JSB Special Issue-3

Journal of Spiritual Bodywork

Special Issue No.3                      ISSN 1079-8390                                    July 1997


Five years ago, world leaders met at an Earth Summit conference in Rio de Janeiro. That was the largest meeting on environmental problems ever held. The conferees agreed on what was to be done to counteract the adverse effects of human activity on the earth's climate and the accelerating extinction of plant and animal species.

During the past five years, many of the serious problems have become more serious. Consumption and pollution are increasing, and many serious problems have become more serious. About 50,000 more species of plants and animals have become extinct. Some 30 million acres of forest have been destroyed annually. One-third of the world's nations have a shortage of fresh water. Topsoil and productive farmland are rapidly disappearing. Approximately one-third of the world's vegetated area - about 3.7 billion acres - are seriously degraded. Some two-thirds of all commercial fisheries are  seriously depleted. Warmer climates, generated by the greenhouse effect, may increase the rate at which glaciers melt and raise the sea level. This could be disastrous for coastal areas, islands. and low countries like the Netherlands.

For these reasons, 70 government leaders convened at the United Nations on June 23, 1997, to implement measures to counteract the increasing global ecological damage.

Planet Earth is not a healthy place to live. To  survive, we have to heal ourselves and the planet. The following report is part of  the author's keynote address Healing Ourselves and Healing Our Planet at the 1997  Annual Conference of Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship International. 



Albert Schatz  

I had a dream which was not at all a dream.

The bright light was extinguished, and the stars

Did wander darkling in the eternal space,

Rayless and pathless, and the icy earth

Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;

Morn came and went - and came, and brought no day.

                                 Lord Byron. Darkness. 1816@

      What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism. This future speaks even now in a hundred signs; this destiny announces itself everywhere... For some time now, our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect.                                                                               Frederick Nietzsche, 1888

A matter of life or death

Our species has made considerable progress toward self-destruction since Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1962. The recent book Our Stolen Future. Are We Threatening our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival,1 research by Gofman2-5 and Gould6,7 on the harmful effects of low-level radiation, and disquieting reports of others raise important questions - How close are we to the point of no return? 

The history of civilization is the history of our manipulation, exploitation and devastation of nature. As a result, we now live in a biosphere that is a soup of radioactivity seasoned with lead, mercury, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals. This pollution and other global ecological damage has created a world that is increasingly hostile to life. Many animal species have become extinct, and others are endangered species. Because this same world is also increasingly hostile to humans, we are now an endangered species. The terms holocaust, ethnic cleansing, genocide, ecocide and omnicide describe how we are killing ourselves and other forms of life on this planet. 

Pollution, which is now global, affects the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil that produces our food, and our food itself. Pollution of our external environment has polluted our internal environment  - our bodies and our minds. Serious pollutants - other than radioactivity, pesticides, and other chemical substances - are electromagnetic radiation, noise, and emotional stress. Factors responsible for emotional stress are poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, the struggle for survival, slavery which still exists, and other forms of exploitation and oppression of man by man.

Pollutants adversely affect our immune system which is our natural defense against infectious diseases and cancer. While our immune system is being impaired, microbes are producing new and reemerging diseases, more people are living under crowded conditions which facilitate the transmission of contagious diseases, and more people lack adequate education and medical care.

Aside from what we are doing to ourselves, microbes may be the most serious threat to our survival because they attack us and the plants and animals which are our food supply. Insects are also a major threat because they, like microbes, transmit infectious diseases and compete with us for food we both consume. Living under crowded conditions because of the population explosion and poverty, produces what approximates a monoculture of people. This has all the disadvantages that are associated with plant monocultures, such as large acreage of corn and wheat, in which insects and infectious microbes spread like wildfire.

Contemporary science cannot

help us survive

Contemporary science and the technology it has spawned, which we associate with progress, cannot help us survive because what it has to offer is more of the same, which we do not need. What science has produced is largely responsible for the present threat to our survival. According to Linus Pauling, "Most problems in the modern world are the result of the contributions of science." Albert Einstein lamented, "Strange that science, which in the old days seemed harmless, should have evolved into a nightmare that causes everyone to tremble."

Much of science is what I call iatrogenic science which is comparable to iatrogenic medicine. Science is iatrogenic when it creates problems which may be more serious than the original problems it attempted to resolve. An important question, which has not been addressed, is whether contemporary science is now responsible, directly and indirectly, for more deaths than for lives saved.

Conventional medicine (allopathy)

cannot help us survive

"Most drugs cause disease and. for many people the drug-induced disease is worse than the original condition... Overall, 8,000,000 people per year are hospitalized  - 28% of all admissions - for diseases brought on by drugs that were supposed to improve their condition... Worse, adverse drugs effects are responsible for about 100,000 deaths a year - that's more than double the 45,000 people a year who die in automobile accidents.

