our planet’s survival to the lightheartedness of flirting with trees, this is a wonderful resource for those new to the concept of Ecosexuality; also for those who are familiar and ready for a deeper dive. The good news is that no life vest is needed, for diving in deep is life sustaining.”

“Not easy to define, Ecosexuality is the polyamorous celebration of love including oneself, partners and all beings and things of this place we call earth. Sustaining ourselves and our environment is the cornerstone of Ecosexuality. It’s about loving all will equal vim, vigor and respect.”

“So often sustainability is associated with sacrifice – in order for x to be replenished, y must be relinquished. For years I have been working with my clients to help them to identify those things that replenish them, and those things that deplete. My intention is to bring to light that self-replenishment is the first step in global sustainability. It begins with the individual.”

“From a place of fullness we can then share with a partner. In my practice with couples, I start with each person developing self-sustaining practices, and then partners incorporate that with each other from a place of generosity. Ecosexuality promotes the strength of this energy, consciously integrating that which is a natural phenomenon: the procreative energy of sex and the natural evolution of the world around us. Imagine the possibilities! This brings us back to the core of our existence – the interconnectedness of all life and all energy forms on our planet instead of the separatist view which has flooded our globe, oozing into crevices and nooks.”

“When we acknowledge ourselves as part of rather than apart from our environment, our intentions and actions foster the healthy interdependence that results in sustainability. So how do we get there? How DO we achieve symbiotic relationships within our bodies, with each other, and with our world? Through this book, we learn of the philosophical basis and practical applications of Ecosexuality. We learn that the life force of sexual energy has the potential to go beyond producing children and may very well be the answer to saving our planet. We learn that for all beings to survive we must acknowledge our basic need for partnership not simply for social interactions, but to create the abundance of love needed to thrive.”

“Anderlini-D’Onofrio’s and Hagamen’s “Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love” may just be the blueprint the world needs in order to shift the tide from competition for diminishing world resources to the truth that only love is truly real and is therefore, the deep well of infinite resource we are all seeking.”

Review by Robyn Vogel, MA, LMHC, Psychotherapist and Intimacy Coach, Puja Leader Extraordinaire

Connect with Robyn at www.ComeBackToLove.com

Ecosex-FrontCover-Revised508-380-9254

Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love

        A collection of writings edited by SerenaGaia Anderlini-D’Onofrio and Lindsay Hagamen.  Puerto Rico: 3WayKiss 2015.

With its beautiful revised cover, the book is available at Amazon.com for only $ 16.50.  If you haven’t ordered your copies, this is a perfect time to do it.

At CreateSpace you can get your copy at a $ 6 discount on the listed price.

Click on Add to Cart, then insert the Discount Code EWMBLB2D.

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Dr. Martha Tara Lee Reviews of Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love

Do You Love Mother Earth?

A Review of Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love

 

Dr. Martha Tara Lee

Do you love Mother Earth? Not really. Do you? If Mother doesn’t speak to you, how about imagining as Father Earth instead? Or as a lover? Whichever way you look at it, our very survival is dependent on earth being o.k. How about more than o.k. like thriving?

Now, do you see the link with our sexuality? If you are even remotely intrigued by the emerging ecosexual movement, this epic book Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love is for you. Edited by SerenaGaia Anderlini-D’Onofrio and Lindsay Hagamen, Ecosexuality explores the link between sexuality and ecology from all angles, and via the voices of 30 cultural creatives and ecosexual leaders.
This is a very special book. I was deeply moved with the depth and facets in which the love for ecology and its connection with our sexuality is depicted. Some of these poems and essays cover not just the thoughts of the writer, but their journey through the different stages of their lives. I could feel their hearts and even souls pouring into these pages, and as my heart begins to beat with theirs, I am awakened and transformed. Truly remarkable.

As a Singaporean Chinese, I found some of the references to be way over my head. Ecosexuality is not just from the heart, and the book offers a fair amount of intellectual discussions for which it can stand on its own as a literary read. More to the point, this book is so rich with historical and cultural references, that even if you get all of it, there is still plenty to be absorbed. As the saying goes, “Take what is useful and discard the rest.” Seek to understand, ignore what you don’t, and appreciate what you do. And as we begin to journey through life, we will begin to be able to appreciate the richness of this book–the appreciation of it being where we are at that given moment.

Divided into four thematic sections, the book offers a compelling, diverse, integrated and exciting perspective. It is evident that a lot has gone into the making of Ecosexuality, and I wouldn’t have wanted to be in the shoes of the editors. This is an epic book, a classic, and one which everybody needs to get, and especially sexuality educators who truly want to understand how important our sexuality is in the link with ecology.

My only regret is that I am not included in it. It does have many of the who’s who working in the field of positive sexuality including of course, my heroine Annie Sprinkle and her wife, Elizabeth Stephens. They contributed their EcoSex Manifesto (which I already love), and Vows for Marrying the Earth.

I appreciate the list of biographies for each contributor, and the resource list at the end of the book. They alone are worth their weight in gold. I would highly recommend this book!

Check out my very own annual Eco Sex campaign and subscribe to free content here www.eroscoaching.com/ecosex/. Martha-Lee-sp-rev-A-750x400

Dr. Martha Tara Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. She is the author of the book Love, Sex and Everything In-Between, and the host of the weekly radio show Eros Evolution on OMTimes Radio. For more, visit www.ErosCoaching.com or email info@eroscoaching.com.

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Saving the Bonobos May Very Well Save the Peaceful Animal Who Lives Within You

BonoboWayA Review of The Bonobo Way by Susan M. Block. Beverly Hills, CA: Gardner and Daughters, 2015.

It is a real pleasure to read Dr. Susan M. Block’s most recent book. It is a pleasure on all counts: the style is fun, humorous, at times satirical with a touch of the surreal. It is very warm, fuzzy, and down to Earth too, with its main points made very clear. The book’s philosophy is meaningful, persuasive, and especially significant at this time in the evolution of our species, when we are in desperate need of new paradigms to shift toward more inclusive, fluid, and sustainable practices of love. Thanks Dr. Suzy!

Susan M. Block’s research is very significant too. The book proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Bonobos are the missing link in the natural chain that connects bisexuality, polyamory, and ecosexuality.  The bi love that reaches beyond genders and the poly love that reaches beyond numbers are just preludes to the ecosexual love that reaches beyond genders, numbers, orientations, ages, races, origins, species, and biological realms, to embrace all of life as a partner with significant and enduring rights. Which is exactly what Bonobos do, and what we humans could also do if only we were more willing to learn from our amorous cousins.

There is no history of interspecies murder among the members of this species. Isn’t that something? And all styles of recreational sex are practiced with the pleasurable result of effectively keeping the social peace. Bonobos are the cousin ape species that proves the power of a repressed aspect of human nature we would do well to embrace more fully: the one that loves love and is loved back with the gift of peace.

Bonobos, reasons Dr. Suzy, are also the non-human species whose culture proves that “nature” is replete with all forms of sexual and amorous expression well beyond what’s required for the continuation of individual genes. There is nothing more natural to Bonobos than practicing what has for way too long been considered “perverse” in humans, including such feats as erotic expression between males, between females, among multiple players, across generations, and with the added options of anal pleasure and of making out in full public view. How interesting for those who disapprove of these behaviors in humans as “unnatural.” More observation of “nature” reveals the ideological meaning of Darwinian concepts of evolution through competition. When Capitalism is dressed as “science” it can pass as a poor justifications for violence with a touch of Victorian prudishness.

