One of the most highlighted books in my library is Robert Becker’s 1985 THE BODY ELECTRIC . Just about every page has one or more lines highlighted. Dr. Becker and his co-author, Gary Selden, teamed up to produce one of the most researched and documented scientific studies of our time.The entire book is a most fascinating journey through this doctor/scientist’s life’s work of proving and demonstrating how electricity coursing from the brain through the nerves of our bodies drives every anatomical and physiological function and more. It can even grow new limbs that have been amputated, or limbs where they don’t normally grow, which means it is intelligence. The same electrical current moving from atom to atom and cell to cell generates an electromagnetic field around the body. It also creates our mental capacity. Today we call this current “life” but as early as the 1920’s no scientist would risk his career by as much as suggesting that life was in any sense electrical.
Becker went even further in his experiments to show how artificially generated low frequency electromagnetic fields around us, such as those produced by cell phones, microwave ovens and cellphone towers, and even toasters and electric heaters, influence the flow of electrical current through our bodies, often causing disruptions in normal function throughout the body-mind continuum, to the extent of even causing cancers and other diseases.
It’s an axiom of science that the better an experiment is, the more new questions it raises after it has answered the one you asked. By that standard my first simple test had been pretty good. The new problems branched out like the fingers on those restored limbs: Where did the injury currents come from? Were they in fact related to the nervous system and, if so, how? It seemed unlikely that they sprang into action only after an amputation; they must have existed before. There must have been a preexisting substratum of direct current activity that responded to the injury. Did the voltages I measured really reflect such currents, and did they flow throughout the salamander’s body? [He used lizards and frogs as test subjects.] Did other organisms have them? What structures carried them? What were their electrical properties? What were they doing the rest of the time, before injury and after healing? Could they be used to provoke regeneration where it was normally absent?
A QUICK REFRESHER ON ELECTRICAL CURRENT
Becker shares his process of finding some of the answers with us throughout his book, but not without first taking the time to familiarize us with electrical terms and basic concepts essential to understanding his approach.
Everything electrical stems from the phenomenon of charge. No one knows exactly what this is, except to say that it’s a fundamental property of matter that exists in two opposite forms, or polarities, which we arbitrarily call positive and negative. Protons, which are one of the two main types of particles in atomic nuclei, are positive; the other particles, the neutrons, are so named because they have no charge. Orbiting around the nucleus are electrons, in the same number as the protons inside the nucleus. Although an electron is 1,836 times less massive than a proton, the electron carries an equal but opposite (negative) charge. Because of their lightness and their position outside the nucleus, electrons are much more easily dislodged from atoms than are protons, so they are the main carriers of electrical charge. For the lay person’s purposes a negative charge can be thought of as a surplus of electrons, while a positive charge can be considered a scarcity of them. When electrons move away from an area, it becomes positively charged, and the area to which they move becomes negative.
A flow of electrons is called a current, and is measured in amperes, units named for an early-nineteenth–century French physicist, Andre Marie Ampere. A direct current is a more or less even flow, as opposed to the instantaneous discharge of static electricity as sparks or lightning, or the back-and-forth flow of alternating current which powers most of our appliances.
It is this back-and-forth alternating (AC) current of our artificially produced electricity that disrupts the flow of the subtle energy of life in our bodies as a direct current (DC). We would be far better off healthwise with a DC current instead of our present AC current of electricity.
Besides the amount of charge being moved, a current has another characteristic important for our narrative — its electromotive force. This can be visualized as the “push” behind the current, and it‘s measured in volts (named for Alessandro Volta).
In high school most of us learned that a current flows only when a source of electrons (negatively charged material) is connected to a material having fewer free electrons (positively charged in relation to the source) by a conductor, through which the electrons can flow. This is what happens when you connect the negative terminal of a battery to its positive pole with a wire or a radio‘s innards: You‘ve completed a circuit between negative and positive. If there‘s no conductor, and hence no circuit, there‘s only a hypothetical charge flow, or electric potential, between the two areas. The force of this latent current is also measured in volts by temporarily completing the circuit with a recording device, as I did in my experiment.
The potential can continue to build until a violent burst of current equalizes the charges; this is what happens when lightning strikes. Smaller potentials may remain stable, however. In this case they must be continuously fed by a direct current flowing from positive to negative, the opposite of the normal direction. In this part of a circuit, electrons actually flow from where they‘re scarce to where they’re more abundant.
As Volta found, such a flow is generated inside a battery by the electrical interaction of two metals.
ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC FIELDS
An electric field forms around any electric charge. This means that any other charged object will be attracted (if the polarities are opposite) or repelled (if they‘re the same) for a certain distance around the first object. The field is the region of space in which an electrical charge can be detected, and it‘s measured in volts per unit of area. Electric fields must be distinguished from magnetic fields. Like charge, magnetism is a dimly understood intrinsic property of matter that manifests itself in two polarities. Any flow of electrons sets up a combined electric and magnetic field around the current, which in turn affects other electrons nearby. Around a direct current the electro-magnetic field is stable, whereas an alternating current‘s field collapses and reappears with its poles reversed every time the current changes direction. This reversal happens sixty times a second in our normal house currents. Just as a current produces a magnetic field. . . when it moves in relation to a conductor, induces a current. Any varying magnetic field, like that around household appliances, generates a current in nearby conductors. The weak magnetic fields we‘ll be discussing are measured in gauss, units named after a nineteenth-century German pioneer in the study of magnetism, Karl Friedrich Gauss.
Both electric and magnetic fields are really just abstractions that scientists have made up to try to understand electricity’s and magnetism‘s action at a distance, produced by no known intervening material or energy, a phenomenon that used to be considered impossible until it became undeniable. A field is represented by lines of force, another abstraction, to indicate its direction and shape. Both kinds of fields decline with distance, but their influence is technically infinite: Every time you use your toaster, the fields around it perturb charged particles in the farthest galaxies ever so slightly.
In addition, there’s a whole universe full of electromagnetic energy, radiation that somehow seems to be both waves in an electromagnetic field and particles at the same time. It exists in a spectrum of wavelengths that includes cosmic rays, gamma rays, X rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, infrared radiation, microwaves, and radio waves. Together, electro-magnetic fields and energies interact in many complex ways that have given rise to much of the natural world, not to mention the whole technology of electronics.
Perhaps the one person who understood electromagnetism was Walter Russell, a mystery which he unravels quite eloquently in his wonderfully enlightening book THE SECRET OF LIGHT, where he defines electricity as. .
“. . . the strain or tension set up by the two opposing desires of universal Mind thinking: the desire for balanced action and the desire for rest.
If you want to understand light and electricity, read his book. For Russell, there is only God and Creation, which are inseparably one. God is electricity. Electricity is Divine Mind in action creating phenomena like magnetic fields that draw atoms together to create the myriad forms of life we see around us, including our physical bodies. Russell’s is a “two-way” universe where . . .
Electricity [God] is forever winding light up into hot spheres, surrounded by cold cube wave-fields of space, and likewise sequentially unwinding them for rewinding. While winding them into compressed light masses, they are simultaneously unwinding to a lesser extent. Conversely, while unwinding they are simultaneously rewinding to a lesser extent.
Every opposite of a pair charges in excess of its discharge for one half of its cycle. It then discharges in excess of its charging. Life and death are good examples. Life charges a body in excess of its discharge for one half of its cycle and death discharges it in excess [of its charging] for the other half.
. . . Man’s senses have misled him into believing in a force called magnetism which attracts compass needles and lifts tons of steel. These phenomena of motion are due to electricity and not to magnetism. The cosmic Light is absolutely still. It neither attracts nor repels.
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