Article by Henk Kieft, based on my presentation at the International People-Plant Symposium of the International Society of Horticultural Science ISHS, in 2012.
Recently emerging technologies in farming invite to broaden the dominant worldview in science. This expanded view on the relation of man-nature has implications for understanding the influence of nature on human health. The emerging techniques are an expression of the fundamental shift in science about a century ago, expanding the view of nature as particles towards nature as waves. Furthermore we should realize that the earth not only is a globe of minerals in the universe, it is also a complex of electromagnetic fields in which plants and animals –and mankind – have evolved over time. This expanded view offers the potential to explain the effectiveness of vibration patterns (electromagnetic waves) on plants and animals. Many new instruments and intuitive techniques are mushrooming. Effects are being measured and quantified. Then follows the step from plants and animals to human beings. The basic physiological processes in the bodies of mankind are very close to those in plants and animals, so vibration patterns that influence the health of plants and animals could as well influence the health of human beings. This paper presents a number of these emerging techniques, discusses the potential of broadening the positivist worldview and concludes with a proposal for an expanded model for research on the relation between nature and human health.
In the program of this International People-Plant Symposium, most of the attention is focused on how nature influences human health. This paper presents an opposite view: how humans influence nature from which we live: soils, crops and animals. I do not mean the dominant influence by machines and chemicals, I mean that more and more farmers are applying new kinds of techniques and are developing their intuition again; they are relying on their personal experience of knowing from nature rather than on cognitive information from advisors or from laboratory tests.
Modern society is beginning to understand the value of nature for our health and our future. Most explanations however are based on a dualistic view of nature and humans: one way to consider this is based on the ‘particle-view’ where one considers the observer (humans researching) and the subject (nature as being researched) being totally separated, like balls or hands are separated until they touch or collide. These authors could miss an important point: understanding the relation of nature-human and human-nature also as a permanent relation, even when not touching each other. Such permanent intimacy-of-humans-and-nature seems acceptable only as a temporary and extra-ordinary state of mind during meditation or ecstasy. An experience that mystics – and some farmers as well – express as fundamental ‘oneness’. Thus, the leading question of this paper is “Could the research on the influence of nature on human health – the very focus of this International People-Plant Symposium – be enriched by the experiences of farmers in their relation to nature?” In this paper I will argue why my answer is positive. At the end I will present the way it may be helpful.
An international inventory was conducted from 2004 to 2007 to identify emerging new techniques in farming (Kieft, 2006; Kieft, 2007). The inventory was done through personal interviews, country visits, web search and participation in seminars. This search led to the identification of two new schools of farming techniques: ‘electromagnetic’ agriculture and ‘intuitive’ farming.
- Examples of Electromagnetic techniques. Electromagnetic farming technology builds on the relatively recent perception that the biosphere surrounding our planet has developed over millions of years within a global electromagnetic field. Therefore all life must be sensitive to electromagnetic ‘information’, plants, animals and humans alike.
Photosynthesis is one example. It happens via the green-yellow light (wave-length around 570 nanometers), which is only a tiny part of the entire electromagnetic spectrum of vibrations around us.
In the domains of lower frequencies we find the so-called ‘Para-TB box’ – a Dutch finding – apparently reducing the incidence of paratuberculosis (Johne’s disease) in dairy cattle (Wolleswinkel et al., 2004). Two farms in the Netherlands tested it over a period of 10 years: the infection rate had dropped from 20% to 3%, while the average on infected farms in the Netherlands rose from 20 to 30% (Vink, 2010). Unknown yet is whether the positive effect is due to strengthening the immune system, or due to weakening the bacteria. Jones disease is a serious problem in dairy farming for which veterinary science has no remedy except complete isolation of a calf from its mother immediately after birth, preventing it to touch the straw in the stable. Farms obeying these strict rules are labeled ‘Status 10’. In over 70 dairy farms in the Netherlands a so-called ‘para-TB-box’, emitting frequencies around 25 Hz, apparently prevents outbreaks. Serious verification research is still needed (GD, 2007).