Are we really the pinnacle of evolution and the species “made in god’s image”? Or are we just one of many ape species who would do well to leave that pedestal voluntarily before our hubris destroys the lover we all share: Gaia, or the third planet Earth?

We’ll leave the answer to your wisdom. Meanwhile, aping the apes may provide all the experiential knowledge one needs. And as you get to read this highly recommended book, you’ll be blessed with more lessons from the art of analytical observation as practiced by Dr. Suzy. Her research on Bonobos proves that the kind of amorous behaviors many of us believe to be the exclusive mark of human love are actually natural in a much wider sense. For instance, Bonobos practice their own style of French kissing, they make love face to face with abundant eye-to-eye gazing, they take care of each other when in need, while also enjoying abundant mutual grooming. Romantic, no? Perhaps, in defining our species as distinct from “nature” we have been a bit too hubristic too. How could we be the inventors of “true” love if our apish cousins do it too? And, if romance is just as natural as an orgy to Bonobos, could this wide range of erotic and amorous expression not be natural for us humans too? “No couple is an island,” claims Dr. Suzy. And of course it isn’t, as even old-pal Dante knew when he wrote: “love which will not absolve a beloved from loving (someone) in turn,” and then proceeded to explain that Paolo and Francesca kissed while turned on by the courtly love book they were reading. “Amor ch’a nullo amato amar perdona,” reads the original.  Perhaps love, as this ancient poet knew, is “the force that moves the sky and other stars.” It’s the ecology of life: the ecosexual energy that connects all live beings, as our team of authors claim in Ecosexuality. Bonobos seem to have a real sense of this: they build social networks of mutual support and sustainability via erotic and amorous behavior. They honor wisdom, age, and femininity, which is another way to allow nature to inspire the arts of love.

This brings me to the very significant political point of the book. “The evolution of peace through pleasure” invoked by Dr. Suzy will really happen if we all get to release our inner Bonobo. In a process of Deleuzian reminiscence, Susan M. Block suggests we can resuscitate the “animal” within. As announced by the visionary French theorist, “becoming-animal” is the transformative process that sets the tone of humility, and yin energy, and vulnerability that will make our species more capable of learning from our more “natural” cousins. Let’s ask the ecosexual primates whose life is more connected to Gaia’s metabolism, the lover we all share. What can we do about the problems that besiege our time, including endless wars, climate change, and the relentlessness of extractive industries? Releasing our inner Bonobo may be it. I hear your skepticism. “Evolving peace through pleasure? It’s just a pipe dream,” you may pout as you read this.

Well, here’s the good news. The Bonobo Way offers the scientific context to believe we can do it. It injects the humor that makes one want to act on this idea. And it provides the step-by-step guidance to actually engineer the transformation. How do we become “Bonobos”? The 12-step program designed by Dr. Suzy is very well engineered to evolve peace through pleasure on a personal and planetary scale. It leads Earthlings like us through the stages of observation, introspection, imitation and experimentation, creation of community, biophilia, and planetary awareness.

Saving the Bonobos might very well save the peaceful animal that lives within.  As a person who takes pride in living my life as an experiment in the ecosexual arts of love, I have enjoyed most of the practices described in the program and am eager to experiment with those that are new to me. My world has become a lot safer for that, healthier, happier, and one where I am at peace.  Like Ecosexuality as we do.  We’ve invited Dr. Suzy on our team for this upcoming book, and hope she accepts.

