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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mini Encyclopedia of EcoSexuality - EcoSexuality (2 of 2)


Entry:  Ecosexuality

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

Cont'd 
As an emerging movement, Ecosexuality sustains the initiation of the human species into a new phase of its evolution: from a needy child accustomed to depending on a mother’s resources,  humanity is called to evolve into a responsible adult who treats the planet that generously hosts human life as a lover deserving all reverence, equality, and reciprocity in love. The scientific origins of the movement can be traced to what is known as the Gaia Hypothesis: a new epistemological paradigm that establishes the interconnectedness of all life forms as a new foundation for knowledge or episteme.  This integrated, self-sustaining web of life is made of interconnected ecosystems and generates its own homeostasis.  A key principle in this new style of amorous expression is that bodies are ecosystems, ecosystems are bodies:  equally deserving of love, care, and affection. 

As a new galvanizing force in cultural transformation, ecosexuality also means different things to different people.  Two avatars of the movement, performance artists Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, expressed their ecosexual vision in LoveArtLab, a seven-year project involving a series of ecosexual weddings where the artists married the sun, moon, sky, rocks, coal, snow, sea, a lake, and other nature entities.  In these 17 performative events around the world, they “changed the metaphor from Earth as mother to Earth as lover,” and vowed to “love, honor, and cherish the Earth until death brings us closer together forever.”  This work seeded a number of cultural environments with the intent to “make the environmental movement more fun, sexy, and diverse.”  The bride-artists integrated activism for marriage equality with the affirmation of ecosystems, natural elements, and forces of nature as participants in the generation and fruition of the force of love.  The practice of ecosexual weddings extended to the 1st EcoSex Symposium, which was organized as a honeymoon after the Purple Wedding to the Moon in 2010 in Los Angeles.  More symposia have come together in subsequent years, along with convergences, workshops, festivals, courses, digital discussion groups, more weddings, and intentional communities dedicated to the exploration of ecosexuality as a central trope for the organization of cultural action and energies. 

A definition of ecosexuality would be premature at this point, and would limit the cultural trope’s transformative potential, which is largely untapped yet.  One way in which ecosexuality has been described is as “the style of love that reaches beyond genders, numbers, orientations, ages, races, origins, species, and biological realms to embrace all of life as a partner with equal rights.”  This description has been adopted in the introduction to a forthcoming reader tentatively entitled Ecosexuality: Notes for an Orgasmic Earth.  It has the effect of supporting amorous practices that interpret ecosystems as bodies, and bodies as ecosystems in an interdependent network of interconnected nodes that auspicate a new planetary consciousness.

Sources

Anderlini-D’Onofrio, Serena.  Gaia and the New Politics of Love.  Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2009.

Anderlini-D’Onofrio, Serena and Lindsay Hagamen eds.  Ecosexuality: Notes for an Orgasmic Earth.  Contributed volume.  Forthcoming.

Anderlini-D’Onofrio, Serena and Robert Silber.  “Ecosexuality: A Course in the Arts of Conscious Love.”  Varallo, Italy.  July 16-21, 2011.   Poly Planet GAIA.  http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/2011/01/ecosessualita-un-corso-sulle-arti.html, November 28, 2013.

Anderlini-D’Onofrio, Serena, et al.  “Ecosex at U Conn.  Course Production from Spring, 2013 Seminar in Ecosexuality and the Ecology of Love.  Storrs Campus.  http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/search/label/EcoSex%20at%20U%20Conn: November 28, 2013.

Bernard, Tinamarie.  Fundamentals of Eco-Sexuality: Is Conscious Love the Way Towards Global Peace?”  Green Prophet, May 22, 2011.  http://www.greenprophet.com/2011/05/eco-sexuality-conscious-peace/: Novemebr 28, 2013.

Cordova, Gabriella.  “EcoSex Symposium.”  Portland, OR.  June 29, 31, and July 1st, 2012. http://www.ecosex.org/index.html: November 29, 2013 Dixon Luke, Annie Sprinkle, and Beth Stephens.  “1st International EcoSex Symposium.”  Colchester, Essex, UK.  July 14-18, 2013.  http://ecosexlab.org/, Novemebr 28, 2013. 