A very recent initiative in reducing antibiotics comes from I-Health, based on a combination of light frequencies and magnetic fields. The Dutch company I-health has developed a light + magnetic treatment to reduce the use of antibiotics for cow mastitis in dairy farming. It is based on 10 years of positive experience of using this EM-technology in reducing breast-inflammation in human health. Good results have already been achieved with cats, dogs and horses (M. den Boer, pers.commun., 2014). A dairy farmer in Olst (The Netherlands) reports the following on the effect against IBR virus (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheїtis) of electro-magnetic signals on the drinking water: “After 1 week the daily milk production increased from 27 to 28.5 kg/cow. I stopped treatment after 2 weeks. One week later the average daily production was still at 28 kg/cow, and with 1kg concentrate per cow/day less. In week 4 I started two other signals: for improved resistance for better digestion. Milk production was maintained at 28kg/cow while the ‘celgetal‘ in the milk dropped from average 250.000 cells to 130.000 cells after two weeks. In week 8 both production and ‘celgetal’ continued on the same levels” (M. den Boer, pers. commun., 2014).
A third example of magnetic techniques is the Agritron (Figure 1). The electromagnetic wave radiation boils insects and mushrooms in the soil to death. The machine is progressing around 1 meter/minute. The slower it goes, the deeper the disinfecting effect. The technique is able to save 80% in energy consumption as compared to other techniques of soil infection and emits 75% less CO2, and decreases pesticide use (Koppert, 2007). This environmental performance may appear to be rather positive, but its disadvantage is that it also boils all useful biological life in the soil.
Figure 1. The Agritron –a rolling microwave – is being tested for insect, bacterial and fungi control in greenhouse soils through the use of electromagnetic wave radiation.
Also techniques using sound can be mentioned here. Sound is transferred through vibrating air and is not in itself an electromagnetic phenomena. But it induces electromagnetic effects. Many examples are documented. One method Sonic Bloom combines a sound broadcaster (4700 to 5300 Hz) with a nutrient-spray. The sound, emitted some 15 minutes before fertilizing, opens the stomata, enabling them to absorb more water, nutrients, oxygen, carbon dioxide and other gases. The nutrient-spray delivers 55 microelements, amino-acids and water plants. This combined treatment results in higher production, more tasty fruit, longer shelf life and higher nutritional values (Oliver, 2002). Experiments show that sound treatment for a period of 45 minutes, just before spraying herbicides, reduces the required doses by 50 to 80% and a summary of field trials of Sonic Bloom-treated and untreated barley varieties grown on dry land at under the auspices of the USDA Agricultural Research Service in 1987 shows yield increases ranging from 17%-91%(Oliver, 2002). Dozens of dairy farmers and crop growers in Belgium, France and the Netherlands are applying these techniques (Doornik, 2013). In North America and Australia farm-advisors have jumped on these trends: a new market is emerging for advice as well as for instruments and related products. Farming books and magazines from Australia (for example Sait, 2003) and North America (for example AcresUSA), are publishing first hand experience. In the Netherlands the Atlas of innovating dairy farmers (Wolleswinkel et al., 2004) was the first publication of these techniques based on direct interviews with farmers. Philip S. Callahan was the first to suggest and argue that insects are very sensitive to electromagnetic vibrations (Callahan, 2001).
iPod wine is another example. An iPod, an amplifier and a row of 15 speakers broadcasted permanent music in a vineyard. The growth of the roots was strongly enhanced, the grapes matured faster, damage from bacteria and insects decreased greatly, and damage by birds and wild animals decreased by the music (Cignozzi, 2005.). Additionally, ultra-sonic devices for chasing away mice (> 22.000 Hz) or ultra-violet light for attracting (and electrocuting) flies are already easily available in garden-shops.
These modern sound techniques remind us of the traditional sound techniques for example in Sri Lanka, where Buddhist songs (often in Sanskrit) are broadcasted for use by farmers (C. Wettasinghe, pers. commun., 2007) (Figure 2). Traditional techniques of singing and drumming may be effective according to the same principles (HSL, 2001). The conclusion may be that this ‘old technology’ has its merits. At the same time such traditional techniques have many aspects of intuitive approaches.
Figure 2. Meditation and music treatment of field crops in Sri Lanka (Compas, author).
- Examples of Intuitive techniques. A large variety of more intuitive techniquesis emerging or re-emerging on the farm scene. These include intuitive communication with nature. Many have read the experiences at the Findhorn-garden in the UK (FC, 1976), ‘an experiment in the co-operation between three kingdoms’. Also Perelandra Gardening in the USA is a well documented example (Wright, 2012). These techniques are based on meditative listening to nature. The attitude of these gardeners appears to have much in common with mindfulness in psychology.
