Monday, June 07, 2010

The Secret Life of Water by Masaru Emoto

I finished a rather ridiculous book yesterday, The Secret Life of Water by Masaru Emoto.  He is rather famous in New Age circles for “proving” that water is affected by thoughts. Although he admits that his methods are not scientific, he tries to defend his “logical conclusions” by interpreting his results through other scientific theories and facts. 

How does one justify one’s own unscientific process by applying scientific principles proven through the very same scientific methods you yourself are not using?  It makes no sense to me.

I would have been more interested in what he had to say if he had simply said that what he believes is not scientifically proven and requires a leap of faith.  Even if he were to suggest, as he does in this book, that science has not yet caught up with the subtle ways in which the universe works, I could buy that.  But because he makes this last argument in the context of his justifying his unscientific process, I simply find it all ridiculous. 

Nevertheless, his argument is intriguing.  He suggests that when water is exposed to loving or gracious thoughts it responds by forming crystals that are lovely.  When water is exposed to hostile or angry thoughts, the crystals formed are not balanced or well formed.  Of course, he admits that there is no precision used to photograph these frozen crystals.  If you cannot properly time when the photograph is taken how can I, the reader, rely upon the image’s outcome?  And when he shares the process that they use for choosing the exemplary crystal, the one photo they will use to say “this is how the crystal looks” I have to further question the whole thing. 

I won’t even bother arguing how there are ways to take photographs of crystals using resources that won’t cause the water to melt back into liquid form but whatever.  Like I said—he doesn’t care that his methods are unscientific.

But I digress.  So he believes and contends that we humans, made up of mostly water ourselves, are affected by the thoughts of others.  Our prayers are healing and the energy we put out in the universe touches others.  When someone has hurt us and we feel anger towards them, even if they are far away they can feel it.  (He tries to draw on quantum physics but it amuses me how often people in the New Age movement will use something as difficult to explain or even comprehend to support what they are trying to teach.  If the New Age person were a quantum physicist, I may find it a more compelling argument but everyone I know who understands these things even slightly better than I can rip massive holes through the defense using the truth of quantum physics and not just the interpretations of the truths, if you know what I mean.)

The thing is, I don’t know whether what he is saying is true or not.  I think his methods are laughable and taint his theory to the point of making it indefensible.  Like I said, had he kept it as “a matter of faith” I would have been more on board with the whole thing.  I can see where what he is saying dovetails easily with the idea of energy. 

Of course, if you believe in the power of prayer, it is not impossible to make the necessary leap of faith, even if you don’t believe in a god to whom you are praying but simply putting out the visualization to manifest something—a healing, a blessing, whatever.  And if this is something in which one believes, it is no small step to believe that these same thoughts can ripple (no pun intended) into the very cellular makeup of the body.  In other words, the water that makes up the self can be influenced by thoughts.

If this were true, then what a person thinks has a power and an impact upon others beyond our own comprehension.  It reminds me of something Jesus Christ said, about how to say you hate another person is to commit murder in the heart.  So I don’t know.  I wish the author had been less inclined to apply science as a defensive argument and just let his theory be what it is—pretty and unproven but possibly applicable.  And if he is right about science not yet having the resources to prove what he believes to be true, something I find a little hard to swallow myself, then perhaps someday the scientific community will catch up. 

Wow.  For a book I consider ridiculous, I sure did write a lot about it.  I suppose, ridiculous or not, I think it is at least intriguing.  Like a lovely by a lovely dancer who perhaps doesn’t have precise technique and stumbles at the end of the performance.  And I just love it when someone uses quantum physics to prove a point when 1) they themselves are not a quantum physicist, 2) they are not even a scientist, and 3) there are scientists and quantum physicists who are saying the person is a hack. 

And still, people will believe.  Regardless.  


  1. I read this book a while back and I have to agree with you. The pictures are pretty though!