Ecosexual.  Definition in Macmillan Dictionary.  http://www.macmillandictionary.com/buzzword/entries/ecosexual.html, November 28, 2013.

Ecosexual.  Definition ins Wikitionary.  http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ecosexual, November 28, 2013. 

“Ecosexuality, a new sexual identity where you are lovers with the Earth.”  Examiner.com.  April 10, 2012.  N. A. http://www.examiner.com/article/ecosexuality-a-new-sexual-identity-where-you-are-lovers-with-the-earth, November 28, 2013.

Iris Weiss, Stefanie.  EcoSex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make your Love Life Sustainable.  New York: Ten Speed Press/Random House, 2010. 

Sexecology.  Wikipedia definition.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexecology

Sprinkle, Annie, and Beth Stephens.  “Ecosex Symposim I.”  Highways Performance Space.  October 24, 2010.  http://www.loveartlab.com/PDF/ecosex_sym1_program.pdf, November 28, 2013.

Sprinkle, Annie, and Beth Stephens.  “Ecosex Symposium II.”  Center for Sex and Culture, San Francisco.  June 17-19, 2011
          http://sexecology.org/ecosex-symposium-2/, November 28, 2013.

Sprinkle, Annie, Elizabeth Stephens.  LoveArtLab.  www.LoveArtLab.org, November 28, 2013.

Stephens, Elizabeth.  “Becoming Eco-Sexual.”  Canadian Theater Research: 144 (Fall 2010): 13-19. 

Windward Community.  “Surrender: An Ecosexual Convergence.”  June 14-16, 2014.  Windward, WA. http://www.ecosexconvergence.org/, November 28, 2013.

Wagner, David.  “Beyond Tree Hugging.”  San Francisco Chronicle.  7/16/2011.

Our Mini Encyclopedia of EcoSexuality is complete for the moment.  But everything always already is a work in progress.  Would you like to add an entry?  Let us know. . . .

Sending much love and all good wishes to all of you and your loved ones.  Thanks you for listening and opening up.  Stay tuned for more coming.  With all good wishes for a happy spring and summer.  Thank you!

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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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mini Encyclopedia of EcoSexuality - EcoSexuality (1 of 2)


Entry:  Ecosexuality

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

Ecosexuality is a new sexual identity and the cultural trope that is likely to galvanize a movement of movements that places love and its infinite modes of expression at the gravitational center of cultural formation, dynamics, and organization.  As a sexual identity, ecosexuality denotes a desire to organize practices of love around well-being, care, and ecosystemic health rather than any given oppositional rhetoric.  As a catalyst for cultural transformation, ecosexuality offers a new interpretation of love that aligns sexuality with ecology and inspires a cross-pollination of the ideas and metaphors contained within these two traditionally distinct discourses. 

The term “ecosexual” initially emerged in the personal ads as an environmentally conscious correlative to "metrosexual."  Regardless of sexual orientation, an ecosexual date connotes as somebody who would likely enjoy a visit to a farmers market or a raw-food meal.  Ecosexual have been described as an “environmentally conscious person(s) whose adherence to green living extends to their romantic and/or sexual life.”  Ecosexuals made their appearance at a time when sexual fluidity and amorous inclusiveness were largely accepted in open-minded online dating forums, and when “eco-living” was rising in acceptance and popularity.  In the capacity of a tool of discernment in the current dating system, the practice of ecosex helps to guide consumers toward practices of love and products thereof that respect the ecosystemic balance of the human bodies engaged in them.  Sexecology is a correlative that “seeks to make environmental activism more sexy, fun, and diverse and to involve the LGBTQ community” in such activism.  


As a trope of cultural transformation, ecosexuality galvanizes action in the arts, activism, theory, and practice to effect change in the metaphors by which we humans interpret the relationship with our hostess Gaia: the planet who, thanks to four billion years of symbiotic processes that began with bacteria (our first ancestors), has evolved a biota capable of sustaining the life of our species.  How do we imagine this relationship between Gaia and our species?  Are we friends or enemies? When we see nature as an enemy to be controlled, we produce the exact opposite of what we want, because, as Gaia science explains, the Earth is sovereign and its powers are supreme.  All species are subject to being welcome in Gaia’s existence. 

