The Life of Water, Part 1

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Science

When I was a boy my elementary school science book offered a definition of life that was based on a collection of properties. It was like a checklist, and where there was the right sort of smoke, you could count on a certain fire. Life was marked by the ability to reproduce, the ability to move and/or respond to environmental stimuli, and the ability to maintain homeostasis. I don’t remember all of the characteristics now; I think maybe there were four or five of them. Years later I read a book which contained a definition of life authored by the Chilean scientist Francisco Varela, which encapsulated much of this in the singular notion termed autopoiesis. The basic translation is self-creating.

Another concept I loved discovering was the idea of dissipative systems. This is the notion that the flow of energy through a system can enable that system to sustain higher states of order. The example often given is a shallow pan of water which is heated from below. When a number of factors converge, the flow of heat through the water will create “dissipative structures”, which are ordered convection cells within the pan of water. In essence, the water spontaneously forms an ordered pattern of convection currents—think of little water wheels spinning in place alongside of one another—that transport hot water from the bottom up to the surface, where it cools. This idea of dissipative structures is an elementary facet of life. We eat high grade nutrients, and return them to the Earth in a “lower grade” form, and our bodies live off of the difference.

Around this time I also began reading about water, first through the lens of Callum Coats’ translations of Viktor Schauberger. I wasn’t as much interested in water as I was Schauberger’s conception of nature in general. One thing led to another and I was on my way to Austria to tour industrial facilities that were using the somewhat esoteric technology of Austrian naturalist Johann Grander (described in a previous post here) to eliminate the need for industrial chemicals in their cooling systems. These were modern, state of the art manufacturing facilities in Austria and Germany that produced such goods as competition skis (think downhill and slalom), semiconductors, and printed textiles. This was a tremendously exciting time for me.

Eventually I realized there was very little I’d learned about life over the years that didn’t apply to water. It would take a pretty persuasive argument at this point to convince me water is non-living. For Johann Grander, water was absolutely alive. And there is a profound way in which all that we call life appears to be an augmentation and extension of the dynamics embodied in water. I want to explore these ideas in a series of pieces, not in any particular order.

Over the last ten years or so the Russian researcher Vladimir Voeikov,with the help of other scientists, has described what he terms the “respiration of water.” You could think of this respiration as being closely related to metabolism, and to the idea of dissipative structures.  The first definition on Google of metabolism is “the chemical processes that occur within a living organism to maintain life.” Voeikov showed that water spontaneously undergoes internal reactions which form Reactive Oxygen Species. Low grade energy from the environment (think of water flowing down a stream, or vaporizing into morning mist) causes spontaneous reactions to occur which release bound oxygen and hydrogen. He calls this an exhalation because oxygen and hydrogen gases are released and mobilized in solution. The inhalation is when these gases are once again consumed, and bound together again. The key is that some of the energy released is stored in more complex molecules.

A distinction between dissipative structures in non-living matter and those found in living matter is that in non-living matter there are no internal reservoirs of energy storage. For instance, in the example of the convection cells, as soon as we remove the heat source, the convection cells in the pan dissolve. But in our bodies—the other extreme end of the spectrum—we don’t have to eat continuously to live. We store the energy from our food in complex organic molecules that we can break down later to utilize when needed. It turns out that water does this, too!

Voeikov has shown that water’s respiration processes are capable of producing more complex molecules such as H2O2 and other peroxides. This was a hypothesis he offered in approximately 2006. Later, through collaboration with the Italian physicist Emilio del Giudice, whose work focused on the formation of coherent domains within water, Voeikov realized that energy could also be stored in extensive water clusters that exist in a coherent state. A coherent domain is an ensemble of water molecules vibrating in unison, and it takes energy exchange to “lock” and “unlock” these states. When an ensemble of water molecules are in this collective state, they are able to exist for an extended period of time without degrading due to thermal effects. This is, in essence, a sort of homeostasis.

Let me try to explain this, because it’s really important. When water molecules are in a coherent state they are essentially a single entity. You can only deal with them as a group. So if they change temperature, they all have to change temperature at once, together. They possess the property, in other words, of wholeness.  Their individual degrees of freedom are blurred together and so transactions that could occur for individual molecules cannot take place for the group, because they are all holding hands in a circle. They don’t have a free hand you can grab hold of. Thus, a coherent system is in some ways isolated from its environment, and energy can effectively be stored in these reservoirs for use at a later time. This energy storage for later mobilization is the hallmark of life!

