Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Vestigial Human

James Lovelock is the leading advocate of the "Gaia Hypothesis" — the view that the Earth is an organism (if I understand the notion at all) and behaves as one, with systems regulating the body.

Carry the metaphor further (of course, Lovelock does not just mean it as metaphor, but what the hell). . . . The human body has an appendix, a vestigial organ that does nothing; it's positioned too far along the digestive tract to be of any use. In other animals, it is still very important, but in humans it is useless. Still, it can become a site of infection — appendicitis. Infected and burst . . . peritonitis, infection of the abdominal cavity. Death may result.

Humans have become the vestigial organ of Gaia. And we have become infected, inflamed, risking the entire body.

What do we do with an inflamed appendix?

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