Also published in German in "Islamische Zeitung", Weimar, July/August 1995.
Human existence today is constantly disrupted by industrial pollution, petrochemicals, pesticides, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, processed foods, drug therapies, vaccinations, sick buildings, etc.
We define modern epidemics as the generalized pathological expressions which are produced as a direct consequence of the development of science and its practical applications. These have resulted in the increasing practice of interfering with the processes of life itself. Man has done this by putting the creational domain under the unreasonable demand that it supply energy that can be extracted and stored. This is the challenge of modern technology. As Heidegger has stated, technology is not only what permits this intervention, it is actually a way of revealing that forces the creation to unfold accordingly. Its essence is in the structure of the modern physical theory of nature that originates with Democritus, and came to be developed by Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Pasteur, and the German physicists of the 1920's. The word 'theory' comes from the Greek 'theoreo' meaning 'to look at'. This is the opposite of its currently accepted meaning which is to have a pre-assumed idea, with idealised concepts derived from an abstraction, designed to be confirmed by mechanical experimental observations. In the realm of modern science, it is the theory that defines the field of observation, whereas the opposite should be the case.
Since Galileo it has been claimed that if one departs from immediate observable experience, by conducting an experiment under ideal conditions, one can discover mathematical structures in the phenomena, and thereby gain a new simplicity as a basis for a new understanding. To reduce to elementary mechanics is a basic requirement of the scientific method itself.
Because it is impossible to reproduce an actual natural phenomenon with all of its existential correlations as it appears in reality, it is necessary to reduce the size and the number of elements contained in the experimental observation. This method does not aim to describe what is actually visible, but rather leads to the designing of experiments which produce phenomena that one does not normally see, which idealise and isolate experience. This method actually creates new phenomena that do not occur naturally. Since Heisenberg, the old idea of nature and an observer as two discreet realities is no longer tenable. The observer is part of the natural order and is therefore part of the process. We must not forget that the measuring device has been constructed by the observer and that what we observe is not the creational process in itself but that process as it appears when exposed to our method of questioning. The final aim is to be able to reproduce the same experimental results, because the possibility of repeating the experiments is the essential basis for the success of the method and the justification of its statements. But what happens if we have already lost sight of the event, right from the moment of designing the experiment? As Heidegger puts it:
"Thus when man, investigating, observing, ensnares nature as an area of his own conceiving, he has already been claimed by a way of revealing that challenges him to approach nature as an object of research, until even the object disappears into the objectlessness of standing-reserve."
(M. Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology, translated from Die Technik und die Kehre, Pfullingen, Günther Neske, 1962)
Looking from the viewpoint of Physics we see that the bodily structure is an open system which engages in a free exchange with the outer world and that that structure itself is not permanent. It is being continuously broken down by the wear and tear of daily activity and is being continuously built up again by processes of repair. It is contained in its form by the limits of its function. Within these limits, it fulfills its possibilities by a continuous process of intensification (from the embryological disc to the fully developed adult), with a rhythmical harmony of contraction and expansion. Like the musical harmonics accompanying the fundamental tone, its function is directed by the correlation between the parts that belong together in the phenomenon of its existence.
"The cause of every need of a living being is also the cause of the satisfaction of the need"
(Pflüger, Pflüger's Arch., 1877, XV, 57).
With every disease, we see the biological fulfilment of a need which is created by the establishment of specific disease conditions, and that need yearns for satisfaction. The fulfillment of this need is a procedure that maintains the constants of life, in spite of the high degree of instability within the matter of which we are composed. The living being is stable because it can be modified. It can maintain its stability only if it is capable of being excited (susceptibility) and capable of modifying itself to the external stimuli and adjusting its response accordingly (idiosyncrasy).
The reductionist simplifications of the scientific method lead to standardisation and systematisation. This is the core of the industrial era: the application of a system to the creation. But the creational process is not a system. While Newtonian mechanics can be seen to work in a controllable way, their application to the creational processes has resulted in dangerous situations that are out of man's control.
Technology has made possible the release of nuclear energy, but it can no longer contain its effects. Industrial discharges have poisoned the air and the ground and the consequences are now irreparable. Fifty years of antibiotics have resulted in mutations within an uncontrollable microscopic world. A century of vaccinations has changed the biological resources of childhood - one in every seven children in Britain now suffers from asthma - and has resulted in the appearance of wasting diseases in later life. The technical power to process and store food has created a mediocre nutrition with devastating consequences in health. Iatrogenic disease now accounts for one third of all human pathology. Patents in the pharmaco-medical industry require all pathological states to be categorised into specific diseases, and the manufacture of specific standardised treatments has become a multibillion pound business.