What does this all really mean? Well, I am realizing I’ll never come close to conveying the ideas about water that inspire me in a single post, so this will be a new series that I will write. But let me close this first post by suggesting that scientists have discovered that water displays one of the most fundamental characteristics of living organisms: it possesses an internal, cyclical dynamic that is able to receive energy from its environment, metabolize that energy into more complex internal structures that are insulated from the external environment, and utilize that energy through metabolic cycles to continuously sustain higher-order functions. There is much, much more to say about this, but I hope you find it an intriguing beginning to what is for me a fascinating topic.

20 Comments

    • Haha! Thanks, Brad. I’ll see what I can do. If you really wish to understand a particular idea more deeply, please ask. I find the exchange that comes from questions is often the most illuminating aspect of a discussion, for both the one asking and the one answering… So don’t feel as though I’m not interested in exploring these ideas further if they’re not computing. I’d love to do so…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I feel your excitement Michael… hungry to ingest how truly magical and self sustained all life is… in this case water and share it’s complexity quite simply. Thankyou Michael, love barbara x

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Barbara! When we glimpse life in its fullness its so amazing. Daunting. Glorious. Fragile. Profound. All of it at once. Lovely to share this view of being with you…

      With Love,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You really excel at this kind of writing, Michael. The subject is fascinating, but could easily be out of reach for people like me who have a difficult time processing hard science. You distill it in a way that I’m able to grasp and follow. Your enthusiasm is contagious, so I look forward to this new series from you. Have a delightful Sunday.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Julie. I have great respect for you as a writer, so this is really appreciated. I have thought off and on I have a nonfiction book in me at some point. I have a lot of interests and probably just need to pick one and commit… Your time here is much appreciated. We’re finally getting some spring weather here in Maine, so hopefully your neck of the woods is turning the corner, too… 🙂

      Peace
      Michael

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  3. Ah! What a wonderful new series and so timely for me as my relationship with water is undergoing an overhaul. You have me excited to learn more about this life sustaining liquid that I have taken for granted, even disliked, for most of my life!
    I loved the visual of the molecules holding hands to represent the property of wholeness. Seems to work for humans too 😉
    I look forward to the next post and I believe that this information can only help me.
    It is interesting to me that water is somewhat highlighted in my life lately. Our town has a very state of the art water treatment plant. They also offer tours for residents every spring. I could not attend last year but when I saw it come up this year I made it a point to clear my schedule.
    Some of my friends looked at me with cocked heads when I asked them if they wanted to attend with me. It was an incredible tour and I learned so much!
    Put it all together and I would say the Universe has been nudging me in the direction of water! Can’t help but think it is an integral part of my healing.
    Much love and many blessings to you, Michael!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lorrie!

      I’ve been away for a bit on a road trip, so please forgive my delayed reaction. I’m so glad this resonated. Water treatment plants are pretty interesting places. They’re still largely designed and implemented from the perspective that water is purely a chemical substance only, meaning that chemicals are added to try and prevent the formation of biofilms and bacteria in the piping systems. Depending on how large your community is, water has a ‘residence time’ in the pipes of hours or days or even weeks perhaps, though probably just days I’d suspect. The chemicals added often interfere with water’s ‘living structure’ but it’s a trade-off in ensuring the water at your tap does not cause illness. Schauberger and Grander and others suggest that water could be encouraged to ‘self-purify’ if only the energetics of water were acknowledged and respected. The chemical approach is a crude approach compared to the deeper levels of water’s inner structure, and perhaps one day we’ll recognize water is an organism which, like the blood in our veins, can actually exhibit an inner immune system when handled properly…

      So much to look forward to! Also, I’ve noted but not fully digested your new endeavors. It’s lovely to see you expanding and sharing your heart with others. I’m sure you will bless many people, Lorrie, with your support and wisdom.

      With Love,
      Michael

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      • Thank you, Michael! 🙂
        Somehow I knew you would know a whole lot more about the water treatment plant than I did!! 😉
        That is something to look forward to! I continue my quest to honor the water I drink. I must say that I have been faithfully consuming my water with love ❤
        Happy to see you. Hope all is super in your world!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes. Truly a fascinating topic. So glad to read this. 🙂

    I first read your post while I was on a beloved island, arriving just after an historic storm caused a lot of water and wind damage and brought the Island’s dream-weather, orangey-sunrise/sunset machine to a standstill. I felt like I was working with the island’s natural healing energy, as we both transformed and found our “legs” again. Now I see better (as I write this and in particular that last sentence, my teacher’s vision when she received my shamanic practitioner name, “Sees Through Water.”) But, that’s aside.

