Archives for posts with tag: The Secret Life of Plants

Chapter 17

This cautious approach dictated by scientific mores was made more explicit by Baranger in an interview for Science et Vie in 1959. “My results look impossible,” said Baranger, “but there they are. I have taken every precaution. I have repeated the experiments many times. I have made thousands of analyses for years. I have had the results verified by third parties who did not know what I was about. I have used several methods. I changed my experimenters. But there’s no way out; we have to submit to the evidence: plants know the old secret of the alchemists. Every day under our very gaze they are transmuting elements.

“We cannot deny the existence of something just because we don’t know about it,” said Kervran. “The kind of energies to which the great Austrian natural scientist and clairvoyant Rudolf Steiner refers as cosmic etheric forces must exist if only from the fact that certain plants will only germinate in springtime no matter what amounts of heat and water are administered to them during other parts of the year. There are varieties of wheat said to germinate only as the days lengthen, but, when days are artificially lengthened, the wheat does not always germinate.

We do not know what matter really is, says Kervran. We do not know what a proton or an electron is made of, and the words serve only to cloak our ignorance. He suggests that inside atomic nuclei may lie forces and energies of a totally unexpected nature and that a physical theory to explain the low energy transmutations with which he deals must be sought, not in the hypotheses of classical nuclear physics based on powerful interactions, but in the field of hyperweak interactions in which there is no assurance of the operation of the established laws of conservation of energy or even the existence of a mass/energy equivalent.

Physicists, says Kervran, are mistaken in claiming that physical laws are the same for the living as for inanimate matter. Many physicists declare, for instance, that a negative entropy, a force which in biology would build up matter, is an impossibility, since the second principle of thermodynamics of Carnot-Clausius, regarding the breakdown of energy, states that there is only positive entropy, i.e., that the natural state of matter is chaos and that all things run down and become random, losing heat and not acquiring it.

In contradiction to the physicists, Wilhelm Reich held that the accumulators he built to collect a energy, which he named “orgone,” permanently raised the temperature inside their tops, thus making nonsense of the second law of thermodynamics. Despite the fact that he demonstrated the phenomenon to Albert Einstein in his house in Princeton, and that Einstein confirmed the phenomenon, though he could not account for it, Reich was considered mad.

Chapter 15

“In “balance” means that all the nutrients used by the tissues must be available to the cell simultaneously. Furthermore the vitamins essential to proper nutrition and good health must be natural. There is a great difference between natural and synthetic vitamins, not a chemical but a biological difference. There is something missing in the artificial that is of biological or life-enhancing value. Not yet widely accepted, this fact has been unequivocally established by the work of Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, a biochemist and follower of the great natural scientist and clairvoyant Rudolf Steiner. Dr. Nichols thinks the Pfeiffer techniques can reveal exactly why natural foods or those containing natural vitamins and minerals and enzymes–another chemical compound, of vegetable or animal origin, which causes chemical transformation–are super to those grown and preserved with chemicals.

Before his death, Pfeiffer pointed out in his own book Chromatography Applied to Quality Testing that Goethe had stated a truth more than 150 years ago which is of the utmost importance with regard to the recognition of natural biological quality: The whole is more than the sum of its parts. “This means,” wrote Pfeiffer, “that a natural organism or entity contains factors which cannot be recognised or demonstrated if one takes the original organism apart and determines its component parts by way of analysis. One can, for instance, take a seed, analyse it for protien, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, moisture and vitamins, but all this will not tell its genetic background or its biological value.”

In so-called “enriched” white bread, with the vitamins and minerals removed, nothing is left but raw starch, which has so little nutritive value that most bacteria won’t eat it. Into this insipid starch synthetic chemicals are arbitrarily injected, which form only part of the missing vitamin B complex, and are not properly ingestible by human beings because they are not “in balance.”

