Diminished reliance of scientific rationalizations
for macrobiotic practice. Science is a powerful
force within our culture. It can give us very
real insights into the world we live in and our
place in it. It is also often a trap. When we
attempt to create a "macrobiotic science,"
we lose the essence of our work.
This does not mean we should ignore or minimize
the importance of scientific work, but we should
be sensitive to the fact that the practice of
macrobiotics is not the application of a science,
it is an art. When we reduce our philosophy to
a series of dry and mechanical principles we remove
We say that we want people to develop their intuition
and to identify their personal relationship to
their food, their relationships and the world
we live in. What often happens is that the instructions
they receive are very "scientific" and
undermine those very qualities.
I often see people who are instructed to measure
and gauge every bite of food, count every chew,
and cut each vegetable with rigorous attention.
There can be value in this as an exercise in awareness,
but this is not how the instructions have been
- Bill Tara
Q: What is "Macrobiotic Science"?
A: Phiya: I understand ablove what Bill Tara
has and it is familiar to me because that is how I used
to think. I don't think that way anymore. The shortest
answer to your question is that Bill and I are talking
about two different things.
In Bill's writing there is an over-generalization and
reduction of science to a set mechanical principles
that gets dogmatically pounded into the minds of innocent
children. It is common for people to misunderstand science
since much of our collective experience of science is
from evangelical elementary school science teachers
touting science as the ultimate end-all sacred fruit
of all of western civilization's greatest minds.
I think the reason why it is familiar to me because
it echos what I used to hear in lectures and talks by
Michio, as well as read in Ohsawa's books. Michio has
always expressed a certain disdain about science, putting
it far beneath the unifying principle and the order
of the universe.
On the seven levels of judgement or consciousness
it is always placed on number 4, the intellectual level
and below the level of social consciousness. Michio,
to this day, criticizes the shortcomings of science
pointing out that the pinnacle of science is represented
by Nobel prize winners.
Yet these Nobel prize winners often end up becoming
sick, commiting suicide, going insane, or experiencing
some other unfortunate fate, which to Michio is an indication
of their lower judgement. The other main critique of
science by Michio is what he calls "the fragmented
view" in which, for example, to take of one eyes
one goes to an eye doctor and to take take care of one's
ears one goes to an ear doctor and so on.
Whereas the macrobiotic perspective is to look at the
body as an integral whole. Also, as Bill mentions, Ohsawa
and Michio promoted intuition - a sort of non-thinking-one-with-the-univesre-approach-
as being the highest form of judgement. So what Bill
Tara wrote is an expression of a similar viewpoint.
It is Bill's adopted and adapted version of Michio's
and Ohsawa's perspective
I think differently from this. First I think the reasoning
and conclusions are flawed by Michio and I don't mind
expressing this to him directly. I think much of this
criticism is due to a naive understanding of what science
really is. If the purpose of science were to live a
long and happy and sane life then Michio would be correct
in criticism, however this is not the case.
The purpose of science is simply "to know' or
to be aware. As such, it is quite understandable how
some might go mad in the pursuit of knowing. A sub-purpose
within the pursuit of awareness as the discernment of
what is truth, or what is real vs. what is imagined.
The base prupose of awareness is not different from
the macrobiotic/unifying pricinple of humanity's evolution
of consciousness. Indeed, I assert that what makes us
most happiest is when we continually become more aware
of ourselves and our environment.
This can be in many forms of experiences, study, travel,
etc. Furthermore, the source of intuition is our awareness
and the more we are aware, the stronger our intuition
becomes. (Bill Tara does not explain what really is
intuition and where it comes from).
A newborn baby has instincts. A baby will burn itself
when touching a hot stove. But after several times of
mistakenly getting burned it then develops the intuition
to know, or at least to check beforehand, if and when
something is hot.
This is the difference between instinct and intution.
Intuition is knowing about something before it is actually
known or verified. But intuition is developed after
many experiences of trial and error and a general increase
So what is science?
If we take away the label "science" and
look at what it is trying to describe then one is left
with a set of logical explanantions. I outlined the
various types of logical structures used in science
in a previous post. In other words, all that science
defines are the various types of logical structures
that we use to explain our universe. These logical structures
are natural to the thinking of humanity regardless if
it is called science or not. Michio and George Ohsawa
(and Bill) uses them to describe and explain macrobiotic
What Bill (and Michio) is critical of is what I call
the logical structure known as "functional analysis"
(mechanical thinking) and applying it to a domain that
is better suited for another type of logical structure.
Most people view "science" as using only the
logic of functional analysis and that includes many
so-called scientists. But this incorrect. Scientific
arguements uses all forms of logical structures including
the logic of yin and yang, although it usually not called
that, and it usually varies based on what the subject
The only thing that can qualifies as "not science"
is religion and the logic behind is what I call "intentional
manifestation." In other words there is a presupposition
that everything has and was made with a purpose, even
if we may never discover what that purpose is. The difference
with "science" is it does not pre-suppose
this intention and therefore allows room for accidents
and other unintentional occurrences. People who view
macrobiotics as being the result of a divine purpose
have turned it into a religion.
I would like point out here, that I differentiate divine
intention with "order of the universe." The
order of the universe is simply a description of the
structure of the universe. There is no intention. How
it has this order is actually best described schematically
by Chaos theory even though you could use the infinite
examples to be found in nature. The seven level spiral
from Ohsawa and Michio along with the I-ching are gross
generalizations of the intricate patterns of this order.
There is much to be said about this in another discussion.
In conclusion, and with regard to "macrobiotic
science": Macrobiotics is already science in that
it is based on a consistent logical structure. The division
that Bill writes about, in my opinion, is based on misunderstanding
what science really is and lack of understanding where
intuition originally comes from. His writing is flawed
and in the end only serves to create a division where
none exists. By creating this division, he unintentionally
stifles the future of macrobiotics, by defining it as
not having anything to do with "awareness."
I hope this help to clarify what I mean.