Currently, we are seeing more and more people asking for holism and naturalness. But what is meant by this? - Let's take an obvious example: medicine.
On the one hand, we see modern medicine that produces medicines from isolated individual substances. One isolates, as in the case of Artemisia annua, one of over two hundred and fifty active substances naturally contained in the plant. This isolated active ingredient, artemisiniin, is then administered against malaria, cancer or Lyme disease. At first, the results achieved are convincing. After a certain time, however, resistance to the active ingredient emerges, as is currently observed with malaria. The drug becomes increasingly useless.
We know the same problem from the field of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are also usually made from isolated individual substances, for example penicillin. And, oh wonder, resistance to them develops over time. Thus begins an arms race with nature: a stronger active substance must be produced - resistances form, an even stronger active substance must be produced, resistances form. On the website of the Federal Ministry of Health you can read:
"With the discovery of penicillin, we thought for a long time that we had a miracle weapon against infectious diseases. In the meantime, however, germs are increasingly showing their resistance. Pathogens that are resistant to certain active pharmaceutical ingredients are appearing and spreading. The improper use of antibiotics contributes to this. Modern medicine is in danger of losing valuable achievements in the pharmaceutical sector. The selection and spread of resistant pathogens can be minimised in particular through a more appropriate prescription of antibiotics."
If this fun didn't cost anything, it wouldn't matter. Clumsily, however, drug research gobbles up ever more enormous sums of money - which are precisely not available in developing countries, i.e. where medicine would be most urgently needed. Do we possibly need to fundamentally rethink at this point?
So, on the one hand, we have a type of medicine that relies entirely on isolating active substances. At first, the results are outstanding, but over time, problems arise that have not been sufficiently considered. The context has been disregarded.
The World Agriculture Report
By the way, we are experiencing the same thing in modern agriculture. At first it looked as if the phytosanitary products of petrochemicals would usher in a new era of fertility and limitless productivity. Until it was realised that there was also a flip side to the coin. And so it is that more and more people are questioning the limitless use of chemicals.
" In 2008, more than 400 scientists summarised the state of knowledge about global agriculture, its history and future on behalf of the World Bank and the United Nations. This World Agriculture Report is uncomfortable and alarming, warns against aberrations and points to solutions."
See: World Agriculture Report.
On the other hand, we see the trend 'back to nature'. Homeopathy, naturopathy, organic food are becoming more and more popular. The big danger I see here is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Not everything that conventional medicine offers is bad. And much of what is advertised as an alternative is simply hocus pocus.
Of course I prefer to eat vegetables that have not been sprayed with poison. Of course I personally prefer to drink an Artemisia tea than to swallow a tablet or, better still, to be vaccinated against flu. - But is that the whole answer to the problem? We cannot turn back the clock. As much as we long for the 'everything was better in the old days', time moves forward unflinchingly.
Let's face it: neither isolating substances alone seems to move us forward, nor does mindless adherence to pre-modern methods and philosophies. Both camps have a part of the truth. However, I think what is really needed goes beyond both. Neither orthodox conventional medicine nor so-called alternative medicine is the solution to the puzzle unless there is a fundamental rethink. But what could this new thing we are looking for be?
We must realise that beneath every external phenomenon lies an unspoken worldview. The farmer who - in good faith - sprays his fields with poison does not know that his actions are based on a materialistic worldview. He simply acts without being accountable for it.
If we go to the root of almost all modern problems, from the ecological crisis to the growing suicide rate in industrialised nations, we find there a worldview deeply embedded in us: dualism.
And this is not meant theoretically. I'm talking about what underlies our real, daily, practical actions, not what we tell ourselves we think we believe, when in fact we end up acting dualistically and materialistically.
Dualism separates between body and mind, between ego and world, between this world and the next. The term 'environment', as Dr Hemmerich once noted, is already the beginning of pollution. A traditionally living Indian could not pollute the environment because for him there was no environment.
For pre-modern man there was no separation of self and world. The environment was a co-world. Man was a fellow world being. One lived in clans or in a social order given 'by the gods'.
This was also the case here in Europe until a few hundred years ago. In many cultures, the pre-modern consciousness still prevails today. These peoples have yet to experience what we in Europe have already been going through for centuries: the isolation of the individual from society, the scientific analysis of the world, the 'death of the gods'.
A new spirituality.
So what is to be done? Do we go further and further into singleness and do we find our way through singleness to a new wholeness? A wholeness that does not erase the individual. A wholeness where I get to keep my mind?
For the emotional life, an escape into pre-modernity may offer temporary fulfilment. I think, however, that we can and should take the mind and everything we owe to it with us into the future. Falling back before the Enlightenment and entrenching ourselves in esoteric illusory worlds is not an alternative for me. I want to play an active role and get involved in world affairs!
One of the people who grasped this problem most clearly and who, in my opinion, is closest, at least at the beginning of a solution, was the physicist David Bohm.
Bohm tried to establish a new physics that could explain both Einstein's theory of relativity and the phenomena of quantum physics. To this day, relativity and quantum physics stand incompatibly side by side. Both theories seem to be true but both theories cannot be true at the same time. The 'world formula' that physicists are looking for today, and that Bohm was also looking for, must therefore encompass both.
Bohm arrived at the model of the 'implicate order'. Bohm distinguishes the explicit order - the world in space and time that we can measure and the implicate order - the level of reality in which neither space nor time exist, in which everything is instantaneously connected.
It would be easy to dismiss Bohm's theory as esoteric if he had not succeeded in proving the EPR paradox in 1992, incidentally here in Tenerife. The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox was only a theorem until 1992. In the meantime, it has become a fact. The consequences of this discovery are already being used technologically by the military, namely for the instantaneous transmission of data.
Let's look at a hand. Let's stick the fingers of this hand into a water surface. Let us imagine that we are a water strider, a creature that is at home on the surface of the water. For the water strider, the individual fingers that appear in its world represent separate islands that it can examine separately. What the water strider does not see is the hand to which the individual fingers belong.
From this example we can see how what appears to us as separate - the explicit reality in space and time - is in fact interconnected - the implicit reality. To see this, however, we would have to go beyond the known dimensions of space and time just as the water strider would have to go beyond its plane world to recognise the spatial hand..
So we need a leap in consciousness. We need a different perspective from the one we have been trained to have. What could this new perspective be?