Gaianism is an earth-centered philosophical, holistic, scientifically non-religiously supported, and the spiritual opinion that shares expressions with various religions such as earth religions and paganism while not identifying exclusively with any specific one. The term describes a philosophy and ethical worldview which, though not necessarily religious, implies a transpersonal devotion to earth as a superorganism. Practitioners of Gaianism are called Gaians.
Marcel Wissenburg has described Gaianism as a "modern variant of philosophical determinism". Gaianism has been associated with the New Age movement due to sharing similar viewpoints, but is not typically identified as strictly part of the New Age movement as a whole. Scientific support of belief comes from Gaia hypothesis and Living systems theory. Supporting Gaia's homeostasis, ecological activism, with spiritual belief is compatible with deep ecology.
Followers of Gaianism state that the term is based both in the felt connection and scientific understanding of the biosphere, which is given the name Gaia. The namesake primordial deity from Greek mythology is the mother of all beings, both god and animal, born from her union with the sky (Uranus) and the sea (Pontus). Gaians believe that naming the biosphere Gaia helps encourage practitioners and others to see the living planet as an organism with an intrinsic personality that expresses itself through evolution.
Gaianism's philosophy stems from James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis, which proposes that organisms interact with their surroundings on earth to form a more complex and self-regulating system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. Gaia can be understood as a superorganism made of organisms, as multicellular life can be understood as a superorganism at a smaller level of scale.
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Practitioners of Gaianism are termed "Gaians", or sometimes Gaianists. Followers typically approach the philosophy with the perspective that you should honor the earth, reduce or soften the human impact on the earth, and to be respectful of all life on earth. The latter perspective is extended to all forms of life such as plant, animal, or human, and followers will often try to maintain a close relationship with the planet in order to strive toward world peace, maintain global homeostasis and find inner fulfillment. Gaians will occasionally follow Gaianism along with other religions, but for many Gaianism is not necessarily religious.
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