“ You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. ”
A priest, quoted by Anne Lamott in ‘Bird by Bird’

“ Although each of us obviously inhabits a separate physical body, the laboratory data from a hundred years of parapsychology research strongly indicate that there is no separation in consciousness. ”
>Russell Targ

General Essays

Click here for translations

This section of the site contains essays on subjects that go well beyond homeopathy in their scope, though most of them were informed by homeopathic provings. A lot of them (well there will be a lot of them once I get more of them written) revolve around issues of health and healthcare, since that's my primary focus, but will attempt to place it in the context of a philosophy and model of existence that breaks out of the materialism (in all senses) of the biomedical model, encompassing recent developments in many different areas of enquiry as well as older, traditional world views, cosmologies and philosophies.

And some won't. Time for a Change of Heart? is straightforward pretty uncontroversial mainstream science. It doesn't need to go beyond that to make its point – which is that the underlying proximal cause of cardiovascular disease is staring us in the face. There are, of course, dimensions to the issue beyond mainstream science which I hope to cover in another essay at some point. (This article is also published at the Complementary Health Information Service, CHIS-UK.)

Escher's Hands Article of the Moment

The Rights of the Land
by Robin Kimmerer

Going beyond my own work, fresh perspectives which offer a glimpse into the changes taking place in our understanding of the world – or just plain fascinating stories – are featured in the Article of the Moment which will be updated every time I find something interesting to feature. The current article was linked on December 09 2008. (See the Archive left for all previous articles.)

In Search of the Whole Elephant

There are two principal assumptions in the work that follows (and all my work, come to that).

The first is that any description of reality that has ever been produced is just that. A description, a map, or a model of it. It is not reality itself (even though we tend to live our lives for most of the time as if that's the case). Though it might appear to be splitting hairs, this is an important distinction. All too often the map gets mistaken for the territory, or worse, is given precedence over it.

The second is that any half-way decent attempt to construct a robust model of the nature of existence needs to accommodate the full range of human experience and knowledge in every field through all times, rather than flitting from one limited subset of it to another and relying on dismissing the remainder as somehow irrelevant or inadmissible in order to continue to support its conclusions. It's the old story of the popup launcher icon blind men and the elephant. Every view contains truth within its limited context, but each, in believing it encompasses the entirety, is mistaken.

So nobody's completely right and nobody's completely wrong. Everyone has a bit of truth and everyone has some things back to front and inside out (especially inside out) about it as well. This is a premise most people can accept. It's a level playing field on which that oppositional pantomime ("oh yes it is!" "oh no it isn't!") can be dispensed with right away ... which, in any case, frequently has far more to do with emotional attachment to a particular perspective (see Unscientific Attachment below) than any "real" truth in the matter ... and rather than becoming bogged down in a dualistic impasse over which polarity of a particular issue carries more weight, it offers the prospect of making some genuine progress.

A completely impartial view of the evidence would seem to suggest that reality itself doesn't appear to favour any one view over any other. It cheerfully supports diametrically opposing viewpoints on all sorts of things to do with it, and obligingly offers up proof after proof to their proponents that enables them all to lay claim to validity and consequently take the pantomime into yet another sell-out season. (In other words, our thought systems generate their own proof. See Holed in One for more on this concept).


Phillippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (Paracelsus) 1493-1541

Vitalism Revitalised

(March 2005)

Vitalism – the idea that understanding the workings of nature needs to take into account the role of a "life force" – has been fairly ridiculed in modern times, and despite developments of a more metaphysical nature such as Rupert Sheldrake's work on "morphic fields" and the Global Consciouness Project, there still appears to be a widespread reluctance to link any such "fields" to the intelligence and meaning we experience as a prominent part of daily existence. The prevailing consensus seems to prefer a mechanistic model of existence which proposes that we operate in ways which can be entirely explained in terms of biochemical reactions and physical processes. Vitalistic perspectives tend to be accorded about as much respect as animistic beliefs, being widely regarded either as laughably quaint and "primitive", or as "new agey" (whatever that may mean).

With the application of the mechanistic model now beginning to beg more questions than it can answer, perhaps it's time to revisit vitalism. After all, how would you feel about an electrician who claimed that electricity had no real relevance in explaining the workings of an electrical circuit?

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“ I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would be such as oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives. ”
Leo Tolstoy

Unscientific Attachment

(April 2005)

The scientific method is supposed to be all about open minded, impartial, rational, inductive reasoning. This is the very cornerstone of our trust in it. Its symbol, the white lab coat, has come to stand for the detached viewpoint, untainted by all the irrational prejudices and erroneous reasonings of daily life. It has no colours to nail to the mast; it's pure, sterile, incorruptible, emotionless. It has gravitas, befitting the serious questions being addressed by its wearer, who should preferably also be wearing an unsmiling, intensely heroic expression and spectacles. (A passing resemblance to Clark Kent may help.) It's deferred to as the mantle of the Higher Authority, much as a priest's robes used to be (and occasionally still are). And while there's not quite the aroma of incense about it – perhaps instead a Bacon sandwich half consumed and forgotten in the midst of something far more important? – the aura of being in touch with a higher truth, a higher power, is still pervasive. It's the western cultural equivalent of the saffron robes of the East. It's the mantle of enlightenment.

Or is it more in the nature of a cinema screen? A means of reflecting back to us the images and expectations that society, since time aboriginal, has projected onto its Seekers after Higher Truth. We no longer have knights in shining armour galloping about pursuing grails, but the garb of our latterday knights is no less reflective, no less disguising of the all too human underneath as they go about their grail-seeking activities.