"The findings of a recent Harvard study showed that conventional medical care is the fourth leading cause of death in this country, right after killers like heart disease, cancer, and stroke. The real figure is likely even higher, as many deaths attributed to heart disease or even cancer are due to the treatment, not the disease.

"The statistics on the unnecessary harm caused by drugs are enough to make you sick... 61,000 people have drug induced Parkinson's disease; 163,000 have induced memory loss or cognitive deficits; 41,000 are hospitalized for ulcers caused by drugs; 32,000 hip fractures occur from falls which are due to drugs that make patients sedated or unbalanced; and 16,000 car crashes a year are due to adverse drug reactions.

"Doctors are trained to write prescriptions to mask symptoms, rather than to work with less toxic therapies to facilitate true healing and wellness. And the drug companies spend billions of dollars to convince doctors that if they do not use a drug for a condition they are 'out of step.'"

Our separation from nature is the

basic cause of our problem

René Descartes (1596-1650) separated body and mind. That concept retarded our understanding of health and disease for about 350 years. Its origin was an experience Descartes had on the night of November 16, 1619, and which has only recently been recognized as an out-of-body experience.9 He correctly concluded that his body and mind were separate during that experience. But he mistakenly assumed that separation was the normal state, even when we are awake. Descartes also believed that, with  science and technology, [we] could "render ourselves the masters and possessors of nature."10

Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), who is considered the Father of Modern Science, separated man from nature. That separation justified man's manipulating, exploiting and devastating nature, all for profit. The result is the present global devastation of nature that now threatens our survival.

According to Achterberg "What has been witnessed over the centuries is a fanciful mixing of metaphors, such that Woman as Nature and Nature as Woman became inseparable. During the great times of change leading into and extending through the Renaissance, both were to be stripped and their inner parts revealed. Nature/Woman was being forced to confess her knowledge.

"In England, jurors and others in attendance at the [witch] trials gang-raped the women before the hearings. The practice was so common that it was not even included as part of the documentation of torture, but rather as a simple trial preliminary event. A case in point comes from the remark of Sir Francis Bacon, the great empiricist whose work is credited with uniting science and technology. In describing his new methods of investigation, he stated that nature had to be 'hounded in her wanderings.'  'bound into service,' and made a 'slave,' and that the aim of science was to 'torture nature's secrets from her.'

'Bacon seems to have been inspired by the witch trials over which he presided as attorney general for King James I. Capra states, 'Indeed, his view of nature as a female whose secrets have to be tortured from her with the help of mechanical devices is strongly suggestive of the widespread torture of women in the witch trials of the early seventeenth century. Bacon's work thus represents an outstanding example of the influence of patriarchal attitudes on scientific thought.'"11

Hayward  describes Bacon's role as follows. "One biblical theme incorporated into the 'new science' of the sixteenth century ... is power over nature. Francis Bacon proclaimed that mankind should study science in order to claim his birthright of dominion over nature and use nature for his own glory. Thus we inherit the image of man witnessing, controlling, and manipulating nature, but ever separate from it, never able to know it directly because of a fundamental fault in his own nature.

"The threatened extinction of our civilization has conceivably also come in part from just this attitude of human mastery... The idea, inherited from Bacon that we can ultimately master nature does imply that we are separate from it and should get on top of it before it gets on top of us. This view also contains the seed of its own demise; the wish to be separate from nature, if it were accomplished, would mean extinction."12

Merchant's book The Death of Nature is a detailed and documented report of how the "scientific revolution and the rise of a market-oriented culture in early modern Europe" resulted in the "environmental crisis of the 1970s" which now "threatens the health of the entire planet."10 Merchant also discusses how and why nature was considered feminine and women were  a metaphor of nature.

We still speak of Mother Earth but pray to "Our Father who art in heaven." 

A blueprint for survival

Our present environmental problems began when economic competition - the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest - began to replace cooperation and sharing. Economic competition for profit of one kind or another inextricably involves the manipulation, exploitation and devastation of nature. Our survival today depends not only on our cooperating with one another, which we must do more of but also on our cooperating with nature. Fortunately, nature is willing and eager to cooperate with us.

