New Places, New Projects

AHorsesView blog is going to be taking an indefinite break.  I am going to be working with my friend Chiara Marrapodi, founder of The Society for Animal Consciousness.  This will be a online platform in which I can indulge my desires to help develop knowledge of the human/animal relationship as it is approached through Goethean science.  Consciousness in animals is now ‘officially’ recognized, yet with many questions remaining; therefore many misunderstandings exist as we oftentimes attempt to apply our own human centrism to the animal.  The consciousness of the animality can be ascertained in a true manner, and by using a participative approach to science given to us by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and as further elucidated by Rudolf Steiner as well as others past and present, not the least of which are Henri Bortoft, Owen Barfield, Mark Riegner, and Craig Holdrege, we are able to find a way to sort through this maize of confusion in a way that is palpable by anyone who is genuinely interested.

To this end, Sophia* Institute for Animals Studies will eventually come into being through the Society.  This is anticipated to be a one-two year project to get started and is envisioned be an interactive learning platform for those who are interested in expanding their knowledge and understanding of animals in a way that is not available in mainstream curricula.  My online equine health coach/nutrition courses are and will remain available through the American Council of Naturopathy.  The SIAS is not intended to be any type of ‘certifying’ entity but is envisioned to be a portal for exploring consciousness in non-human beings.  It is recognized that all aspects of life may affect consciousness in all sentient beings.  These aspects are comprised of: heredity, regimen (including nutrition), place, trauma, and resonance with human; therefore all of these subjects will be discussed on some level.

Chiara and I share many of the same philosophies and passions when it comes to the interaction we have with animals in our lives – I am very proud and excited to be working with her in this momentous endeavor!

From Henri Bortoft’s work and writings we learn that the universe is holographic, not atomistic – through every part of creation can we experience the whole if we so choose.  And that means animals are part of us, we can discover ourselves within the animal world.  It is time that we stop viewing them as “its” separate from us.  I invite you to come join us on a journey of learning to ‘presence the wholeness’ of nature.

Please join us at The Society for Animal Consciousness, both on Facebook and the web.

* Sophia means ‘divine wisdom’.

Relationships and Environment

I haven’t blogged in a while and miss doing so; this is a start at getting back into it…even if they are short pieces like this. Couldn’t help but share this quote when I read it.

From the Facebook page of She Sings to the Stars:

Life wants to continue.

When we look at all the damage we’ve inflicted, it is easy to believe the Earth has been broken, the land is broken; but it is our relationship with the land that’s broken and we have the power to change that.

We can choose to consume with honor from the Earth. We can choose to consume less. We can choose to understand the world as a gift and respond accordingly.

Not more policy, not more data, not more money, but a change of heart.

Robin Wall Kimmerer, biologist and member of the Potawatomi Nation

In our mechanistic life it is extremely difficult for most people to “see” relationships. Yes, we all acknowledge them, but generally not very consciously until something has caused a distinct change. We go about our everyday lives almost robotically; it is when something disrupts that we sit up and pay attention: we found out our life partner has been cheating on us; a storm damages the neighborhood we live in perhaps even our home; a wildfire threatens to take every material thing we hold dear; and so on. Even in the face of these devolving situations we still do not recognize the dynamic that is occurring, concentrating only on its affect upon us. And even then, if it does not affect us either/both mentally and/or physically right away, we think nothing more of it. This is not to say we should ignore the atomistic aspect and how it does affect us both mentally and physically – but what we are missing are the dynamics of the thing itself that affect us – i.e. the very relationship. By not consciously living and participating in the relationship as it goes through its normal dynamics of ebbs and flows we keep ourselves just separate enough that we do not truly see this undulation. This also causes us to disregard the fact that something that occurred relationally 10 or 20 years ago could now be manifesting itself into an anomaly within us.

Let me give an example: we often say we have a relationship with something…so for instance we think we have a deep abiding relationship with our farm, our land. Some gas company dude comes along and tells us how much money we can get for the land, giving us all kinds of “scientific” analyses that say how benign fracking is; we’re getting on up in age, kids are grown and no one in the family is interested in farming any more…so we sell, take our money and move to the city to enjoy a new life. Yet we’ve said all these years how much we “love” our farm and would always take care of ‘it’ – that is, until some “prettier face” comes along. In this situation, what is lacking is the ontological relationship…there is only the farmer and his/her family vs the land; this is what can be called a substantive relationship. Defined within ecopsychology (aka conservation psychology), we see this kind of relationship as just described as individualistic in which reality is reduced to its fundamental or atomistic parts that interact with each other regardless of what those parts are – atoms, people, nature, cultures, etc. This makes the reality of the relationship always viewed and understood in terms of the individual identities of the respective parts. (Wiggins, et.al, 2012)