I can’t recommend Susan M. Block’s Bonobo book too much, and I wish a lot of joy to all those who follow Dr. Suzy’s wisdom.

~~~~~~

Dear Earthlings:

For all the above mentioned reasons, I, SerenaGaia have decided to name 2015 the Year of the Bonobo.  Please “like” the Facebook page for our upcoming Ecosexuality book.
Oh, and if you feel you need some personal coaching on how to become a Bonobo, please feel free to browse my Bonobo Coaching practice and connect with me.  I will pass my lessons along.
Thanks for your interest.  Stay tuned for more good news.

Namaste.

SerenaGaia

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

Author of Gaia, Eros, and many other books about love
Professor of Humanities, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

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5 of 9 – EcoSex @ U Conn – Book Reports – Polyamory in the 21st Century: John’s Take

Dear Earthlings:

The EcoSex course at U Conn is in process.  It’s a great experience.  We are expanding horizons with clustered reading: Theory of Science, Cultural Theory, Ecological TheoryWe each read related books, then report to group.  More thinking out of the box and across disciplines.  Students are sending their book reports in.  In class, we connect the dots. From a holograph of what we’ve read together, the “required readings.”  What’s the connection with our clustered themes?  Multiple perspectives and good synergy.  Here, we offer a glimpse.  Deborah Anapol’s Polyamory in the 21st Century is one of five “Cultural Theorybooks.  We got John to report on it.  

John Nitowski:  
A Book Report on Polyamory in the 21st Century: Love and Intimacy with Multiple Partners
by Deborah Anapol

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Dr. Anapol’s book Polyamory in the 21st Century takes a more academic tone than her other book The Seven Natural Laws of Love, but draws from the same sources. Dr. Anapol practices polyamory and has a lot of connections (professional and otherwise) with other polyamorists. Through mostly interviews, with some statistical research, Dr. Anapol presents the full picture of polyamory: the good and the bad.
To clarify, “polyamory” is the practice of being openly intimate with more than one person at a time. It’s different from cheating on one’s spouses (because transparency is always a factor) and from swinging (because “swinging” in current connotations implies strictly physical relationships, though there is a strong connection to classical swinging and modern polyamory). As Dr. Anapol defines it, “I use the word polyamory to describe a whole range of lovestyles that arise from an understanding that love cannot be forced to flow or be prevented from flowing in any particular direction. Love, which is allowed to expand, often grows to include a number of people. But to me, polyamory has more to do with an internal attitude of letting love evolve without expectations or demands that it look a particular way than it does with the number of partners involved,” (1). Many polyamorous people come to the conclusion that, “lifelong monogamy is more of a mirage than a reality,” (2). The “monogamy mirage” is something of a product of modern society. It seems to produce dysfunctional families so while many people actively seek out polyamorous relationships, “most inadvertently discover that polyamory provides a very fertile environment for replicating any dysfunctional patterns carried over from the parental triangle experienced in their family of origin,” (20).
Somewhat shockingly, she opens the book with, “I have always characterized my position on polyamory as pro-choice rather than antimonogamy,” (ix). Dr. Anapol establishes that she is not out to convert us all to be polyamorists. Rather, she is here to show her readers that it is a viable alternative to serial monogamy. Of course a few pages later she writes, “In all honesty, after twenty-five years as a relationship coach, seminar leader, and participant observer in the polyamory community, I’m not at all sure that polyamory can fulfill its potential for sustainable intimacy,” (xv). It would seem that Dr. Anapol is apprehensive about the possibilities polyamory supposedly promises for society (more peaceful, more loving, more open, etc.) but reading the book a little closer reveals something different.
In Chapter 4 “The Ethics of Polyamory,” Dr. Anapol tells a story regarding a foursome under the heading “Unhealthy Monogamy leads to Unhealthy Polyamory,” (82). The story concerns two couples that got together to form a foursome: Vic and Christy met Alice and Jack at a party. They soon started a polyamorous relationship. While Christy and Jack developed “a sexual chemistry so strong that it was nearly palpable,” Vic was concerned that Christy would leave him for Jack, (83). When their foursome broke up, Christy and Vic were fine and had a thriving monogamous relationship. But the jealousy and pain was still apparent, Alice and Jack divorced not long after the event.
This episode highlights one of Dr. Anapol’s realizations about polyamory: “the form of the relationship is not so important… the form can change at any time. What accounts is allowing love to dictate the form rather than attempting to force love into whatever mold the mind has decided it right,” (ix-x). Like Diamond in Sexual Fluidity, Anapol seems to posit a sort of “relationship fluidity.” She includes lots of relationship combinations, for example, polygamy, polygyny, polyandry, group marriages, triads, dyads, Vs (where A dates B and C, but B and C aren’t dating), and Ns (where A and B are dating, but A dates C, and B dates D, but they aren’t dating anyone else). Polyamory is worthless if we can’t take the lessons we assume it promotes: open intimacy (sexual and emotional), a larger realm of love, decreased jealousy in favor of compersion, etc.
The chapter I was most interested to read was 7: “Polyamory and Children.” Whenever I ask monogamists what the purpose of marriage is, they tend to respond, “For the protection of children. Without laws in place, there’s nothing to keep fathers from just walking out,” (ironically, I heard this exact wording from a father). Not only does that sound absolutely absurd, that the instinct of fatherhood is held only in place by arbitrary laws, but I’ve seen too many parents who did walk out on their children. And not just fathers, but mothers as well. This isn’t to say monogamy is inherently bad, any more than Dr. Anapol shows the reader with her book that polyamory is not inherently good. But when it concerns raising children, the only advantage seems to be convenience. Several times in the book, Dr. Anapol expresses how nice it is to be able to go somewhere intimate with a partner and know her small children were well cared for at home. Otherwise, there don’t seem to be any actual beneficial or detrimental effects from raising children in a polyamorous home. Among the many stories Dr. Anapol includes, a woman describes her polyamorous lifestyle’s effect on her son, “I hear of the ups and downs of his relationships, just like any normal young man. So while I would like to say that our sexualoving lifestyle saved him such grief, I see that is not so. On the other hand, he sees the slings and arrows of his love life as part of his spiritual path, and I also notice that he truly honors his girlfriends and maintains friendships with odd lovers. As a mother, then, I do not worry about him,” (135). So really, she’s just describing a well-adjusted young man. Not that these are absent from monogamous relationships, but it stands to reason that polyamory’s emphasis on communication, openness, honesty, and a deeper understanding of unconditional love translates well to children.
This book is a great addition to our list (and I’m somewhat surprised it wasn’t required). I remember reading one story in Sexual Fluidity where a woman, not using any specific label to define herself, said she loved to date men because of the intensity, but loved dating women because of the intimacy. When she was with a woman, she missed the intensity of her male partners, but when she was with men, she missed the intimacy of her male partners. After reading the story, I wondered why she couldn’t have both and just be polyamorous? I think Dr. Anapol would ask the same question.
One of the more unexpected aspects to me (that I believe relates more immediately to concepts of Ecosexuality) is the way Osho looked at relationships. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, better known by his followers as Osho, was a spiritual guru in the ‘70s and ‘80s. He developed spiritual communes in Pune, India and Oregon. Osho praised “conscious monogamy as a very evolved form of relationship” however, “he was a severe critic of the traditional family, saying that it was ‘no longer relevant for the new humanity that was being born,’” (152). In Osho’s commune, children belonged to the community, and in order to expand awareness, adult sexual relationships were to be shared and free to prevent negative forms of attachment, what we would call jealousy, (93).
For me, this book was an incredible contrast to my own monogamous, Judeo-Christian upbringing. In school, I was told that “sex exists, and here’s all of the diseases you can get from it, also pregnancy.” In Osho’s ashram, the philosophy was that teenage sex, “was the most innocent, the most raw and pure of sexual experiences,” and that it, “could help to blossom people into sexually loving adults when it was not thwarted and laden with fear and moral judgment or hidden in secrecy and shame,” (152-3). Even though our society (as many of the books interviewed subjects have pointed out) seems to be content with the loneliness, despair, and depression that serial monogamy produces, I have not been. I was raised with three seemingly permanent parents who’ve had their ups and downs and saw several secondary father figures come and go. How very different can polyamory be for raising children if that’s our main concern? What is the advantages jealousy produces in a society so already laden with conflict, corruption, and envy?