The next and even more vicious cause of heart disease, says Nichols, is hydrogenated fats. These include most of the fats and oils found in shortening, in store-bought peanut butter, and in partically all commercial bakery products, crackers, cookies, and breads. Much ice cream is made from mellorine, a cheap hydrogenated oil. Hydrogenation consists in using a heated nickel catalyst to force hydrogen into the gaps between the carbon atoms of linoleic acid. This prevents the resulting fatty oil from going rancid; but it also destroys essential fatty acids. T hese, says Nichols, not being absorbable by the body cells, have to go somewhere in the body, and end up lining the blood vessels, causing heart disease.

The peanut butter which Carver went to such pains to produce is now mostly being made from rancid peanuts, says Nichols, since the food chemists have learned to clean it up, deodorize it and decolor it so that it can be sold to unsuspecting mothers. By one means or another and with hundreds of toxic additives to choose from, chemists can fix food so that it is very difficult for the citizen to tell that the food is going or has already gone bad.

The organ meat of animals, says Nichols, is only edible if the animal has been fed organically. The livers of prime animals are confiscated much of the time because they contain abscesses and toxic substances. Commercially grown chickens have arsenic and stilbestrol in their bodies and much of it winds up in the liver. The liver is the detoxifying organ of the body, and that’s where these poisons go. Store-bought eggs are mostly infertile, do not taste as good as fertile eggs, and are nowhere near as good for you,  says Nichols, because there is a subtle biological difference. Hens that lay commercial eggs are cooped up where they cannot move, have seldom if ever seen a rooster, let alone been caught by one. “How,” asks Nichols, “can an unhappy hen lay a good egg?”

Listing the facts, Nichols reported that sixteen hundred autopsies showed that in every one of the patients past the age of three years there was already disease in the aorta, the main artery of the body that carries blood from the left ventricle of the heart to all the organ and parts except the lungs. In every patient past the age of twenty, disease was already in the coronary artery.

“This should be evidence enough that practically everybody in the United States today has cardiovascular disease. We have an epidemic. And we have an epidemic of cancer. Cancer is now the leading cause of death, after accdients, in children under fifteen years of age. Babies are born with cancer! The American Cancer Society says cancer will eventually strike one in every four Americans now living. Can a nation call itself healthy when one of four must expect to get cancer, when three of four who get cancer will die of it?”

It’s a strange fact, but plants grown on well-balanced, fertile soils do not have the same attraction for insects as those grown on poor soils, artificially stimulated by chemical fertilizers. Fertile soils have a natural immunity to insects and disease, just as a properly nourished body has an immunity to disease. Bugs and worms tend to gravitate toward a plant, or a field of plants, that has already been weakened by disease or improper development.

The end result of chemical farming, says Nichols, is always disease: first to the land, then to the plant, then to the animal, then to man. “Everywhere in the world where chemical farming is practiced the people are sick. The only ones to benefit are the companies that produce the chemicals.”

A correlation between the rise in the birthrate of mentally retarded children and the increase in the use of fertilizers and poisonous chemicals is stunning. Twenty thousand mentally retarded children were born in 1952. There were 60,000 by 1958; six years later the figure had risen to 126,000, and by 1968 it was well over half a million. Nowadays one child in eight is born mentally retarded in the United States, according to Dr. Roger J. Williams, discoverer of pantothenic acid and director of the Clayton Foundation Biochemical Institute in Texas, the first biochemist to be elected president of the American Chemical Society.

Part IV: Children of the Soil

Chapter 14

During a lecture to the British College of Surgeons, McCarrison described how, in the course of more than two years, his rats fed on the diets of the more vigorous and well-developed Indian races never fell ill. But the British Medical Journal, in a leading article on McCarrison’s address, concentrated only on the diseases which diet would help to prevent and completely overlooked the astonishing fact that the radiant health of a group of people could be transferred dietarily to a group of rats, simply by diet. Doctors, used to textbook explanations that pneumonia was due to exhaustion, chills, a blow on the chest, the pneumococcus microbe itself, weakness in old age, or other illnesses, were unimpressed with McCarrison’s finding that, in every case, his Coonoor laboratory rats had fallen ill with pneumonia because of faulty food. The same was true for diseases of the middle ear, peptic ulcers, and other afflictions.