EcoSex Flag, by Cindy Baker
But then suppose we want to be friends: suppose we do have a desire to align with Gaia’s power, to second her will, as in all styles and practices of the environmental movement.  That’s when metaphors for this relationship become significant.  Is our relationship with Gaia based on kinship or is it elective?  When we say “mother Earth” we inadvertently endorse the assumption that terrestrial resources are available to us ad infinitum and no cost.  Mothers are our kin: they don’t choose us and we don’t choose them.  We are all too often culturally programmed to simply exploit them with no price tag or return.  When we imagine Gaia as a lover we begin to realize how much we have been taking for granted.  Are we humans a respectful partner in the relationship or an abusive one?  If our behavior is abusive, wouldn’t Gaia do well to end the relationship?  And what would that scenario look like for us?  Life on Earth started with bacteria.  In Gaia science, the existence of these simple, fun loving microorganisms also marks the beginning of consciousness, choice, love.  In this perspective, we humans as a species are just a new kid on the block: we could very well be the first one to go.  Gaia is a Latin word that literally means gay.  The Earth is sovereign and happy to exist in and of herself.  As a cultural trope, Ecosexuality brings awareness to the possibility that life could very well happily continue to thrive after we, as a species, are gone.  

To be continued . . . . . come back next week, same time.

Sending much love and all good wishes to all of you and your loved ones.  Thanks you for listening and opening up.  Stay tuned for more coming.  With all good wishes for a happy spring and summer.  Thank you!

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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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mini Encyclopedia of EcoSexuality - The Gaia Hypothesis (3 of 3)


Entry: The Gaia Hypothesis

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

3. Conclusion: Gay Nature

Lovelock’s macroscopic perspective emphasizes the risk of taking for granted that Gaia, the Earth, will always be hospitable to human life, or even life in general.  As an animated
entity, Gaia has a biography: and if we don’t pay attention, Lovelock admonishes, the biota could dry up and Earth become just as barren as its neighbors Mars and Venus.  Margulis’s microscopic perspective compounds this awareness from an evolutionary viewpoint.  The process of autopoiesis has evolved complex organisms like us humans out of those simple, loving, resource-sharing bacteria.  We, the new kids on the block in evolutionary terms, have some lessons to learn.  The global ecology that sustains life as we know it is symbiotic:  it is the expression of love that results in the infinite acts of sharing resources and collaborating within and across species and biological realms.  To put it more simply: love is the ecology of life.  Take love out of the equation, and you turn Gaia, with her beautiful blues, greens, yellows, whites, reds, and blacks into a brownish rock like its dead neighbors.  So the Gaia Hypothesis is also an axiomatic statement that life is essentially “gay”: capable of loving for fun and across conventional gender lines.  If love is the ecology of life, if health, pleasure, joy have been the purpose of lovemaking since our first ancestors bacteria populated the Earth, then we may as well hypothesize that Gaia, our hostess planet, is gay!  And we better keep her gay, happy, cheerful.  How?  It’s simple: by practicing love in symbiotic, fluid, fun, erotic, ecosexy, gay, imaginative, and inclusive ways.  

Or else. 

List of Sources

Anderlini-D’Onofrio, Serena.  Gaia and the New Politics of Love: Notes for a Poly Planet.  Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2009.
Eisler, Riane.  The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future.  New York: harper Collins, 2011.Gimbutas, Marija.  The Language of the Goddess.  New York: Thames and Hudson, 2001.
Lovelock, James.  The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth.  New York: Norton 1995.
______  .  Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth.  Oxford University Press, 1979.
______  .  The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis and the Fate of Humanity.  New York: Basic Books, 2006.
Margulis, Lynn.  Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution.  New York: Basic Books, 1998.
Margulis, Lynn and Dorion Sagan.  Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origin of Species.  New York: Basic Books, 2003.
______  .  Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution.  University of California Press, 1997.
______  .  Mystery Dance: On the Evolution of Human Sexuality.  New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991.
Margulis, Lynn and Dorion Sagan eds.  Slanted Truths:  Essays on Gaia, Symbiosis, and Evolution.  New York: Copernicus, 1997. 
Golding, William.  Wikipedia Entry.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Golding, November 23, 2013.
Lovelock, James.  Wikipedia Entry.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Lovelock, November 23, 2013.
Margulis, Lynn.  Wikipedia Entry.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Margulis, November 23, 2013.
Ryan, Christopher and Cacilda Jetha.  Sex at Dawn:  How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships. New York: Harper Perennial. 2011.  

