little things shook my world while I was writing the last chapter: the insect
bites moved me downstairs to camp on the chiropractic bench (that was good enough
for Nando). And Dolores. Delores Jacinta de los Angeles. They coincided, all those
kisses, promised for a month, and then delivered a while - and the insects. The
insects that I thought might be spot of the Dark One saying hi, were perhaps more
a warning about the web I was building falling in love with "the friend I'd
always wanted," I thought... dreamer. The amazing thing about the fling was
how far my world, how alien from hers, forsooth; how lost in fantasy, how unaware
- what a naive naff romantic! (1)
my way to meet Dolores Jacinta de los Angeles for our first tryst after she came
back from her month away - I set off early to walked into town and halfway there
tumbled into a remembrance (2) -
fifty years on fifty years ago - I was twenty one, 1964,
waking early, some
in June, I think, going down to the corner shop across the tiny green
this would be London, West Hampstead - and the newspaper headlines whispered
and then screamed "Military Coup in Brazil".
stunned me! I cried cried for those who would be tortured and killed - remember,
I grew up with "Ted Allan in Spain" - and with the holocaust too, that
was the world, of pain, that never really went away.
to my date with my passionate, fickle, new "friend", I found myself
back in time, 50 years, in that West Hampstead morning, crying
for the tortured
and the dying of Latin America.
I an old man now, in days,
a bleeding heart still
such a sucker for a wished
for a promised friend, I thought, that silver portina, Dolores Jacinta.
I'd planned to write this story for her too as well as Ez, to telling how,
when MAME came and showed us the dot-blots,
those magical Southern dot-blots,
all those snapses synapped into place, a rolling epiphany. My God! Eureka.
is sand on vibrating plates
here's the story for anyone who'll listen
Six: Patterns, falling into place...
MAME came and showed us the dot-blots with the "active" ultradilute
"potencies" coming and going, there in black and white - there they
are: that's how it is.
"biotinylated" (4) dot
blots are not your pumpkins to coaches. Not things of the imagination, of science
fiction. They are here in our hand. They are how the world works. They are for
tumbling into place
with: what goes in and out of focus like that? Why some dilution/potencies
(5) active and other not? It's like
harmonics; like overlaying harmonics...
vibrations, if you add the "first harmonic" frequencyto a "fundamental"
frequency you have changed the vibration, changed the"frequencies" and
the patterning of the frequencies. When you add the second harmonic
you have changed it again. There is a phenomena that occurs called Poincare's
recurrence (6) where in at some
point, as you add successive iterations, harmonics, the system returns to a state
that closely resembles the starting point of the progression. "Poincare's
recurrence." Ian Stewart has a beautiful illustration of this in his book,
Does God Play Dice: the Mathematics of Chaos.
we take a picture, say a portrait of Poincare, if we take this picture and stretch
it out diagonally, and then fold it back on itself, needless to say, we distort
the original picture. If we take the new distorted
picture and repeat the process, stretch it outand fold it back on itself, soon
the original picture is indistinguishable. Go on repeating the process, stretching
and folding,until there are just these squashed
together diagonal "lines" like an out of kilter T.V. set.(Note that
this process is at once an "iteration" and also is in some part analogous
to the generation of harmonics.)If
we continue with this process we will see something quite remarkable. At the 48th
iteration we will see multiple facsimiles of the original portrait superimposed
on one another, and then at other stages in the process a complete representation
of the original picture returns!
first complete return
is at the 241st iteration. It does. It returns! That's just what the world does
with iterations, it echoes, transforms, and returns.
a transformation is applied repeatedly to a mathematical system, and the system
cannot leave a bounded region, it
must return infinitely often to states near its original state". (7)
So with each iteration, or with each dilution, we change the pattern, the information,
as it is manifested, but at some point it returns! With MAME's DNA the pattern
came back into space/charge congruence with the original pattern at the 18th and
25th "iteration", surely...
a signal in the water, in the filter paper. There is information, and it is interacting
with the world.
At that meeting
in the Bahamas, where Pomeranz met Benveniste and his ultradilute antigens, there
was an Italian Physicist, Del Guidice, who went back to Milan and started to look
at the mathematics and physics of dipole oscillation in water. The result is four
pages of equations unfathomable to a layman published in the most prestigious
of physics journals. (8) It demonstrates
that such oscillations do not consume energy - like the electrons orbiting round
atoms in their electron shells, the oscillating dipoles are energetically neutral
- once a pattern of oscillation is set up in dipoles in water it will continue
to vibrate .. forever. (9) So, it
could be oscillating dipoles: that may be where the patterns form, where they
If you put, say, one
part salt in a hundred parts of water, it seems that the salt will pattern the
water - the dipoles - the water mirrors the salt's "vibration". If we
take this salt water and dissolve it again one part in a hundred in clear water,
and shake it, it again patterns the water, but this time with some harmonic changes.