Dr. Anapol’s book is academic in its approach, but poetic in execution. She is able to show how the philosophy behind having multiple sexualoving partners can open the doors to a more compersive and peaceful society. Dr. Anapol actually references Gaia and the New Politics of Love and describes how polyamory is conducive to the Gaia hypothesis. Patriarchal values (and it should be noted that much of what passes for polyamory is really old fashioned patriarchal polygyny, much of Mormon and Muslim sanctioned polygamy falls under this category) often place female dependence on male hegemony “over symbiosis or interdependence and direct bodily awareness,” (234). If we are able to begin practicing polyamory, not as a method of sexual gratification, but as an opening of awareness and love, as Osho proposed, then we can practice the arts of love in a sustainable way and open the doors to a loving society. 

John Nitowski
 Published with permission


WGSS 3998 – Ecosexuality and the Ecology of Love
Prof. Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio
U Conn, Storrs, Spring 2013

Dear Earthlings:
Let “nature” be your teacher in the arts of love.  Education is the heart of democracy, education to love.  Come back for more wonders: Book Reports to appear every other Thursday.  Book Reports to be scheduled soon.  Check out our summer offerings:  Ecosexuality in Portland, OR, July 17-21.  Registration here! 
Namaste,
 
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia, Eros, and many other books about love
Professor of Humanities
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
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4 of 9 – EcoSex @ U Conn – Book Reports – Future without War: Rhiann and Alissa’s Take

Dear Earthlings:

The EcoSex course at U Conn is in process.  It’s a great experience.  We are expanding horizons with clustered reading: Theory of Science, Cultural Theory, Ecological TheoryWe each read related books, then report to group.  More thinking out of the box and across disciplines.  Students are sending their book reports in.  In class, we connect the dots. From a holograph of what we’ve read together, the “required readings.”  What’s the connection with our clustered themes?  Multiple perspectives and good synergy.  Here, we offer a glimpse. Lynn Dieter Duhm’s Future without War is one of five Cultural Theory books.  We got Rhiann and Alissa to report on it.  

Rhiann Peterson and Alissa Maus:  
A Book Report on Future without War. Theory of Global Healing.
by Dieter Duhm

–>

Question: How was your experience reading this book in the context of an Ecosexuality course? How does the book’s content relate to the themes and questions of the course?

            Future without War by Dieter Duhm directly correlates with the concepts and ideas expressed in ecosexuality. The author focuses on how there is a possibility to have a future without war, but the only way to do so would be to heal the Earth as a whole. When pain occurs somewhere in the world it spreads because it is an interconnected whole as expressed in Gaia theory. The issues humans have with each other and within themselves causes hurt in the rest of society. Duhm believes that his Peace Villages and Healing Biotopes are the first step in order to get rid of war and create universal peace. These Peace Villages would have new organisms that would have no race, religion, culture, language, possessions, and etc. to define or shelter their opinions and views. These communities will hold people who are open minded and spread harmony to the rest of the world. “Those who are our enemies today may have been our friends before. Those who are our friends today may have been our enemies before” (Duhm 14).  Duhm makes the point that all people have suffered at some point and when one person suffers the world suffers with them. Because all people are connected by the Earth and Gaia theory when people harbor lies it can spread as hatred elsewhere.

            Duhm explains that war is a concept rooted in society and that even before war has begun it has been planned because it has been so ingrained in the culture.  He explains because we do not understand that war is such a piece of our society that people unknowingly contribute to war by ways as simple as just being a consumer. He ties his theory on a future without war with ecosexuality by explaining how each person is just an organ in the organism as a whole. Each person is connected to Gaia and is a piece of a puzzle that makes the system work as a whole.  He currently believes that, “the existing culture is an operating system of dominance, fear, and violence” (Duhm 23). In order to transform from what its current state a new society needs to be created free of influence with a new set of rules, establishing society as a whole. A generalization of his twelve rules of Tamera (Biotope) are as follows: One’s behavior must reflect healing and peace, both inner and outer. Resonate within and do not make any unneeded noise as it will disrupt the harmony. One must be trustworthy, truthful, supportive, and actively participate. On shall not suppress their sexual attractions but in doing so they must understand the idea of free sexuality and must not force others to satisfy their sexual needs. They have no right to possess people for example a husband, wife or child. The people in this community must attend certain events such as spiritual hours or training events for the younger generations. Duhm states also that one’s actions reflect on the lives of all people. His last rule is that one should continually build up energy in order to conserve it for later use. These concepts would create a community in which peace would overcome war, and where peace prevails it would be able to spread since the world is all connected and a part of Gaia.

            The comparison that Duhm uses is that when a person cuts their finger, the cells immediately begin the healing process as should humans be able to heal the Earth that they are a part of. He also uses the idea that when someone thinks they are getting fat their brain automatically formulates an image of them fat. He believes that if people’s bodies are capable of acting this way then humans should be able to act in the same manner in healing the Earth. This has recently been hindered due to the fact that many people in todays society believe that war is a necessity to society because of the dominant role it has taken in politics and economics. If we adapt to these Biotopes then there is a possibility that people will no longer need to be fearful of war, hatred and violence but rather they would just have to love.

            Another one of his principles that further coincides with Gaia theory is the idea that whatever is happening at one place is happening everywhere in the world because when something happens holowaves are sent out that send vibrations everywhere. He focuses on the concepts of frequencies that are sent out, so one thing a person does can affect someone in another part of the world. Duhm believes that our world is based upon information and that information controls the lives society leads. People need to download information on peace rather than war to create a future without war.

            Duhm mentions 5 key thoughts that outline the theory of global healing. In short they are the following; The entire Earth and all of humanity is a holistic system and can be considered one organism. In this first point, Duhm mentions how one single thought can change one’s whole inner life. One peace thought can shift our thinking and in turn shift other’s thinking. The second point illustrates that community, truth, trust, love, eros, and religion hold the keys to a world and life without violence. The third thought expands on the idea of trust as the centre of peacework. Duhm goes as far as to say that “peace is TRUST” and that “trust is the deepest human experience of all” (Duhm 63). Duhm also explains how healing biotopes work to generate trust by creating a place with favorable conditions and encouraging conscious work and effort in cultivating permanent trust. The fourth point illustrates that individual transformations are not what transforms a community. “Communal and societal structures that have yet to be created” will make it possible for truth and growth (Duhm 63). The fifth and final point suggests that the communities of the future will be responsible for developing the new societal structures needed to elicit change and promote a future without war. The more emphasis on Earth as holistic system will reverberate and create a new code of life for this planet.

            Another illustration Duhm included in his proposal for a future without war was the parable of the nut. In this metaphor, or parable, the nut is pregnant with it’s core. When the core arrives or is unveiled and shocks its audiences, a revelation occurs. In other words, “the becomes visible at more and more places on Earth – unveiling occurs. The unveiling makes it possible for us to take a look inside the nut” and realize the “prehistoric utopia” (Duhm 71). “Revelation means that the world goes from the implicit to explicit order. It changes from the latent state of its possibilities into the manifest states of its possibilities. A reality that so far exists as a latent reality, slowly manifests. the image of  “prehistoric utopia” becomes visible” (Duhm 72). Overall, the basic premise behind this explanation of the parable of the nut is that traditional society is the shell and the nut is is the ripe seed of new society that has yet to come.

            Another way to contemplate the future without war is through a virtual space station in the “noosphere”, also known as the mental and spiritual world. The virtual space station is almost a futuristic and more developed projection of what already exists in Tamera. It is important to realize that the term virtual does not necessarily mean computer generated but rather virtual means latent, possible, and conquerable futuristic goals of development. Additionally, the virtual space station is a way of looking at our own possibilities for holistic happiness. The virtual space station is a vision which is ignited by the power of thought and “always accompanied by conscientious material work, research, and implementation” (Duhm 78). Duhm notes that “the virtual space station is a dream, but it is a realistic one” (Duhm 80).