By following the practices of the Indians, who used no pesticides or artificial fertilizers but returned to the land carefully accumulated animal and vegetal wastes, Howard was so successful that by 1919 he had learned “how to grow healthy crops, practically free from disease, without the slightest help from mycologists, entomologists, bacteriologists, agricultural chemists, statisticians, clearing-houses of information, artificial manures, spraying machines, insecticides, fungicides, germicides, and all the other expensive paraphernalia of the modern experimental station.”

Howard was further astonished that his herd of work oxen, the ordinary power unit of Indian agriculture, when fed only the produce from his fertile land, never came down with foot-and-mouth disease, rinderpest, septicemia, and other cattle diseases, which frequently devastated herds of the modern experimental stations. “None of my animals were segregated,” he wrote; “none were inoculated; they frequently came into contact with diseased stock. As my small farmyard at Pusa was only separated by a low hedge from one of the large cattle-sheds on the Pusa estate, in which outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease often occurred, I have several times seen my oxen rubbing noses with foot-and-mouth cases. Nothing happened. The healthy, well-fed animals failed to react to this disease exactly as suitable varieties of crops, when properly grown, did to insect and fungous pests–no infection took place.

Rodale’s campaign began to challenge the usual view of people living in the cities and suburbs of the United States–and this is the vast majority–that soil is a static, inert substance. He challenged the use of the word dirt as a synonym in English for soil. The former is used to mean something mean, contemptible, or vile, whereas soil is alive and clean.”

Chapter 12

In 1964 an article in Time magazine spurred Ott to research the effect of TV radiation on plants and humans. The story suggested that symptoms of nervousness, continous fatigue, headaches, loss of sleep, and vomiting in thirty children under study by two U.S. Air Force physicians were somehow related to the fact that all of these children were watching TV from three to six hours on weekdays and from twelve to twenty hours on weekends. Though the doctors had concluded that the children were afflicted by prolonged idleness in front of the set, Ott wondered if some sort of radiation migh not be at issue, particularly that of X-rays, which lie beyond ultraviolet in the energy spectrum.

To test this idea, Ott covered half of the picture tube of a color TV set with a sixteenth of an inch of lead shielding, normally used to block out X-rays. The other half he covered with heavy black photographic paper capable of stopping visible and ultraviolet light, but allowing other electromagnetic fields to penetrate.

Ott placed six pots of bean sprouts in front of each half of the TV tube, a pair at three different levels from top to bottom. As a control, six more pots, each with its three bean sprouts, were placed outdoors, fifty feet from the greenhouse where the TV set was located.

At the end of three weeks, both the lead-shielded beans and those growing outdoors had risen to a height of six inches and appeared healthy and normal. The beans shielded from the TV only by the photographic paper had been distorted by toxic radiations int oa vine-type growth. In some cases the roots appeared to have grown incongruously upward out of the soil. If TV radiation could make monsters of bean plants what might it do to children?

Similar experiments showed that white rats exposed to the same radiation which caused the wild growth in the beans became increasingly hyperactive and aggressive, then progressively lethargic, to a point where it was necessary to push them to make them move in their cages.

Ott noticed further that after he set up his TV in the greenhouse, rats in an animal-breeding room fifteen feet away produced litters of only one or two babies, as against a norm of eight to twelve, even though two building partitions intervened between the TV set and the pregnant mothers. When the TV set was removed, it took six months for the breeding to return to normal.

Ott knew that since the radiation from a TV tube is contained in an extremely narrow band on the electromagnetic spectrum, biological systems sensitive to this narrow spike of energy could be as overstimulated by it as they would be by light focused through a magnifying glass. The only difference is that, whereas the magnifier concentrates the light in one direction, the specific energy emitted from the TV can travel in any direction where it meets no obstruction.

Part III: Tuned to the Music of the Spheres

Chapter 10

The two students, following Mrs. Retallack’s lead, ran an eight-week experiment on summer squashes, broadcasting music from two Denver radio stations into their chambers, one specializing in heavily accented rock, the other in classical music.

