kagablog

July 16, 2009

raphael d’abdon on Masaru Emoto’s Water Crystals and The Healing Power of Spoken Word: A Partnership Perspective.

Filed under: literature,philosophy,poetry,raphael d'Abdon — ABRAXAS @ 4:58 am

Abstract: Starting from Masaru Emoto’s empirical findings on the harmonising and re-balancing effects that sweet musical melodies, printed positive words and evocative photographic images have over the structure of water crystals, this paper aims at expanding the fields of applications of his theory beyond music, the written word and photography. Applying partnership theories to the comparative study of water crystals, written and oral texts, the article suggests that ‘conscious’ spoken word (an oral poetic genre which combines harmonious melodies and positive messages) could be considered an additional potential agent to promote water harmonisation, and thus self and collective healing.

Wish me love a wishing well
To kiss and tell
A wishing well of butterfly tears
Wish me love a wishing well
To kiss and tell
A wishing well of crocodile cheers

Terence Trent d’Arby

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Introduction

In the course of my career as a researcher and in my personal spiritual and artistic journey, I have been most blessed to study, work and perform closely with many individuals who revere the knowledge that comes from indigenous cultures. There is no better way to express my love and gratitude to those people than making the words of Louis Stevens mine:

I’ve witnessed extraordinary healings and methods of communicating with the elements that radically challenged my university-bred beliefs about the nature of reality and gave me insight into the possibilities that I’d been trained to screen out by my traditional Western education (Emoto 2004: 185).

One of the fundamental lessons I have learned from shamans and poets like Habiba, Grand Mother Sara, Lance Henson, Apirana Taylor and Credo Mutwa is that water plays a pivotal role in their extraordinary teachings. But shamans are not the only teachers who consider water the central element in the life of our planet. Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto is acknowledged worldwide as the forerunner of the studies on the “mystical” essence and powers of water within the scientific community. It was Prof. Antonella Riem who first presented to me Emoto’s theories on water crystals, and the effects that different kind of stimulations have on the molecular structure of those crystals. In this article I will apply Emoto’s findings to my main field of research (the art of spoken word) and hence attempt to suggest that well-textured spoken word is a form of artistic oral communication with an innate power of healing. First, I will present the core principles of Emoto’s theory on the healing effects that positive inputs have on water. Next, I will look at some of the features of the so-called spoken word (or “open mic”) sessions and, on the base of Emoto’s experimental results, I will examine the possible positive influence spoken word can have over audiences. In conclusion, I will examine comparatively how the culture of partnership envisaged by Emoto and the conscious spoken word artist “resounds” with the multiversal partnership cosmological vision theorized in 21st century physics.

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The healing effects of “conscious” spoken word

Starting from Dr Emoto’s theories on water, this article attempts at suggesting that ‘conscious’ spoken word art can be considered as an excellent factor to positively influence people’s mind and bodies. When one looks at a beautiful picture or landscape, listens to nice music or, as in the case under scrutiny in this article, takes part at a spoken word (or “open mic”) poetry session, one feels relieved and peaceful. He/she feels his own self purified and healed.
Emoto’s experiments show how water improves or deteriorate according to the information one offers to it. Since the human body is composed by 70% of water, Emoto agreeably argues that human beings are highly affected by the quality of the information they take in. In accordance with this vision, the aim of this article is to point out that when an individual is exposed to conscious spoken word, which provides positive information (text) and good “vibes” (music), he/she can improve his own health and state of mind.

In the pictures included in his works, Emoto shows how water displays different shapes of ice crystals: their structure changes its quality according to the information it has received.
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Water samples stored in glass bottles respond to positive information – such as delicate, loving words, phrases, pictures, music – by forming beautiful hexagonal (1) crystals. In contrast, water exposed to negative inputs never forms any elegant crystal. Water seems to correctly understand and “absorb” the essence of what it is exposed to. It does not only recognize the word or the picture for its shape: influenced by the electromagnetic fields generated by the stimulating objects it understands their meanings. The corollary of Emoto’s core theory on crystals formation is that

water is sensitive to a subtle form of energy called hado. It is this form of energy that affects the quality of water and the shape in which the crystals form. […] I use hado to mean all the subtle energy that exists in the universe. All existing things have vibrations, or hado. This energy is often positive or negative and is easily transmitted to other existing things (Emoto, 2003: 21).

This statement is confirmed by Icke in his comparative study on what he calls “open-minded real science” and the knowledge of ancient civilizations:

Magnetic energy absorbs information and everything is magnetic-electrical energy […] one physical world expression of this energy is what we call electromagnetism. Some true scientists (Emoto, ndr) have suggested that water has a memory and they have performed experiments to prove it. There is no mystery in this at all, much as mainstream science is aghast to it. Water exists, it is magnetic energy/consciousness, therefore it has a memory. Everything does. It is magnetism, a vibratory resonance and attraction, that allow us to create our own reality in every moment of our lives. Like vibrations attract vibrations and like energy fields attract energy fields. (Icke, 1996: 84)

These theoretical assumptions vividly recall the findings of physicists-philosophers such as Albert Einstein and Fritjof Capra, and stand at the core of 21st century cutting-edge physics (to which I will return in the conclusive notes of this article). More significantly, they share the life views of all the major spiritual teachings of different ‘indigenous’ cultures. Hado is thus a form of energy whose basic principles are “vibration and resonance” (Emoto: 2003: 25). For Emoto the three words that fully encapsulate the power of hado are frequency, resonance and similarity (Emoto 2006: 30 – 32):

The entire universe is vibrating at a particular and unique frequency. Frequency can be modelled as waves, a fact easily supported by quantum mechanics. All matters is frequency as well as particles […] everything is vibrating, and vibrating at a unique and individual frequency. But that is still not all, for the words we speak, the words we write […] all emit their own frequencies as well. Resonance is made possible when there is a sender of hado information and a receiver of the information. A Japanese expression “aun no kokyu”, or “in-breath and out-breath”, means a state where subtle synchronization occurs when we do things together. This also refers to a relationship between a sender and a receiver. (Emoto 2006: 30 – 32, my italics).

