The Alchemy of Hope

Hope, like faith and belief, lies in the “heart” of the hopeful. It has no volume, no mass, no chemical signature. It looks beyond what is seen towards that which can only become visible through trust in those things that cannot be grasped with the senses.

alchemy275And so I try not to let my science-steeped skepticism overwhelm the notion that some things we can’t explain could possibly be as real as those that can be reduced to equations, formulae and measurement.

I especially withhold judgment when learning of these hoped-for things from those who expect to partake in the object of that hope through healing or success or good fortune, however faint and groundless their hope might seem to me at first blush.

I come to this topic having had conversations twice in as many weeks where the person across from me has held up for my edification objects of great promise, should the claims made about them turn out to be verified and confirmed by some significant number of afflicted people, and alternative explanations ruled out in some objective way.

So I will leave these two items for your consideration, in case, as they were for me, unfamiliar promises from the pantheon of Hopeful Things.

► Ormus (or ORMEs (Orbitally Rearranged Monoatomic Elements) are said to be a kind of mineral with wide-ranging healing properties including for cancer and AIDS.

► Rife Machine: A non-approved device that purports to be able to cure a wide swath of diseases by destructive frequency resonance with pathogenic bacteria.

On hearing about these things, my mind falls back to what I know of basic chemistry and biology. Could I be wrong or ignorant of some details in these vast areas? Certainly.

Could it be possible that the American Medical Association (in collusion with the scientific community at large) has methodically squashed miracle inventions that would put modern western health care of business forever? Could science as it’s practiced actually blind us to a world beyond our senses and past experience?

A healthy skepticism is a good counterweight to potentially unhealthy hope, even while “there are greater things, Horatio, than exist in men’s philosophies.” Or health care. Or science.

We are still learning, all of us.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I think the Medical community has denigrated the entire arena of alternate medicine–and by this, I mean the knowledge eastern cultures, and some in the west have about the history and application of herbs and some spiritual practices. There are important nuggets of truth in traditions that have been used for centuries, but the big medical machine has stomped on anything that doesn’t come in the form of a pill, and isn’t profitable. But we should all be open to new inventions that may answer some of the stubborn health problems we have as a culture.

  2. My hope is that, given the egregious collusion by western medicine with Big Pharma and the insurance companies, we should be careful that the pendulum doesn’t swing back too far the other way into gullibility for every alternative.

    The Internet, especially, is capable of beguiling the hopeful to embrace the “snake oil” and quackery of yester-year. Somewhere in the middle lies true hope—provided we can stay ahead of new pathogens we’ve played a large part to create.

  3. Hymmm. Your fellow scientist here is way sceptical just from the descriptions of these two. But hey, I’m with you; there is lots and LOTS out there that 21st Century science has yet to discover.

  4. I tend to become most skeptical when someone is trying to “sell” me something! That is as true for the medical establishment as for the “alternative” crowd. I think that western medicine falls short in dealing with the mind part of the mind/body equation in treating human dis-ease. This may be most apparent in regard to the common afflictions of aging. People tend to look for things that give them a sense of agency and a positive outlook, or in other words hope. My answer so far is yoga. It’s done wonders for both the body and the mind. “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.” RLStevenson
    Merry Christmas!