Does the Earth exist? What is the Earth's essence?

closed as not constructive by Joseph Weissman Jul 25 '11 at 3:22

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    1) What reason is there to suppose that the planet is sentient? One might as well ask "If the Eiffel tower is sentient, how does it communicate?" 2) What reason is there to suppose that all sentient things can communicate (with us)? Someone who is temporarily completely paralyzed doesn't cease to be sentient because of their inability to communicate. (They will likely be able to tell us about how they experienced that period of paralysis once it is over.) There is no obvious reason why permanent or perpetual inability to communicate need be different. – vanden Jul 13 '11 at 16:14
  • 1) The Eiffel tower and the Earth are very different. I am not the first to suggest that the Earth is sentient, given that the Earth is full of life. 2) Not all sentient beings can communicate through language. Even paralyzed people can communicate and some with great success. – Erin K Carmody Jul 13 '11 at 16:23
  • Also, I am not suggesting that no communication implies no beingness, nor did I say that beingness implies communication. I am asking what others think about the Earth communicating to us, and what level of consciousness it might have. – Erin K Carmody Jul 13 '11 at 16:34
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    You might resurrect this question by asking about its major premise instead of assuming it. Who suggests the Earth is sentient and what are their justifications? This is a philosophy site, so it would be helpful if you could find a philosopher who makes the assertion and if they had good arguments to support it. – Jon Ericson Jul 13 '11 at 17:00
  • This could be worth discussing if you related it to the China Brain thought experiment (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_brain) but as it stands it's the sort of fluffy crap better suited to a drum circle. – Satanicpuppy Jul 13 '11 at 20:37

I assume you compare the Earth with a living being, lets say, a human.

- I think then I exist so my environment exist:
    -> So the Earth exists.

The essence of a human being may be roughly compared to its consciousness, so, if it is a being, it must be conscious, but is the Earth conscious? (in order to be declared as a "being").

Which can be compared with:

Is the Milky Way galaxy conscious?

What about a dog? or a worm? A bacteria? A Mitochondria? A Molecule?

If the consciousness is caused by let's say 100 billions neurons of the brain, then 50 billions would also cause a certain form of consciousness.

So what about 25 billions?

Then by dichotomic divisions we arrive at 2 simple neurons interacting each other creating a very limited form of consciousness, but a real consciousness anyway.

So, in each case we have the quality, the consciousness which is present (even if the quantity can be really different.

Even without the argument that even a simple cell may have a form of consciousness (which I believe), we may notice that the Earth is composed of Billions of...humans so the consciousness of this whole must have a very high quantity, (again we suppose that interactions of 2 or 4 or 8 (and so on) humans is equal to a certain form of consciousness).

So, my answer is definitely: Yes!


There is a big difference between being and consciousness. If we assume Existence & Essence, we can see that Earth is a being (something that exist), and has many Attributes which when watched together in a bungle, make the Essence of Earth. One of the attributes of the Earth is that, it's round. Another is that, it rotates around sun. Still another attribute is its volume. Thus let's redefine your question:

Does Earth exist? and if so, does it have feeling and consciousness as part of its essence?

With high certainty, but without being 100% sure (not speaking absolutely), we can claim that Earth exist. But about its essence. Part of it is scientific and still claimable with high certainty. But feeling and consciousness is subject of the definition of these terms and great discussion. For example, if we define feeling as reaction to external stimuli, then no, it has no feeling.

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    For fun, you may wish to cf. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_the_World_Screamed – Joseph Weissman Jul 17 '11 at 15:19
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    Thank you Saeed for answering. I appreciate your explaining the difference between existence and essence. The Earth does react to external stimuli. If you water a plant and give it sunshine it grows. Also, humans react to external stimuli and aren't we a part of the Earth? – Erin K Carmody Jul 18 '11 at 21:33

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