Cooperation occurs widely throughout the animal kingdom. "Petr Kropotkin ,,, in 1902 published a book called Mutual Aid. Shortly after the publication of  The Origin of Species, Kropotkin spent five years in ... Siberia... He looked for 'that bitter struggle for ... existence, among animals belonging to the same species, which was considered by most Darwinists as the dominant characteristic of [the] struggle for life, and the main factor of evolution.' However, he came to the conclusion that an equally significant factor was mutual cooperation and assistance among animals. Kropotkin's book is replete with examples of this."12

The nest step in our evolution

A knowledge of how our hominid ancestors survived in their hostile environment suggests what we should do to survive in the hostile environment we have created. The anthropologist Leaky and Lewin studied "the common origin of humankind and the basic characteristics cooperation and sharing that nurtured our long evolution." They concluded that economic cooperation enabled early man to survive, and that competition would have been fatal. Moreover, it was "cooperation" that "propelled the human brain toward its unparalleled evolution" and "cooperation must" therefore "be a very basic motivation in human nature."13 I believe our conscious collaboration with nature to resolve our environmental problems is the next major advance in our evolution. 

The Findhorn vision

of the New Age

 Bacon separated man from nature.11 The Findhorn community has reunited us with nature and demonstrated, in a practical way, how we can cooperate with nature to survive. The book, The Findhorn Garden, has been "pioneering a new vision of man and nature in cooperation" since it was first published in 1968. Agricultural experts could not explain how 38 and 42 pound cabbages could grow in the Findhorn garden with poor soil and unfavorable weather conditions. However, those large cabbages prove that the Findhorn way of cooperating with nature does work.14 The New Age, which the Findhorn group foresaw14 and which involves man's cooperation with nature, is discussed in detail by David Spangler in his book A Pilgrim in Aquarius.15

Dorothy Maclean's book To Hear the Angels Sing16 provides information about nature; that is, angelic devas, elementals (nature spirits); and how to receive "guidance ... from the God within," in order  to work in cooperation with nature. Maclean believes "Nature is the glory of God... And that glory is infinitely enhanced by [our] knowing that ... our devic selves ... can relate to it in the realm of consciousness, that we can unite with and translate its intelligience, since we are the same intelligence."

Eileen Caddy's book God Spoke to Me and other publications available from the Findhorn Press (102-2250 Frazer Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5T 3T8) provide information about  communicating and working in cooperation with nature. The American Society of Dowsers Bookstore (101 Railroad Street, St. Johnsbury, Vermont 05819. Phone 1-800-748-8565) has such books.  The Findhorn Press and the Dowsers Bookstore send free catalogues.

Communicating and working

in cooperation with nature

There is nothing supernatural about working with nature because there is nothing more natural than nature. We try to be supernatural when we do things by ourselves, without discussing with nature what we want to do and without then working in cooperation with nature to get the job done.

There is also nothing new about communicating and working collaboratively with nature. People have been doing this by dowsing for at least 500 years.17 Dowsing was originally called divining because people thought that dowsers were working with God, or God was working with them. In dowsing, as in healing, intent is very important.18 George Washington Carver (a genius in chemistry). Luther Burbank (The, Wizard of Horticulture), and other scientists19 communicated and worked in cooperation with nature.19 What they did, present-day scientists can do.

Spiritual dowsing20 and "medical dowsing"17 are used in healing. Medical dowsing is like map dowsing,21 because we dowse the human body as we dowse a map. Massage practitioners who dowse their clients found that massage increases the subtle energy field.22 Dowsing is also useful in identifying, locating, and neutralizing geopathic zones also known as noxious radiation.17,23

A vision of science

for the New Age

We cannot continue poisoning ourselves and the planet in the hope that God will clean up the mess we have made of our environment. But "God helps those who help themselves." To help ourselves, we obviously need a science that is compatible with nature and enables us to work in cooperation with nature. The poet and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) envisioned the New Age science that we need, and the development of that science was pioneered at Findhorn. According to Bortoff,24 "Goethe's way of doing science was not a poet's folly, but rather a genuine alternative to the dominant scientific paradigm.

Goethe "shows that a different ... kind of empiricism is possible than that demanded by the dualizing mind of modern technological science, and demonstrates that Goethe's participatory phenomenology of a new way of seeing, far from being a historical curiosity, actually proposes a workable solution to the dilemmas of contemporary science.25 

"Goethe's major scientific works ... provide a clear picture  of [his] fundamentally different approach to scientific study of the natural world. According to Goethe, our deepest knowledge of phenomena can arise only from a contemplative relationship with nature, in which our feelings of awe and wonder are intrinsic... As conceived by him, science is as much a path of inner development as it is a way to accumulate knowledge. It therefore involves a rigorous training of our faculties of observation and thinking.  From a Goethean standpoint, our modern ecological crisis is a crisis of relationship to nature. Goethe shows us a path of sensitive science that holds the potential for healing both nature and ourselves."26