This is actually what a spoken word session is all about. In an open mic session the aim is to create an environment of deep emotional and spiritual complicity between the performers on stage (senders of hado energy) and the audience (receivers of hado energy). Furthermore, in the African oral tradition the exchange of positive energy between the poet(s) and the audience is never unilateral (from poet to audience) but is rather a “circular dance” where audience and performer(s) meet in a feeling of intense reciprocity. In a spoken word session the active participation of the listeners (articulated in whistles of joy, moans of pleasure, loud laughs, ululations, hand clapping, screams of appreciation, etc.) is a constituent part of any performance. Unlike in Western poetry readings, with African audiences there is no emotional separation between the performer on stage and the crowd. They are actually as one, and through the “circular exchange” of hado they mutually energize each other (2). This is possible because people and the environment are all connected vibrationally and what happens to one influences them all. They each vibrate to a different “note” (wavelength), but all notes are part of the same “tune” (electromagnetic field). The ‘good vibes’ the spoken word artists broadcast, positively affect the energy field around them. When at a poetry session one says “there’s a good atmosphere”, he/she is actually using a metaphor to describe the energy field of a particular location, of an energy field created by the positive thoughts, the vibes and the words of the participants.

Many scientific disciplines (including physics and musicology) have shown that when two objects have the same frequency they resonate with each other. For Emoto: “our mind and body are affected by this, depending on what intrinsic vibration we resonate with. In human relations, we often say that we are or are not on the same wavelength with someone” (Emoto: 2003: 23). Words like these sound familiar to spoken word sessions goers who, in order to express appreciation for the art they are exposed to, often use similar expressions, such as “I feel the groove”, “There’s a good vibe” or “This guy goes with the flow”.

In other words, following Emoto’s suggestions, I argue that music and human voice (and the combination of them, as in the spoken word art) have an intrinsic wave. Due to this, when spoken word artists craft ‘conscious art’ (i.e. a when they are able to deliver a powerful combination of well-textured poetry and effective stage skills) (3), they offer the audience something that goes beyond the mere artistic performance. They actually heal the audience because they have the ability to send the right kind of “vibes” and thus correct the listeners’ unbalanced vibrational patterns.

The hado medicine practiced by Emoto utilizes the technique of cancelling the harming characteristics of a certain wave by overlaying an opposite wave shape. The application of this principle applied to music (which is one of the pillars of music therapy) has been substantiated by the experiments conducted by Yamasaki, reported in Emoto (Emoto: 2003: 26-7). When human bodies (and thus water) are stimulated with positive inputs, they undergo a process of in-depth purification: “The hado water created in this manner penetrates into the molecules, atoms and subatomic particles that make up the person’s body, and stops the disturbances of the vibration” (Emoto 2003: 28-9). Hence, felicitous words, spoken in a delightful way, have the capacity to purify water, and thus people’s body and soul: they activate the primordial energies of human body at the very subatomic level. Using a metaphor, one could say that they make the subtle matter we are made of ‘dance’ to the diverse musical rhythms of poetry (funk, blues, jazz, hip hop, dub), thus awakening the matter’s innate self-healing powers:

A human body is said to consist of 60 trillions cells. As these cells fulfil their roles harmoniously, we can live our life healthily. Not only these cells but also molecules, atoms and subatomic particles have their own intrinsic vibration. When all vibrations go well, our body, as their composite, can work as beautifully as a great orchestra. If a disturbance occurs in a vibration, it creates a discord, and we can not expect to play beautiful music (Emoto: 2003: 35-36).

Whoever has participated (either as a poet or in the audience) at a funky open mic session knows the feeling of relief, lightness and ease resulting from the exposure to harmonious poetic melodies. This is hardly to happen when you attend “rap battles” which, as the name discloses, are harsh verbal confrontations in which the contenders are more committed to destroy their opponent’s egos than to create the jazzy, smooth and relaxing atmosphere one breaths during a nice spoken word gig (4). So spoken word sessions have the ability to make audience feel at ease with themselves and their surroundings, i.e. to heal emotional and physical dis-ease which, according to Emoto, “is the result of vibrational disturbance at the subatomic-particle level, triggering the disturbance at the atomic level, which in turn causes the disturbance at the molecular level, then the cellular level, and finally at the level of organs.” (Emoto 2003: 86)

By qualifying conscious spoken word artists as “healers” one also attempts to stress the bonds that link today’s urban poets to their ancestors. As a matter of fact healers were (and are) gifted individuals deeply involved in spiritual knowledge, such as priests, shamans and poets (roles which often overlap). As their ancestors did in the past, even today’s spoken word artists can help people heal and attain peace of mind as they contribute the people’s resonance with dis-ease diminish or cease.

