The upholder of the cycles which sustain all Life is water. In every drop of water dwells a deity whom indeed we all serve. There also dwells Life, the soul of the primal substance—water—whose boundaries and banks are the capillaries that guide it, and in which it circulates. Every pulse beat arising through the interaction of will and resistance is indicative of creative work and urges us to care for those vessels, those primary and most vital structures, in which throbs the product of a dualistic power—Life.
Every waterway is an artery of this Life, an artery that creates its own pathways and bridges as it advances, so as to diffuse its dawning life-force through the Earth and elevate itself to great heights, to become shining, beautiful and free. Standing at the highest level of evolution, and above all being blessed with mind and reason, humanity constantly does the most idiotic thing imaginable by trying to regulate these waterways by means of their banks—by influencing the flow mechanically, instead of taking into account the fact that water is itself a living entity.
The assumption behind this absurd practice is that the riverbank shapes the watercourse, whereas the riverbank is actually the secondary effect and water the primary. To regulate water by means of the riverbank is truly to fight cause with effect. It should be as inconceivable to a thinking engineer to reinforce the crumbling bank of a watercourse with rammed piles and brush-wood bales, or to smear over cracks with cement, as it would be for a doctor to patch up ruptured capillaries with needle and thread. Astonishingly, though, it still happens! The condition of all our waterways demonstrates just where these measures have led.
In not one single case has the desired object been attained—namely the achievement of a normal channel-profile. On the contrary, all such river regulation has provoked further damage which far outweighs any local or short-term advantages. Large rivers such as the Danube, Rhine, Tagliamento, Etsch, Garonne and Mississippi bear witness to the failure of such complicated and costly river regulations. Quite apart from the tremendous damage caused in the lower reaches by their strictly mechanical regulation, these rivers are stripped of their most valuable assets, their great physical qualities.
The present dirty grey, muddy brew known as the Blue Danube, upon whose bed river-gold once gleamed, and the Rhine, the symbol of German identity, where Rhinegold flashed in bygone days, are tragic testimonials to these perverse practices. The mythical ‘Gold of the Nibelungs’ originated in the golden glow given off by pebbles as they rubbed against each other while rolling along the riverbed at night—for when there is a decrease in water temperature, the tractive force increases, causing the stones to move. If two pebbles are rubbed together under water, a golden glow appears. This yellowish-red fiery glow used to be mistaken for the flashing of gold, thought to be lying on the bottom of the river. Today this ‘river-gold’ lies heaped up in huge mounds of gravel, shifted hither and thither by the force of the sluggish and murky water-masses flowing above them. They no longer imbue the water with energy and soul, as once they did. Instead they assist in ousting the soul-less body—water—from its badly-regulated course.
Our clear, cold mountain streams have become wild torrents. Full of the vigour of youth, these lively streams used to be surrounded by burgeoning vegetation and consorted with every blade of grass as long as man did not interfere. Today they can no longer be confined even with metre-thick concrete walls. Wherever we look we see the dreadful disintegration of the very bridges of Life, the capillaries and the bodies they have created, caused by mindless mechanical human acts. These actions have robbed the Earths blood—water—of its soul. It is therefore inevitable that the larger and more expensive these regulatory structures become, the greater will be the ensuing damage. In the lower reaches of the Danube almost a million hectares of valuable farmland have been lost due to the regulation of the upper reaches. Similar conditions apply to all other rivers.
Even today the river engineer fails to understand the true nature and purpose of water. The harder he tries to conduct it by the shortest and straightest route to the sea, the more it will tend to form bends, the longer will be its path and the worse its quality. The flow of water down a natural gradient obeys a sublime, inner Law whose power our hydraulic experts are quite unable to comprehend. In the absence of this inner conformity with law, all flowing water ought to accelerate faster and faster until it ultimately transfers to a vaporous state. Science maintains that water is braked by internal and external friction, though it is well known that friction is associated with the generation of heat. However, it can be shown that the temperature of fast-flowing water decreases, which leads to an increase in tractive force and internal friction. This simple observation invalidates certain essential propositions in the complex of current hydro-mechanical theories.
Where then is the real secret of steadiness in the flow of draining water-masses? The force that brakes the flow of water down a gradient is a resistance which acts against the force of gravity, a circulation of energy operating in the opposite direction to the current. This is also true of all metabolic processes and gives water its character and thus its soul. Contemporary systems of river regulation inhibit this vital function. The logical outcome of this is the loss of waters inner braking power. The water becomes soulless, without character and therefore aggressive.