Hermeticism and Science / Science



The relationships among the plants.

Relations among living beings.

Agreements that vegetables make to be able to live and evolve.

When a given quantity of solar light—what we call a “quantum” or a “photon”—is absorbed by a chlorophyll molecule, an electron in that chlorophyll is “excited,” that is, its energetic level is momentarily raised.  Immediately, the electron passes this absorbed energy to a receptor molecule, and in a fraction of a second the electron “falls” into its original energetic state, remaining available to be excited once again. Part of the absorbed solar energy is transformed into chemical energy through a complex process known as photosynthesis. Only light energy that is absorbed can be transformed into chemical energy.

Few organisms—plants, algae and some bacteria—can carry out photosynthesis, because only they have chlorophyll. Nonetheless, once light energy is absorbed and transformed into chemical energy, it becomes available for all living organisms, including human beings.  The process of photosynthesis thus becomes the vital connection among all living beings. As the Nobel Prize-winner Szent-Györgyi expressed it:  “What keeps life going is . . . a small current, maintained by sunlight.”

Must not this connection between photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic beings, and all of them together with the sun, signify that everything that exists in the world partakes of the same energy? That everything is, in its essence, the same? That nothing is independent from everything else?  Hermes refers to the existence of a “universal mind”, the “sole principle of the universe.” The philosopher Darío Salas, in his book Morals for the 21st Century, expresses it this way:  “What is certain is that an order exists that maintains the structure of the cosmos and that this symmetry configures a system of energy circulation at the level of Nature.”

If we focus specifically on the study of certain of these organisms, we discover that these dependent relationships exist at all levels.  This shows in a practical way the truth of the universal principal of correspondence, according to which “as it is above, so it is below.”

Plants, from small grasses to large trees, would die of malnutrition in soil that is rich in nutrients, if their roots did not establish a collaborative relationship with bacteria and fungi.  These fungi closely surround the roots, or more frequently penetrate them.  The benefits are mutual:  the fungi participate directly in the transfer of minerals from the soil to the roots and, in exchange, the plant brings carbohydrates to the fungus.

Legumes live and grow thanks to the union of their roots with certain bacteria that also enrich the soil and leave it better prepared to be sown in the future, since these bacteria are the only organisms capable of fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere and transforming it into organic nitrogen.

The marvelous orchids that we so admire for the beauty of their flowers depends absolutely on their nutrition and reproduction and on having the correct relationship with a specific fungus.  In this relationship, if the fungus becomes too aggressive, too demanding, the orchid dies and the fungus finds itself without the benefit of its partner; if it is the orchid that behaves with excessive aggressiveness or exigency, the fungus dies—and the orchid too!  A harmonious relationship between the fungus and the orchid is necessary so that the former can develop and the latter can feed it's self correctly and be able to reproduce.

This is a very concrete example of what the aforesaid philosopher Darío Salas terms “the law of egalitarian equivalence,” which, as he clarifies, “means, in principle, acting according to what is right, . . .  making what we give appropriate to what we receive.”

This kind of relationships among living beings, in which we all give and receive, is the basis for all important evolutionary leaps.  In the case of plants, it is now recognized that even the movement from water to land—the colonization of the landmasses—could not have been accomplished by any single organism in particular, but rather was carried out successfully by a symbiotic association of organisms.

Ximena Giráldez Fernández - Biologist

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