|On plagues and pestilences  by Cornelis van Dalen
In the beginning, well, near the beginning, about 1300 BC, it was said…
“For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people…..For I will now stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shall be cut from the earth.” 
The Hebrews gave not too subtle hints of the wrath of God in Biblical times, that “God uses special operations of Nature as elements in the moral discipline of man – a belief which has persisted down to quite modern times. Storms, famine, pestilence, floods, and drought are frequently referred to as used for the punishment of races and nations for evil customs or forgetfulness of God… So completely were the Hebrews saturated with the notion that all physical calamities had moral significance, that nothing untoward could happen without its being associated with some sin or delinquency on the part of mankind.”  But as the commentators conclude, “this belief we can no longer hold….we must now relegate [it] to the region of those beneficent illusions which have played so large a part in the education of the human race.”
In the writings attributed to Hippocrates around 300 BC it is noted with regard to diseases epidemic in a specific place in a given period that uncharacteristic weather coincided with epidemics: ‘There was much rain in Thaos about the time of the autumnal equinox and during the season of the Pleiads. It fell gently and continuously and the wind was from the south.’  We all know that weather and seasonal things affect the health – one ‘catches’ colds in conditions which are inimical, for example, wind from the north or east.
In the 16th century Paracelsus in his vision of Astronomia saw the planets and stars in their particular conjunctions as providing conditions suitable for the manifestation of infectious disease. These consume the patient through their fires; they cause the body to dry up and wither. He wrote: “Hail may destroy the fruits of the earth, evil planetary influences may be attracted by the soul of the earth and cause epidemic diseases, and the spiritual centre in man may be devoid of wisdom, and darkness may rule in its place.”  One must delve deeply into the writings of Paracelsus to fully appreciate this statement.
The bacteria phobia
Today, rightly or wrongly, the idea is that infectious disease, the source of epidemics, arises from man’s proximity to animals. Roy Porter in his delightful account of history of medicine ‘The Greatest Benefit to Mankind’ offers the modern consensual overview: ‘The more humans swarmed over the globe, the more they were colonised by creatures capable of doing harm, including parasites and pathogens… There have also been the micro-organisms like bacteria, viruses and protozoans…All such disease threats have been and remain locked with humans in evolutionary struggles for the survival of the fittest, which have no master plot and grant mankind no privileges.’  This Darwinian view, still very prevalent today, is only a part of the picture; the reality is far different.
The historian further tells us that ‘the worst of human diseases were created by proximity to animals. Cattle provided the pathogen pool with tuberculosis and viral poxes like smallpox. Pigs and ducks gave humans their influenzas, while horses brought rhinoviruses and hence the common cold. Measles, which still kills a million children a year, is the result of rinderpest (canine distemper) jumping between dogs or cattle and humans. Moreover, cats, dogs, ducks, hens, mice, rats and reptiles carry bacteria like Salmonella, leading to often fatal human infections; water polluted with animal faeces also spreads polio, cholera, typhoid, viral hepatitis, whooping cough and diphtheria.’
The mechanical and the predictable
In 18th and particularly the 19th century man saw himself as the master of all life. The mechanical and finite view of life reduced everything to a single cause. Though Edward Jenner, the progenitor of vaccination, (see issue #4 New Physis Newsletter) suggests man is largely to blame: “the deviation of man from the state in which he was originally placed by nature seems to have proved to him a prolific source of disease. From the love of splendour, from the indulgence of luxury, and from his fondness for amusement he has familiarised himself with a great number of animals, which may not originally have been intended for his associates”. 
You may, of course, know what Jenner is referring to, but that is not what the general scientific thinking is regarding the transference of disease causations to the human kingdom from the animal. European man has lived in close proximity with domesticated animals for countless centuries without seemingly negative effects, otherwise the removal of animals from the barn-cum-house would have been deduced as a necessity. Epidemiology, as the knowledge of the cause of diseases, is a recent science (150 years or so), and the proof of bacilli with the development of the microscope dates from about the same time. However, material science’s vision of the world, of germs and viruses, is not a ‘true image of the world around us’.
The solution to modern epidemics is…
In Indonesia recently, a child of 10 years old was deemed to have died from avian flu contracted from poultry. The authorities then gassed twenty thousand birds. Upwards of 100 million animals (poultry and swine) have been slaughtered in the Far East in recent years. The thinking is to halt the spread of avian flu and the ‘inevitable’ contagion for humans.
Is this not a crime against Nature and the animal kingdom? Please note that no one ever discusses the diseases which humans inflict upon animals. This is in part the greater truth, for through the domestication of animals, so-called husbandry, for the purposes of animal products, intensive farming methods create conditions which are ‘the paradise for the fauna and flora’. No one ever questions the closed, dark, dank sheds dairy herds are kept in, and then blame the badger for the rise in TB in cows. A thousand fowl live in similar conditions, filled to the eyeballs with antibiotics and growth hormones, to permit them just enough time to live and then ‘pluck and gut’ mechanically and served to you as breast is best, or nuggets for the kids.