So just how much of "scientific" lore is higher truth? And just how much the all-too-human underneath? Is there a way to tell the difference? Isn't it all illusion anyway?

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Black hole

Holed in One

(May 2005, expanded and developed February 2006)

There's an idea that's persisted through various systems of thought throughout the world for thousands of years. It's that our investigations and perceptions of the world and the universe around us are as much a reflection of our own inner natures as they are of anything "out there". Or more simply (and less dualistically) that the entirety of existence is holographic. Such persistence alone would seem to signal that the idea deserves serious consideration, since unsupportable notions don't have a habit of sticking around for quite so long.

Taking this as a basic premise, then it follows that the further removed our investigations in the outer world are from the familiarity of our immediate day-to-day environment, then the greater the depth and the wider the view we should be able to obtain relating to our internal reality. Whichever direction we head off in, whether down to the sub-atomic level or out into the far reaches of outer space, we're in the realm of physics. Physics-as-metaphysics has been a common enough theme in recent decades and quite a bit of attention has been given to the parallels and similarities between discoveries in 20th/21st century physics and metaphysical and religious philosophy. Following in those footsteps, this essay suggests that investigations into the nature of the "black holes" in outer space may actually provide us with an extraordinarily cogent model for the nature and experience of our existence.

Not only is the Black Hole capable of modelling our various assumptions about the nature of reality "out there", but also our individual subjective experiences of existence. It provides a means of reconciling conflicting experiences, theories and proofs about the nature of reality, and a framework by which they can all be understood and accepted. Too good to be true?

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Heart disease

Time for a Change of Heart?

(June 2005)

The World Health Organisation estimates that 17 million people every year die of cardiovascular disease, the collective term for all diseases of the circulatory system including heart attacks and strokes. This total is more than 30% of all deaths worldwide, and it's rising. It's the world's number one killer. Yet cardiovascular disease is a comparative newcomer on the world stage. Widely assumed to be mainly a disease of the developed world, in recent years it has leapt with alarming alacrity to the top of the mortality charts across the developing world as well.

It's been called a disease of civilisation, but does the pace and extent of industrialisation in developing countries match the pace and extent of the explosion in CVD mortality statistics there? There seems to be a mismatch somewhere: in scale, in proportion, in pace. Suggestions that industrialisation creates a nation of couch potatoes almost overnight don’t hit the right note, and even in combination with other factors such as decreasing childhood mortality, still are somehow unconvincing. The established risk factors together account for around 80% of cases, but that still leaves a fifth unexplained. There’s a niggling feeling of dissatisfaction, as if a crucial piece of the jigsaw puzzle, the very heart of the matter, is still missing.

Could it be that we can’t see the wood for the trees here? Could there possibly be a common factor at work? Something blatantly obvious staring us in the face? Something immense hiding in plain sight that might reveal itself if we just step back from it far enough and ask the right questions?

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Spiral © James Seo, www.lossles.net

The Redness of Names

(March 2007)

To reflect on existence requires thought. And to share that reflection, a language in which to communicate it.

Abstract thought evolves from the moment it consciously differentiates itself from what is being thought about. Thinking could be said to be taking place prior to that moment, but it's as an undifferentiated part of an indivisible whole; like a current within the ocean, say, or the jet stream in the upper atmosphere, or, symbolically, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The moment that thought recognises itself as distinct from that which is being thought about, the fabric of existence cracks open and splits in two. It fragments into the experience of existence itself and that which is reflecting it, or reflecting upon it. This is the primary duality, the fall from grace, and Adam and Eve scurry away, red-faced and self-conscious, having confronted themselves in the Mirror.

Reflection is articulated in language, and as our languages and societies have evolved, two principal and intimately related dichotomies have evolved in the reflecting and articulating: – process-orientation vs object-orientation, and auditory-based multidimensional analogic vs visually-based unidimensional logic. The dominant mode in each instance is the latter, and this essay sets out to show how this dominance has brought us to an unhealthy state of imbalance.

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Spacetime curvature

Does it Matter?

(May 2007)

It seems highly significant that up until this point in time, physics has failed to adequately define and explain both mass and gravity. There are many descriptions, but they remain descriptions rather than explanations. There is something unsatisfactorily slippery and vague about the accepted definitions, even though our understanding and experience of the phenomena in daily life seems so pikestaff plain that the non-existence of precise definitions comes as something of a surprise. The definition of one is in many ways dependent on the other. Mass is particularly slippery; any attempts to grasp it conceptually just seem to end up going round in circles. And while celebrated descriptions of gravity such as Einstein's general relativity, equating gravity with the spacetime curvature surrounding massive objects (diagram left), have been experimentally verified, a real sense of what gravity is all about – what causes it – has largely eluded those working in the field.

If the 'thingness' of mass is extraordinarily difficult to define independent of gravity, can gravity be defined without mass? Einstein proved the equivalence, in special relativity, of mass and energy. Why shouldn't gravity arise from revolving energy? And what if revolving energy is the product of the one significant factor missing (or marginalised as a largely insignificant, contingent and dependent by-product of mass) from our present scientific world view – consciousness?

What if we've had the entire thing back to front and inside out? What if it's mass that's the contingent and dependent by-product of consciousness?

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smeddum.net – General Essays on Health and Healthcare by homeopathic practitioner Wendy Howard