Reflections on Goodwill and the Water Crisis
In a time of urgency Water begins to speak, demanding attention. In certain areas (India and Bangladesh, arid regions of USA, Mexico City) there is an apparently inevitable momentum towards a “slow motion car crash”.1 Water tables and ancient aquifers that have taken millions of years to build up are being drained to exhaustion. The overwhelming prevalence of short term thinking in government, business and agriculture, fueled by the continuing hold of the sense of separateness, acts as a veil, limiting our ability to respond to impending water scarcities.
In the midst of this urgent scenario Water itself becomes our Teacher. Water calls us to cooperation (genuine authentic cooperation), requiring the development of a new sensitivity to the flow of life through the apparently separated world of cells, people, and communities of people, animals and plants. Can we imagine ourselves as a species beginning to hear this call– and in the process valuing and respecting Water for itself – to such an extent that government, business, agriculture and urban planning make the conservation and wise management of water use an urgent priority? Above all, may we be touched by the intrinsic beauty of the element Water – and see this beauty through the eyes of science as well through the eyes of the poet, artist and naturalist?
Sixteen years ago World Goodwill published a Newsletter By the Grace of Water. The times were urgent then; problems of water scarcity and pollution were bad and getting worse. We reported on the problems, on initiatives to address the problems, and on new understandings of the relationship with fluid, life-giving water. It was a story of impending crisis and also of hope.
So what of our relations with the element Water now, in 2013? How have we, as a species, and as communities and nations, worked with the energy of goodwill in responding to problems that were clearly serious in 1997, and on a trajectory to grow exponentially?
The problem of the human relation with water, in this second decade of the twenty-first century, is that as a species the intensity of our demand for water has interrupted the hydrological cycle. Farming, especially intensive agriculture, makes up about 70% of the global withdrawal of freshwater – as much as 90% of all freshwater used in some countries. Yet, because of population growth, urbanization, and economic development, food demand is expected to increase by as much as 50% by 2030 and the staggering figure of 70% by 2050. So much creativity, investment and vision is focused on meeting the water needs for a rapidly growing human population demanding economic growth and agricultural expansion, and struggling to meet basic sanitation levels for all. In comparison, very little energy goes into planning for the conservation and sustainable use of precious water reserves, regulating market forces, and designing laws, treaties and structures to ensure that the human right to water, now and in the future, can be ensured. There is a need to part the veil in our thinking that inhibits the ability to respond to the water crisis, and to act on our conscience, allowing goodwill to guide thinking and planning.
Goodwill is a natural and simple quality of will and of heart widely (but certainly not always) present in the lives of people, communities, and professions – quite different from sentimental ideas of ‘socially correct’ behavior. It is so fundamental a part of human nature that it is often undervalued, and because of this we may not see the role it plays at different levels of sophistication, focus and livingness. In order to see the presence of goodwill we need to seek it out, to exercise the imagination, to develop a loving eye as we look at the dynamic of relationships around an issue like water – noticing natural concern for the good of the whole and a persistent will to awaken communities to a potential for a new, living relationship with water.
New discoveries about the nature of water reveal that not only is water speaking to us, but it is also listening to us, in the sense that our very thoughts and desires impress themselves on this circulating, planetary bloodstream. The Japanese scientist and author, Masaru Emoto, has shown the effect of human thoughts and emotions on water’s geometrical structure. Dr Emoto exposed water in glasses to different words, pictures, or music, and then froze the water and examined the aesthetics of the resulting water crystals with microscopic photography. Amazingly, he found that the geometry of the water crystals were beautiful or ugly depending upon whether the words or thoughts were positive or negative.
Some scientific understanding of these intriguing properties of water seems to be forthcoming via Gerald Pollack’s research team at the University of Washington. The team have discovered that at its surface, water is a gel-like structure, not just a couple of molecular layers thick, but something far more extensive in the order of two or three million layers. This structured water is a viscous substance that carries negative electric charge – in fact it assumes the quality of a liquid crystal semi-conductor. This helps to explain the transfer of information by electromagnetic fields such as light, onto the surface of water. And there is no reason why a more subtle correspondence of this process shouldn’t also occur in relation to human thought and emotion in line with Dr. Emoto’s discoveries.
The findings of these two scientists correspond perfectly with the spiritual principle, “energy follows and conforms itself to thought” and serve as a reminder of the responsibility we each have for our own thinking within the context of the whole. As human beings, we communicate with water through our thoughts and feelings. Spiritual thinkers of both East and West have long postulated a subtler energy field underlying the dense physical, called by some the universal fluid, and by others, the ether. If this is so, what effect must our thoughts have on the ether, water’s more subtle counterpart, and what effect can the energy of goodwill have upon it? We may say that goodwill circulating through the ethers stimulates the natural tendency of the human to be sensitive to goodness, beauty and truth. Veils of illusion (inherited, habitual ways of thinking) that hide the real, shielding us from this natural sensitivity to the conscience of what might be called the soul, and a sense of the sacred, then fall away.
