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From darkness to light

The fruits of Lovelocks labours became the ‘Gaia’ theory, which was outlined in a book published in 1979, in which Lovelock makes the analogy between the earth and living organisms. Like our body, which remains at a constant temperature because our organs collaborate with one another, a system is maintained in homeostasis thanks to the activity of its component parts.Lovelock goes as far as to say that our planet is alive, self-regulated by complex positive and negative feedback mechanisms, involving the living as much as the non-living. ‘In the 19th century our world was perceived as a relatively frozen system in which the living fought to adapt. It is only in the 20th century that scientists have gradually become aware of the role of organisms and of their interaction in the configuration of the atmosphere, the oceans and the rocks above ground. Our environment is not an inert structure, but rather a vestigial remnant of our ancestors’ evolution.’

I did not understand what is the light and darkness and why from darkness to light does this mean that his theory was not accepted at first and later on it started to get attention?

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    Please see one of Lexico's definitions for light 3 Understanding of a problem or mystery; enlightenment. So for example "I saw the light" can mean "I understood." Commented Sep 5, 2020 at 18:14
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    thanks for referral.I did not know it had such meaning
    – Muzaffar
    Commented Sep 5, 2020 at 18:18
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    But this use is rare except in combination with darkness.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Sep 5, 2020 at 21:13
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    The extract shows the phrase as a sub-heading. There is no other reference to darkness or light in the passage. I wonder whether previous sections have established the metaphor? Please could you tell us where the passage comes from.
    – djna
    Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 10:50

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In the 19th century our world was perceived as a relatively frozen system in which the living fought to adapt. It is only in the 20th century that scientists have gradually become aware of the role of organisms and of their interaction in the configuration of the atmosphere, the oceans and the rocks above ground.

I believe the phrase "from darkness to light" refers to how scientists gained knowledge about how our planet worked in the 20th century that they didn't have in the 19th century. In the 19th century, there was little knowledge (darkness), and in the 20th century, there was knowledge gained and they became enlightened.

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