    Meanwhile reading your post here on water, I flashed-back to being a kid (likely under age 5) and collecting small lunch bags of marble from my house and my neighbors’ landscaped areas, carting them back to my house’s outdoor hose, to do that I used an old rusty wagon, and I drenched the rocks-I-considered-magical-crystals with water, because I thought they ‘liked’ twinkling and being dried by the sun. My parents made me put them back – and then the “process” was complete! 🙂

    I’m trying to learn more about EZ water, H3O2. What are your thoughts? I like that water stores energy such as living systems, and that heat flowing through water creates “dissipative structures,” – or, organization, the opposite of entropy. Water is wonderful and fascinating – I’d say that I can’t wrap my mind around it, but I figure the water is wrapped around my brain in the form of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), so it’s all win-win!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ka! I’ve been away for a week or so, and am catching up here. I wrote this with you in mind, so I’m so glad you found time to read it. I loved this reminiscence you’ve shared, and totally relate to your magic rocks and the glory of bugs and water!

      The EZ water is a fascinating discovery from Dr. Pollack, and I think relates to much of what enables water to function as it does in living organisms. The conference I attended where I learned about much of this was his conference. The EZ water is neat because it suggest water can also form a makeshift battery through this EZ water process. When water encounters the right sort of surface its structure changes, and it enters a quasi-crystalline state I believe, which frees up electrons. In our cells, this happens all the time at membranes and boundaries I think, and the energy that is stored and released assists in protein folding and membrane functions and all kinds of cool stuff (I think!). I may not have all of this science exactly right, but suffice to say life leverages all of water’s beauty and capability…

      Nice to see you here. Hope your island is healing from the storm, and generating new life…

      Peace and Love
      Michael

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      • Hi Michael,

        While it’s true on another post of yours I mentioned my shared interest (with you) in water, I am glad all the people on your blog benefited from your words on the topic and were able to show their interest, or be touched by your words about the topic.

        For me, I was able to see it when I saw it. Who knew when you were going to write it, that I would be watching water cleanse itself from all that debris and runoff and broken structures-as the island had a bit of healing to do? I’m glad that your writing flowed for you when it did 🙂 Also very glad that you were able to relate to the childlike wonder and inspiration of our earliest relationships with water (and life!), and the fun and healing quality that we experienced without specific education to do so. Sunlight’s interaction with water is another area to discover…

        One island heals while another one is indeed generating new life through fire. I wish for all to be safe during these times of tremendous growth and opportunity.

        I understood your part about the battery as you wrote about water storing energy, and as I maybe heard on a youtube video by Dr. Pollack, or maybe even Mae-Wan Ho in the book you told me about a long time (?) ago now that I am barely getting through because the equations are interesting, or for other reasons of more pertinent matters that need my immediate attention, while I try to catch up my understanding with what’s being offered. A quasi-crystal might not have the same requirements as a perfect crystal where there can only be one arrangement of the atoms. I don’t know.

        Peace and Love to you also!
        Ka

        Liked by 1 person

        • I love the perfect timing of it all, Ka. On the quasi-crystal part, Mae-Wan Ho describes it as a jazz band. So my understanding is line with exactly what you suggested: it’s not a perfect crystal where only one arrangement is possible, but a more dynamic expression of unity, in which there are relationships between water molecules that unify them into larger wholes, even as those wholes are free-flowing… 🙂 There’s a mystery in biology about how specific molecules ‘find’ one another within our cells, since even at the level of the cell the cytoplasm is a pretty vast space. How do molecules find one another? One idea MW Ho (or a researcher she wrote about) posited is that these coherent water clusters attract different molecules through resonant frequencies, and that when molecules interact, a new ‘beat’ frequency is produced which is stored by water, which then attracts the next reactants, so that water is sort of the ‘conductor’ of cascading biological reactions… Beautiful, isn’t it?

          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lanessa. I’ve got an idea for the next one. Just got back from a trip to visit my mother and attend a Course in Miracles / Course of Love workshop in Philadelphia. It was wonderful. Will be putting the next post together soon. Hope all is well down your way.

      With Love
      Michael

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  5. I like to swim in the water, drink the water, bathe in the water, there for, I must be water 🙂 deep stuff here Michael, glad you enjoy the subject matter (she says whilst sipping her tepid water from her pretty Tervis mug) ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it’s a fascinating subject, Kim. It’s a gift easily taken for granted. But water is always sparkling and winking at us out of the corner of it’s eye so we don’t forget who we really are… She has many secrets up her sleeves!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • And this week I shall be surrounded by it as it dances out of the clouds and falls to nourish, much needed down here and a welcome sight💦🌧💧😊

        Like

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