(Certainly with MAME's DNA we seem to see an electrical patterning that comes
back into register with the original space/charge patterning at, say, sometimes
the 18th dilution.) There's something interesting here. Because the serial dilution
is a dilution procedure, the harmonics are going to include lower frequency multiples,
"subharmonics", of the original signal as well as the more usual higher
Imagine a conjurer's
rope. Take a segment out of that magician's rope - say one foot out of ten - and
hold it taut between your hands, and twang it. Now (by magic) put it back in the
original rope. The note, the vibration, in the small piece will pattern and inform
the longer piece. The longer piece will now carry that information, but it will
also, during the process, generate harmonics, multiples of that original note.
But note, in the dilution process (which the homeopaths have traditionally called
"potentiation") it becomes intuitively apparent that we will be generating
both harmonics and subharmonics of the original pattern.
for a moment, that if we put salt into water it patterns the water. Think of that
pattern, if you would, as a snowflake. (10)
There are millions of different ways to be a snowflake. Then let's think for a
moment about a stringed instrument. When we pluck the string there are only certain
ways in which that string will vibrate. The whole length of the string can vibrate;
or we can get multiples of that frequency (fractions of that wavelength), that
is "harmonics"; or we can have, and will have in practice, an overlay
of the fundamental note and its harmonics. With a musical instrument the fundamental
note and its harmonics are the only vibrations that fit that oscillator. (And
it is the pattern of the harmonics that determine the quality, the tone, of an
instrument.) These are the only patterns we will commonly find in our plucked
string. Only the tones that resonate appear. Nothing else is stable in these systems.
(snowflakes are different from harmonics. They are generated
by laws of symmetry, hexagonal symmetries)
to our pattern in water, our snowflake, or salt "pattern", or DNA "pattern"
in water: there are only certain ways the water vibrations can be set up as a
stable pattern. What's vibrating? For now, let's assume it's ionic dipoles. In
standing waves. Setting up patterns, like snowflakes. And there are, in all probability,
an infinite number of ways, of patterns, that the oscillating dipoles can take,
but there are infinitely more patterns that aren't stable. So there are an infinite
number of ways in which the water can resonate, like snowflakes, and an infinitely
greater number of patterns which don't resonate, and this is what gives the patterns
their permanence, stability. Between one resonant pattern and the next nearest
stable resonant pattern there are infinite ways of vibrating that are not resonant,
that decay. It's like the energy hills and troughs that are used as an analogy
to explain the stability of electron shells (and of molecules for that matter).
Now in that analogy it is the very law of conservation of energy that keeps the
electrons in their orbit. With homeopathy the mechanism is a little different.
In so far as the water (dipoles) fall away from the pattern, they fall into chaos
and the pattern dissipates, and no doubt this happens. But meanwhile, through
resonance (through a process akin to "entrainment" and "driving")
the system is capturing new energy that will amplify the already established patterns.
We need to talk a moment
about the general properties of vibrations. Vibrations do many wonderful things:
they "resonate", they can "amplify" or "drive",
and they "entrain". We've talked about resonance. There are just certain
ways in which anything (a violin, a bottle) will vibrate, and if the energies
impinging on that object match (to a certain degree) those patterns, they will
drive those patterns, and the object will vibrate in sympathy with that driving
force, or "resonate". This resonance allows, in certain situations,
for amplification of the signal. (11)
Pomeranz lab next day I found the Physicist (12)
talking with Bruce, saying that what puzzled him, and boggled most physicists
who gave it any thought, was the fact that homeopathic remedies seemed to defy
the law of conservation of energy. (13)
You see the remedies last for years and years (there are some of Herring's remedies
from early in the 19th century, still around, and still apparently "potent")
and yet the remedies seem to radiate. (14)
Homeopathy seems, at first sight, to demand a whole new physics. At second thought,
though, perhaps it just demands a little mental agility, a little flexibility,
to see what is happening here.
to the Physicist's question, why don't homeopathic remedies dissipate there energies?
They do! But meanwhile they're capturing and structuring energies. The remedy
sits there on the shelf, radiating its signal: however in the meantime it is catching
and interacting with the seismic vibrations, and other energies, that are incident
upon it, and where these incident vibrations resonate with the remedy, they drive
it, they energise and amplify it. Constantly. Though when you are doing the dilutions,
generating the potencies, you "succuss" the remedy (15)
throwing a large amount of "white noise" (as it were) through the remedy
(to amplify it).
It is part of the traditional
homeopathic wisdom that the higher potencies, the higher dilutions, are stronger
and deeper acting than the lower potencies: that the mother tincture and the low
potencies act superficially, at a surface level, at skin level, and at the physical
level, while the high potencies act deeper and begin to effect emotions, thoughts,
personality - and they are also, the high potencies, much stronger. (If I were
going to treat you, say, with salt, sodium chloride (16).
Now why would I treat you with Nat mur. Nat mur is one of the polycrests, which
is to say it has power over an extremely broad range of symptoms, and with Nat
mur, for sure, I would be guided in large part by personality and etiology (causation).