According to tsistsistas poet and shaman Lance Henson, a poem is of good quality when it contains at least one powerful image per verse. Thus good poetry (written and oral) is so when it is able to provide the reader/listener a well-textured sequence of touching images. This concept is a pivotal one in Emoto’s research on water and serves the purpose of proving the power of spoken word as a healing force. For Emoto: “we can expect to live our life smoothly. This can be materialized only after an image is formed. The image I am discussing here […] is a form of positive information. As we repeat the information with strong words, water will naturally help us.” (Emoto 2003: 100, my italics). Yet, repetition and parallelism are basic patterns of traditional African oral poetry and still form the textual structure of most contemporary spoken word art. This implies that not only the message contained in the poems, but also the way poems are composed and delivered to the audience, are essential features of the healing power of spoken word. Spoken word is usually characterized by the length of the poems performed: in a standard gig the poet recites (and sings) for several minutes, loudly vocalizing a harmonious flow of melodies and words, creating a solemn atmosphere around him/her. This aspect is a crucial one, since for Emoto this “gives off a stronger hado than writing [words] on paper” (Emoto 2003: 100). Evidence of the healing power of repeated, loudly vocalized chants over the mind and the body can be found in many religious praying practices, one of the most famous being the ritual mantra “Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare” sung by Hindus before and during purification practices.

According to this vision, conscious spoken word can be seen as an adaptation of ancient, well-tested healing practices, crafted to successfully address the dis-eased masses (especially the youth) in 21st century urbanized, “globalized” world. Conscious spoken word purifies the soul of listeners and performers because of the harmonious vibes it transmits, temporarily allowing one’s thoughts to release the warped feelings and emotions (fear, grudge, anger, worry, apathy, guilt, etc.) that form a block between the spirit and the body. Taking again Veda philosophy as a subject for comparison, spoken word poetic ‘rituals’ recall the process of purification one undergoes during yoga meditation practices, whose ultimate goal is to cleanse the seven chakras (situated along the axis of human body) from negative feelings. Left aside the mystique attached to the number seven, I wish to recall that these seven chakras correspond to the seven bodily endocrines centres. As Henry writes: “an endocrine gland is one that secrets chemical substances (hormones) directly into the blood stream. Scientists have discovered that this system can be tuned to resonate at specific frequencies or tones […] This endocrine system is the ‘conduit’ between the earthly and heavenly tunes” (Henry 2003: 42, my italics). Again, the passage above seems to support my assumption that spoken word art that delivers positive flowing melodies to listeners can be conceived as an effective healing force for soul and body. In other words, during a spoken word session the spectator restores his/her imbalanced vibrational patterns by resonating with the harmonious energies produced by the spoken word artists. Balancing the essence within the spectators with the essence of conscious wordsmiths places the molecules of water which permeates the participants’ bodies (as well as the environment in which this “energetic exchange” takes place) in harmony, in scale (key) “with the flow”.

This article aims also at suggesting new fields of application for Emoto’s experiments with crystal waters. In Emoto’s works in fact one finds several references to water exposure to music (and related images), but the type of music selected for the documented experiments includes only classic and heavy metal (5). For the purpose of this article, I suggest to expand the list of music used for experiments to other genres such as, amongst others, funk, hip hop, jazz and reggae/dub. Since I believe in the validity of Dr Emoto’s theories, I presume that funk tracks like James Brown’s “I got you (I feel good)”, hip hop masterpieces such as Erykah Badu’s “I want you”, jazz melodies like Billie Holiday’s “Autumn in New York” and reggae classics such as Bob Marley’s “Natural mystic” could predictably have very positive influence on the water crystals’ structure because of the hado of their positive trait. Obviously, the list of music genres and songs which could enhance water purification is virtually endless. What I suggest is that, by extension, Emoto’s view on the healing effects of positive music and words can apply to the spoken word art since, as Molebatsi and d’Abdon point out (Molebatsi and d’Abdon 2007), spoken word is a form of artistic expression which is founded upon the inextricable interface between poetry and music. Spoken word artists are both poets and musicians and their art resides in a unique territory in-between poetry and music.

In addition to being art and providing entertainment, music has healing effects and has the ability to boost the body immune system. This statement is substantiate by scientific literature, but above all by our everyday life experience. But what makes music so powerful when it comes down to look for a cheap and easy-to-obtain medicine for our bodies and souls? For Emoto this happen because the water in our body is healed by listening to the music. Good music reaches every one of our sixty trillion cells […] In the medical field, there are more and more physicians who incorporate ‘music therapy’ into their practice. They say that having the patient listen to music accelerates the recovery process. I am a supporter of this therapy. If the music makes water happy, it must positively affect our cells, which are made up of water. (Emoto 2003: 123-4)

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Emoto also reports the successful experiments of neurosurgeon Dr Shibuya, initiator of the “sound-energy therapy”, “a method to cure various diseases by using the hado of voice” (Emoto 2003: 124-5). With his therapy Dr Shibuya basically seeks, through a person’s voice, to find a sound to correct disturbed frequencies. This seems to be a scientific corroboration of the expression ‘I feel the vibe’ employed by listeners of a graceful spoken word artist in action. In other words, by absorbing the waves coming from the voice, the words and the music of a conscious spoken word artist, the water which forms 70% of the listener’s body is empowered to produce the quantum leap which generates ease (and thus purification and self-healing from dis-ease). Stimulated, as it is in the “modern world”, by negative inputs, human consciousness (and subconscious) has become repository of unresolved emotional distress, which must be healed if one is to achieve the vibrational leap that many people are currently embarked upon: the quantum jump to a new state of consciousness. The same concept of a ‘conscious’ individual (as theorized, amongst others, by Biko (6)) is a pivotal one to comprehend the above-cited notion of quantum leap. When artists qualify as ‘conscious artists’, this means that people recognize their words and music as capable of producing a leap, i.e. a positive change in listeners’ consciousness (and subconscious). This, by extension, heals their souls and body.