Some traditional farming techniques in Bolivia relate to ‘energy’ management in nature. For many Andean farmers the energy concept plays a crucial role to qualify all life processes with ‘warm’ or ‘cold’ and much more. Be aware that this energy is not the same energy we use in kWh to heat our houses. The energy concept is used in judging the quality of food, of soil production capacity, of healthiness of a house or a plot etc. (F. Delgado, pers. commun., 2005). The book of Eric Julien on the South-American indigenous tribe of the Kogis is very revealing on the subject (Julien, 2004).
These lively traditions may be based on Andean shamanic worldview and their communication techniques with nature, but also in the Netherlands dozens of farmers, exploring energetic farming, accept ‘intuitive’ and non-scientific information for guiding their farm management decisions.A recent example in the Netherlands of an intuitive health management of dairy cattle is the Remeker farm, producing the excellent Remeker cheese. It is one of the first dozen of ‘antibiotics-free’ dairy farms in the Netherlands. They have developed a direct intuitive understanding of the needs of the calves and cows.
Another type of experience relates to working with horses in equine therapy for humans. I refer to the book Riding between the worlds – The horse as teacher and healer (Kohanov, 2003). This book explores a comparable type of intuitive experiences with horses I recognized in intuitive farming with other animals. Kohanov shared her discoveries already in her earlier book The Tao of Equus (Kohanov, 2001). With Riding between the worlds she presents what happens if we open our mind and our heart for the possibility to learn from other living beings, intelligent and enchanted beings in their own rights. In the last chapter she searches for a scientific explanation for such ‘impossible’ information in the intuitive work with her horse-partner. She finds her answers in quantum physics.
Reliability of intuitive information
After all these examples of techniques from practice in farming we have to face the question of understanding it and – if interested – whether or not we can learn it. Do we rely on it? Can we explain it with modern science? In my experience we can, but therefore I had to accept an amplification of my worldview, two amplifications in fact. Some developments in modern science do support this expansion of our worldview and do help explain the foundations of our permanent interconnection with nature. And we can learn it – fast even- from old civilizations in the South and the East, but also from the mystic and the shaman in the North and the West.
A challenging study on the reliability of such intuitive approaches is presented by anthropologist Jeremy Narby in The Cosmic Serpent, DNA and the origins of knowledge (Narby, 1999). He bridges different paradigms, comparing the findings of a modern cell-biologist with those of a traditional shaman. Your paradigm – a set of ideas and assumptions on how people perceive life, beings, things, the natural and the super-natural and the processes in the world around them – determines what questions you ask, how you try to know nature, and hence how you farm. His hypothesis is that both ways of knowing may yield comparable insights, as explained in Box 1 ‘Reading DNA’.
Box 1. Reading DNA
Jeremy Narby (in “The Cosmic Serpent”) explored the ‘sources’ of the enormous practical botanical knowledge that shamans in Latin America have acquired about medicinal plants and he was introduced in their techniques of communication with plants, their way of intuitive ‘knowing nature’ and he compared it to the way of ‘knowing nature’ by modern science. He formulated the hypothesis that shamans in South America –in a defocalized state of consciousness – might be able to ‘read DNA’ and its inherent information. During these ´hallucinations´ the human mind might be able to communicate with the global network of DNA-based life around us.
His hypotheses on DNA are challenging indeed in the perspective of our farming dialogue between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ about the possibility to ‘dialogue’ with plants or animals. He describes the very different wording of shamans and cell-biologists in expressing what they ‘see’ in the cell and the amazingly comparable images they describe. Shamans talk about images of “pairs of twisted snakes”. Their scientific counterparts talk about “double helixes of DNA” and we all recognize from pictures how much they are shaped like ‘twisted snakes’. The “fluorescing spirits” of the shaman may well express the same information as the “bio-photon emissions of DNA” from the biologist. Interestingly both shamans and physicists perceive spirits and bio-photons as ‘pure light’. Narby further explored the neuro-physical processes related to defocalized states of consciousness, the weak radio-waves also emitted by DNA, the quartz-alike crystal structure of DNA and so on, all underpinning his hypothesis, both at the level of techniques and at the level of worldview.
We may assume that Narby’s suggestions could offer a path to cell-biologists for quick learning from the intuitive techniques of shamans. And why only cell-biologists, why not a learning path to farmers and agronomists as well?