            As the text develops, Duhm begins to offer up the concept of solutions. He starts by quoting the architect Le Corbusier, “You do not start a revolution by fighting the state, but by presenting the solution” (Duhm 86). From here, Duhm proceeds to explain that problems can not be solved at the level in which they lie. He relates this to examples of love and technology and suggests that we need a higher level of order. He suggests that functioning communities with functioning spiritual systems provide a place where two lovers can meet and when they meet it will be a purely positive way. From here, Duhm goes on to elaborate on many types of energy. He touches on technical, solar, and emotional energy before suggesting the switch from fossil fuels to solar and cosmic energy. He notes that “we must switch from depletable to inexhaustible sources of energy” (Duhm 90). He dreams of a movement that is not characterized or complicated by scarcity and further assumes that all living things feel the same way.

As Future Without War winds down, Duhm explains the Monte Cerro experiment. The project is set in Tamera, Portugal and is focussed on understanding and developing effective peace villages. The project is meant to represent a global aspect in two regards; economy of globalization and new world order. Their main objectives are to discover how the world can be healed and absent of violence by imposing these goals on themselves within their new community. In three years, students are expected to come up with how they can heal world suffering and urged to start with themselves and their community members. The experiment connects the students to their natural surroundings as they coexist within their environment. Additionally, art is also mentioned as an important aspect of the experiment. Duhm includes a list of thought provoking questions regarding the Monte Cerro experiment that open opportunities for dialogue and contemplation.

In conclusion, Future Without War utilizes Tamera and the Monte Cerro experiment to demonstrate the possibilities for a nonviolent future filled with peace and trust. The main topics of sexuality, love, and partnership are seen throughout the text and provide a direct connection to the Ecosexuality movement. 

Alissa Maus and Rhiann Peterson
Published with permission

WGSS 3998 – Ecosexuality and the Ecology of Love
Prof. Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio
U Conn, Storrs, Spring 2013

Dear Earthlings:
Let “nature” be your teacher in the arts of love.  Education is the heart of democracy, education to love.  Come back for more wonders: Book Reports to appear every other Thursday.  Book Reports to be scheduled soon.  Check out our summer offerings:  Ecosexuality in Portland, OR, July 17-21.  Registration here! 
Namaste,
 
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia, Eros, and many other books about love
Professor of Humanities
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Join Our Mailing List
   
Follow us in the social media
Poly Planet GAIA Blog: 
http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/ 

Be Appraised of Ecosex Community Project PostaHouse 
Become a Fan: www.facebook.com/GaiaBlessings 
Author’s Page/Lists all books: 
YouTube Uploaded Videos: http://www.youtube.com/SerenaAnderlini
 

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3 of 9 – EcoSex @ U Conn – Book Reports – Lichtenfels’s Temple of Love: Alex’s Take

Dear Earthlings:

The EcoSex course at U Conn is in process.  It’s a great experience.  We are expanding horizons with clustered reading: Theory of Science, Cultural Theory, Ecological TheoryWe each read related books, then report to group.  More thinking out of the box and across disciplines.  Students are sending their book reports in.  In class, we connect the dots. From a holograph of what we’ve read together, the “required readings.”  What’s the connection with our clustered themes?  Multiple perspectives and good synergy.  Here, we offer a glimpse.  Sabine Lichtenfels‘s Temple of Love is one of five “Cultural Theorybooks.  We got Alex to report on it.  

Alexandra Mayer:  
A Book Report on Temple of Love: A Journey into the Age of Sensual Fulfillment
by Sabine Lichtenfels
 

Temple of Love seems to be a handbook for EcoSexuality. The author, Sabine Lichtenfels, favors free love, arguing that free love exists for the “reconnection and re-entry to greater contexts of information and communication”(55). In this she means that free love is universal love. A person should not hoard their love, but should let it flow naturally. This in turn will link the loving individual with all of nature and Mother Earth herself. She claims that personal love is selfish, and makes a good point that it often stems from the yearning for possession. Often, males want to own females, and control them. This spurs jealousy, feelings of inadequacy, and despair. She furthers her promotion of free love by stating, “The wish of a woman to belong fully to a man is a slightly lower and less connected version of the wish to fully love and recognize a person”(241). Thus, connection with the earth and all her belongings creates a true love of others.

            This really resonated with me. I recently broke up with my boyfriend without really knowing why. I knew that I loved him and I knew that he loved me. Still,  something was wrong. He was generally kind and caring, but would sometimes erupt with feelings of anger and inadequacy. These bouts of emotion had extremely intense effects on my well being. I would find myself drowning in the dark vibes, feeling all that he felt, heartbroken long after each individual event had ended. I fell into paranoia, thinking he was always mad at me. I realize now, that this behavior stemmed from his attempt to own me. He loved me the wrong way. His passion urged him to keep me to himself. When his subconscious forced him to understand that as a human and a free spirit, I was impossible to own, rage would well within him. He would then try to hide these feelings, knowing that he should love me for me or fully “recognize” me instead of trying to change certain aspects so that I would be eternally his. The suppressed emotions would then lead to episodes. Like Manu and Meret in Temple of Love we were not ready for personal love. (I do, however, differ from the author’s belief that monogamy never works).

            Sabine Lichtenfels talks a great deal about Manu and Maret. She claims that their love, the first of personal love, led to the patriarchal society in which we live today. Manu’s longing to own Maret and her submission created of feelings of power in Manu, for he realized that he could act free of Mother Earth. This hunger for independent power eventually manifested in a murder committed by Manu. This only intensified his craving for individual action. Manu, thus, severed the human tie with nature by realizing individuality.

 Humans no longer act to benefit a system of a whole. This, in turn, spurs violence, hatred, and dismay. Harmful climate change for instance, is a result of individuality. People, looking for profit, caring not for others’ well beings, continue to mine, to waste energy, and to damage earth. In the short run convenience and revenue are increased. These benefits, of course, will not last. The melting caps and impending disaster will swallow up the benefits along with the human race. Every act the individual takes at the expense of the whole will haunt him eventually, for the individual is part of the whole.

Sabine Lichtenfels elaborates on the link between the individual and the whole by stating, “private therapy alone cannot bring healing… because there is no private disease”(235). This statement showcases the detrimental effects a society can have. Private disease does not exist because problems often stem from the environment in which one lives and the social mores that control said environment. A book that showcases this idea is the Feminine Mystique. For this masterpiece, Betty Friedan interviewed a variety of middle class suburban women. Most of the women felt they should be happy, but couldn’t rid themselves of a certain despondence. Many ignored their despair, feeling that their pain displayed a personal flaw. Betty Friedan found, however, that the pain of a woman enslaved in domestic duty was universal. Feminine Mystique put a name to the societal problem that plagued various individuals. The realization that the womanly pain due unequal rights was cultural and not personal spurred a movement. It is interesting to contemplate how far Sabine Lichtenfels statement can go. Are certain mental problems results of our culture? In America the sociopathic rate is one in twenty. In Japan the rate is one in one-hundred. With epigenetics, the scientific idea that certain genes are only expressed if triggered by a certain event, the idea that private problems do not exist is validated.

I was especially intrigued with Sabine Lichtenfels take on religion. She argues that the male god of christianity is angry and misogynistic. At first I was taken aback by her description, but then I realized she was criticizing certain aspects of the christian institution and not what she believed to be a “real” higher power. I realized while reading this book that a priest can call God “rock, water, whine, bread, tree,” but can never call God “woman.” To me this fact is greatly distressing. Furthermore, alters are reserved for men, which furthers Sabine Lichtenfels claim that christianity is anti-woman and thus an anti-natural institution.

Furthermore, her glorification of the snake symbol, which has always represented the freedom of women and sensuality, displayed a rare self love. It was extremely refreshing and new to see the snake/serpent showcased in a positive light. Even those that are not religious see depictions of the snake as evil in various pieces of literature. The fact that I have never seen the snake as a positive symbol, proves that our society has an ingrained bias against the freedom and sexuality of women. In this, society opposes nature.