This notion does not come in a void but underlies, for instance, the whole ancient tradition of alchemy. Alchemic theories state that something must be activated within the human body, which will enable the individual to make oneself over into a go(l)d. This is the meaning of the myth of the Philosopher’s stone. What this tradition reveals is that one of the hidden abilities of the human biological transformational apparatus is the creation of, or ability to flow go(l)d. If correctly activated the human body can generate a field force of love, a tone, a vibration. As Fulcanelli points out:

The secret of alchemy is that there exists a means of manipulating matter and energy so as to create what modern science calls a force field. This force field acts upon the observer and puts him in a privileged position in relation to the universe. From this privileged position he has access to realities that space and time, matter and energy, normally conceal from us. This is what we call the Great Work (Johnson 1980: 263).

For the specific purpose of this article I would like to add: this is what I call a Great Poetic Work. In fact the excerpt above is nothing but a scientific description of comments one hears at spoken word sessions such as: ‘there’s a good chemistry here tonight’. It also supports what Henson says about (good) poetry, i.e. that poetry is one of the highest form of inspired knowledge because it is channelled through the poet by higher levels of perceptions. According to him and to all indigenous peoples’ traditions, poets possess the gift of accessing inspired thoughts which appear to be their own, but actually come from a higher level of consciousness, higher dimensions of themselves and reality. In order to continue to exercise this privilege, poets constantly strive to keep their spirit clean from negative influences. Conversely, one can speculate that most people have forgotten the ability everyone potentially has of accessing these higher dimensions because the mind and consciousness of “modern” individuals are often destabilized by cancerous feelings such as fear, guilt and resentment that inhibit one’s ability to fully develop spiritually and physically. During spoken word sessions the poets bridge this gap, by reconnecting people’s souls to forgotten spiritual dimensions.

Emoto dedicates several sections of his works to the healing power of positive spoken word (7). Ultimately, Emoto’s research sees purification of water(s) through written word, music and other means as a vehicle to push forward a much called-for healing of individuals, the environment and the whole planet (“perhaps pollution of the water is nothing more than the pollution of the human soul”. Emoto 2006: preface). Emoto’s is a true vision of “partnership”, as theorized by North American anthropologist Riane Eisler (Eisler 1987) since, as he claims: “we must use the power within us to keep our thoughts focused on the good around us and not on the forces of destruction” (Emoto 2006: 9). By praising love, gratitude, beauty and purity transmitted through diverse communicative languages Emoto aims at creating a clean environment, liberated from those negative energies that prevent individual and planetary evolution to fully express their innate, unlimited potentials (INSERT FIGURE 2 HERE). One of Emoto’s fundamental lessons is the need to purify our language by eliminating from our vocabulary words that bring forth negativity and confrontation (typical of ‘dominator models’) through the exclusive use of words of love and harmony (‘partnership model’). An identical process of “detoxification” of everyday written and spoken language from words of ‘domination’ is advocated by the theorists of partnership applied to linguistics and literature (Bortoluzzi 2007; Ramaswamy 2007). This process is actually set into motion by conscious spoken word artists who, in their most accomplished works and during their performances, mould texts and music around positive words and images.

In Emoto’s texts we do not found explicit references to the art of spoken word, as a 21st century urban, poetic-musical genre. However, by praising the positive effect conscious speech has over water, he indirectly substantiates the healing nature of this art, which can be considered one of the most harmonious expressions of contemporary mouth-to-ear communication:

One way to look at words is to consider them the switch for turning on or off the vibration of everything in the universe […] Humans are the only animals capable of using words, and this allows us to align our wavelength with anything and everything that exists in the universe. And it’s instantaneous. […] The ability of spoken word to give life is much more powerful than we can imagine”. (Emoto 2006: 21-23, my italics)

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Making peace with water: storytelling, shamanism, peace, music, poetry and water