To be continued . . . . next entry: EcoSexuality.  Come back next week, same time.

Sending much love and all good wishes to all of you and your loved ones.  Thanks you for listening and opening up.  Stay tuned for more coming.  With all good wishes for a happy end of winter, spring, and summer.  Thank you!

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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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mini Encyclopedia of EcoSexuality - The Gaia Hypothesis (2 of 3)



Entry: The Gaia Hypothesis

Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD

2. The Name:  Origins, Implications, Connotations

The Gaia Hypothesis takes its name from Gaia, also known as Gea, a Greek deity symbolizing the ancient notion of the Earth.  From Gea we get the word geography: the art and science of mapping out the ecosystemic elements, designs, and forces that make up the surface of the Earth and affect its dynamic balance.   Gaia was the Hellenic version of an embodied feminine deity whose representations are observed in archeological findings of the Neolithic Age around the Mediterranean.  Gea represented the sovereign power of the feminine among the forager groups of the Neolithic.  She was also present among those who transitioned to agriculture while still maintaining matrifocal values and egalitarian, symbiotic organizations, including Crete, Lydia, Lesbos, Catal Huyuk, and Asia Minor in general.  This deity was imagined as connected with the Chthonic powers of terrestrial energies: sources of ecstasy, magic, fertility, and love.  

In classical Greek mythology Gaia was considered part of the first generation of Greek deities.  The Titans included Aeolus for the winds, Uranus for the sky, Cronus for time, Eros for the force of love, and others.  They represented the sovereign powers of nature and were not as personified as the subsequent generation of deities known as the Olympian Gods.  A later version of Gaia is Demeter, who is more personified as was typical of Olympian deities.  According to classical Greek legend, Demeter was the goddess of harvest and Earth.  When losing her daughter Persephone, Demeter became sterile for six months of the year.  This ended the golden age of eternal spring and marked the beginning of the age of seasons.  The Roman versions for Demeter and Persephone are Ceres and Proserpina respectively.  From Ceres we get the word cereals: as in staple foods like wheat and other grains that wean us from mother’s milk and get our bodies to grow into adulthood.

video
In a gender and sexuality perspective, the Gaia Hypothesis corresponds to a semantic reconfiguration of what is commonly known as “nature” as an entity capable of what is known in French as jouissance, or erotic enjoyment beyond genders.  The idea of using Gaia as a name for this paradigmatic scientific hypothesis came to James Lovelock from the novelist William Golding, a Nobel Laureate in Literature familiar with the Classical world.  Golding most probably knew the  connotations of the name better than Lovelock.   In Latin, Gaia is a female personal name correlative to the male Gaius (as in Gaius Julius Caesar).  In both grammatical genders, the name means s/he who is cheerful, happy, joyful, and capable of enjoyment.  The name is related to the Latin noun gaudio which refers to the act of enjoying, including sexual enjoyment and orgasm.  In Italian the connectedness between these ancient meanings has been conserved, with Gaia used as a female name meaning gay (in the original sense): joyful, cheerful; and with godere as the verb most commonly used to refer to the act of sexual climax, or jouissance, as it is called in French.  In English the continuity between Gaia and enjoyment is represented by the overlap between the current and conventional meanings of the word gay.  As the scientific hypothesis was named, these sexualized connotations were probably part of the discursive awareness of those involved in the process.  While they were not intended as primary connotations, they still bring an entirely new twist to the interpretation of nature the Gaia Hypothesis involves.  

To be continued . . . . come back next week, same time.

Sending much love and all good wishes to all of you and your loved ones.  Thanks you for listening and opening up.  Stay tuned for more coming.  With all good wishes for a happy end of winter, spring, and summer.  Thank you!

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

Join Our Mailing List   
Follow us in the social media
Poly Planet GAIA Blog:  http://polyplanet.blogspot.com/ Website: www.serenagaia.com

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