"He has created seven heavens in harmony. You will not find any imperfection in the creation of the Merciful. Look again - can you see any imperfection? Then look again and yet again. Your sight will return to you frustrated and fatigued."
(Qur'an 67: 3-4)
We know that there is no flaw in creation.
Ibn Al-cArabi Makkan Revelations
To explain any behaviour or condition that an organism can manifest, we have first to look for the reason in the medium in which that organism is contained. Following the modern epidemics we see that the containing medium is a morphogenetic field, a zone of influence that creates form. Any creature living within this field of influence will body-forth the genetics of the condition generated by that field, and shape a form according to its very essence.
For instance, when a living being is within the influence of a morphogenetic field generated by radio-active decay, even so-called low-level radiation, we observe the destruction of molecular bonds. The breakdown of the intimate relationship between DNA molecules leads to the structuring of another order that will reveal itself as leukaemia, a process of organised decay that will eventually destroy the organism. The morphogenetic field of radioactive decay forces the organism to emerge in a malignant form.
The disruption of the links alters the correlation between the parts. Correlation is based on the model that all the parts are copying. The model is established by a precise intimate relationship between molecular elements. It is the relationship, the 'being part of', the belonging together, that determines the behaviour of each individual part. If a new model is established, the behaviour will change. The model is the authentic genetic information: how to behave. DNA coding is only the archival unfolding of form, preknown, possible, actualising in emergence, according to the life-transaction requirements of the organism.
With this way of seeing we just need to look at these modern epidemics and see which models they are expressing. The model is miasmatic, a characteristic dynamic condition that unfolds a specific order. The most appropriate modern expression for this is 'allergy', a term used by C. von Pirquet in 1929 that originally had a broader meaning. Literally it means 'different work' - and that is precisely what it is. The organism expresses a different dynamic behaviour that is defined as a state of specific susceptibility, an over-expending, an over-working and exhaustion of bodily resources which create a biological debt.
The relationship between expending and regenerating is thrown out of balance. The increase in the process of burning up energy by means of an over-activity of the catabolic mechanism cannot be counterbalanced by anabolic reconstruction. The outcome is decay, wasting, ageing, de-generation.
The modern miasma, the new model, is characterised by the over-expending of biological resources.
But modern science with the instrumentality that technology has made available, states that all pathology is a failure of the organism. By applying the corresponding standardised therapeutic solution, new phenomena are created, like the modern antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the mutant virus. And still science intervenes to correct what it sees as mistakes in the creation.
But scientific logic is inappropriate when it can no longer see that the so-called pathological 'error' that it is observing is just the bodying-forth of a form that is in itself the emergence of a model, a specific existential model of decay that ultimately manifests as the suffering of millions of people. This model is social, it is the ordering of a system that insists on the inclusion of as many people as possible, and making them passive consumers. History has shown us this collusion between physical and political reductionism, when science (the secular religion) was ordered to confirm scientifically the fundamental cornerstone of that model: in 1717 Newton became the Master of the Mint and established the value in paper money of one ounce of gold. That was the greatest anti-alchemical achievement of all times, transforming gold into worthless paper.
"The most important objection of Goethe against the method of science which has been used since Newton is directed against the separation of the terms 'rightness' and 'truth'. For Goethe, truth was not separable from the conception of value. The Unum, Bonum, Verum, the One, Good, True was for him - as for the old philosophers - the only possible compass which mankind can use while searching for the way through the centuries. But science which is only 'right', where the terms 'rightness' and 'truth' have separated and where the Divine order is not itself determining the direction, is too much in danger. It is, to recall Goethe's Faust, exposed to the devil."
(W. Heisenberg, Goethe's Conception of Nature and the Technical-Scientific World, 1976, Collected Works, C/3)
Nevertheless, Ernst Jünger has reminded us that health is a choice. The hero makes the choice of health and finds the courage to establish justice, to take back the land and reconstruct society. And the path to this is Islam, and the Prophet, peace be upon him, is the model, and the just city, free of usury and sickness - that is pollution - was Madina.
Dr. Mohammed Dalmau
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