In a highly evocative passage in The Secret Life of Water Emoto quotes a poetic story told by an aboriginal shaman from Australia. In this tale the principle of contamination of water (and, by extension, of people, the environment and the universe) through exposure to negative feelings is magnificently expressed in the metaphorical style of aboriginal storytelling (8) (Emoto 2006: 117-120). Both the aboriginal shaman’s story and Emoto’s scientific experiments show how information is copied into water. However, so-called ‘orthodox’ scientists often ridicule researchers who recur to the words and teachings of ‘non-scientists’, like shamans, to substantiate their theories. This narrow and extremely out-to-date view is a by-product of the claustrophobic methodology of ‘official science’ which categorically labels as ‘unscientific’ (and hence unworthy of attention) all theoretical works produced outside the box of academic publishing. This conservative approach underestimate the fact that the same history of science shows that what is commonly accepted as the only acceptable ‘scientific truth’ in a given historical period, is regularly dismissed as obsolete in the periods that follow. This means that there is nothing like an ‘official truth’. I believe that the present age is one of enormous changes and transformation at various levels: this urges scientific researchers to venture more and more into territories others from ‘orthodox science’. The latter is insufficient to explain the complexities of the multi-dimensional world(s) we live in. In other words, the history of ancient civilizations (which were indeed much more technologically advanced than ours) graphically shows that not everything can be understood by mere research or ‘science’. This is nothing but the great lie lying behind the matrix of the rationalistic/positivistic Western science. The works of open-minded scientists like Emoto (and many others) and the words of shamans and poets must thus be considered as serious as any other ‘scientific’ finding. More significantly, as the collection of essays The Healing Power of Water evidences, a constructive approach to research must see all these fields of knowledge not as mutually exclusive, but rather as complementary. The combination of ‘orthodox’ and ‘alternative’ science(s) is what generates progress, not the stubborn and illogical defence of one vision at the expense of all the others (9). The overcoming of this binary methodological partition is also one of the guide-principles of partnership-oriented methodological research, and this essay is an attempt to proceed in that direction.

Like the myths and tales of other indigenous traditions, those told by Eric, the Aboriginal shaman above cited, are rich in truths about reality, the universe and the way in which we should live a fully rewarding and harmonious life:

For our ancestors, fantasy, science, and theology were all one and the same. And the way to pass on the truths of the world to future generations was through stories. Such stories were based on an understanding of the invisible laws that govern the visible world. The advanced medical practitioners were the shamans who preyed for and healed the afflicted. (Emoto 2006: 121)

From Eric’s tale we learn that “water must always flow” (Emoto 2006: 121). When the flow stops water (and thus life) gets rotten, sick and eventually perishes. This is another metaphor that fits well in the description of a spoken word session. When, as reported above, we hear someone from the audience saying “this guy goes with the flow”, we are simply told that the performing poet is creating a flux of positive energy that permeates the venue, reaching the deepest corners of the soul of the listeners. In his books Emoto insists on the fact that for water to be “in good health”, it must flow freely, unconstrained (or, if constrained by necessity, it must be healed through stimulation with positive inputs). Life is in circulation, in movement, not in stagnation (10) and when the flow is stopped negative energy is likely to take over.

Somebody said: “you don’t fight for freedom, you peace for freedom”. As a promoter of partnership I fully subscribe to this point of view. This means that on one hand one must honour the achievements of yesterday and today’s freedom fighters. Countless celebrated and unsung heroes and ‘sheores’ in world history have dedicated all their existence to the goal of culturally and socially emancipating people from mental and economic slavery. Many of them have sacrificed their own life to achieve this noble goal and must be eternally praised for that. On the other hand however, in 21st century, I believe that armed struggle is an unfruitful strategy for liberating people from today’s multilevel forms of oppression. Today is time for “freedom peacers” to keep their ancestors’ legacy alive, through new means of resistance. The lessons coming from partnership scholars, conscious artists and activists and a growing number of open-minded scientists and thinkers is that positive thoughts, actions and words (rather than gunpowder) might be the most effective tools to be adopted in today’s “peace for freedom”. This is what the recurrent expression of “quantum leap” recorded in the present essay is all about. It is about a transformation of individual and global consciousness to be pursued at personal and collective level. This transformation, this r-evolution, can not be achieved with rifles. It can be achieved only if one liberates his/her own mind, soul and everyday acting from enslaving negative thoughts such as fear, grudge, vengeance, guilt and the likes and substitutes them with love, care, cooperation and gratitude. As film maker David Lynch properly states: “if we want world peace what we need is more and more people in peace with themselves”. Scientists, shamans and conscious artists whose work is comparatively analyzed in this article are showing a possible path to follow. Once one understands this, the possibility to fully express one’s own innate talents and live a potentially unlimited life comes at hand. It becomes a matter of everyday small but extremely significant choices, which indeed could have enormous positive (or negative) repercussions on individual lives and the environment. Partnership theories state that the choice is in our hands, and has always been so, even if religions, politics, mass media and other ‘dominator’, mind-controlling, dogmatic institutions tell us the opposite. As reported in Henry, a shaman from Yucatan who had researched Mayan temples for decades describes the symbol of the black sun, “a hallmark of Mayan teaching”. In the shaman’s words the black sun “is the black mirror of humanity. In it we see our reflection and decide if we are going to use the power of our spoken word to create love […] or fear […] in our worlds” (Henry 2003: 82, my italics). This idea of “small changes which produce The Big Change” is poetically expressed both by hip hop scholar, poet and philosopher KRS One (11), and late North American comedian Bill Hicks, who describes life as follows:

It’s like a ride in an amusement park and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, round and round, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly coloured and very loud. And it’s fun for a while. Some have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question: Is this real or is just a ride? And other people have remembered and they come back to us and they say: Hey, don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride. And we kill those people. Shut him up! We’ve got a lot invested in this ride. Shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my bank account, and my family. This has to be real. It’s just a ride. But we always kill those guys who try to tell us that. Have you ever noticed that? And we let demons run amok. But it doesn’t matter because it’s just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It’s just a choice. No effort, no job, no savings of money. A choice right now between fear and love. (Icke: 1996: 77, my italics)

