In an external comment piece, retired medical doctor, Peter Mansfield, adds his own perspective to theories about the nature of life, health, vitality and some of science’s unsolved puzzles.
Most of us have seen ripples on a pond or waves crossing in the sea, reinforcing each other in some places and wiping themselves out in others. This demonstrates resonance, the strengthening effect of waves coinciding exactly.
We puzzle about the nature of life, but I have a simple proposition. Living things differ from inert matter in having an invisible architect’s drawing available. In their restless cycles of growth and maturation the DNA in their cells follow that drawing, which is how the cell knows what form and function to adopt in its particular place in the tissues of the organism.
This is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Genes get the credit for everything at the moment, though they really only provide the toolkit for being a cell – anything more than that is a leap of faith. It’s all in the epigenetics – the changes to cells that can be passed on to future generations, but which do not alter the DNA. One way to explain this is the concept of morphogenetic fields, propounded most notably by Rupert Sheldrake who has published several convincing books on morphic fields and morphic resonance, the concept that memory is inherent in nature.
One objection raised by sceptics is the absence of any physical or chemical basis for this. There is, however, a perfectly satisfactory repository where all the information about all the organisms that have ever lived or are alive now could reside. This could take the form of waves in a scalar field in the vacuum of space, essentially the space within atoms and between them, once viewed as completely empty, but perhaps better understood today as made up of electron or charge fields. The hypothesis is that these create a pattern from which a record of huge density can be recreated. That record would be similar to a hologram, meaning that the entire record is represented in any small piece of space: but the larger the space sampled, the better the resolution of detail.
Sheldrake envisages this as a huge library of ecological information which governs how cells behave, but it is also full of restless energy – not even still at the absolute zero of temperature. For that reason, it is called zero point energy. It must be abundant, or quantum mechanics would not work. The only reason we are not aware of it is that most of the time it is working randomly in all directions, so cancels itself out – like two well-balanced tug-o-war teams. But occasionally, some of the energy works together in the same direction, and registers in our familiar world.
A small proportion of this energy goes to make up matter and motion – the stuff of conventional physics. Most of it is up for grabs. I propose that this is where biologists will find the vitality that animates living things.
Which brings us back to resonance. The more faithfully an organism’s tissues are able to copy, or resonate with, its morphogenetic field (the architect’s drawing), the more vitality it has, the more it shines, the more it radiates good health. And repeated cycles of daily living, driven by vitality, lay down the intimate detail of the organism’s tissue structure, closely following its morphogenetic field.
Again, not so far-fetched. We are all aware subjectively of our own and others’ vitality, or the lack of it. We speak of the light in someone’s eyes. We admire the abounding vivacity of children. All the quality (over and above quantity) of life is summed up in vitality and structural detail.
Our food has the same properties, of course, all of it having lived and grown. If an organism from which food is derived has full access to rich, unpolluted soil, clean water and pure air, it can follow its destiny faithfully and resonate strongly with it, releasing huge vitality invested in detailed tissue structure. Whenever chemical fertilisers are substituted for humus, or the mycorrhiza is damaged, or biocidal chemicals are applied, resonance is weakened, vitality is drastically reduced and structural information is degraded, as illustrated by Harry Oldfield in his book, The Dark Side of the Brain.
Now we can understand appetite much better. We favour those foods that convey not just the nutrients we need, but the vitality and structure we crave. The resulting meal is digested chemically in the familiar way, but vitality and information are released as we chew, and radiate into our head. The brain stem and the pituitary and thyroid glands are first in the queue. An appropriate meal results in deep satisfaction and we can become replete between one mouthful and the next.
Could this also help to explain homoeopathy? Many farmers have experienced the benefit to their crops and livestock of homoeopathic preparations, despite their complete lack of any active chemical ingredients. But what if serial dilution and succussion, during the preparation of a remedy, can separate vitality and structural information from tissue matter and apply it directly? Remedies, remember, are best held in the mouth, rather than swallowed. Handling them would release their energy prematurely, so it is ill-advised.
Perfect tissue structure and abundant vitality assert your sovereignty over the space and resources you possess. They defend you from encroachment by other organisms in the vicinity and enable you to occupy your ecological niche with ease and grace. That is general immunity and one of the things that can help us to resist infections.
Photograph: Radhika Bhagwat
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