Sir Albert Howard:
A $Rebel who looked under his nose and let common sense make him a visionary in a confused world. When the topics under discussion are physical health, vaccinations, physical or mental, as well as the impact of viruses, physical or mental, Sir Albert Howard’s life and career and thoughts are worth considering. He was born just six years after Wilbur Wright but outlived Wright by thirty five years.
When I was still in my teens, I read Sir Albert Howard’s 1940 book “An Agricultural Testament”. Here was a man who acknowledged that we exist in a complex and brilliantly designed system and that it is egotistical folly to ignore the fact that humans do not have total familiarity with their circumstances. We are smart and need to get in there and do our best, but we are still relative amateurs in relation to the Genius who put this thing together in the first place. Observing and learning about the system is more effective than playing “bull in the china shop”. Pausing to ask "why?" is more important than bombastically bragging “here is my unprofessional opinion, so let’s get with it.”
Howard’s push was that the health of plants and animals and mankind was closely linked to soil fertility and that failure to work with that fact was a formula for eventual societal disaster. He looked to the successes of long term traditional, proven agricultural practices and to the warning lights of pests and disease. He stated that his professors were the peasants and the pests. When things went wrong he took it as thought provoking advice, not purely as a confrontational challenge. He didn't underplay system complexity.
He was fortunate to work in a scientific setting where he wasn’t roped in by traditional approaches and short term and vested economic restrictions. He came from a cattle raising background and put his soil fertility theories to the test with the oxen that the Pusa, India, research station used as work animals. His conviction that Hoof and Mouth disease was not simply a viral disease was proven by his animals being immune to the disease that regularly ravaged the next door cattle estate. His animals rubbed noses over the fence with infected animals yet never became infected. And he knew there were reasons why. The virus wasn’t the important factor.
Does that example say anything about US children, as of 1999, being subjected to a recommended 11 types of vaccinations, some requiring multiple applications? Cattle vaccinations for Hoof and Mouth have a $ impracticallity due to the desire to avoid antibodies that are looked for in exported / imported meat. Due to the paranoia over Hoof and Mouth, it is currently impossible to know if detected antibodies show that the animal was “diseased” or vaccinated and detection of any antibody means import rejection. Howard was at Pusa from 1910 to 1924. In a 1922-24 H&M outbreak in the UK the Duke of Westminster won an exemption from the “destroy the microbes” slaughter policy for his herd. His workers applied locally known remedies, and paid extra attention to the animals. Recovery was so good that some of the animals that had the disease in the winter won prizes at the Royal Show the following summer.
A study of Howard’s work and those that followed him shows a major divergence in thinking from the mainstream agricultural approach. Which is correct? Someone is wrong? What are the implications? Look at the puzzle analogy that is linked to the main Vaccination/Wright essay. Are the perceptions of the individual pieces of the True puzzle picture accurate? Have short term $ signs been attached to syncretic puzzle piece fabrications so they no longer mesh into the True Reality picture – and then have additional “puzzle pieces” been fabricated to fit the syncretic mutants?
Has the agricultural world been infected by a Mental Virus pandemic that only affects those who have had their natural immunity compromised by an underlying condition, namely being hung with the perception that we don’t exist in a designed system that has principles or rules that we need to learn and play by. Creativity and intelligence, as in any game, have free rein, so long as you play by certain basic rules. Break those basic rules and penalties are going to fly. Smart players can often hide their infractions but as an example, Olympic athletes, even with national support, can get the boot for secretive doping. Perhaps a poor example - in the "natural, designed world", politics isn't a factor!
In Howard’s 1940 book he predicted that the agricultural approach that he was opposed to and which has swept the globe, would eventually drown in medical costs. He predicted “because artificial plants, artificial animals, and artificial men are unhealthy and can only be protected from the parasites, whose duty it is to remove them, by means of poison sprays, vaccines and serums and an expensive system of patent medicines, panel doctors, hospitals and so forth. - - - the teachings of the agricultural economists of this period will be dismissed as superficial.” I do not think that that prediction is dramatically illustrated quite yet but the rise of the organic movement may be linked to many people feeling a bit like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.
I do wonder if “organic” has become a $gimmick in recent times. Depleted soil that isn’t chemically fertilized nor sprayed may qualify for being called “organic” but I am a bit unease as to the detailed conviction of many “organic” farmers. It is a difficult battle to go against the flow of a massive system. Howard took a lot of factors into consideration in his ideal farming style. There is sure to be a tendency to want the now popular “organic” designation for dollar reasons but it may be a thankless battle to follow through with all the underlying details. Fighting an entrenched system with a deep negative deficit historic legacy is not an easy battle.
The main point at hand is that Howard saw bacteria and viruses and disease in a different light than most current agricultural and medical practitioners. And he was able to back up his theories with practical examples of successful application.
The scepticism I express in the main essay has definitely been impacted by my early contact with Howard’s publications and my own long term application of the principles that he advanced. For me, his thinking is supported by the hard logic of experience!