In this perspective, also publications of some physicists are challenging our worldviews. For example Hans-Peter Dürr, former director of the Max Planck Institute for quantum physics in Germany. My new worldview on nature, that I present later on in this essay, is based on his suggestion (Dürr, 2006) that a quantum information field does exist beyond matter. Mind you: ‘information-beyond-matter’. This information would shape matter, ‘puts matter in form‘. Also the American physicist Lawrence Krauss (Krauss, 2012)suggests the option of such a worldview from a different perspective on dark energy: “What dark energy is, is not yet understood, but we know it does exist. We cannot prove the universe has emerged from the nothing, but the laws of nature say, that if something emerges from the nothing, a universe as ours is the result. This makes the idea plausible.” It is this plausibility that represents the current state of tentative knowledge in science about the way information in any ‘field-beyond-matter’ informs the shape of matter in nature.
A jump in thinking, two in fact
On the basis of these globally emerging practices in farming and gardening, it becomes important to understand and explain the functioning of the electromagnetic techniques. To be able to accept such a ‘wave’ complementary view of the ‘particles’ character of nature does require a jump in thinking indeed. To enable that jump in our thinking, we might use the conceptual bridge over the river of fundamental physics that was suggested a century ago: the bridge between the one ‘side of particles’ –with Newton – and the other ‘side of waves’ – with Maxwell.
But then we are invited for an extra jump: from ‘the particles and the waves’ to ‘the intuitive realm‘, an even more courageous jump, a leap into quantum physics, into chaos theory, cell biology and neurology. One of the best overviews and interpretations of these various fields of science is from former Wageningen University professor Hans van Asseldonk (Asseldonk, 2010): “Dao of Agriculture”. His work – in Dutch only and not formally published – is accessible on his website www.taovandelandbouw.nl
He understands and reflects on various fields of science, but goes a step further. He becomes aware of the simple fact that our human body is nature as well. So if we learn to better communicate with our body, we are also opening our mind for communicating with nature in a wider sense. Van Asseldonk searched for principles and attitudes on sustainability in various cultures. And he found most inspiration and helpful worldview and attitude for farming in Daoism: to be able to achieve sustainability we should focus on inner transformation. According to Daoism, ‘outside crises can only be overcome by transforming them within us, by purifying and reshaping them through the harmony of our body. And when it reaches perfection, the body radiates harmony and is beneficial to its environment. All beings are transformed through it. So to regulate the world, we have to cultivate ourselves: we have to ‘tend our inner landscape’ (Schipper, 2014).
Van Asseldonk took it literally and he has built a Dao Garden according to the body energy lines in Chinese acupuncture. In this garden in the Northern part of the Netherlands – unique in the world – visitors report about an intimate connection of man and nature. On specific beds – related to organs of the body – visitors may feel the organs of their body resonating. An extraordinary experience indeed and some visitors describe healing effects. Such physical impressions can be read at the related website www.natuuralsspiegel.nl Experiences in this garden express a sense of connection, unity or oneness: the land is your body and your body is the land, the garden is a bodylandscape. Can the connection between man and nature be expressed more directly and intimately?
In India two international agronomists, describe aspects of ‘Alternative Macro Visions’ (Shankar and Unnikrishnan, 2004). With their words I try to underline – in bold -the coincidence with the British mystic Eckhart Tolle: here both East and West touch each other in their way of observing and experiencing nature.
“The worldview of Ayurveda is based on the sankhya school. Sankhya assumes that the manifest or objective world vyakta emerges from the unmanifest avyakta or subjective world and that there is an essential unity and continuum between the two. At a philosophical level, it implies the essential unity of the inner and outer self and of nature. Thus, from the Ayurvedic standpoint, the realistic way to understand nature is by becoming ‘one’ with it. We can do this by using our mental apparatus and the five senses that serve as instruments of knowing in a balanced way. The senses naturally move outwards to see, hear, touch, smell and taste. The mind can move both outwards with the senses or move inwards and experience an inner, non-sensory world. In the Ayurvedic literature there is reference to the apt or seer of the sastra, whose mind is both objective and subjective. A mind that is in control of the senses and is totally free of the six divisive prejudices (lust, anger, greed, intoxication, delusion and jealousy; Tolle would have said ‘totally free of the ego’) is said to be both perfectly objective and subjective. This is the mental state of Brahma, from which the Ayurvedic sastra was originally propounded. In such a state there is oneness with nature.“
How to do it: be still and turn inside …
I repeat the essential sentence by which the Indian Ayurvedic worldview may enrich the Western view: “The mind can move both outwards with the senses or move inwards and experience an inner, non-sensory world.”The second part of the sentence adds something fundamental to the axiom of positivistic school in the philosophy of science that would not accept the subjective survey of the inner world by the mind as objective science. By introducing this ‘Eastern’ axiom in ‘Western’ science, searchers in the West could again look at reality through that eye we have deliberately kicked out while accepting Descartes’ worldview, the eye fortunately saved by the mystic in western cultures. Such homework for positivist ‘western’ science – in my opinion – is fundamental for healing our relationship with the living environment and nature – and with our bodies. We need exercise, meditation, mystics and courage to entering our inner selves, ‘beyond the ego’ as Eckhart Tolle would say. It is here where physics and arts –and probably even mystics and religion – touch each other again. This touching again is to be rather exciting indeed!