Let’s look at a different kind of relationship, the ontological or strong relationality in which the relationship itself is the ontological foundation of the identities of the respective parts. This means that the identity of any organism, place, object, or idea is not self-contained but is in fact mutually constituted from the relationship. (Wiggins, et.al, 2012) In other words in viewing relationships as individualistic, we lose sight of the fact that, at each moment, we are a creative function of each and every relationship we engage in. So, if we view relationships as integral parts of the living organism (and yes, we can think of an entire culture as an organism, just as the entire earth is an organism), in the example I gave above regarding the selling of the farms to the gas companies, in essence those people selling have literally severed a part of their “body”. The relationship between the entities is the phenomenon from which the natural world flows. David Seamon talks and writes wonderfully about this when discussing place attachment and the six-place process he developed to describe one’s relationship with place, in all its dynamic evolving and/or devolving forms. You can access many of his articles here: https://ksu.academia.edu/DavidSeamon

And my example is not to be taken as a judgment as to whether the land should have been sold or not in this manner. What I am trying to work toward here is one of the most important values to be learned from Goethean science; and that is to foster understanding. “To understand, says [Henri] Bortoft, is to see the way things belong together and to see why they are together as they are.” (David Seamon, 1997; emphasis and text added) Environmentalism has reached epic proportions regarding polarization…to the point that not much else is being accomplished except bickering. We have extreme environmentalists on one side who seemingly want to declare every living species (except humans) as endangered regardless of what impact that has on the entire ecosystem – including disregarding human beings and their “rights”, to the relatively recent movement of post-environmentalism (aka “green” environmentalism) in which the earth is regarded as a “garden”. Now if everyone could agree on exactly HOW to go about gardening, this might not be so bad. Unfortunately we have the Monsanto advocates on one side vs the organic/vegan cult on the other with many people falling somewhere in between and not really understanding the impact of either. And then of course we have those that basically don’t give a *&^% and will continue doing whatever they please without any regard for any other life form. This is what Henri Bortoft says (The Wholeness of Nature, 1996; added text by D. Seamon) regarding knowledge:

Knowledge is not achieved by the senses alone. There is always a nonsensory element in knowledge, and this must be so whether this element is verbal-intellectual [analytical] or intuitive. The difference is that, whereas the verbal-intellectual mind withdraws from the sensory aspect of the phenomenon into abstraction and generality, the intuitive mind goes into and through the sensory surface of the phenomenon to perceive it in its own depth. It is by first going into the full richness and diversity of sensory detail that the intellectual mind is rendered ineffective, so that we can escape from its prison into the freedom of intuition.

We have relegated ourselves to the analytical aspect of science only, forgetting that every relationship is a functional dynamic. Yes, relationships will change – that is the dynamic part – but if we can begin to understand and view them from an ontological perspective instead of reducing them only to the parts (the players involved), there will be no need for bickering over this or that restrictive policy.

Breaking through the ‘space barrier’ from abstract perception to alive natural perception

Fantastic article!

The Nature of Business

This is a guest blog written by scientist and natural philosopher Dr. Alan Rayner.

Imagine yourself standing petrified on the concrete edge of a swimming pool, while being jostled by those next to you. Someone splashing about in the water shouts to you. ‘Come on in, the water’s lovely!’ But you’ve never experienced full immersion in water before and you’ve never been taught how to swim. How do you feel?

Our cultural and educational institutions teach us, from a young age, to perceive our selves and others as if we were separate, isolated objects, both set apart from one another and boxed in by rigid boundaries.

In order to feel secure, we mentally sever ourselves from each other and the creative wildness of the natural world by setting in place an imaginary hard line or ‘cut’ – what I call ‘the space barrier’ – that enforces profound social and…

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Mind in Nature: A Question of Consciousness

This is a very nice essay, and even though not stated specifically also points out the evolution of human consciousness and how we are in the process of returning to ancient thoughts and philosophies but this time in a conscious way.

Holistic Science Diaries

Summary

Questions of consciousness – what it is, where it comes from, whether it evolved, how it relates to matter, and so on – are surely some of the most important and perplexing questions that have ever faced humanity. Yet what is almost as fascinating about these questions, is just how reluctant we are to ask them, even in the face of compelling evidence that has emerged from fields such as quantum physics and other sciences over the past century.

They are uncomfortable questions for many, no doubt, as they get right to the heart of how we experience the world. How we answer these questions will largely determine whether we see the world as alive with complex meaning and connection; or, as has been the case for much of the past few centuries, as little more than a set of coincidental mechanistic occurrences. And this, in my view, is…

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Nutrition begins with Soil

Just finished reading an article on Mercola.com that prompted me to post this…is a subject I covered somewhat in my equine nutrition book although I did not refer to it specifically as “biological farming”, nor did I go into it to this depth, which is something I’ve wanted to do for some time.  These same principles apply to animal health as well as human health – we are all dependent upon the soil to grow food that nourishes us on all levels, regardless of whether we eat just vegetables or include meat and/or animal products in our diet.  All life on this planet is connected – we seem to forget that in the one-eyed reductionist mentality that permeates modern science.

