To sustain a state of optimal health, we all must regularly fuel ourselves with the right nutrients. Some claim that the source of the nutrients doesn’t matter, just the nutrients themselves. In this chapter published on Reality Sandwich (Evolver’s web magazine) from the book A Curious History of Vegetables: Aphrodisiacal and Healing Properties, Folk Tales, Garden Tips, and Recipes, anthropologist Wolf D. Storl questions whether this “mechanistic view” is “adequate explanation for the function and nature of living organisms.”
As he later points out, “Each plant species has its own characteristic vibrations that are transmitted to the person who eats them.”
via Reality Sandwich:
Just as cars need to be fueled, occasionally lubricated, and filled with antifreeze in the winter, the human being has to keep his or her bio machine regularly furnished with the right fuel. Despite general awareness regarding mass-produced “junk food,” some still claim that it does not matter whether the energy sources (carbohydrates and fats), bodybuilders (proteins) and supplements (vitamins and minerals) come from a fast-food hut, a gourmet restaurant, or an expensive natural health food store—claiming that all that matters is that all necessary nutritional building blocks are present in a balanced meal. According to this mechanistic view—which is, incidentally, still taught in the schools—the main nutritional focus is on the basic ingredients. Such a mechanistic view might work very well for machines, but is it an adequate explanation for the function and nature of living organisms?
A fundamental truth is forgotten in the flood of detailed information, in the elaborate charts showing nutritional values expressed in complicated weights and numbers, and in the often contradictory recommendations of experts. That truth: the food that gives life to animals and people consists of plant substance or, more specifically, of the energy of sunlight that plants absorb with the help of light-sensitive chlorophyll. Green leaves can be described as literal “light traps.” The sun’s radiant power enables plants to split the carbon dioxide that animals, microorganisms, and fungi exhale into its constituent elements: oxygen (O2) and carbon (C); and then to combine the carbon with water in order to synthesize it into energy-laden glucose, which is the basis of all organic molecules and the very foundation of all nourishment. By this process an estimated 200 billion tons of biomass are created yearly in the biosphere of our planet.
Aristotle and other ancient Greek philosophers spoke about primal matter as dark, amorphous ur-substance, as Chaos. By contrast, they defined Cosmos as the orderly, formative power of the heavens. When the instreaming cosmic light permeates Chaos, matter is shaped, formed, and harmonized, and becomes animated and alive.By the above definition we can understand the role vegetation plays in the drama of creation. Plants are intermediaries. They mediate between heavenly Cosmos and material Chaos. They capture the energy of cosmic light, and use it to vitalize, inform, and animate raw, “nonliving” earthly matter consisting of the primordial elements fire, air, water, and earth. These vitalized elements, in turn, can serve as nourishment for all other living beings. (The harmonizing structuring influence of sunlight on living things can be seen, for example, when we observe how potatoes sprout in dark cellars: pale, deformed, and without direction, they twine about until they happen upon a beam of light coming through a crack; then suddenly the sprouts turn green, straighten up, and begin to grow in an orderly way.)
Read the full chapter over at Reality Sandwich.