Disease conditions arise in animals kept in close proximity to each other, when and where they cannot act to self-remedy the conditions as it were. Animals naturally seek either to isolate themselves in the case of sickness, or they fast or seek out the foods which instinctively they know will heal them. What mystery is there when they cannot do this?
Animals are innocent of what medical science accuses them of – being the source of diseases from which humans suffer. The media regularly spreads the notion that the next pandemic, which will take 50 million victims, nay 100 million, to the grave, will all start from fowl in Asia and be transmitted throughout the world by migratory birds, which in turn will infect domestic flocks, which in turn will infect humans, who in turn will infect and affect everyone else. We shall all die!
Finding a protein fragment (a virus) in the blood does not mean that is the cause. Read and re-read the article on disease causation (New Physis Newsletter #2). There cannot be a counter-argument using material thinking; we must cast our minds into greater realms.
The seers of old knew that plagues arose for reasons, be it the wrath of the gods or others. Indeed, even modern historians observed epidemics occur after tragic human conflict. After war then came disease. For example – influenza: WWI; cholera: Crimean war; typhus 30 years war (1618-48); polio: WWII. Historians tell of the Black Death of the 14th and 15th century bringing new social conditions for people in Europe. This indeed was a time for the new.
Fear and Pestilence – The Grim Reaper
The media is giving utmost exposure to the thinking of the world health authorities that an influenza pandemic, based on avian viruses, is ready to strike at the health of millions. This, of course, is conjecture and perhaps some of the most irrelevant and irreverent hypothesising. This hypothesising may be considered brilliant by scientific standards as is the hypothesising concerning ‘global warming’ of climate change. It may or may not be true, in part or in whole but human beings are being unconsciously guided by it.
The Arabian tale of Death and Pestilence needs to be retold here from Keith Mason’s Medicine for the 21st Century. 
“…probably the most powerful aspect of thought as a major cause of illness is fear, for it can weaken the body and lower the threshold of the immune system. The recognition of fear-induced illness is nothing new. Some years ago in Africa I heard an ancient Arab tale in which Pestilence met a caravan on the desert road to Baghdad. ‘Why are you going to Baghdad?’ asked the Arab in charge of the caravan. ‘To take five thousand lives’, replied Pestilence. On the way back from the city the path of Pestilence and the caravan crossed once more. ‘You told me a lie’ protested the Arab angrily to Pestilence. ‘Instead of five thousand lives you took fifty thousand. ‘That is untrue’ replied Pestilence. ‘I told you no lie. I said I would take five thousand lives and that is all I took, not one more or less. It was fear that killed the rest.’
Modern science has given a factual account of why epidemics come about. It firmly believes in the causation disease by germs and bacilli, but also in what is called the virus. We know that contaminated water will have a detrimental effect on the consumer – be it death or diarrhoea. We know that ‘one night with Venus can be one life in hell’ with chronic venereal miasms. Paracelsus calls contagious disease ‘evil planetary influences’, yet others the wrath of God.
“People do not like to speak of events in human affairs having spiritual causes,” says Rudolf Steiner. He shows the origin of bacilli and parasites came about through the fall of spirits of darkness to earth in some far off time. It is the low life rummaging through every part of the earth’s corpse. But it can also be shown that when the mind drifts away, when thoughts enter, so do those forms of life accompanying or representing such forms take residence to torment and darken the lives. This is the bacillus and the parasite and so forth. But when one is filled with the light of the spiritual, one ‘comes to feel differently, have different will impulses, and relate to the world in a different way’.
George Oshawa (Sakaruzawa Nyioti), the 'father' of Macrobiotics, stated in his work entitled ‘You Are All Sanpaku’: “A man who cannot cure his aches and pains, realise his freedom, and achieve joy and justice for himself, is doomed to be exploited by others, or to feed germs and microbes. He has no need to fear Hell after death for he already lives there.”
© Cornelis van Dalen 2005
Endnotes & references:
1. Pestilence is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse in St John’s Revelations. The others are War, Famine, and Death.
2. Exodus 10: 12,13 – written in about 500BC
3. Peake’s Commentary on the Bible Thomas Nelson & Sons. Reprint 1948. P13
4. Hippocratic Writings Edited by GER Lloyd Penguin Books. 1983. P89
5. Franz Hartmann Life of Paracelsus Wizard Books USA. P182
6. Roy Porter The Greatest Benefit to Mankind Harper Collins UK 1996 P16
7. ibid P18
8. ibid P19
9. Keith Mason Medicine for the 21st Century Element Books UK. 1992. P113
10. Rudolf Steiner The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness Rudolf Steiner Press London 1993 Pp139-142.
11. ibid P161
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