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Archive for October, 2005

Humpty Dumbty

Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

New Orleans

Came across this astounding quote from Dubya as he addressed the US nation from Jackson Square in New Orleans on September 15. He said “We have witnessed the kind of devastation no citizen of this great and generous nation should ever have to know.”

Er … hello … Earth calling George … is the man aware that he lives on a planet, along with the rest of us, on which astronomically powerful forces of nature are a simple fact of life? And that the hurricane season is an annual event? And that there’s nothing he can do about it – except perhaps take climate change seriously?

Homme petit d’homme petit

Saturday, October 1st, 2005

Humpty Dumpty

“Before I flew I was already aware of how small and vulnerable our planet is; but only when I saw it from space, in all its ineffable beauty and fragility, did I realize that human kind’s most urgent task is to cherish and preserve it for future generations.”
Sigmund Jähn, astronaut

Have finally started reading physicist David Bohm’s book Wholeness and the Implicate Order (which has only been on my ‘must read’ list for a good 20 years). The first paragraphs are just so good …

The title of this chapter is ‘Fragmentation and wholeness’. It is especially important to consider this question today, for fragmentation is now very widespread, not only throughout society, but also in each individual; and this is leading to a kind of general confusion of the mind, which creates an endless series of problems and interferes with our clarity of perception so seriously as to prevent us from being able to solve most of them.

Thus art, science, technology, and human work in general, are divided up into specialities, each considered to be separate in essence from the others. Becoming dissatisfied with this state of affairs, men have set up further interdisciplinary subjects, which were intended to unite these specialities, but these new subjects have ultimately served mainly to add further separate fragments. Then, society as a whole has developed in such a way that it is broken up into separate nations and different religious, political, economic, racial groups, etc. Man’s natural environment has correspondingly been seen as an aggregate of separately existent parts, to be exploited by different groups of people. Similarly, each individual human being has been fragmented into a large number of separate and conflicting compartments, according to his different desires, aims, ambitions, loyalties, psychological characteristics, etc., to such an extent that it is generally accepted that some degree of neurosis is inevitable, while many individuals going beyond the ‘normal’ limits of fragmentation are classified as paranoid, schizoid, psychotic, etc.

The notion that all these fragments are separately existent is evidently an illusion, and this illusion cannot do other than lead to endless conflict and confusion. Indeed, the attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely urgent crises confronting us today. Thus, as is now well known, this way of life has brought about pollution, world-wide economic and political disorder, and the creation of an overall environment that is neither physically nor mentally healthy for most of the people who have to live in it. Individually there has developed a widespread feeling of helplessness and despair, in the face of what seems to be an overwhelming mass of disparate social forces, going beyond the control and even the comprehension of the human beings who are caught up in it.


It is instructive to consider that the word ‘health’ in English is based on an Anglo-Saxon word ‘hale’ meaning ‘whole’: that is, to be healthy is to be whole, which is, I think, roughly the equivalent of the Hebrew ‘shalem’. Likewise the English ‘holy’ is based on the same root as ‘whole’. All of this indicates that man has sensed always that wholeness or integrity is an absolute necessity to make life worth living. Yet, over the ages, he has generally lived in fragmentation.

Interesting: that word ‘integrity’. Because aside from its meaning of “the state of being whole or unified”, it also means “the quality of being honest and morally upright” (Oxford English Dictionary). The fact that the one word has both meanings implies a fundamental connection between the state of wholeness and honesty/morality. It would almost seem to be saying that one is impossible without the other. Kind of obvious when you look at it that way. I love how the solution to so many of our problems is just hiding in plain sight in our language, there for anyone who cares to look.

No accident then that the cultures with the greatest appreciation of wholeness and the ultimate oneness of existence have evidenced the highest moral principles and most honesty, and those with the greatest degree of fragmentation, the least. (‘Divide and conquer’. And so often conquering races employed alcohol as a weapon of subjugation, with its principal polarity between the illusion of the brotherhood of man on the one hand and complete fragmentation/schizophrenia on the other. For more on that subject, see the essay on Addiction.)

It’s also supremely ironic that the Western concept of ‘healthcare’ is one of the most fragmented perceptual models we hold as ‘true’. And complementary healthcare, for all its holistic approach to the patient, is no less fragmented in terms of inter- and intra-disciplinary divides (unfortunately Homeopathy is no exception there), nor in the perceived separation between patient, remedial agent and practitioner despite abundant evidence challenging that perspective. Fragmentary atomistic thinking is just so endemic in our culture, our language and our thinking. Small wonder that the cracks are showing and that our healthcare system lacks integrity in all senses of the word (including ‘soundness of construction’). All the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t make Humpty healthy again if there’s no clear conception of what ‘healthy’ actually means inFORMing our efforts to begin with.

David Bohm

David Bohm

More reading on David Bohm:
Obituary and tribute from Sunrise magazine
‘River of Truth’ by Will Keepin
Interview in Omni, January 1987

“Let us admit what all idealists admit – the hallucinatory nature of the world. Let us do what no idealist has done – let us search for unrealities that confirm that nature. I believe we shall find them in the antinomies of Kant and in the dialectic of Zeno … ‘The greatest wizard (Novalis writes memorably) would be the one who bewitched himself to the point of accepting his own phantasmagorias as autonomous apparitions. Wouldn’t that be our case.’ I surmise it is so. We (that indivisible divinity that operates in us) have dreamed the world. We have dreamed it as enduring, mysterious, visible, omnipresent in space and stable in time; but we have consented to tenuous and eternal intervals of illogicalness in its architecture that we might know it is false.”
Jorge Luis Borges

Thanks to the current insanity revolving around homeopathy in this country, in both media and blogosphere, it's become necessary to insult your intelligence by explicitly drawing your attention to the obvious fact that any views or advice in this weblog/website are, unless stated otherwise, the opinions of the author alone and should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you choose to take anything from here that might be construed as advice, you do so entirely under your own recognisance and responsibility.

smeddum.net - Blog: Confessions of a Serial Prover. Weblog on homeopathy, health and related subjects by homeopathic practitioner Wendy Howard