I try to provoke thought on a variety of questions that are relevant to life here in the physical world in the year 2011. My intention is only to open a dialogue, offer another viewpoint from the conventional wisdom or even the prevailing thought in alternative living. With that said, let’s dive in and see what comes up.
A couple of posts ago, I mentioned an interview Aimee and I heard with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride on www.oneradionetwork.com. We were struck by her forthright answers and insights and went right out and got her book. Just finished it this week and feel compelled to comment on it before I get to the major topic on my mind. The premise of DCM’s book is this: the human digestive system, from opening to opening, is populated by a spectrum of bacteria and yeasts that perform a variety of functions. When this population is in a healthful balance, it controls everything from immune function to neurological and cognitive health, thus the title of her book—Gut and Psychology Syndrome. But when this balance goes awry, and the unfriendly critters overgrow and gain the upper hand, a cascade of dysfunctional conditions follow, and she is quick to reiterate the list throughout the book. For this a little editing would be recommended. But it is a minor irritant in what is otherwise an incandescent and edifying book that I unreservedly recommend. For us it has irreversibly altered our thinking about health and set us on a course toward the complete rebuilding of our gut health and, by extension, our overall health. Read this book and be prepared for a course correction!
Now to the subject at hand: Has Science been a help or a hindrance in our advancement as a species? I approach this topic with my tongue firm against my cheek, for I am sitting comfortably in our favorite coffee house, sipping the coffee of the day, while writing this blog on my brand new MacBook Pro laptop, shielded from the harsh elements outdoors, enjoying a perfect indoor climate. Part of me feels grateful for the scientific advancements that have made all of this possible, and that I am. But let’s step back for a moment and take a larger view of life on earth, how it has changed over the past several hundred years, and what impact that has had on human health—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. At the center of this change has been the revered (in some circles) and feared (in others) system we call Science. Unless you: live outdoors in a tipi or a yurt; have no electricity, running water, sewage or septic service; cook and heat only with wood; have no phone, computer, television, radio, stove or oven; and hunt, forage, or otherwise cultivate all of your food, make your own clothes (or wear none!)— then you have fallen under the spell of Science and its child, Technology. Of course, you wouldn’t be reading this otherwise! So let’s assume that you and I and everyone else we know lives within the bubble that we’ve created using Science and Technology. The questions before us are: How has this impacted our lives and is it, in the main, beneficial?
An analogy is appropriate here. Let’s look to the Martial Arts for clarification. The neophyte Martial Arts student enters the dojo to study with the sensei with an immature and naive view that he or she will learn the techniques of fighting and self-defense in order to become a respected classmate. If the sensei is only interested in attracting students, that is probably what the student will learn—techniques. There will be little or no understanding of the spiritual significance of the training imparted, only an achievement of technical proficiency. But the true teacher ensures the student is deeply trained in the real purpose of the Martial Arts—the creation of a peaceful, spiritually-centered warrior who never uses his lethal training for harming others or furthering his or her own agenda. The true teacher sees to it that the student is given both knowledge and wisdom. The student eventually becomes the Master, and the cycle of tutelage continues for generations.
Now let’s look at Science and how this analogy applies. The Scientist is like the student seeking only knowledge about the techniques of life, the mechanics, the surface of things. The Scientist obtains a little knowledge, publishes the information, then leaves it up to others to decide its application. Or worse, accepts monetary remuneration from a commercially interested party, and hands the knowledge over to that party in order for them to further a personal agenda. The “impartiality” of the Scientist precludes them from developing an ethical or spiritual relationship with this information. Thus, immature Souls, armed with little bits of information compartmentalized from the Greater Wisdom, are given powerful tools to wield with little or no concern for consequences.
The question becomes this: Is it the commercial interests and their application of Science that has muddied the ethical waters? Or is the Scientific paradigm flawed at its core? The first place I look to examine this dilemma is the field of diet and nutrition. For countless generations, wise peoples across the planet thrived on diets that were a natural extension of their surroundings. If they lived in the tropics, their diets were primarily a combination of animal and plant foods that could be hunted and gathered within a brief walk from their home or village, probably fish and other seafood, as well as fruits born by local trees and other plants. The food was always local and seasonal, existed in its natural state without tinkering by nutritional scientists, and consumed with minimal processing. These principles would apply to peoples of other regions of the earth, temperate climates where half the year temperatures were cold and plant food was scarce. These peoples ate large quantities of animal fat since they knew, from accumulated wisdom, that this was the food their bodies needed to best survive the harsh conditions where they lived. Although both cultures, and all the others as well, existed largely free of the rampant diseases of civilization that plague contemporary man, their diets were not determined by current scientific thought on what constitutes ideal human health. None of these peoples ever heard the terms protein, carbohydrate, fat, essential fatty acid, Omega 3 this or Omega 6 that, linoleic acid, vitamin, mineral, RDA, or any other lingo common to the world of science as it applies to nutrition. Their food choices were based entirely on availability and cultural wisdom. Regardless of where one stands on the questions posed above, should we come to the conclusion that science has advanced our understanding of nutrition and its relationship to human health even one iota?