Temple of Love is filled with wise insights. One such insight is as follows: “When I am fully in the present, I am protected from fear”(245). Fear, of course, is negative. It sucks from us the will to do whatever it is that we really dream of, leaving us empty. We often hear the question “What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?” Sadly, this question reminds many people that they are not fulfilling their wishes, for the answer, the representation of what one wants,  is usual at in dissonance with reality, what one does. Many recognize that fear is detrimental, but neither dissect its hold on them nor attempt to cure the disease. By stating “When I am fully in the present, I am protected from fear,” Sabine Lichtenfels addresses the cause and anecdote.

This statement shows that fear comes from pondering the past or the future with too much depth. It makes sense. It’s something I should have thought of before. While it is good to learn from mistakes of yesterday, it is harmful to wallow in regret. For example, those who have been betrayed by a loved one, often close their souls to avoid yet another painful encounter. For such individuals, fear of love stems from past heartaches. For others, the future spurs destruction. Of course, one must plan for future goals. And sure, a great deal of hope rests in the future. However, if one thinks only of tomorrow, fear will control them. People rely too heavily on prolonged gratification. In that I mean people ignore present euphorias for a secure future. Fear forces people to do this. A common thought process is “if I don’t work work work, and ignore all that is around me, I will not achieve X.” The solution? Live presently. It’s cheesy. It’s cliche. It’s true. Soak in the beauty within every moment, adore each second of each day, realize the miracles of life that surround you, and fear will disappear. The dearth of fear, in turn, will create a happier and healthier life.

Other advice in Temple of Loveincludes, “This is why they say ‘Love is blind.’ You look outside for what you have forgotten or betrayed inside yourself”(243). In my copy of the book, I put stars and hearts next to this statement. If we expect others to encompass all that we are not, all that we wish we were, we will constantly be let down. This is an unfair weight to put on another. Still, most of us fall into this trap. “He/she balances me out” we say. This attitude transforms love into dependence. If and individual needs someone to “complete” him, he is obviously short of something necessary to his well being. Furthermore, this type of relationship ignores the lover’s actual personality. The incomplete individual does not see his love for what they are, rather for what he himself is not. This is not true love.

Something very powerful in this book is the idea of justified and controlled anger, or “sacred anger.” In a spiritual trance, during which the author feels another’s being, Sabine Lichtenfels hears the words, “I will become the witness of the thoughts which arise from anger, and I have the task of transforming them into a sacred and peaceful power”(120). From this passage, I realized that anger often has a valid source. There are certain evils that need transformation. The resulting anger, however, is detrimental and useless. If we can separate anger from its source, we can identify specific injustices and work with a clear mind to halt the wrongs.

There were many amazing ideas and thoughts in this book. I have not yet touched upon so much that touched me. I do, however, want to share the part of the book that did not please me. Sabine Lichtenfels often talks of male and female as “polar opposites” and creates her own very rigid gender standards. I personally subscribe to the belief that gender is a social construct. I believe that soul, and not body determines an individual’s disposition and that were we free of social mores our genders would be more fluid. Sex, the biological determinant of male and female, too could be argued to be a social construct. One in seven people are born with such biology that calls for surgery in order to make an individual fall under the category “boy” or the category “girl.” With this fact, I surrender all belief in the “male/female” system. Her book was, however, most uplifting for those who identify as “women” and follow the societal ideals of today. She also painted an absolutely stunning picture of natural femininity, that,  while I don’t necessarily agree with, I respect and admire.

Sabine Lichtenfels is a wise and intensely creative woman. Her visions of the past, though not historically validated, are beautiful and meaningful. She tells a story, true or not, that lends itself to teaching.  As a growing youth, still forming ideas about the world around me and piecing together what I believe to be true, I find that Temple of Love might just have a lasting impact on my ideology. It has brought many previously unexplored ideas to me, which I am eager to think on. 

Alexandra Mayer
Published with permission

WGSS 3998 – Ecosexuality and the Ecology of Love
Prof. Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio
U Conn, Storrs, Spring 2013

Dear Earthlings:
Let “nature” be your teacher in the arts of love.  Education is the heart of democracy, education to love.  Come back for more wonders: Book Reports to appear every other Thursday.  Book Reports scheduled every other Thursday Check out our summer offerings:  Ecosexuality in Portland, OR, July 17-21.  Registration here! 
Namaste,
 
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia, Eros, and many other books about love
Professor of Humanities
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Join Our Mailing List
   
Follow us in the social media
Poly Planet GAIA Blog: 
http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/ 

Be Appraised of Ecosex Community Project PostaHouse 
Become a Fan: www.facebook.com/GaiaBlessings 
Author’s Page/Lists all books: 
YouTube Uploaded Videos: http://www.youtube.com/SerenaAnderlini
 

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2 of 9 – EcoSex @ U Conn – Book Reports – Acquiring Genomes: Adam’s Take

Dear Earthlings:

The EcoSex course at U Conn is in process.  It’s a great experience.  We are expanding horizons with clustered reading: Theory of Science, Cultural Theory, Ecological TheoryWe each read related books, then report to group.  More thinking out of the box and across disciplines.  Students are sending their book reports in.  In class, we connect the dots. From a holograph of what we’ve read together, the “required readings.”  What’s the connection with our clustered themes?  Multiple perspectives and good synergy.  Here, we offer a glimpse.  Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan’s Microcosmos is one of two “Theory of Science” books.  We got Michael to report on it.  

Adam Kocurek:  
A Book Report on Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of the Species
by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan

–>

Acquiring Genomes”, by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, was a fascinating, if not at times a technically perplexing, polemical piece of scientific literature. I would expect nothing less from the authors of “Mystery Dance” and “Symbiotic Planet”; however, this book takes concepts discussed in each book, notably microbial significance, evolution, and Gaia Theory, and deeply expands upon their chief principles and misconceptions.
            Margulis and Sagan make many provocative arguments throughout the book. One of the main points articulated in “Acquiring Genomes” is that evolution is so much more about symbiosis between organisms than competition, and that new species form through symbiogenesis, the merging of two separate organisms into one new organism, rather than propagation of random mutation, an exaggerated and rare factor. The book clearly states that natural selection cannot create, only perpetuate, and that mutations tend to lead to “sickness, death, and deficiencies” rather than a desirable modification; “mutation accumulation does not lead to new species or even to new organs and tissues”. The authors note that all organisms, not just bacteria, evolve through symbiogenesis, and provide many examples, some of which including cows, termites, lichen, glow-in-the-dark squid, and humans. I had known that there are more bacteria cells than human cells in our body, but I did not fully grasp the extent to which we, individually, are an ecosystem, a world harboring millions of organism which are as crucial to our survival as we are to theirs.
To better understand symbiogenesis and symbiosis, “Acquiring Genomes” takes a close look at bacteria, the common ancestor of all life on earth, which evolve, adapt, and develop by literally borrowing genomes from each other in a promiscuous frenzy, as they have done since time immemorial. Association leads to partnership, which leads to symbiosis, which leads to new organisms through symbiogenesis. This “acquiring of genomes”, Margulis and Sagan argue, is how life moved from the primordial stew of early Earth and became what it is today, all the while altering the very Earth itself.
            With the appearance of ancient anoxic, photosynthesizing bacteria, the Earth transformed from a barren, nitrogen-rich wasteland into the Earth we recognize today. The oxygen-rich atmosphere, oceans, and a protective ozone layer are some of the most notable side effects of life. Even soil would not exist if it were not for intense biological activity; indeed, many sedimentary rocks even contain the fossilized remains of flora, fauna, and microbes that have been extinct for many million years. The Earth that we know now is teeming with life and, as Margulis and Sagan put it, is intrinsically very similar to an organism itself. The biosphere, Gaia, is a self-regulating system which, the authors argue, is the natural selector, keeping unchecked populations from over expanding and, through homeodynamics, keeps relative order and stability in the biota by not allowing large ‘gradients’ or ‘vacuums’ to occur using symbiosis, specialization, and ultimately evolution. Putting it plainly, there is an evident continuity between biology and physics in the biota; nature builds structures to reduce discrepancies. Gaia, as the natural selector, determines whether or not any beings live to reproduce, and the concept of ‘the individual’ is a myth. This way of thought is groundbreaking and remarkably fresh, unlike the dogma that has existed for centuries.
