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Living Energies | Waternet


by Callum Coats

Book Review by Dr Roger Taylor

Gateway Books, Bath, UK (1996), ISBN 046551979, 311 pages

Viktor Schauberger was an intuitive genius around whom, like others such as Reich, Tesla and Keely, has grown a dense jungle of myth and speculation. As a young man he refused university education because he did not want his mind contaminated with conventional ways of thought.

Instead he gained employment as a forester, so that he could learn from nature. It seems clear that he had an extraordinary insight into the ways of water - almost as though he could in imagination become water,

as it flowed through natural and man-made water ways. As a result of this he was able to design flumes for carrying logs that apparently worked much better than the conventional ones, to the satisfaction of his employers. (But whether his designs are still used, or indeed ever caught on for general use in forestry,

the book does not tell us).

He was a pioneer ecologist: warning us of ecological disaster even in the early thirties.

Decades before James Lovelock, he was seeing the whole earth as an organism. In addition to his work with watercourses, he is credited with a great variety of inventions, ranging from devices to give ordinary water the healthy qualities of mountain spring water, to free energy turbines, anti-gravity and even flying saucers.

My hopes that this book would clear up some of the fog were sadly dashed. Mr Coats has obviously worked very hard with mountains of Schauberger's notes and diagrams. But what a pity that this work was not done by a scientist! Almost every page contains an error of fact, or a misunderstanding of some simple scientific idea. Thus:

Writing of vibrations, he confuses intensity with frequency (44). What are we to make of the series of misapprehensions culminating in his conclusion that the sun is cold and dark?

He argues, for example, that because, below a certain pressure of gas, the glow in a gas discharge tube disappears, that light from the sun would not be able to pass through the extreme vacuum of space (p.77).

Hardly any of the description of electrolysis is correct - from "negatively-charged hydrogen ions" and "positively-charged oxygen ions" to the conclusion that these gases come from the added sulphuric acid and not from the water (p.112).

Since Avogadro's and Loschmitt's numbers are simply different ways of stating the same fundamental constant, the approximate relation, golden mean x 1052 I Avogadro's = Loschmitt's must be a spurious coincidence - even without the unexplained factor 1052 (fig.4.8).

How can water be "incompressible" and yet, in the deep sea, be "of enormous density"? (p.136).

You cannot centrifuge oxygen out of water. Nor can you see it in the form of solid structures under the microscope. It is not "savage oxygen" which attacks turbine blades, but cavitation (p.177).

Siliceous rocks (ie the usual kind, here confusingly called "metalliferous"), unlike elementary silicon,

are not semiconductors (p.162).

Schauberger had some really whacky ideas. For example he divides the entire periodic table of elements into just three: hydrogen, oxygen and carbons - the latter term apparently serving to include all the other elements. It is often hard to sort out which of the misconceptions come originally from Schauberger, and which have first arisen in the author's mind. Here are some more:

Do trout really "move upstream like a streak of lightning by flapping their gills"? Even if they did, they would need to be able to do it long before the supposedly important increase in "carbones" (CO2) appeared in the outflow from their gills. In any case CO2 is not "oxygen-hungry" nor, even if it was, would its combination with oxygen cause water to expand (p.142).

How does heat "induce aggressiveness" in oxygen? One gathers that heat in general and direct sunlight are bad for water, and cold (at least down to 4o) and shade are good. Are we to assume that open rivers not shaded by trees in hot climates are giving off "deadly radiation"? If so, how come the Nile is (or was) full of fish, and its banks supportive of so much life? (p.170).

While blood vessels may well have special characteristics giving them very low resistance to the flow of blood, it is hard to see why the heart needs so much muscle if it is "not a pump". And to try to support this statement by imagining that it has to pump blood through all 60,000 km of capillaries as if they were laid end to end makes no sense at all (p.188).

Rise in body temperature during a fever is construed as if it were the cause of infection,

rather than a response to it (p.227).

He claims that, as the trunk gets narrower towards the top of a tree, the annual rings should get closer together. Has he ever looked? (p.247).

The section on photosynthesis is almost complete rubbish, e.g. Chlorophyll has 137 atoms. 137 is a prime number. Therefore chlorophyll is stable (p.219).

One often comes across sentences composed from end to end of impenetrable verbiage.

Thus: "In its gradual descent the phloem encounters the suspended positively-charged material with which it interacts, an interaction which is enhanced as the positively-charged xylem is drawn towards the exterior under the influence of the prevailing positive temperature gradient".

I could go on but, having got this much off my chest, I will try to seek out some positive aspects.

In searching the book for further evidence that Schauberger had in fact developed a means to free energy,

I was interested in the historical account with which it opens. Here is documentation of a serious interest, by various agencies, from Adolph Hitler to the FBI, and a detailed account of the Schaubergers' (father and son) visit to the USA, during which an american business consortium essentially stole all their plans, models and prototypes. This left Viktor a broken man, and he died soon afterwards.

But if he had really built functioning machines, there would need to be at least some mathematical input.

We know that Schauberger's son Walter was a mathematician, yet it is in this area, between the intuition and the hardware, that the book is most conspicuously lacking. It contains little meaningful mathematics and hardly any scientific evidence that Schauberger's ideas actually worked.

What does seem of real significance, however, are the tests done by Prof Pöpel on water flow in a variety of pipes. Unlike all the other shapes, the special double-helical pipe showed extraordinarily low resistance at certain flow rates - even at times going below zero. If true, this "negative friction" would indicate a potential for free energy. Another disappointment is the lack of information about ongoing initiatives to follow up Schauberger's work. These certainly exist, and some can be found on the Internet, but I have not heard of them having any notable success.

I find myself coming back to the question of intuition in science. Intuition is a kind of felt sense, initially without conceptual content. Most scientists will quickly follow up their intuitions by clothing them in some conceptual framework, and so be able to communicate their ideas to others.

Schauberger, on the other hand, appears to have gone an immense distance on intuition alone - perhaps even to the extent of developing workable machines. But when he came to formulate his intuitions in words, he seems to have left little in the way either of intellectual coherance or testability. Working as he did in isolation, without the benefit either of a scientific education or of peer contact, he was free to build an edifice of suppositions, about a diversity of subjects, many of which are demonstrably wrong. Intuition is a double-edged weapon: nature is often counterintuitive - as seen in the demise of terracentrism,

and the phlogiston theory.

But in addition Schauberger was, quite simply, decades before his time. Only now is chaos theory beginning to bear out his intuition that there must be a principle of order to set against the second law of thermodynamics. Only now is antigravity hovering on the borders of physics, to bear out his intuition that there must be a principle of "levity" to set against gravity. (indeed, so the grapevine informs me, antigravity has just been achieved in a respectable university in Finland!).

Only now has the quantum theory of water reached a stage where we might consider seriously his intuitions about the relation of flow dynamics to water structure. Above all, his intuitions about the vortex as a fundamental form seem extraordinarily prescient. Many are speculating on ether vortices as the means by which form can arise out of the void, and experimental evidence seems already to exist in the Russian work on torsion fields.