In the field of biology and neurology Stephen Harrod Buhner has written a thorough book on what he calls ‘the intelligence of the heart in the direct perception of nature’: ‘The Secret Teachings of Plants’ (Buhner, 2006). It both presents scientific explanations on how we perceive messages through our body, our heart and our brains, and on how this information comes into our consciousness. Another well-known book in this field is The Field (McTaggart, 2003).
Teachings of mystics
Indeed, the intuitive or ‘sensing’ techniques applied by farmers look very much like the way the mystic describes his/her access to deeper information. “The mystic experience of unity relates to all living nature. People who enter this mystic path develop a very awake awareness about their Mit- und Umwelt. You can see this: they deal with plants and animals in a special different way and they feel a deep inner connection with nature. Mystic and connection with nature are two sides of the same coin (Jäger, 2007).
The ‘going inside’ with the mystic or the Dao is comparable to the exercises in meditation and breathing techniques of the ch’I master and the yogi. An interesting note should be made in this perspective: in addition to a wider consciousness, a good physical condition of the body supports the quality of meditation and therefore also the quality of communication with nature. Both the meditation of the mystic and the still exercises in ch’i and yoga include the experience of being connected to the whole. Their meditation and their exercises relate to physical work, to the body and the mind. They tend to follow the laws of nature and respect all life and are aware of the relevance of food and drinks for the effect of their efforts. This comparison leads philosopher Christian da Quincey on www.christiandequincey.com to the conclusion that the scientist may learn from the mystic, as “the mystic repairs the ‘double failure’ of positivistic science: humans and nature are one and the observer (human) is connected with the object (nature).”
Experiencing, Knowing and Explaining
Understanding new electromagnetic or vibrational techniques may also shed light on the values and virtues of various old ‘intuitive’ techniques. Being confronted with these ‘strange’ experiences in farming I made an effort to undergo this ‘information from nature by farmers’ myself. And I could not deny the feeling of unknown energy through my body, in the palms of my hands. But the scientific part in myself hesitated, my brains needed some scientific logic to allow myself to accept my bodily experience. And indeed, once I studied new insights in various fields of science, the mental blockage against this experiential knowing was alleviated. Below I refer to some aspects in modern physics, cell biology and neurology that helped me to overcome the mental bottle-neck.
Fundamental physics has recognized already for over 100 years that the biosphere is surrounded and influenced by electromagneticfields, but in modern agricultural practice this knowledge has rarely been applied. This may change however, knowing that communication for air traffic may be blocked for several minutes by electromagnetic eruptions from the sun (Figure 3). A magnetic shield protects life on earth against too heavy influxes of this cosmic radiation, called the ‘Von Allen belts’.
Figure 3. The Von Allen Belts, protecting the earth for heavy solar magnetic impulses.
All life on earth has developed within the earth’s magnetic field and has been influenced by eruptions of magnetic solar mass. Therefore, perceiving nature in terms of electromagnetism is essential to really understand the processes of life. A chemical view on these metabolisms is not complete. It needs to be complemented with an electromagnetic view. Every single cell of the body is ‘surrounded’ by or embedded in an electromagnetic field. Billons of these cells apparently shape an energy field around each organism, whether it is a bacterium, a plant, an animal or a human. All living beings are surrounded by their own energy fields and these fields may interact (Cannenpasse-Riffard, 2011).
NASA has studied these earth- and cosmic magnetic fields intensively. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (NASA, 2010)is sending images about solar activities that affect everything on earth, our lives and society. SDO will have a huge impact on modern scientific worldviews. Figure 4 shows a full-disk multi wavelength extreme ultraviolet image of the sun on March 30, 2010. False colors trace different gas temperatures. Reds are relatively cool (about 60,000 Kelvin, or 107,540 F); blues and greens are hotter (greater than 1 million Kelvin, or 1,799,540 F).
Figure 4. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) full-disk multiwavelength extreme ultraviolet image of the sun on March 30, 2010. Credit: NASA/Goddard/SDO AIA Team
The electromagnetic fields of living beings and of the earth do interfere with each other. Naomi Kempe, researcher at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institut in Vienna (Austria) developed very sensitive devices to measure this magnetic influence of specific geographic locations on human bodies (Kempe, 2004).