It’s obvious that science today has been greatly corrupted by commercial interests, since the currents of thought and practices have steered us toward food choices that feed the coffers of powerful corporations, while leaving an unsuspecting population vulnerable to compromised health on a pandemic scale. “Science,” through flawed and biased research, determined that dietary cholesterol is a major contributor to heart disease, foisting a largely grain-based diet on generations of people who now “enjoy” not only rampant heart disease, but morbid obesity, cancer, diabetes, auto-immunity, and a host of other diseases that exist at rates astronomically higher than at any other time in history. In fact, most of these disease were virtually unknown as recently as 50 years ago, when western diets were much higher in meat and animal fat than they are today. If and when Science sees the error of its ways and admits to a colossal mistake, should we then place our faith in scientists that advocate some other way to eat? What credibility should we give them then, when their failures have been so catastrophic before? And this only applies in the field of nutrition. What about nuclear technology, petroleum and its various ravages on the planet, the proliferation of EMF’s through wireless and wired technology, pharmaceuticalism, and short-sighted, slash and burn medical practice?
Beautifully, the following illustration fell neatly into my lap this morning when Aimee read a short column, “Stay Healthy,” from the Sunday paper’s Parade Magazine. The subtitle reads, “New Wisdom for Healthy Hearts.” It goes like this:
Old Advice: Thirty minutes of daily exercise is enough to keep your heart healthy.
New Advice: The latest research shows that women need a full hour of moderate activity each day to reduce their risk for heart disease. But this doesn’t have to mean logging time at the gym—it could include doing yard work, washing the car, or taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood.
Old Advice: All adults should take a daily aspirin to help prevent a heart attack.
New Advice: Take daily aspirin only if you’re over 65, have had a heart attack, or are at high risk for heart disease. Otherwise, the potential benefits are likely outweighed by health risks [like gastro-intestinal bleeding] that come from taking too much aspirin.
There’s more of course. But this excerpt should suffice to illustrate my point. “Science” is constantly changing its mind because it, by its very nature, only looks at small, compartmentalized, short-term viewpoints. It would be like looking out a small hole cut in the wall of your house, making an observation about the weather or the birds or the trees or the sky, then issuing a pronouncement that you recommend such and such. There’s so much more to see and know that any declaration would be silly, at best, and potentially dangerous. Yet that is exactly what we get from Science—short-sighted, myopic “studies” that steer us in one direction, for a time, then careen us off in another, with little or no concern for the consequences of either!
There’s a spiritual caveat that I want to throw into the mix here. It’s based on the premise that we, as spiritual beings/Soul, agree to the conditions that exist whenever we incarnate into this or any other world. Consider, also, that the true purpose of this or any other reality is to act as a classroom where we are schooled in the fine art of divine love. So whether the scenario involves science and technology, living in and with Nature, or coming up against the actions and practices of the other people who co-inhabit the earth with us, the underlying purpose remains the same—gathering experiences that will prompt us to unfold more deeply into our divine nature as Soul. This could mean choosing to live apart from the technological world. Or it might also be a doorway into becoming a greater channel for God by developing tolerance and compassion. Stepping up to the task of bringing to others an awareness of how to live with greater wisdom in the information age is certainly a spiritually noble way to serve Life. The balance, of course, exists between actively and passionately campaigning for this kind of change while developing a true acceptance that everything that is now, ever has been, and always will be the very best conditions for the spiritual growth of all concerned. That is exactly how I view the world.
Just one more analogy to further the discussion. When a wise parent sees the child developing toward maturity, the parent is careful not make the path too smooth, knowing that pebbles in the road will serve to strengthen and prepare the child for the difficulties of adulthood. The reality is this: each Soul will eventually learn all it needs to become a Wise One. In traditional cultures, the Greater Wisdom was woven into the fabric of the culture. Each member was imbued with this wisdom literally at birth, guided in the maturation process by wise elders that themselves had been taught by those who had gone before them. This Wisdom was built on generations of experience by those who had lived closely with Nature and its fundamental laws. This included laws that govern spiritual as well as physical growth. These cultures understood that the physical appearance of things is only the start, never the finish. What lies beyond the surface is always where the most importance lives. As I observe it, Science has only delayed, deterred, or completely blocked the natural unfolding of wisdom. It has “enabled” us in the psychobabble sense of the word, giving us shelter from difficulties that are intended for our growth into mature spiritual beings.
Although I’m reluctant to admit it—for it means doing more for myself and my sustenance and sustainability—I no longer wish to live inside this protective bubble created by Science and Technology. I’m ready to start growing up now.