The cucurbits were hardly indifferent to the two musical forms: those exposed to Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, and other eigtheenth- and nineteenth-century European scores grew toward the transistor radio, one of them even twining itself lovingly around it. The other squashes grew away from the rock broadcasts and even tried to climb the slippery walls of their glass cage.

Impressed with her friends’ success, Mrs. Retallack ran a series of similar trials early in 1969 with corn, squash, petunias, zinnias, and marigolds; she noticed the same effect. The rock music caused some of the plants first to grow either abnormally tall and put out excessively small leaves, or remain stunted. Within a fortnight all the marigolds had died, but only six feet away identical marigolds, enjoying the classical strains, were flowering. More interestingly, Mrs. Retallack found that even during the first week the rock-stimulated plants were using much more water than the clasically entertained vegetation, but apparently enjoying it less, since examination of the roots on the eighteenth day revealed that soil growth was sparse in the first group, averaging only about an inch, whereas in the second it was thick, tangled, and about four times as long.

Now Mrs. Retallack wondered how the effects of what she called “intellectual mathematically sophisticated music of both East and West” would appeal to plants. As program director for the American Guild of Organists, she chose choral preludes from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Orgelbuchlein and the classical strains of the sitar, a less-complicated Hindustani version of the south Indian veena, played by Ravi Shankar, the Bengali Brahmini.

The plants gave positive evidence of liking Bach, since they leaned an unprecedented thirty-five degrees toward the preludes. But even this affirmation was far exceeded by their reaction to Shankar: in their straining to reach the source of the classical Indian music they bent more than halfway to the horizontal, at angles in excess of sixty degrees, the nearest one almost embracing the speaker.

Chapter 9

[George Washington] Carver‘s students were greatly impressed that each morning he would rise at four o’clock to walk in the woods before the start of the working day and bring back countless plants with which to illustrate his lectures. Explaining this habit to friends, Carver said, “Nature is the greatest teacher and I learn from her best when others are asleep. In the still dark hours before sunrise God tells me of the plans I am to fulfill.”

In half a lifetime of research Carver, though he created fortunes for thousands, rarely took out a patent on any of his ideas. When practical-minded industrialists and politicians reminded him of the money he might have made had he only afforded himself of the money he might have made had he only afforded himself this protection, he replied simply: “God did not charge me or you for making peanuts. Why should I profit from their products?” Like Bose, Carver believed that the fruit of his mind, however valuable, should be granted free of charge to mankind.

Thomas A. Edison told his associates that “Carver is worth a fortune” and backed up his statement by offering to employ the black chemist at an astronomically high salary. Carver turned down the offer. Henry Ford, who thought Carver “the greatest scientist living,” tried to get him to come to his River Rouge establishment, with an equal lack of success.

To one puzzled interlocutor he said: “The secrets are in the plants. To elicit them you have to love them enough.”

“But why do so few people have your power?” the man persisted. “Who besides you can do these things?”

“Everyone can,” said Carver, “if only they believe it.” Tapping a large Bible on a table, he added, “The secrets are all here. In God’s promises. These promises are real, as real as, and more infinitely solid and substantial than, this table which the materialist so thoroughly believes in.”

Not long before Carver’s death a visitor to his laboratory saw him reach out his long sensitive fingers to a little flower on his workbench. “When I touch that flower,” he said rapturously, “I am touching infinity. It existed long before there were human beings on this earth and will continue to exist for millions of years to come. Through the flower, I talk to the Infinite, which is only a silent force. This is not a physical contact. It is not in the earthquake, wind or fire. It is in the invisible world. It is that still small voice that calls up the fairies.”

He suddenly stopped and after a moment of reflection smiled at his visitor. “Many people know this instinctively,” he said, “and none better than Tennyson when he wrote:

“Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower–but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.”