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Many ‘orthodox’ scientists and literary critics dismiss Emoto’s theories and the “street art” of spoken word respectively, by labelling both as “unscientific”. As Hicks states, they attempt to “shut their voice up” by excluding them from “official scientific publications”. However, as this article attempts to show, these conservative attitudes are today questioned by a growing ‘critical mass’ of academics, conscious artists and ‘free thinkers’ who cherish the re-emergence of a subtle energy that is re-awakening human consciences, and therefore re-harmonising the communities. This re-emergence of “female” energy has been symbolised by many shamans, astronomers, human sciences scholars and conscious artists as ‘the return of the goddess’. Zulu sanusi Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa masterfully summed up this universal process of transformation of consciousnesses in the opening tale of his epic Indaba My Children, titled “The Spawn of the Dragon”. In this mythological story Mutwa recalls the legend of Marimba (12), the Goddess of Music, who was not only the undisputed and much loved guide of her people, but also a dispensator of harmony, a universal healer, creator of unity and peace and inventor of melodies and musical instruments. Literally: a creatrix of harmonies (Mutwa 1966: 1 – 47). As South African spoken word artist Napo Masheane affirms, today’s conscious poets are the living messengers of these ancestral voices (13) and, like Marimba, they too are committed in the demanding task of creating harmony(ies) through their poetry and music. This lead us to the conclusive, summarizing considerations on water, cutting-edge science and spoken word. These issues will be addressed with more precision in the paragraphs that follow.

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Resonating with the Multiverse. Spoken word art and the “M” theory

In a crucial passage of his study on science, ancient symbols and world mythologies, Henry recalls that:

21st century science tell us the fundamental building blocks of reality are vibrating “strings”, an idea that the ancients appear to have been familiar with. String theory is the idea that all matter is made out of tiny loops of vibrating strings. How does this work? Atoms are made from electrons and the nucleus which if split consists of many other particles. These particles are made of quarks. In string theory quarks and electrons are nothing but tiny loops of vibrating strings. Simply put, superstring theory says that all particles and forces are manifestations of different resonances of tiny one-dimensional string (or possibly membranes) vibrating in ten dimensions. They are so small our science and technology cannot detect them. Superstring theory further postulates that there are two types of strings: strings with a clockwise vibration […] and strings with a counterclockwise vibration […]. Clockwise spirals symbolize water, power and energy. The counterclockwise spirals […] resembles a foetus. Through the vibrations of the strings the attributes of elementary particles like mass, spin or charge and the four elementary forces arise: the electromagnetic force, the weak force (radioactive decay), the strong force (holds the nucleus together) and gravitation. It is the Grand Unifying Theory of Everything. (Henry 2003: 115 – 116, my italics).

Henry refers to the studies of physicists such as – amongst others – Paul J. Steinhardt, Neil Turok (14), Brain Greene (15), Michael Duff (16) Lisa Randall (17) and Michio Kaku (18) whose studies represent the edge of contemporary ‘orthodox’ physics. Pure, simple, noble and elementary, the early “strings” and “superstrings” theories formulated by these physicists dealt with the distribution of the matter in the universe. In strings theory matter is emanated by vibrating strings, like music is. One can compare these strings to the strings of a cello, or a guitar (or even to the keys of a marimba): if one strums the string in a certain way one obtains a certain frequency, but if one shifts position on the same string one obtains different frequencies. This is how the various chords are born. According to this theory all nature is composed by small music notes played on some sort of “superstrings”. The invisible strings of this theory represent the foundation (“soundation”) of all matter of the universe. These assumptions led these physicists to speculate that the universe is a symphony and the laws of physics are the harmonies sung on a “superstring”. When Randall postulated the existence of an 11th dimension (Randall: 2005) though, strings started to transform. Physicists in fact demonstrated that the 11th dimension is a dimension populated by an infinite array of membranes of different shapes, each one of whom could be a universe of its own: this means that reality is the sum of infinite multiverses (or parallel universes). The theory of the parallel universes, also called “Membrane theory” or “M theory”, states that all matter is connected in a vast structure, an intricate membrane of energy. Hence, the multiverses that compose reality are the combination of ever-changing, vibrating membranes each one of whom is a complete universe on its own. What classic science has so far described as “uni-verse” is indeed a membrane which expands in the empty space of the 11th dimension, together with other universes-membranes. For the purpose of this article, I observe that the fascinating aspect of this theories is that they speak of an ever-changing, harmonious reality that exists within and beyond physical laws. The core message of these theories becomes thus accessible also to someone who is not familiar with the complex languages of physics. The same scientists cited above agree upon the fact that when the mathematical study of reality is pushed to its limits, it inevitably enters into the realm of what could be called “fantasy”. This is why, in their words (18), the “M” in “M theory” stands for “Membrane” but can also stand for “Magic”, “Mystery”, “Music”, “Mother” (“The mother of all energy”), “Majesty” (“The majesty of an all-embracing theory”), “Madness” (The madness a theory that defies common sense”), or “Marvel” (“The marvel of a universe founded upon coherent and elegant laws”, as advocated by Einstein). The theory of the “parallel universes” is of extreme interest because it surprisingly admits the existence of scientifically unexplainable “truths”. Indeed its relevance lies in the fact that it implicitly reconciles the most advanced Western science with ancient shamanic and mythological knowledge. In this space of ultimate cosmological “partnership” amongst elements, human life, water, music, energy, birth, re-birth and all other (good and bad) manifestations of creation are not seen as separated, accidental phenomena, but as constituently interconnected parts of borderless, multiversal “cosmic dances” of membranes in perpetual motion. In ancient times this phenomenon has been symbolically described in Hindu mystical tradition with the image of the dancing Goddess. Once physics has proved that everything in our “universe” (and in the infinite parallel ones, unperceivable by human senses) is inextricably interconnected, we can approach similarly-grounded Emoto’s theories and the assumption brought forward in this essay with a less sceptical eye. Healing takes place when we purify our body (made by 70-75% of water) and soul and thus achieve to “get tuned” with the cosmic vibrations exposed by the scientists of the “M theory”. From the beginnings of time meditation, poetry and music have been the ‘rituals’ performed by humankind to attain these goals, and shamans, poets and storytellers have been the healers charged with the crucial task of preserving them and eventually handing them down to future generations. For a researcher in the field of spoken word (specifically South African spoken word), fascinated by the physical and meta-physical scientific discoveries reported above, there is also another intriguing element of mystique attached to the whole idea of the “M theory”.