So may we listen to the call of Water as individuals, all the time imagining others listening with us and visualizing a wave of sensitivity to the call flowing through the wide field of human consciousness as a whole? As we begin to see the network of focused goodwill clearly, we can nurture this network by consciously holding it in the light, and by finding appropriate ways where we can actively support it in the world.
Here are some resources and further suggestions:
>> For an overview of the crisis facing humanity as a result of the ever-increasing intensity of our demand for freshwater and for news of our response to that crisis there are a wide range of books – see, for example, (http://www.amazon.com/Global-Water-Crisis-Books/lm/R25CZZZJYYKB86) . Especially recommended: Maggie Black & Janet King, The Atlas of Water : Mapping the World’s Most Critical Resource (2009); Sandra Postel & Brian Richter, Rivers for Life (2003); Maude Barlow, Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water (2008). See also the recent article by Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute on Peak Water (http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/jul/06/water-supplies-shrinking-threat-to-food)
>> For a global perspective on the problem and goodwill initiatives seeking to resolve the problem we recommend the UN Water website. (www.UNwater.org). This year, 2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation (http://www.unwater.org/water-cooperation-2013/en/), focusing on the need for cooperation between stake holders, communities and nations in conserving water. See also the huge diversity of web sites of civil society networks responding to the water crisis – there is a good initial listing at: http://greatist.com/health/27-water-crisis-orgs-follow-right-now ; See also the list at: http://www.ecoiq.com/onlineresources/center/water/ngos.html ; and http://waterfortheages.org/international-water-organizations/ One site of interest because it represents alternative civil society approaches to the water crisis is http://www.blueplanetproject.net/
>> Beyond this exploration of the water crisis and humanity’s response to that crisis, there is a deeper story about a radical new understanding of the element of water, noticing its subtle qualities and the energies released by water. A group of leading scientists, notably geneticist and biologist Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and bioengineering professor at the University of Washington, Dr Gerald Pollack, have pioneered new developments in understanding the physics and chemistry of water.
Mae-Wan Ho writes of this new emerging science of water as fundamental to our understanding of life. It is the means, media and message of life. She describes water as the rainbow within that mirrors the one in the sky. While water is central to an understanding of cell biology and biochemistry nearly everything we have learned about water has been left out of the conventional account of these sciences. Her recent book, Living Rainbow H20(2012)
synthesizes the latest findings in the quantum physics and chemistry of water and explores such subjects as homeopathy and the memory of water, water and electricity, and the new age of alchemy in water. Mae-Wan Ho has also been a painter for over 40 years and her vision is to integrate sciences, arts and the humanities in a coherent way. She is responsible for a hugely popular annual arts/science/music festival in Southwark, London, UK centered on the element of water: Colours of Water. More
Prof. Pollack has devoted much of his life to the study of the structure of water molecules, particularly the edges of the molecule and the spaces between, where water molecules interact. His researches reveal different states of water, ‘ordered water’ and ‘bulk water’, with differing electrical charges, and he proposes that observations he has made in the laboratory are foundational for all science involving water and light. This would include not only physics but also biology, medicine and even cosmology. Many of the recently revealed properties of water are powered and sustained by light, i.e. Sunlight or other forms or electromagnetic radiation.
The excellent 146 page journal, beautifully illustrated, Science to Sage: Water Revolution (December 2012)http://sciencetosagemagazine.com/?p=955 provides a good introduction to different perspectives on the new understanding of water.
>> Water has been honored in all the great mythic and religious traditions as an expression of the sacred, and as an element carrying hidden meaning and significance. With this in mind NGOs in Darjeeling, India observed the United Nations World Environment Day on June 5 this year with an event at the Darjeeling Goodwill Centre focused on the still widespread popular view of sacred, clean and pure water sources, Chokho Pani, in rural village communities. Resolution of problems of water shortage and wasted water as well as waste disposal and environmental issues in the municipality of Darjeeling require that this ancient sensitivity to Chokho Pani be nurtured and re-awakened. More at https://www.facebook.com/darjeelinggoodwill.centre ;
Though not recognised by mainstream science, you can say that, in some sense, living water performs this intercommunicating function between all organisms, groups of organisms, populations, natural kingdoms and the world, creating a network of sensitivity throughout all of life, even between life on Earth and the Cosmos, so that nothing can happen without affecting other processes; all are linked together by water. It may even drive evolution. Alick Bartholomew (in Science to Sage : Water Revolution, p. 23)