            Another point that was made which I believe is tremendously important is that evolution happens relatively quickly. This goes against what Darwin and other great names said, that evolution is painfully slow and impossible to perceive on our time scale. Margulis and Sagan make the point that such ‘transitional’ beings are not neatly found in the fossil record, and that symbiogenesis can occur quickly, especially under duress, as seen in commonly in bacteria. Both suggest that the old understanding of evolution is, if not wrong, fragmented.
            Margulis and Dorion also call to attention the turmoil within the scientific community that is not only hindering progression in all fields, but leads people to wrongly think that they understand evolution. Discrimination between scientific disciplines, as well as the isolation of different, yet intrinsically related fields of study like zoology, microbiology, and botany has led to a collective ignorance within the scientific world. For example, most evolutionary biologists tend to disregard microbes’ importance in evolution, focusing mainly on animals, particularly mammals, which constitute only one tenth of a million of all species living today, a minority among life. Most Evolutionary Biologists also use antiquated terms like “higher organism” and “mate competition” which are misleading and, the authors argue, should be abandoned. As an Evolutionary Biology/Ecology major, I found this conviction to be especially important and relevant. I plan to be aware of these points while reading scientific literature in the future.
            Reading this book in an ecosexual mindset was not a difficult task. The emphasis on Gaia theory and interconnectedness between the Earth and all of its life seemed as if it could come straight from an Ecosexuality bible. Evolution is ultimately a science of connections, of give and take in order to survive and prosper. Indeed, the ecosexual mindset is beautifully congruent, if not identical, to the ‘mindset’ of bacteria and Gaia evolution. Now, more than ever, I see the Ecosexuality movement not as a radical strain of liberal thought (not that there is anything wrong with radical strains of liberal thought) but as a reversion to our true, natural selves, in harmony with nature. As beasts, essentially hairless primates, we are, at the core, no different to Gaia than bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, or the other animals. We are no more highly evolved, nor are we more significant. Margulis and Sagan make it clear that, in order for us to continue to function in the world we live in, we must get off our arrogant pedestal and work symbiotically with the world, which is something that I and Ecosexuality agree with.


Adam Kocurek
Published with permission
WGSS 3998 – Ecosexuality and the Ecology of Love
Prof. Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio
U Conn, Storrs, Spring 2013

Dear Earthlings:
Let “nature” be your teacher in the arts of love.  Education is the heart of democracy, education to love.  Come back for more wonders: Book Reports to appear every other Thursday.  Book Reports to be scheduled soon.  Check out our summer offerings:  Ecosexuality in Portland, OR, July 17-21.  Registration here! 
Namaste,
 
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia, Eros, and many other books about love
Professor of Humanities
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Join Our Mailing List
   
Follow us in the social media
Poly Planet GAIA Blog: 
http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/ 

Be Appraised of Ecosex Community Project PostaHouse 
Become a Fan: www.facebook.com/GaiaBlessings 
Author’s Page/Lists all books: 
YouTube Uploaded Videos: http://www.youtube.com/SerenaAnderlini
 

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Please follow and like us:
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1 of 9 – EcoSex @ U Conn – Book Reports – Microcosmos: Michael’s Take

Dear Earthlings:

The EcoSex course at U Conn is in process.  It’s a great experience.  We are expanding horizons with clustered reading: Theory of Science, Cultural Theory, Ecological TheoryWe each read related books, then report to group.  More thinking out of the box and across disciplines.  Students are sending their book reports in.  In class, we connect the dots. From a holograph of what we’ve read together, the “required readings.”  What’s the connection with our clustered themes?  Multiple perspectives and good synergy.  Here, we offer a glimpse.  Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan’s Microcosmos is one of two “Theory of Science” books.  We got Michael to report on it.  

Michael Maranets:  
A Book Report on Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution 
by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan

–>

Microcosmos by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, provides a fascinating look at the life of microbes as they evolved over the course of the planet’s history. The experience of reading the book in the context of an Ecosexuality class has been informative in many ways. The book itself is very heavily based in the microbiology of evolution and tracing the path of the planets development to be suitable for life in the first place. In the context of an Ecosexuality class this has particular relevance because of the heavy emphasis of symbiosis at every point in the book’s description of the evolution of the planet and the evolution of the microcosm.
            Similarly, the themes of this book certainly fit within the broader scientific themes discussed within the class, particularly with regards to the aforementioned symbiosis, the unappreciated or unacknowledged role that microorganisms play in planet wide symbiosis and the contributions of both towards Gaia Theory. Like the other books written by Margulis that have been read for this class, Microcosmosdeals heavily with microbial symbiosis and the origins of sex. It is closer to Symbiotic Planet than Mystery Dance in terms of its content and how it approaches the idea of symbiosis. In terms of style it is also closer to Symbiotic Planet because it does not deal with as wide-ranging a field of academia as Mystery Dance did, focusing instead entirely on microbiology. While it does discuss the sex lives of bacteria and how the molecular basis for the genetic exchange involved in sex arose, its focus is on a much more basic level biologically than the emphasis on larger zoological discussions of eukaryotes in Mystery Dance. I would also say it is aimed at a more biologically literate reader than Symbiotic Planet was but that it is still readily accessible to anyone who has taken even high school biology.
            The detail given to the idea of symbiotic evolution is much more thorough than anything previously encountered in this course. An example of this can be seen as Margulis traces a likely mechanism for evolution of the various energy generating systems within the microcosm that lead eventually to aerobic respiration that we carry out and its tremendous efficiency. In her discussion of how fermentation or the breakdown of sugars in the absence of oxygen arose, Margulis describes the tremendous inefficiency of this mechanism and how the final products of fermentation like ethanol and acetate can still be used to harvest additional energy. The truth of the former can be seen by the fact that humans are now increasingly looking at microbial produced ethanol as a source of alternative energy to replace oils. In the bacterial world what happened instead was that other microbes arose that could take these molecules of fermentation products, utilize it in their own metabolic pathways, and subsequently create products which the original fermenting bacteria could then feed on themselves. This cycle of food and waste between these symbiotic organisms is one of the first examples of intra-species cooperation she posits in the history of life on this planet and is one that continues to this day in places low on oxygen and light.
            Another example she provides to describe the tremendous importance of symbiosis in evolution showcases that even bacteria that we may think of as being pathogenic may actually be symbiotic in other organisms. She describes the problem faced by a researcher of amoeba (one of the most basic forms of eukaryotic life) that had been plagued by outbreak of pathogenic bacteria, which seemed to kill all of the amoebic samples in his lab. While safeguarding a sample of uninfected amoeba in another researcher’s lab, the scientist began selecting for amoeba that could survive the pathogenic bacteria. Eventually he had large quantities of these amoeba that could survive being infected by 40,000 bacterial cells. He then retrieved one of the original samples and transplanted nuclei of the now immune cells into the original strain and put the nucleus of original amoeba into these immune amoeba. What happened was quite surprising. The amoeba, which continued with bacterial infection but had a new genome via its transplanted nucleus, was able to survive indefinitely. The samples that lacked bacteria but had the genome of the amoeba that survived infection, started dying off without bacteria, and only after he incubated the growth medium with the appropriate strain of bacteria did these amoeba start surviving.