New theories are emerging in fundamental physics, which make a shift from the Newtonian view of attracting forces between bodies towards emerging ‘string-theories’ where vibrating waves may influence each other. The smallest ‘particles’ in which we have learnt to perceive the world, like protons, neutrons, electrons, which are in turn made up of even smaller particles, can also be perceived as super-short elastic strings. Vibrating at higher frequencies they are able to carry more energy, and are able to shape more matter. And the type of this matter depends on the specific vibration-patterns of the strings (Green, 2004).
All matter and all life has a species-specific optimum position in the electromagnetic spectrum (Global Scaling theory). Frequencies of a different character –not specific – therefore may have negative effects on an organism’s health. The issue of such negative influence is not only a matter of intensity of vibration or radiation but also of specific frequencies (even very weak ones) that are relevant for the particular organism in case. An animal health centre in South Germany has already been built on this fundamental understanding of healing potential of waves of specific frequencies and magnetic fields.
With these new ‘quantum’ and ‘string’ views on nature, and the influences of electromagnetic vibrations on the process of life are becoming clear. As a result both emerging ‘energetic farming’ techniques and ‘traditional endogenous farming techniques’ are starting to become explainable in science. For example, researcher Bruce Tainio shows a clear relation between the plant-sap pH and the frequencies emitted by the same plant (Sait, 2003). He also relates both measurements to the plant’s resistance to diseases and pests and hence also to its health.
Are we able to learn it?
Interestingly, practitioners of electromagnetic techniques perceive life as the result of a connection between matter, energy and information, and practitioners of Intuitive techniques as a connection between crops, energy and spirit. Both use words as vibrations, frequencies and cosmic fields or quantum information. One of the crucial contributions of quantum thinking is the introduction of consciousness in physics. Mind may influence matter at the subatomic level. And indeed its effects can be perceived by attentive observation. Such ‘communication’ demands an unusual state of awareness: you should be defocalized. In psychology several states of awareness are distinguished: a state of being awake or a state of dreaming. For untrained people these states do not overlap, but after some training you are able to be aware of both levels at the same time. Probably this is what happens in the case of anthropologist Narby, presented in Box 1 above.
Yes we can learn it! For example meditation or training in intuitive observation can help ‘tuning in’ to nature. Techniques of the mystics may help us along this path of knowing. Several modern mystics write about it (Tolle, 1997; Jäger, 2007). Earth educator Gerwine Wuring suggests 5 steps to practice communication with nature: 1) grounding and being present, 2) opening and being aware, 3) active sensing, listening and dialoguing with nature, 4) winding up and saying thanks, and finally 5) closing and going further (Wuring, 2008). Also the courses in ‘Developing Intuition’ of Marta Williams (based on Williams Martha, 2003) offer an effective learning path and she likes to quote Albert Einstein: ‘The only real valuable thing is intuition’.
A very recent method is presented in Live and Let Live (Conroy and Alexander, 2014.) The authors introduce the idea of ‘negotiating’ an ‘Eco-treaty’ between men and nature, in mutual respect for each others need to both survive.
Some leaders of ‘older’ agricultural cultures-in-extinction also offer to assist ‘modern’ people in learning these intuitive techniques, they are willing to teach us the energetic language developed for their farming (Julien, 2004). Some western researchers suggest the relevance of learning from the other sciences (Haverkort, 2012.) This learning opportunity from South to North is vast and to me it seems highly relevant for society as a whole. The FAO-program ‘Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems’ suggests that 200 Agri-Cultures in risk of extinction (www.fao.org/giahs/). In the interest of future sustainable agriculture we might set up a communication bridge between intuitive techniques and quantum techniques, between shamans and scientists. In other words we should start an intensive intercultural dialogue for the sake of fast learning intuitive techniques in farming and gardening.
Recently we can perceive comparable developments in other branches of society: agronomists can also find a quick learning path in the medical sector, in management theory and in psychology:
- In medicine we find comparable – not to say identical – technology, very well documented by Garber in ‘Vibrational Medicine’ (Gerber, 2000) and by Nico Westerman in his book ‘Bio-Energie’ (Westerman, 2006). In developing electromagnetic technology, I guess medicine is at least 10 years ahead of agriculture.
