Jellyfish, by François Krige (1913-1994)
The experience of water
Since Ancient Egypt, water has been seen as part physical and part spiritual, or else as somehow energetic. Even today, there are many who believe that water’s mysterious dimension allows it to carry information and medicinal potency. Homeopathy, for example, is based on the idea that water can ‘remember’ the pattern of a curative substance that was once dissolved in it.
Cranial osteopathy regards the body as being connected mechanically, biochemically and energetically through water bound to collagen in the connective tissues that permeate and structure the whole body. Osteopathic treatment is said to flip this water from a structured gel state to a fluid sol state, where curative adjustments can be made, using a mysterious potency which practitioners call the Breath of Life.
Classical acupuncture calls this same energy Qi, which is also used in many other ways through diverse disciplines, including Taiqi, Reiki and Qigong.
All these uses of water and its unknown energies seem to be real and effective at some level, but the nature of the energy involved and the precise mechanism of its action are poorly understood, and are often even unrecognised by scientists.
Our problem is a lack both of instruments, other than living organisms themselves, to detect and measure Qi, and a theory to relate it to everything else we know. Meanwhile, water flows on, laden with potentials and mysteries, if only we knew what it was and how it worked. We know that there is some kind of extra feature of water, since dowsing for it works, but no one understands dowsing either.
Whether this extra dimension is a function of the shifting balance of electrostatic charge amongst different combinations of water molecules under different conditions, or is pure Qi, it is clear that there is indeed something extraordinary about water, awaiting only genius to explain.
But what is this human species that has such strange ideas? Perhaps we can shed some light on our experience of water, and our relationship with it, by looking further at our evolutionary history. For one thing’s certain, which is that our entire life as a species, and the lives of all our ancestors back to furthest reaches of evolutionary time, have been spent in intimate contact with water: needing it, seeking it, using it, reacting to it.
And this must have left its mark.
Read on: Ocean water.