            Given the title of the book, a large amount of time is spent describing the intricacies of the microcosm. I think her argument for the idea of ‘super-organism’ she alludes to in Mystery Dance is laid out in its clearest form in Microcosmos. She describes the work of researchers who have argued for a degree of consciousness of bacteria as they interact with each other. In describing these bacteria, Margulis personifies them to be a collective all working on the same problem akin to how humans now dedicate billions at genetic problems like cancer that threaten our existence. But, she also goes on to describe how this microcosmic ‘super-organism’ is responsible for all other life on Earth and how our symbiosis with them is the most crucial aspect of why other life more complex than bacteria arose. The first example of this she gives is that of nitrogen-fixation in organic molecules. Turning the inert gas nitrogen into the molecule that can be used as the primary backbone of all DNA and proteins in all living things is extremely energy intensive. Humanity has learned how to achieve this process for the production of fertilizer but it is extremely energy intensive and would not be possible without fossil fuels. And yet, one of the earliest bacteria evolved the ability to fix nitrogen into molecules, which can be used by all organic life. The process is energy intensive in these organisms too, which is why so few other organisms adopted this evolutionary niche subsequently. The symbiosis that occurs as a result of these nitrogen-fixers is two-fold. First, their symbiotic relationship in the roots of all living plants allows these plants to grow in the first place. All organisms that consume these plants and each other subsequently rely on the nitrogen from these bacteria. Without the evolution of these bacteria, no other life could have evolved and if something were to happen to these bacteria in the present, all life on Earth would quickly cease.
            The other major example Margulis gives of the symbiosis of the ‘super-organism’ and other life is that of the planet’s oxygen rich environment, which was not present for the majority of Earth’s existence. The pursuit of the ‘super-organism’ to find ever more efficient sources of electrons eventually lead them to the energy readily locked up in water. The oxygen that enabled the rise of life larger than microbes was only possible because of the waste products generated by the ‘super-organism’.
            These ideas certainly fit within the class’s discussion of Gaia Theory. As mentioned in Symbiotic Planet, Gaia Theory is purely the observation of our planetary symbiosis from the macroscale of space. The plethora of examples Margulis provides as to the altruistic cooperation evidenced by bacteria in their evolution and the consequences of their evolution for all other life certainly provide a compelling argument for the view of Gaia Theory we have been discussing.
            The organization of this book is very similar to that scene within Mystery Dance. Margulis proceeds in a chronological manner starting from the competing ideas for the origins of life on the planet and then into the possible mechanisms for how life continued to evolve using a progression through the microbial fossil record before getting into the intricate beauty of reproduction and the genetic recombination of DNA that defines it. The topics are wide-ranging within the study of bacteria and life, but for the purposes of the class limited purely to the symbiotic basis for Gaia Theory, which we have been discussing. The book’s insight is particularly keen given it was written in 1986 before there was as much evidence for many of the theories that Margulis provides in this book.



Michael Maranets

Published with permission

WGSS 3998 – Ecosexuality and the Ecology of Love
Prof. Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio
U Conn, Storrs, Spring 2013

Dear Earthlings:
Let “nature” be your teacher in the arts of love.  Education is the heart of democracy, education to love.  Come back for more wonders: Book Reports to appear every other Thursday.  Book Reports scheduled every other ThursdayCheck out our summer offerings:  Ecosexuality in Portland, OR, July 17-21.  Info and Registration here! 
Namaste,
 
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia, Eros, and many other books about love
Professor of Humanities
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
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8 of 8 – Snippetts of Eros – Disciples, Mentors, Lovers

Dear Earthlings:
The year of wonders is what 2012 is supposed to be.  Yours truly offers snippets of her favorite books.  All on yesterday’s forbidden themes.  Let’s see if their mysteries are revealed.
Eros is a story that staved the loneliness of her first years in the Caribbean, when she was missing her former Matrias,  California and Italy.
What is mentoring?  Who are our mentors?  Who are our disciples?  Is this way of learning based on love?  That’s one of the main themes.  Mentors and disciples have fallen in love with each other since time immemorial.  Yet the very question has become a taboo.  Why?  We love ourselves in another that comes to resemble us as a disciple whose knowledge we’ve mentored.  We protect that resemblance, we protect that love.  Isn’t that a win-win?  A world where it is safe to learn is a world where it is safe for disciples and mentors to love.
Here are yours truly’s reflections back in 2007.  Eros: A Journey of Multiple Loves, has the full story.
Eros Cover“And so when I arrived at the university I was looking for a mentor, an interlocutor who would also function as a portal to the worlds I did not know. . . . I found what I wanted even though I sometimes wished I had not because the challenge was often too strong.  Gnosis is a mode of knowledge based on love, and it sometimes demands unconditional love.  It is often practiced in response to the dysfunctional medicalization of love produced in mainstream psychotherapy discourse.  I received the knowledge I wanted and found the self-knowledge I was looking for, even as I learned to surrender to this practice in the process” (79).

The narrative continues as Gaia proceeds to become a mentor in her own turn.  Oh blessed be!

Dear Earthlings:

Education is the heart of democracy.  And that includes education to love.  It comes in many forms.  Including learning about Eros and journeys of multiple loves.


Eros: A Journey of Multiple Loves was a Lambda Finalist in 2007.  It is now being considered for translation in to Spanish by a press in Madrid.  Access to this memoir would be a great gift to Spanish speakers across the globe.  If you agree, leave a comment and we will let the publisher know.  Gracias!  

Did you enjoy the post?  Let us know!  Yours truly appreciates your attention.  The comments box is open.

Come back!  And stay tuned for more wonders.


Namaste,
 
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia, Eros, and many other books about love
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
 GaiaCoverFullSize  
Follow us in the social media
Poly Planet GAIA Blog: 
http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/ 
Be Appraised of Ecosex Community Project PostaHouse 
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Author’s Page/Lists all books: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JS1VKA 
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7 of 8 – Snippetts of Eros – Translation as Love, Love as Translation

Dear Earthlings:
The year of wonders is what 2012 is supposed to be.  Yours truly offers snippets of her favorite books.  All on yesterday’s forbidden themes.  Let’s see if their mysteries are revealed.
Eros is a story that staved the loneliness of her first years in the Caribbean, when she was missing her former Matrias,  California and Italy.
What is language?  What is translation?  What makes one cross the language lines, become a transcultural person?  What’s the measure of love in this inclusive discourse?  How does language define how we understand the world?  Imagine its transformation?  Language makes people fall in love from time immemorial.  Yet the very question has become a taboo.  Why?  Language is knowledge, knowledge love.  Isn’t that a win-win?  More languages, more ways to love.
Here are yours truly’s reflections back in 2007.  Eros: A Journey of Multiple Loves, has the full story.
Eros Cover“I was determined to push French and Italian out of my inner landscape.  The combat of one subconscious against the others was driving me crazy.  Blocking the music of my first native language out of my mind eased the pain of losing my baby.  My French lover exited with the second.  I was striving for the inversion that would allow American English to envelop these other languages and make their rhythms accessible.  It was torture for my inner space. English was never spoken at home . . .It was the colonizer’s language, and making it my own would help me reconquer my soul.  A colonizer brings women the scent of emancipation  . . . and [as a teenager] I used to spend time  . . . deciphering lyrics [from the Beatles and Rolling Stones]” (63).
The narrative continues as Gaia becomes a translator and facilitator across cultures and languages.  Oh blessed be!

Dear Earthlings:

Education is the heart of democracy.  And that includes education to love.  It comes in many forms.  Including learning about Eros and journeys of multiple loves.


Eros: A Journey of Multiple Loves was a Lambda Finalist in 2007.  It is now being considered for translation in to Spanish by a press in Madrid.  Access to this memoir would be a great gift to Spanish speakers across the globe.  If you agree, leave a comment and we will let the publisher know.  Gracias!  

Did you enjoy the post?  Let us know!  Yours truly appreciates your attention.  The comments box is open.

Come back!  And stay tuned for more wonders.


Namaste,
 
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia, Eros, and many other books about love
Professor of Humanities

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Join Our Mailing List
 GaiaCoverFullSize  
Follow us in the social media
Poly Planet GAIA Blog: 
http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/ 
Be Appraised of Ecosex Community Project PostaHouse 
Become a Fan: www.facebook.com/GaiaBlessings 
Author’s Page/Lists all books: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JS1VKA 
YouTube Uploaded Videos: http://www.youtube.com/SerenaAnderlini
 

Find us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our profile on LinkedInView our videos on YouTubeVisit our blog

http://polyplanet.blogspot.com
Please follow and like us:
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