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If you plant a Mango seed in Alaska, it will not grow

If you take a Northern Spruce

and plant in in the Amazon rainforest

it will not grow either

There is the factor of the SEED

but there is also the 

SOIL or environment

Both are factors

Both are necessary for life


The positive intention and biological drive of a Mango

simply will not live in Alaska

The positive intention and biological drive of an Alaskan Spruce

simply will not live in the Amazon


Just so

the positive intention thoughts and visualizations

of an individual

are not necessarily sufficient to change

the outcome of even the best planned or executed enterprise


It is not that we mustn't try our very best

it is only that trying our very best

we still may fail

We are at the mercy of so much


There are terrible, huge and mighty forces at work in the universe

a universe filled with endless billions of other beings

uncountable billions of galaxies

a universe without

any end

at all

How can we possibly

have our way in all of it?


we are like fish in the deep sea

unaware of the great drag nets of other forces and intentions

which even now

are sweeping through our small world



we do not have a fate


as the ancients in all cultures saw it

the fates have us




The Debate of the Seed or the Soil

By: Peter Malakoff
Published in Point Reyes Light, 6/24/10

For much of the nineteenth century, a great debate took place between two famous Frenchmen: the debate of the seed and the soil. On one side was Louis Pasteur, chemist and microbiologist. His opponent, who had worked with Pasteur on the first experiments in pasteurization, was also a friend. His name was Claude Bernard, widely recognized today as the “father of Physiology.” Pasteur held that the cause of disease was the microbe, the germ or the “seed.” Bernard said that the primary cause of disease was the milieu intérieur, the condition of the environment, the body or the “soil.” Bernard held that without the proper soil, the seed, even if present, will not grow. The debate went on for decades. Finally, on his death bed, Pasteur recanted his point of view, admitting that, “Bernard was right. It is the soil, not the seed.”

In spite of his recantation, much of Western thinking and medical science has followed in the footsteps of Pasteur. The name of Bernard as well as his argument is lost to the common man and his consideration. Today, in Marin and throughout California we can see a dramatic re-enactment of the dynamics of this debate in the phenomenon of Sudden Oak Death (SOD). From Big Sur to Mount Tamalpais, if you look at the forests you will notice many grey and dying trees. Although it mainly shows itself amongst the oak trees, SOD occurs with laurel, maple, manzanita, douglas fir and even redwoods. According to, “Sudden Oak Death SOD may develop into one of the most devastating diseases to hit North American forests.”

 Dr. David Rizzo, a scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, is heading up the fight against SOD. Rizzo says that SOD is caused by a fungus, Phytopthera ramorum, that kills off the trees. Rizzo and his colleagues are currently involved in research to find a treatment to kill the fungus. So far, Rizzo and his team of scientists have been unable to determine how the disease is transmitted. Among other things, he has warned homeowners and hikers to be careful not to spread the disease by washing their shoes, not transporting wood and cleaning their hands after touching the trees. As of this date he says that no cure has been found.

In the last decade, most of the oak trees of Hearst San Simeon showed the

symptoms of SOD. Not willing to accept the inability of mainstream Western science to deal with this disease, they called in Dr. Lee Klinger, an ecologist and scientist who has created a record of outstanding success with SOD all over the state. Klinger proceeded to treat these oaks with minerals, lime, ground up seashells and organic compost placed around the base of each tree to offer nutrients and to kill off the moss. In one year, 80 percent of Hearst Castle’s trees had been saved.

Klinger and his methods are not accepted by the dominant thinking and science of today. According to him, Phytopthera ramorum is not the cause of the disease. The oozing of sap is not the cause of the disease. The beetles that invade the sick trees and “girdle” them are not the cause of disease. All of these are symptoms of poor nutrition.

Klinger says that the cause of SOD is the acidification of the soil around the base of the trees. This acidification is primarily the result of years of fire suppression that allowed moss and lichen to grow and acidify the soil. In addition, the trees have been affected by acid rain and pollution, which further increased the acidity of the soil. The increased acidity reduces the capability of the tree to absorb nutrients. When trees are deficient in nutrients, they are more susceptible to disease.

This is a modern version of the debate of the seed (fungus) and the soil. It is not just theoretical. It is utterly practical, critical and relevant. It makes a huge difference. The dominant paradigm on which the western world is now based has oriented itself to killing the germs or fungus or disease and not attending to the soil which allows these “seeds” to grow or not. This paradigm shows itself in the prevalent treatment methodologies for SOD as well as Western medicine. They both wrongly identify symptoms as cause. Thus, they both seek to remove an effect and do not approach the cause. There is an ancient parable that says that if a tree is sick, do not treat the leaves, treat the root. It holds true in approaching SOD and in any illness occurring in our own bodies. In my next column I will explore this further.



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