I’ve been learning about soil in the past year or two. There’s so little I know and so much I want to understand. The ecosystem that comprises the first few inches of soil is so much more complex than any ecosystem that exists above it, out here.
The symbiotic relationships that exist make it hard to discern discrete individuals—isn’t it all just one big organism?
I read a book by Lynn Margulis recently, Symbiotic Planet: A New View of Evolution, that was really interesting. She believes that all higher life forms were created by incorporating lower forms. More complex structures or cells formed when simpler organisms fused together (mitochondria being one example). These simpler living structures were assured a greater chance of survival by incorporating into something larger—creating a cooperative, mutually beneficial arrangement. The mitochondria in every cell in my body give me energy, allow me to have life and to move and act in the world. The bacteria in my gut allow me to bring the outside in, to bring nourishment to my cells. So, this consciousness that I have—while it feels like the consciousness of a single entity—is really the sum total of all the life that comprises me. And the fact that I bring in and absorb other life, for nourishment, means that I am constantly cycling the consciousness of my environment.
I’m reading another fascinating book right now. It’s called Secrets of the Soil: New Solutions for Restoring Our Planet and it’s about Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic methods of agriculture. I’ve always been grateful for some of the more mainstream applications that have come out of his work, but mostly his ideas were too far out there for me. But, now this book falls into my hands at a time when I feel primed to hear it. And I start to realize—there’s something here. Steiner may have been intuiting the forces of nature that science can barely begin to discern, if at all. How can I dismiss any of his techniques when for the past few years I’ve been learning by intuition, too? I just finished the chapter that showed there is now some scientific support for his bizarre practice of stirring preparations for an hour—repeatedly changing directions so as to creative a vortex, then chaos, then a vortex, then chaos. The studies are showing that this process charges the water electrically and creates stable colloidal particles which plants are able to uptake. It’s very interesting stuff.