NB: This is part of a series on Romantic Healthcare, setting out the foundational ideas of a system of healthcare based on vital nature and vital science. Each can be read independently, though it is recommended to read the introductory article, 'What If You Gave a Revolution and No One Came', first. Some articles refer to previous ones, so this can guide you to go and read these as well, either before or after the article you are on.
No time for dawdling. It’s on to leg #3 of the ‘Road to Wellville’. You can be forgiven, however if by this point you may well be feeling a bit low on energy. Energy. The world runs on energy. You run on energy. Without sufficient energy you’ll never get to ‘Wellvile’. Energy is the name of the game.
Your physical material body is the vehicle that you (as a soul-spiritual being) use to navigate through life on Planet Earth. On its own, however, it is just a dead weight. It needs vital energy to move. A corpse doesn’t move. What’s the difference between you and a corpse? Vital energy.
Remember from our earlier article, What is Life?, biological life is a dynamic state wherein the potential for life (vital principle) is activated. The process of turning on this potential, the capacity to be excited (and incited), via excitants (and incitants), to produce excitation (and incitation), that is, vital energy, is called metabolism. It is metabolism that makes ‘the wheels on the bus go round and round’.
Metabolism is the product of the dynamic interaction between physiological functions and mineralogical automatisms.
The living functions that make up physiology serve as homeostatic controls that keep metabolic operations within a pre-set optimal range. When the metabolic engine is operating optimally, it produces optimal vital energy. Certain of these antithetical functions are fundamental and ‘drive’ the other functions. The most fundamental or master function relates to the autonomic system (prior even to the autonomic nervous system), which contains and expresses the life function of living energy, orgone (OR). Wilhelm Reich, the great pioneer of the autonomic system, summarized this simply but profoundly.
At the other pole, we find mineral automatisms, that is, complex and dynamic interactions of minerals that are the foundation and drivers for nutrient utilization.
This whole dynamic process has never been better expressed than by a scientist over 200 years ago, Christoph Hufeland, who laid down the foundational framework for Romantic Healthcare. It is a lengthy quote but well worth reading (translation from the original German, courtesy of Steven Decker).
We must go back to the essential concept of life. The Living-Economy is a compounded process. Material substances of all sorts are set into a quite particular relationship thereby, such that they enter into new combinations that are not to be found in inert nature and build altogether new products never seen before in inert nature. They express powers, that in inert nature are completely unknown, and that we therefore call living-powers [Lebenskräfte]. The cause of how these substances acquired this peculiar character is attributable to just these living-powers. Light is thereby shed on the fact that what is elementally dynamic about the living-economy is a continuous circle with continuous reciprocal interactions where matter and energy are unceasingly determining one another. It is therefore impossible to separate them or to determine which of the two takes precedence over the other in determining the existence of the other, since nature herself is behind this continuous circle and constitutes the dynamic essence of the living-economy caught up in this endless reciprocating interaction. We want to return to the original source of all life, to the process wherein the first spark of this wondrous flame is lit, to its genesis. We see that the concurrence of certain substances, and under certain circumstances is always pre-requisite whenever life-activity has to arise in them. But we also see that this specific concurrence of substances is only made possible by the pre-existence of Life to begin with. And just what is the whole process of Life other than a continuous generation, an endless mixture of death and re-creation? Every moment demands new in-streamings of material substance to flow into us from without if life is to persist, but these substances must maintain the specific character and connectedness of organic life if they are to enable the living-economy, and this metabolic conversion [transubstantiation] is only made possible in and through the already present living-power [Lebenskraft].
We can thus distinguish two relationships in the idea of the living-economy, the material forces (substances, their chemical-mechanical forces, their form and structure, all relations that are unique to them as [living] matter), and the dynamic (all forces, manifestations and actions, that are endogenous in the living body as such, most notably the stimulus-response relationship).
Both physiology and mineralogy are dynamic, as the dynamic is itself an antithetical unity of kinetic and static forces.
