Vitamins and Etheric Formative Forces
  

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By: Guenther Wachsmuth, Ph.D.

It was the study of agriculture that first led me to examine the problems connected with vitamins, but it soon be­came clear that these problems are also of profound concern to medicine.

What do we really know about vita­mins? We cannot begin to answer this question unless we understand that one of the most important steps in modern science has been the tendency to look at forces rather than at matter or materials. We cannot review atomic theory here, but we must be aware of the revolutions caused by the discovery of radioactive phenomena. It was thought at first that radiation occurred only in a few miner­als, but gradually it was perceived that there was radiation almost everywhere - in soil, rainwater, air, snow, plants, ani­mals, humans. Many years ago, in a book on radioactivity, Meyer & Schweidler wrote, "We should perhaps remember that the human organism continually takes in +/- electrons from the environ­ment, then gives them out again under the influence of light and heat. In the near future we may be able to speak of a +/-electronic circulation from the environ­ment into humans and back out again, with effects on life that we have no in­kling of now."

Since then we have learned that the effects of various rays on (and from) liv­ing organisms are much more intense than was dreamed of earlier. Experiments with vitamins have shown that organisms not only react strongly to such rays (ra­dioactive, ultraviolet, plain light, etc.) but can also store them and give them out again.

The most important stages in pre­vailing scientific attitudes were more or less as follows: At the end of the 1800’s and the beginning of the 20th century, Liebig reigned supreme, and the chemical as­pects of matter were regarded as deci­sive. All organisms and nutrients were seen as combinations of various chemi­cal elements. If any chemical "building-stone" was missing, it could be replaced; from which came the chemical fertilizer industry that is now so dominant in agri­culture.

Then there was a period that could be called the bacteriological era, when the emphasis was on the good and evil wrought by bacteria. Bacterial cultures of all kinds were made and at the same time milk was sterilized at high tempera­tures to kill off bacteria. Soon it was per­ceived, however, that this also killed most of the nutritional value.

On the assumption that the nourish­ment of plants depends entirely on their chemical composition and that these chemicals could be produced syntheti­cally, Bunge experimented with feeding "artificial food" to mice. The results were described by Weitzel 1, "The animals de­clined when fed purified albumen, fat, lactose, and salts, whereas they flour­ished when given milk." Weitzel contin­ues, "A gap was appearing. At first no one could explain why a theoretically adequate collection of purified nutrients supposedly containing everything needed for life, did not suffice to keep the ani­mals healthy. Observation showed that young animals were inhibited in their growth, while adults suffered deficien­cies, loss of weight, and death without any apparent cause."

The plain fact was that when the pre­vailing scientific theories were taken se­riously and converted into actual prac­tice, the animals died. The missing 'something', which was unknown but simply had to be contained somewhere in the plants, was now thought to reside in the "vitamins." This is why they play such a large role in modern thinking about nutrition and agriculture. We must repeat that nobody really knows anything about what vitamins really are. They are a name for something unknown. Weitzel says this clearly, "Scientists were search­ing for a definite chemical body, whereas the word vitamin is now used for a con­cert of harmoniously cooperating sub­stances. The substances have not yet been isolated far enough to determine their chemical and physical properties."

We will not go further into modern vitamin theories here. Our own position has for decades been that the missing factors do not have a chemical constitu­ency. They depend on the reciprocal ac­tion of the living formative forces (life-principle) both of the person taking in food and plant that makes up the food.

The latest research confirms that the mysterious factors, whose presence leads to health and whose absence is fatal, are not of a chemical nature. They are forces. Let us give some examples.

The puzzling effect of vitamins can be replaced by light. Conversely, where there is little or no light, vitamins can replace it. Weitzel says: " 'The inhabit­ants of polar regions have a diet rich in Vitamin A. This compensates for the lack of sunlight. In areas where there is plenty of sunlight, the diet can be poor in vita­mins without any symptoms of rickets showing up. Here the light has taken over the necessary function. We have already shown that animals exposed to light can flourish on a vitamin poor diet. Never­theless it sounds like a fairy tale when scientists report that non-light irradiated animals, when put in the same cage with those exposed to light, also escaped dis­ease. We have to conclude that rays are the most efficacious principle which one animal can transmit to another."

Astonishingly, it has also been ex­perimentally demonstrated, that plant and animal products can preserve light radia­tion effects. Weitzel says, "Milk, eggs, and many other foods can be used as car­riers of these light rays. Exposing olive oil to radiation for half an hour produced effects that were still noticeable when the oil had been stored in closed bottles in a dark place for eleven months." Hess, Kugelmass, and Steenbock were driven to the remarkable conclusion (fully com­patible with the life-principle) that "vi­tamins" originate in radiation phenom­ena.

We could cite many more examples to show that the latest research corrobo­rates what Rudolf Steiner said decades ago about the forces dwelling in all liv­ing things. He called them the "etheric formative forces" and demonstrated that they operate in countless phenomena. In my book Etheric Formative Forces in Cosmos, Earth and Man I tried to show how this idea can be applied in many fields. In the phenomena connected with vitamins, however the experimental re­sults are so close to the findings of spiri­tual science that the fields can supple­ment and clarify each other.

1. Die Neuentdecken Naehrstoff-vitamine Munich, Verlag der aerztlichen Rundschau

 





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