Hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm, is headed our way. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has proclaimed a mandatory evacuation for several coastal Georgia counties, including Chatham, where I live. Less than a year ago, Hurricane Matthew, closely following tropical storm Hermine, knocked down so many trees that we are still clearing the debris. For a week, we had no electricity.
My favorite philosopher, Seth, the speaking entity in the Jane Roberts series of channeled books, claims weather is created by human emotions. In books like The Nature of Personal Reality, he says that individual and collective emotions create electro-magnetic energy fields that extend far and wide, depending on the intensity of the emotion. Groups of people emitting similar energy patterns can create large, intense fields that affect weather patterns.
I’m sure most people have never heard such a strange notion, and skepticism is understandable. The disconnect between science and metaphysics is profound, but it wasn’t always that way. Ancient disciplines like astrology and alchemy provided the foundations for modern astronomy and chemistry. Back when speculation about the “how”s of life was integrated with the “why”s of life, when science and religion re-enforced each other, belief in the interactions between man and nature were taken for granted. The “rain dances” of some tribal cultures attest to this belief in the power of man to influence nature.
Modern science, with its mechanistic views, distanced itself from consideration of a living universe. In Western science, the idea of a god or gods is passé, regarded as old-fashioned superstition. Science chooses to ignore what it can’t measure--such as life force--or intangibles like emotion. Science is practical, too practical to put much stock in psychic phenomena or un-provable claims.
Science is happy to make predictions, though, formerly the realm of fortune tellers and other seers. It’s happy to predict global warming through the 21st century, and it’s happy to predict hurricanes and their possible trajectories.
The common denominator in all these predictions is fear, whether of global warming or this week’s hurricane. The fear culture abounds in politics and the stock market, in foreign policy, the media, and in health care. It infects every thought and decision at individual and group levels.
Chronic fear has a definite and generally predictable effect on the body, too. We call it stress, and it leads to health conditions like high blood pressure, other cardiovascular disease, and immune system dysfunction, to name a few. In fact, chronically elevated stress hormones, generated by worry, anger, hate, or other negative emotions, ultimately affect every organ system.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The anticipation of trouble causes the body to react in the same way as the trouble itself. At least with real trouble, the hormones can lead to effective action, but this isn’t true when the mind is engaged in worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet and maybe never will. In fact, there is a possibility that focusing on anticipated trouble may help bring it about. Decisions and behavior follow a defensive line of reasoning, based on a superstitious anticipation of evils around the corner.
There’s no way, at present, to prove or disprove whether human emotion creates weather. Seth says that if it weren’t for storms, we would all go crazy. It does appear that storms and other natural disasters serve to remind us of priorities, and to stimulate the cooperation that flowers between people in a shared calamity. It’s unfortunate, in our conflictual present times, that we seem to need disasters to bring out our more lovable qualities.
Religion has certainly perpetrated its own brand of fear, through the centuries, but the idealized image of a benevolent--or at least conscious--creator or creators can serve to balance the fear of feeling adrift in a cold, mechanical universe. This may be where science and religion, physics and metaphysics, could stand to meet and shake hands, acknowledging the value of each within the human psyche.