Nat mur is seen in problems caused by grief, by feeling victimisedor betrayed;
and where the person internalises. With that internalizing there's a holding and
a withholding. The person is likely to brood. "Attachment" is a key
word with nat. mur, and yet they don't like to be consoled.
will tend to irritate them. The substance, salt, will cause (this pattern, this
disposition) these problems, and it will also cure them. That's why we call this
type of medicine homeopathy: we treat like with like. This thought, that "like
cures like", was Hahnemann's great "law": "Similia Similibus
Curentur". Now this, to me, is not intuitively apparent. But it is a piece
of empiricism that was first recorded by Hippocrates, was reiterated by Paracelsus,
and explored and developed into a fine art and science by Hahnemann at the end
of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. Hahnemann experimented
on himself. His first experiment was to take quinine. Quinine gave him ague-like
We come across this homeopathic
"hair of the dog..." in other places. Not in immunization! That's a
hair of different dog, an essentially different process. (17)
No, the two echoes of homeopathy I know of are Clinical Ecology (18)
similar of homeopathy is seen in something called "hormesis". The journal
Health Physics devoted a whole issue in 1987 to reporting on a conference on hormesis.
"Hormesis may be characterized as a process whereby low doses of an otherwise
harmful agent could result in stimulatory or beneficial effects. The phenomenon
of hormesis is commonly found in nature in biological response to harmful chemical
and physical agents" (19).
"A biological, physiological or biochemical response to a drug at a low dose
may be completely opposite to that response when a larger dose is administered.
Hormesis is often used to denote the beneficial response of an organism to a low
dose of a physical or chemical agent and a detrimental response to a much higher
dose. ... Examples ... can be found among these agents: alcoholic beverages, anaesthetic
gases, barbiturates, some tranquillisers, many vitamins, caffeine, nicotine, salicylates,
enzyme induces and some toxic metals" (20).
It is also seen with radiation. It seems then that this idea, that at some potency,
dilutions will antedote, is a well established (if little known) principle.
the days after MAME visited us with their dot blots, I had the thought: for a
homeopath it isn't crucial to give the 18th or the 25th. Any potency will do!
(21) The homeopath does not have
to hit on the "active dilution" (18th or 25th dilution of MAME's DNA
for instance). However, if only certain potencies match "reality" (manifest
congruence with the original spatial distribution of charges), then the body must
itself might be ringing through these changes - the body somehow fascilitating
these information processings, these permutations that we see with the iterative
successive dilutions. I think it was this that sparked "the great thought",
that the body itself is ringing these changes! Where? What tissue? A penny tumbled
and I thought, ah
but we'll come to that latter. Again, everything tumbling
into place, and I had the answer to just about everything. I was brimming over
with excitement. "What's got in to you?" my wife asked. I told her this
story, bubbling over, and finishing triumphantly how it was "The answer to
"Says you," says she. (22)
My "great thought" sent me running to the library to look up texts
on crystals, and that in turn had me thumbing through a book that caught my eye
on magnetic glass. (23) The interesting
thing about amorphous liquids, said the authors, is not their chaos and their
randomness, but rather how closely in their behaviour they resemble crystals,
and display order. In "non-crystalline materials... so many properties differ
hardly at all from those of crystals". Give water half a chance and it will
carry a message, and this message may be the key to our understanding the further
ordering of the world, and the mind
my visit to the library, when I ventured into Pomeranz lab still aglow with the
power of my new insight, I found the Professor and our colleague, "The Physicist",
engrossed in trying to remember the details of MAME's "hybrid" (target
and probe) ultradilution experiment.
had this great thought," I said.
did they divide the virus into complementary strands," asked The Physicist.
So Jonathan (a postgraduate student in our lab) and I explained the experiment.
(24) And then I asked if they'd
like to hear my great idea. "Write it down," said The Physicist.
"You're sure you don't want to
"No. Write it
up. I'll read it," said the Physicist.
a minute," said Professor Pomeranz. "He might be on to something. No
one will listen to him!"
do you want to hear?"
not now," said the Professor. "Write it down."
Who am I writing this for? Not for Jacinta. Not ne more. And will Ezra even read
If I might be the only reader!
It still needs to be interesting, fun and informative. But if it's just for me,
it should also be therapy!
the matter?" my mother once whined when, an adult, I came back to the house,
just having left
The problem is loneliness, that hunger and need, but that's
not remarkable - a common place -
and it's as stupid as people trying to walk
making the same wrong move again and again
that's my problem...
problem is I'm negative
the world though is horrible
that's my problem
problem is I'm irritable
that's my problem
there's irritable weather
my schoolyard door
cobbled streets I've stood on
with a hungry belly
to cope with appetite
watching it strangle and rape
some little Sharon Morningside
worrying that worrying
is part of my problem
come down on poisons
that's my problem
I don't know where I'm going
I'd like to see Jerusalem
has angels who avenge with fire
that's our problem