When Magellan's expedition first landed at Tierra del Fuego, the Fuegans, who for centuries had been isolated with their canoe culture, were unable to see the ships anchored in the bay. The big ships were so far beyond their experience that, despite their bulk, the horizon continued unbroken: The ships were invisible. This was learned on later expeditions to the area when the Fuegans described how, according to one account, the shaman had first brought  to the villagers' attention that the strangers had arrived in  something which although preposterous beyond belief, could actually be seen  if one looked carefully. We ask how they could not see the ships they were so obvious, so real  yet others would ask how we cannot see things just as obvious. - John W. Mattingly27


1. Colborn, T., Dumanoski, D., and Peterson, J. Our Stolen Future. Are We Threatening our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival? - A scientific Detective Story. Dutton. NY. 1996.

2. Gofman, J.W. Preventing Breast Cancer. The Story of a Major, Proven, Preventable Cause of this Disease. 2nd ed. Committee for Nuclear Responsibility, Inc. San Francisco, CA. 1996.

3. Gofman, J.W. Radiation-Induced  Cancer from Low-Dose Exposure. Committee for Nuclear Responsibility, Inc. San Francisco, CA. 1990.

4. Gofman, J.W. Radiation & Human Health. Sierra Club. San Francisco, CA. 1981.

5. Gofman, J.W., and O'Connor, E. X-Rays. Health Effects of Common Exams. Sierra Club. San Francisco, CA. 1985.

6. Gould, J.M, and Goldman, B.. Deadly Deceit. Low-Level Radiation. High Level Cover-Up. Four Walls Eight Windows. New York 1991.

7. Gould, J.M. The Enemy Within: The High Cost of Living Near Nuclear Reactors.  Four Walls Eight Windows. New York 1996.

8. Health & Healing. Tomorrow's Medicine Today (Dr. Julian Whitaker's newsletter). 6:1&3. © January 1996. Reprinted with permission from Phillips Publishing, Inc. For information about this newsletter, call 800-539-8219.

9. Schatz, A. A search for an appropriate philosophy of massage. Part 1. Newtonian-Cartesian science. Journal of Spiritual Bodywork. 1:1-9. 1995.

10. Merchant. C. The Death of Nature. Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution. Harper/San Francisco. 1976.

11. Achterberg. J. Imagery in Healing. Shamanism and Modern Medicine. New Science Library. Shambhala. Boston. 1985.

12. Hayward, H. Perceiving Ordinary Magic. Science and Intuitive Wisdom. New Science Library. Shambhala. Boston. 1984.

13. Leakey, R.E., and Lewin, R. People of the Lake. Anchor Press/Doubleday. NY. 1978

 14 The Findhorn Book. Pioneering a New Vision of Man and Nature Cooperating. Harper & Row. NY. 1975.

15. Spangler, D. A Pilgrim in Aquarius. Findhorn Press. Scotland. 1996.

16.  Maclean. D. To Hear the Angels Sing. Lindisfarne Press. Hudson. NY. 1980.

17. Bird, C.  The Diving Hand.. The 500-Year-Old Mystery of Dowsing. New Age Press. P. Dutton & Co. 1979.

18. Ross, T.E., and Wright, R. D. The Dowsing Mind. A Guide to Dowsing and Self-Awareness. Destiny Books. Rochester, VT. 1990.

19. Tompkins, P., and Bird, C. The Secret Life of Plants. Harper & Row. NY. 1973.

20. Lonegren, S. Spiritual Dowsing. Gothic Image Publications. Glastonbury. Great Britain. 1986.

21 Cameron, V.L. Map Dowsing. El Cariso Publications. Santa Barbara. CA. 1971.

22. Schatz, A., and Carlson, K. The integration of Swedish Massage and Therapeutic Touch. Swedish Massage increases the human energy field. Massage & Bodywork Quarterly 10:(2):51-55, 1995.

23. Bachelor, K. Earth Radiation. The Startling Discoveries of a Dowser. Wordmasters Ltd. Great Britain. 1976.

23. Bortoft, H. The Wholeness of Nature. Goethe's Way toward a Science of Conscious Participation in Nature. Lindisfarne Books. Hudson, NY.

24. Reader's Catalogue. Lindisfarne Books. Spring 1997. Hudson. NY. 

25. Goethe on Science. An Anthology of Goethe's Scientific Writing. Selected and introduced by J. Naydler. Lindsfarne Books. Hudson, NY.

26. Lynes. B. Mattingly, J. Foreword. In: The Cancer Cure that Worked. Fifty Years of Suppression, by B. Lyles. Marcus  Books. Mexico. 1987.

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