"Sunlight does great good"
"We can only nurture what we love"
Man and Earth, a Strong Relationship
The following article examines the mutual connection between man and earth as living organisms from a medical point of view. Summary: We are in a relational crisis between man, earth and cosmos.
The relationship of mankind to earth and cosmos is out of kilter in modern times. Here are two examples:
Sunlight is regarded medically as a decisive risk factor for malignant tumours of the skin - and thus itself as malignant. In 2010, a specialist article in dermatology begins "Sunlight is a complete carcinogen".
Short-sightedness is solely due to a lack of exposure to the open air and now affects 95% of all South Korean students. In the case of nature-loving "down-to-earth" lifestyles of earlier centuries, the rate would only be 5%. Statistics show that one third of myopia patients have more serious eye problems such as retinal detachment in the second half of their lives.
Living with warmth?
While the earth's surface threatens to overheat, people, especially in the industrial nations, are developing less and less heat internally. Physical work - our muscles are most efficient at 39 degrees Celsius, a temperature that hard working people and athletes can reach - is becoming less and less common.
Why do the vast majority of parents, patients and medical professionals perceive fever - the increased internal activity of the human warmth organisation - as a threat? And why does classical medicine, contrary to better knowledge, rely excessively on fever-reducing drugs? This weakens the immune system against infections, prolongs the duration of the disease, increases mortality and does not prevent fever seizures in toddlers .
As a rule, fever is a condition regulated by the human organism itself and occurs only in humans and highly developed animals. The fear of acute febrile infections is today fuelled, similarly to the fear of sunlight. At the same time, chronic, "cold" inflammations such as neurodermatitis, asthma or chronic inflammatory bowel diseases are on the rise; in some cases, as in Crohn's disease, a lack of sunlight absorption has also been proven to be one of the causes . The risk of carcinoma also rises due to the lack of self-warmth generated by acute fevers.
Warmth organization of the human being
Today we can state medically that the warmth organisation of many people is disturbed. However, in the human organism this physiologically represents the highest level of regulation of our corporality: Respiration, circulation, build-up and breakdown of substances are normally at the service of our warmth organisation, through which we shape and structure our body.
The human warmth organisation is far more flexible than that of any animal. Much less is the awareness of how much the function and health of our own body depends on a healthy warmth organisation.
The human - naked - skin, which does not exist in such a way in the (wild) animal kingdom, gives us a unique heat regulation ability. This is the prerequisite for the development of such a large brain with extremely intensive blood circulation, which is at the same time our most heat-sensitive organ. It is only through this interaction that we can maintain an alert consciousness during major physical exertion. At the same time, our skin allows a unique closeness to other people through touch.
The different skin colours of people reflect different sensitivities to sunlight. The corresponding pigmentation of the skin is the natural sun protection for the respective earth region in which our ancestors lived. Through travelling far and wide, we can experience these differences, and today we are forced to consciously take hold of our relationship to the sun anew at each place on earth.
A new perspective on global warming
In every delivery room in the western world, specialists for premature and new-born babies follow a clear sequence when they have to resuscitate a child after birth: Heat, respiration, circulation, nutrition.
This reflects the four classical elements in their actual physiological hierarchy: The heat of the organism has the greatest importance for its physiology, then comes the respiration (oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide release), then the circulatory function and finally the supply of substances (e.g. sugar, salts).
These four elements are at risk in the current climate crisis:
- the earth's thermal atmosphere
- its air atmosphere,
- its water atmosphere
- and with soil fertility, the wafer-thin, delicate cover of the living soil of the earth's surface.
Earth is not just an object, it is alive.
Here, too, there is a clear order, of which we are gradually becoming aware: Global warming has the most drastic influence on nature and man, followed by air quality and air movement. This is followed by the similarly central water sphere of the earth and, very strongly as a result of all of this and yet also quite independently, soil quality. Conversely, modern agriculture and forestry have an enormous influence on the other earth layers.
Over the past centuries we have treated the earth on the part of the industrial nations as an unsubstantial, purely material object at our disposal - and not as a living and unique being, not as an infinitely diverse living organism. It is becoming increasingly obvious that the earth is a living being, that we cannot adequately grasp its warmth, atmosphere, water circulation and the constant transformation of its solid surface. We cannot maintain and develop it in a participatory way without altering our inner relationship to it.
We are convinced that the current environmental crisis is a profound relational crisis. What is needed today is first and foremost a changing inner relationship with the earth and the cosmos. We can only nurture what we love.
Georg Soldner, Deputy Head of the Medical Section at the Goetheanum
1) J. Krutmann, Hautklinik der Heinr-Heine-Univ Düsseldorf, Die Verwendung von topisch applizierten DNS-Reparaturenzymen zum Schutz der menschlichen Haut gegen UVB-induzierte Schäden, (The use of topically applied DNA repair enzymes to protect human skin against UVB-induced damage), Bundesgesundheitsblatt 2001, 480 - 483 (State Health Newsletter), https://doi.org/10.1007/s001030170021
2) D. Martin, Fever: Views in Anthroposophic Medicine and Their Scientific Validity. Evidence Based Compl. and Altern. Medicine, https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/3642659, 2016
3) E.A. Holmes et al., Higher sun exposure is associated with lower risk of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease: a matched case-control study, J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 69 (2), 182 – 188, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1097/mpg.0000000000002390