Physiology consists of functional polarities. The primary one is between the generative power and the sustentive power of the vital principle.
The generative power is involved in cell division, sexual reproduction, cognition and the like. It provides the master function. The generative power consists of an antithetical unity as well, between the (downing) forces of cellular climactic reproduction and the (upping) forces of radial restoration, or between material procreative and noetic (mind) creative forces.
The sustentive power maintains and sustains vital operations through a series of polaric sub-functions, which we could say are the drivers of all physiological, that is, vital functions.
There are certain functional pairs that are more important than others, such as acid/alkaline (pH), aerobic/anaerobic (oxidation), and sympathetic/parasympathetic (autonomic balance) and make up the fundamental homeostatic regulators that effectively drive the bus, that is, all the other functions. And all these functions are derived from the master function - the autonomic system.
The chemical side has drivers as well, responsible for the optimal levels and ratios of nutrients (vitamins, enzymes, co-factors). These drivers are the minerals; not individually, but operating as a dynamic system. This mineral system is an integral biome that interacts dynamically through various ratios, levels and patterns. If you can get the mineral biology right, you can then get the other nutrients right.
So, we have two drivers, much like the old hook and ladder fire trucks that were so long they needed a driver front and back to navigate the city streets properly.
While metabolism itself is very complex, by working on the metabolic drivers, the key players in the game of life, we have the ‘keys to the kingdom’ - ‘life and life more abundantly’.
So, vital energy and knowing how it is generated is a big deal. Our level of energy affects us physically and psychologically. As a key scientist in the study of metabolic operations and nutriments, Dr. Paul Eck, put it,
Energy is the source of your physical and mental power…
Energy maintains your body, because all repair processes require energy. Even the conversion of food into energy requires energy. The less [mitochondrial] energy you have, the less you can produce.
Energy is the basis for all talents…It creates enthusiasm…Energy gives people confidence…Energy causes people to feel inspired. Energy causes people to become aware of their potential.
…Without sufficient energy, people can’t express their feelings. Often, they are not even aware of what their feelings are. Without sufficient energy, dreams [desires] remain dreams.
It is the [optimal] energy people who [fully express] what they think and feel. It is the [sub-optimal] energy people who keep things to themselves [or blurt things out]. [Optimal] energy people are assertive, [sub-optimal] energy people are defensive [or aggressive by turns]. [Optimal] energy people accomplish things [their desires], [sub-optimal] people just talk about them [or are unproductively busy].
Health is optimal energy and optimal strength (eusthenia, from the Greek). Optimal energy allows us to interact with the world around us, to be creative, not just to survive. Optimal energy is like Baby Bear’s porridge, not too hot and not too cold. Too little energy and we are tired, withdrawn and sluggish. But you can also have ‘too much of a good thing’. More energy than we can handle (because of some blockage of the master function) makes us over-excited, irritable and tense. Too much or too little energy both result in weakness (hypersthenia or hyposthenia).
Continued less than optimal energy production leads to a chronic state of energy shortage called fatigue or burn-out. ‘Living life to the fullest’ becomes ‘existing to survive’ as your body starts shutting down all but essential activities. This makes you weak physically, and also affects you psychologically - you become irritable, easily offended, over-sensitive, anti-social, with little interest in sex. The initial stage of burn-out is masked as it is a hyper-active state. This is the organism’s defense against fatigue, seeking to break out of the trap of reduced energy production. In this state, you find yourself attracted to various stimulants that are not resonant and ultimately act as irritants - alcohol, drugs, overly spicy food, frequent changes in activities and relationships, obsessive exercising - generally a fast-paced life-style.
This initial hyperactive state is not sustainable, however, and eventually the body and mind collapse and you lapse into burn-out, or as it is often labelled, chronic fatigue syndrome, (CFS) or more fancily, ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis). The fancy labels just state the obvious: you have insufficient energy to carry out basic daily activities.
We hear a lot about the energy crisis in the world economy, but the bigger crisis is in the individual bio-economy. Without optimal energy production, we can’t get there from here.