Our nutrition begins with the soil…the plants growing in the soil are consumed by humans either directly or indirectly via meat and animal products.  Conventional farming methods concentrate only on yield, this methodology cares nothing for the “food source” of the crops themselves; that aspect is considered irrelevant.  Andre Voisin said (1):

The “dust” of our cells is the dust of the soil.  We should frequently meditate on the words of Ash Wednesday:  “Man, remember that you are dust and that you will return to dust.”  This is not merely a religious and philosophical doctrine but a great scientific truth which should be engraved above the entrance to every Faculty of Medicine throughout the world. … If these “dusts” have been wrongly assembled in plant, animal or human cells, the result will be the imperfect functioning of the latter.

I honestly don’t know how we have “forgotten” that plants are living organisms that have relationships with their environment – yes, plants do communicate!  I posted a fascinating video a while back about how plants “talk” – see it here.  I suppose it is the ego-based attitude that humans can not only control nature but can do things better than nature can.  Unfortunately we are in the midst of a rude awakening about that – at least some of us are.  Several enlightened individuals such as William Albrecht, Carey Reams, Rudolf Steiner (and Goethe before him), Lady Eve Balfour, Sir Albert Howard, Weston A. Price, and more recently Harvey Lisle, Michael Astera, Jerry Brunetti, and others have been writing, practicing, and teaching about the link between soil health and our health, and how that link influences virtually all of life.  Almost all of these people were/are scientists who had/have the capability of “seeing” phenomenological relationships…even if they might not have used those terms (except for Goethe & Steiner who certainly did).  Yet they are shunned by “allopathic” science as not being “real”.  I do not disregard mainstream reductionist science as do many “holistic” practitioners/teachers, because I understand (as did Goethe, Steiner, et al) that you have to be able to break the whole down into its parts in order to be able to then actually “see” the whole.  It is not a “sum of the parts is greater than the whole” as much of holistic science would have you believe; nor does each individual part work by itself as mainstream science would have you believe.  The truth lies in the relationship of the parts to the whole.  So it is exciting to me when I read articles (or books) such as this that demonstrate this kind of “seeing” – this kind of conscious awakening.

Now…I am going to go out on a limb here and say something that most of you reading this will likely disagree with – at least at first blush.  Organically grown food is NOT necessarily more nutritious than conventionally grown food.  What???  You must be insane!  Before you virtually tar and feather me, read on.  There is absolutely no doubt that organically grown food is better than food that has been sprayed with chemicals.  But…most organic growers concentrate on building soil tilth – I know, I used to be a small commercial organic grower and was rather active at one point in my local organic association (before the USDA “bought” the word organic).  There is nothing wrong with building humus in the soil; the problem is humus alone does not provide nutrition for the plants growing in that soil.  And the whole concept of “organic” is actually a negative one inasmuch as it considers what is NOT in your food (pesticides, herbicides, etc).  What I have come to realize is that we are missing very key elements in our food.  Why do you think the supplement industry is so huge?  Our soils are depleted.  What most people don’t realize is what they are depleted of.  Minerals, plain and simple.  Minerals cannot be added back by simply tilling in the fall crop of leaves or compost or what-have-you.  Yes, there may be some elements that are added back…but by and far the soils at least in this country (if not most of the developed world) have been so heavily farmed without ever putting back what was taken out that there is nothing left.  Why do you think conventional agriculture tends to keep such a strong-hold on our food supply?  Yes, there are many other factors involved, but the bottom line is you can produce a more “nutritious” vegetable by directly feeding the plant – according to lab analysis.  What is missing from this picture however is the quality and how the nutrients are utilized by the body – lab analyses only give you quantities.  All of us in the animal world – humans included – were designed to ingest our minerals that have been assimilated first by the plant kingdom.  Plain and simple.  Minerals are the electromagnetic means of communication between the soil and the plant kingdom.  Remember what I said above that it is more the relationship between entities than it is the entities themselves that drive responses?  It is the relationship between the plant and the soil that dictates what the plant will become – a purveyor of health or simply something to ingest.  Taking and taking, never giving back = depletion.

Samuel Hahnemann gave us a medical system over two centuries ago called Heilkunst, or “art of healing” in a rather crude translation.   Within that he recognized certain “miasms” or chronic, many times inherited diseases.  Those that have worked to bring his medical system into present times have recognized the “cancer” miasm, which is a state of mentality more so than the conventional diagnosis of tumor (although the mental state can certainly lead to tumors).  The mental state of cancer is one of continuously giving – we can characterize it by the person that continually gives and gives until her physical and spiritual bodies are totally depleted.  If the soil keeps giving and giving without having the opportunity to replenish itself – what do you think it will produce?  Cancerous causing products.

Harvey Lisle called minerals the “enlivened rock powders”.  Why?  Because they give life.  The soil replenishes itself slowly by the breakdown of rocks.  The advent of agriculture put pressures upon this process that would eventually cause severe depletion if these minerals (“rocks”) were not replaced – at state which we have now realized.  It is not, at least in my opinion, that so-called “modern” agriculture is a bad thing, it is human greed and inflated ego that has kept us from “seeing” our responsibility.  The soil, the plant life, the animal life…are all available to us to utilize as we need – and that is the key…use as needed.  In a loving caring, nurturing way.  However we treat the soil, we treat ourselves.

 

(1)  Quote from front matter of The Enlivened Rock Powders, Harvey Lisle, 1994, Acres USA.