Masheane, Mazwai, Motsei, Mashile, Molebatsi, Miller, Mamabolo, Manaka, Matsetela, Mabale, Madingwane, Motsemme… This is only a selected list of names of South African ‘conscious’ spoken word artists and scholars, who are frontlining artists, thinkers and activists, fully committed in the “hip hop mission” of awakening the consciousness of their (g)local society. With their ‘conscious’ message they are thus contributing to transform their communities in a “partnership” way (d’Abdon: 2007). Interesting enough (for someone who is attempting to theorize – via Emoto – that the spoken word art can heal water through the creation of harmonies that resonate with the dancing vibes of the multiverse) their names begin all with the “M” letter… Coincidental facts like this one certainly prove nothing within the framework of a scientific study. However, they strengthen my belief – at least at a sub-conscious level – that the melodies, the music, the written and spoken words that these conscious individuals are creating for themselves and their communities are somehow resounding with the dancing membranes in which the multiverse float. As a researcher, but also as a spiritual individual, I can not prevent myself to perceive this “Mysterious” piece of evidence as a manifestation of the joyous, partnership spirit of the Goddess at play.

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Conclusion

In this “experimental” critical essay I have examined the theories of Dr Masaru Emoto on the capability of water to retain both positive and negative information. I have argued that conscious spoken word art could be a potential factor of water (and thus self, environmental and global) healing, and I have attempted to substantiate my statements through a comparative analysis of texts and theories that belong to different domains of knowledge. I am… conscious that the assumptions advanced in this article are challenging ones. Emoto’s theories might seem bizarre to the eyes of ‘orthodox’ science, and even more so when they are applied to text-oriented literary criticism. Nonetheless, the case of Dr. Fumihiko’s publication (Emoto 2003: 89-90) but especially the essays included in The Healing Power of Water, indicate that we are probably at the dawn of a new stage, even in scientific publications. Compartmentalization among different fields of knowledge seems to be fading away and a balanced interdisciplinary approach among diverse disciplines seems to be emerging. The present article is an attempt to venture into such unexplored but extremely intriguing territory.

raphael d’abdon

This text is copyleft. Anyone is free to circulate these parts of the document provided they are complete and in their current form with attribution and no payment is asked. It is prohibited to reproduce this document or any part of it for commercial gain without the prior permission of the author.