- A new management theory (built by a group of management advisors around Otto Scharmer and Peter Senge) offers the so-called U-turn approach. It sheds light on the normally unspotted ‘inner quality’ of leaders (Scharmer, 2009.). It uses concepts like sensing and presencing to indicate the deeper inner connection with the future as it is emerging. It has designed group processes with meditation and vision quests on www.presencing.comand it openly recognizes what it has learned from older wisdom cultures.
- Over the last decade, scientific research in psychology on the effects of a mindful personal attitude in life is increasing fast, according to the ‘Vereniging Mindfulness based Trainers in Nederland en Vlaanderen’ www.vmbn.nl This technique in human health comes from the same meditative roots as the intuitive approach in farming and gardening.
Towards a broader worldview and ways of knowing
Different worldviews are relate to differenthuman attitudes towards natureand consequently different ways of knowing nature and of farming: ‘man and nature as intimately connected and communicating’ versus‘man as distant observer analyzing the object of nature’. Directly related are the views in which nature is animated – communicative – and the opposite in which nature is just matter that is not able to communicate anyhow.
Conventional wisdom of the West regards communication as occurring through the five senses and instrumental amplifiers thereof. And therefore they are the only reliable ways to know nature. This is the basic axiom of philosopher Kant, broadly accepted in Western science. With this axiom in mind, all other forms of direct or indirect communication with nature are ignored, denied or ridiculed. This basic axiom may explain well why ‘senses’ ways of ‘explicit’ knowing cannot understand or respect ‘intuition’ ways of ‘tacit’ knowing.
Compared to conventional farmers, intuitive or energetic farmers seem to have a more holistic worldview, a belief in nature as being informed and communicative. They trust their intuition in acquiring practical knowledge from soils, plants and animals themselves, from ‘nature-spirits’ or from ‘above’ (Wolleswinkel et al., 2004). They rely much less on formally validated scientific knowledge and sometimes are no longer on speaking terms with conventional extension staff. These farmers even suggest subtle energetic values to provide new health quality indicator for soils, crops and food.
The electromagnetic techniques, as presented above, can be understood and explained – to a reasonably convincing degree – by fundamental physics (e.g. electro-magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, zero-point energy, super-string theories, Global Scaling, etc). Understanding the intuitive techniques however, requires an additional hypothesis about the foundations of nature: a plant or a place or an animal may be animated indeed. And living entities may influence each other even at a distance. Interestingly a wide variety of such hypotheses is emerging e.g. hologram structure, functioning of mind, mind-matter relations, ether-theories appear to emerge again, theory of cellular oscillations, theories on subtle energies of William A. Tiller. The American-Australian agronomist Hugh Lovel was the first one to introduce the term ‘QuantumFarming’ to combine both technologies under one umbrella name (H. Lovel, pers.commun., 2004; Lovel, 2015)
Indeed an expanded worldview is required to enable understanding and valuing such new technology. At the moment our worldview and our understanding of processes of life change, so do our farming techniques. A chemical worldview on the physiology of life developed around 1850 has led modern farming towards developing chemical techniques to control the metabolism processes in soil, plant and animal. In this worldview we perceive matter as particles and we apply matter as fertilizer and pesticides. Forty years ago, as a response to the environmental crisis, a more biological view (re)emerged : organic farm management. It started looking at the ecosystem as a whole but it did not challenge the foundations of our worldview. In this approach matter is still viewed as particles (as presented in Figure 5a). Key words are manure, fertilizer, pesticide, Nitrogen, Calcium etc. The right side in this figure presents the basic techniques of farmers with this world view.
Figure 5a. Worldview 1: Matter as Particle, related to well known farming techniques
Over the last decade also an ‘electromagnetic’ perspective on farming evolved and – unavoidably – introduced a whole series of new techniques on the market (as presented above). In this worldview –based on the findings of Louis de Broglie – matter is perceived in its expression as waves (Figure 5b). Such waves can indeed be detected in the space around the visible objects. Key words are frequencies and resonance and energy. Techniques are based on light and sound, and on magnetic and electromagnetic fields.
Figure 5b. Worldview 2: Matter as Wave, related to electro-magnetic farming techniques
A third worldview is required to understand the influence of mind or heart on matter and on living nature. It adds the fact that information is available beyond matter (as presented in Figure 5c) and everywhere. Here we are in the so-called ‘quantum information field’, that –in relation with DNA- shapes matter, it puts matter in its form (it literally in-form-s), every creature in its own shape. This information field also informs physiological processes. Although not all quantum physicists would agree on this world view, an important part of them does, as Dürr explains (Dürr, 2006).
