A big part of the debate about homeopathy centres on the issue of ultra-high dilutions of medicines. One of the explanations wheeled out is something called ‘the memory of water’ – it’s a catchy phrase but very problematic. Does water have a memory and if so, how does that work? The anti-homeopathy campaigners say it can’t be explained. In short, they say it’s implausible. More than that, they say that the difference between a starting substance and a highly diluted remedy is the difference between ‘something and nothing’. But still, I think it’s more reasonable to say it’s the difference between something and something else. One of the commenters here, Andy, asked ‘does the water retain a memory of everything else it has had in solution since the dawn of time? Or just the things that the homeopath wants it to remember?’ I rather liked that question. It got me thinking…..and I’m still thinking! But amongst the things it got me thinking about were how memory isn’t physical but water is, about how human beings are meaning-seeking/meaning-creating creatures and how we enrich our physical world with meaning, how we use language, symbolism, memory and imagination, to create an incredibly powerful presence in the world, and how experience is more than physical, more than can be measured.
So here’s the non-science bit – first off, some photos of my own. I love water and water imagery and it amazes me how diverse and complex it is. Have a browse through this slide show. I wonder how these images of water will feel to you? I wonder what they’ll mean to you?
Here’s the slide show
And then, here are some of my favourite water songs. Let’s start with Rain
I can show you that when it starts to rain, everything’s still the same
When it rains and shines it’s just a state of mind
Patty Griffin next…..
Sometimes a hurt is so deep deep deep
You think that you’re gonna drown
Sometimes all I can do is weep weep weep
With all this rain falling down
Strange how hard it rains now
Rows and rows of big dark clouds
When I’m holding on underneath this shroud
And, the fabulous Eurythmics -
Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you
It’s amazing how much the rain can change our emotions, our state of mind, and our mood, isn’t it?
Let’s spend a little time by the river! Rivers are so important to us. How many towns and cities grow up around rivers? Think how we use metaphors like “river of life”. Here’s Alison Krauss set to a lovely montage of BBC nature videos.
A complete change of musical genre, but keeping a religious theme, with Good Charlotte,
Baptized in the river,
I’ve seen a vision of my life,
My favourite river song about the importance of place – really, a song that gives us a real understanding of psychogeography! (the way place fashions a sense of self)
And, finally, with Christmas coming, here’s Sarah McLachlan’s version of Joni Mitchell’s The River
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
Which paintings, photos, songs, films, poems or stories come to your mind on the theme of water, and what do they mean to you?
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