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Notes

1. Emoto points out that water has a unique structure which we do not find in other elements in nature. He claims that water came on earth from other planets, and all ancient traditions agree indeed that the origins of this fascinating element are enveloped in a veil of deep mysticism. The fact that the harmonious water crystals of Emoto’s experiments show an hexagonal shape is one of the facts that give support to his mystical speculations. As we learn from ancient Chinese tradition: “six […] is the number of everything. Six is the universe’s number. The four compass points plus the zenith and the nadir are six. There are six phoenix notes and six high, six world environments, six senses, six virtues, six obligations, six classes of ideographs, six domestic animals, six arts and six paths of metempsychosis (Hong Kingston 1975: 75). A thorough scientific analysis of this topic is presented by Glas in his essay “Snow, It Has Six Edges” (Emoto 2004: 95 – 106).
2. When poetry sessions are improvised on the streets they are called “ciphers”. This definition comes from the symbol of circle in African cosmology, but I believe that its meaning resides also in the unique experience of spiritual mutual, “circular” interpenetration that happens between wordsmiths and audiences in performing poetry.
3. The definition of ‘conscious artist’ comes from the hip hop culture. It defines artist who focus on social issues without being necessarily overtly political. Themes of “conscious hip hop” music and poetry include (among others): religion; aversion to violence, leading a healthy life; the spiritual and educational advancement of the communities; the global elite, economics and politics; the history of African people(s); depictions of life in the poorest urban areas to honour the everyday struggles of ordinary people. Even though I do not like to label artists and acknowledge that the this definition can sometimes be a controversial one, for the purpose of this article I see it necessary to focus my attention only on those ‘conscious’ artists who promote a culture of partnership.
4. Through cathartic at times, since they too canalize psychophysical energy (and therefore suppressed emotions) into words, and are entertaining, rap battles are a form of oral performance often characterized by aggressive vocal tones and body gestures and rude physicality, which hardly fit into the realm of “partnership”.
5. Water exposed to classic music always show images of beautiful crystals, while water exposed to heavy metal reveals in incomplete, disharmonious crystals. In this regard, I assume that this happens for two reasons: first, because from a melodic point of view heavy metal is a kind of music characterized by a harsh juxtaposition of bombastic sounds, highly amplified distortion, penetrating guitar solos, emphatic beats and overall loudness; second, because from the point of view of the textual message, heavy metal’s lyrics are often extremely controversial. Nonetheless, unlike Emoto, I am prudent in categorizing heavy metal as an overall inappropriate music genre. I believe that labelling heavy metal as an intrinsically negative music underestimate the ‘good vibes’ transmitted by heavy metal ballads (which, on the contrary, often display lyrics of love and lovely musical harmonies). I therefore advance the hypothesis that exposing water to songs such as Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”, Guns n Roses’ “Don’t cry” or Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” could possibly result in the creation of well-shaped crystals.
6. Steven Bantu Biko (1946-1977), South African thinker and political activist, initiator of the black consciousness movement. For an outlook on his theories see his classic I Write What I Like.
7. See for instance the chapter “The Relationship Between Words and Water” (Emoto 2007: 1 – 12).
8. One can find a magnificent visual example of the art of aboriginal storytelling in the 2006 Rolf de Heer’s movie Ten Canoes.
9. This interdisciplinary collection of essays edited by Emoto include the contributions of individuals coming from various fields of knowledge: intuitive healer Miranda Alcott, writer Richard Beaumont, meditation master William Bloom, physician Petra Bracht, spiritual teacher Maril Crabtree, mineralogists Maximilian Glas, kinesiologist Carrie Jost, homeopathic healers Dolly Knight and Jonathan Stromberg, dowser Sig Lonegren, sociologist of religion Elizabeth Puttick, theologian Rustum Roy, music therapist Sayama, educator Rivkah Slonim, engineers Cyril W. Smith and William A. Tiller, environmental activist Starhawk, psychotherapist Josè Luis Stevens, clairvoyant doctor Virtue, priest Alan Walker, holistic healer Darren R. Weissman and artist Terri Windling.
10. Crystals of stagnant waters (like dams’ ponds, artificial lakes, etc.) always show deformed shapes. The same happens to water and rice grains stored in bottles and ignored. For Emoto stagnation and indifference are the most devastating conditions for water. Water exposed to foul words and expressions seem to deteriorate at a slower pace than water that is ignored. For Emoto this means that we must always respect water and nourish it with positive stimulations.
11. “KRS One on Obama”. n.d. www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnCYyGih3PA&feature=related. (Consulted on 31-05-2009).
12. Marimba are traditional folk instruments of Southern Africa (xylophones and drums) named after the Goddess (Mutwa 1966: 35).
13. “I have learned to listen/to the solidness of my ancestors’ voice” (Bila, 2005: 190-191).
14. Steinhardt Paul J. & Turok Neil 2007. Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang. New York: Doubleday.
15. Greene Brian 2005. The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality. New York: Vintage Books USA.
16. Strings 2000: Proceedings Of The International Superstrings Conference University Of Michigan, Usa 10-15 July 2000. Duff Michael J., Liu James T., Lu Jianxin (eds.) 2000. Hackensack: World Scientific Publishing Company.
17. Randall Lisa 2005. Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions. New York: Harper & Collins.
18. Kaku Michio 2008. “M-Theory: The Mother of All Superstrings” in Riffing on Strings: Creative Writing Inspired by String Theory. New York: Scriblerus.
19. “Universi Paralleli”. Documentario. n.d. www.lamentemente.com/universi-paralleli (Consulted on 31-05-2009).

Bibliography

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d’Abdon, Raphael. 2007. The Partnership Spiritual Voice in The Poetry of Lebo Mashile, Natalia Molebatsi and Napo Masheane In Riem Natale, Antonella, Camaiora, Maria Luisa and Dolce, Maria Renata (eds.). The Goddess Awakened. Partnership Studies in Literatures, Language and Education. 171-190. Udine: Forum.
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Molebatsi Natalia and d’Abdon Raphael. 2007. From Poetry to Floetry. Music’s Influence in the Spoken Word Art of Young South Africa. In Muziki. Journal of Music Research in Africa. Volume 4 Number 2: 171 – 177.
Mutwa, Vusamazulu Credo. 1966. Indaba My Children. African Tribal History, Legends, Customs and Religious Beliefs. London: Kahn & Averill.
Kingston, Maxine Hong. 1977. The Woman Warrior. Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. London: Picador.
Ramaswamy, Sampatur. 2007. Raja Rao’s Tri-Lingualism: A Study in Linguistic Partnership. In Riem Natale, Antonella, Camaiora, Maria Luisa and Dolce, Maria Renata (eds.). The Goddess Awakened. Partnership Studies in Literatures, Language and Education. 125-132. Udine: Forum.

Webliography

“KRS One on Obama”. n.d. www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnCYyGih3PA&feature=related. (Consulted on 31-05-2009)
Official Masaru Emoto’s website. www.masaru-emoto.net (Consulted on 31-05-2009).
“Universi Paralleli”. Documentario. n.d. www.lamentemente.com/universi-paralleli (Consulted on 31-05-2009).

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