Chapter 8

To Manly P. Hall, founder and president of the Philosophical Research Society of Los Angeles and a student of comparative religion, mythology, and esoterica, [Luther] Burbank revealed that when he wanted his plants to develop in some particular and peculiar way not common to their kind he would get down on his knees and talk to them. Burbank also mentioned that plants have over twenty sensory perceptions but, because they are different than ours, we cannot recognize them. “He was not sure,” wrote Hall, “that the shrubs and flowers understood his words, but he was convinced that by some telepathy, they could comprehend his meaning.”

Hall later confirmed what Burbank told the famous yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, about his development of the spineless cactus, a years-long procedure during which Burbank at first had to pull thousands of cactus thorns from his hands with pliers, though in the end the cacti grew without thorns. “While I was conducting my experiments with cacti,” said Burbank, “I often talked to the plants to create a vibration of love. ‘You have nothing to fear,’ I would tell them. ‘You don’t need your defensive thorns. I will protect you.’ ” Burbank’s power of love, reported Hall, “greater than any other, was but a subtle kind of nourishment that made everything grow better and bear fruit more abundantly. Burbank explained to me that in all his experimentation he took plants into his confidence, asked them to help, and assured them that he held their small lives in deepest regard and affection.

Part II: Pioneers of Plant Mysteries

Chapter 6

In a short statement [Jagadish Chandra] Bose summed up his philosophy: “This vast abode of nature is built in many wings, each with its own portal. The physicist, the chemist and the biologist come in by different doors, each one his own department of knowledge, and each comes to think that this is his special domain unconnected with that of any other. Hence has arisen our present division of phenomena into the worlds of inorganic, vegetal and sentient. This philosophical attitude of mind may be denied. We must remember that all inquiries have as their goal the attainment of knowledge in its entirety.

During his speech at the ceremony, Bose, who had declined to patent the device which could have made him, instead of Marconi, the inventor of wireless telegraphy, and had consistently resisted the blandishments of industrial representatives to turn his ideas into profits, stated that it was his particular desire that any discoveries made at his new institute would become public property and that no patents would ever be taken out on them. “Not in matter, but in thought, not in possessions, but in ideas, are to be found the seeds of immortality,” Bose told the assembled crowd. “Not through material acquisitions, but in generous diffusion of ideas can the true empire of humanity be established. Thus, the spirit of our national culture demands that we should forever be free from the deisre of utilizing knowledge for personal gain.

Chapter 5

Don’t be amazed! We too are carrying out many experiments of this kind and they all point to one thing: plants have memory. They are able to gather impressions and retain them over long periods. We had a man molest, even torture, a geranium for several days in a row. Another man took care of the same geranium. When we electroded our instruments to the plant, what do you think? No sooner did the torturer come near the plant than the recorder of the instrument began to go wild. The plant didn’t just get “nervous”; it was afraid, it was horrified. If it could have, it would have either thrown itself out the window or attacked its torturer. Hardly had this inquisitor left and the good man taken his place near the plant than the geranium was appeased, its impulses died down, the recorder traced out smooth–one might almost say tender–lines on the graph.

Chapter 4

An apparent train of interstellar communication signals of unknown origin and destination has been observed. Since interception was made by biological sensors, a biological-type signal transmission must be assumed. Test experiments were conducted in an electromagnetic deep-fringe area, the equipment itself being impervious to electromagnetic radiation. Follow-up tests revealed no equipment defects. Because interstellar listening experiments are not conducted on a routine basis, the suggestion is advanced that verification tests should be conducted elsewhere, possibly on a global scale. The phenomenon is too important to be ignorant.

[L. George] Lawrence’s most important conclusion, that biological-type sensors are needed in order to intercept biological signals, applies particularly to communications from outer space. As he puts it: “Standard electronics are next to worthless here, since ‘bio-signals’ apparently reside outside of the known electromagnetic spectrum.”

Pointing out that in our own galaxy alone there are some 200 billion stars, Lawrence says that if one assumed each of them to have at least five companion planets, a total of one trillion might consequently be available for study. Even if only one planet in a thousand has intelligent life this would amount to one billion in our galaxy alone. Multiplied by the ten billion galaxies believed to comprise the observable universe, then there may be 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets capable of sending some kind of signal to Earth.