Figure 5c. Worldview 3: Information beyond Matter, related to techniques of intuitive farming.
To be able to achieve a fundamentally sustainable development,humanity may have to adapt its attitudes-towards-nature and embrace the possibilities of communication with nature. This means we may have to expand our concept of communication as well.
I perceive the current development trends in agriculture not sustainable enough. I assume that the worldview underlying the electromagnetic and intuitive perspectives, as described in this essay, may contribute to fundamental solutions. I believe the subject deserves intensive and urgent attention in the near future, not only in farming but also in human health.
Towards a new vision on nature and health
The relevant lesson from Narby’s hypothesis, as presented in box 1, would suggest that both ways of knowing, of the cell biologist and of the shaman, in spite of completely contradictory approaches and paradigms, do describe the same reality of nature. Indeed in different languages but astonishingly comparable in their images. However, the basic hurdle in communication between both ways of knowing seems to be the mutually excluding paradigms of human-nature relationship: shamans assume nature to be animate and able to communicate; positivist scientists assume nature to be inanimate and therefore unable to communicate. This seems to result in the fact that Narby’s hypothesis, and the shaman knowledge he refers to, cannot be accepted as scientifically relevant, which in turn results in non-communication. My assumption is that the only way to get the-possibility-of-communication-with-nature accepted is by experiencing it personally. Therefore the researchers in the field of nature and human health are in a key-position to further explore this enlarged view on nature. It brings one in the very position of personally experiencing the effects of being in nature on one’s own mind and body.
Now we are back to the subtitle of this International People-Plant Symposium 2012 and to the leading question the paper started with. This essay is based both on an inventory of emerging trends in practical farming experience in all continents, and on a more theoretical search on the worldwide web. The paper shows how farmers are able to listen to and to influence nature directly and how electromagnetic fields do influence physiological processes in plants and animals. Both practice and theories suggest permanent and mutual interaction between men and nature via unseen ‘fields’. To allow myself to accept these strange facts of life I had to amplify my worldview on matter as particles in two steps: 1) all life has an electric and a magnetic field in and around it that is interwoven and interacting with other electromagnetic fields that are vibrating around other life and 2) there are universal fields of information beyond matter, in which also the human mind can tune in, like animals do intuitively.
These permanently changing variations in electric or electromagnetic potential are comparable to electromagnetic waves that carry information for radio and TV-broadcasting. If the antenna is well oriented and focused, we receive and decode it into understandable information and we act upon it. The emerging field of science of bio-photons is even able to quantify degrees of human health and of vitality of food products – an expression of its health – with more or less coherent behavior of bio photons (Wijk, 2014).
Then I come at the last step in my logic during this conference. As physiological processes in plants, animals and humans – physical and chemical and electric – are very much comparable to each other, the conclusion is unavoidable that also human health is subject to variations in electromagnetic frequencies emitted by life in nature around us. This is my message from the electromagnetic farming fields and intuitive gardens to the health researchers in horticulture and gardening: the scientific community searching explanations for the effects of nature on human health can enrich its view with electromagnetic aspects and with mindful tuning in to nature. It may help if we as researchers – and hopefully Descartes as well – open again our inward looking eye, like the Ayurvedic philosophers invite us to do. This wider view is not an either-or, it is adding on. It does not require closing the other eye but it demands to keep open both eyes: “The mind can move both outwards with the senses or move inwards and experience an inner, non-sensory world.”
The emerging vision on farming as expressed in quantum agriculture, helps us to understand the direct electromagnetic influence of nature on human health and to understand the potential of mindfulness and intuition. It may offer a sound complement to the other ways of analysis of the impact of nature on human health as presented in this conference. I tried to express this reflection in Figure 5d.
Figure 5d. Human Body and Mind Resonate with Nature. Figure 5d transforms figure 5c into the domain of human health in relation to nature
This model would offer the International People-Plant Symposium 2012 an expansion of the scheme presented by Professor Agnes van den Berg in the first Keynote in this conference. The scheme in which the positive effects of nature on human health are explained by four indirect factors: air quality, invitation to movement, social contacts and reduction of stress. The influence is substantiated by statistical correlations between nature, the four factors and human health. The new vision on nature as presented in this paper ‘Toward a new vision on nature’, the very subtitle of this Symposium, may well offer a fifth – and more fundamental – explanation as presented in Figure 6. I hope it helps enlarge this very relevant field of research.
Figure 6. The positive effects of nature on human health are explained by five factors. The electromagnetic influences complement the four other factors explaining the effects of nature on human health.
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