This post was born after listening to an episode of the Baily Hancock Show podcast entitled “Type-A With a Dash of Woo”.
First of all, I think it’s important to define woo. When I turned to the handy dandy urban dictionary, I came up with this.
Woo is the way a person is when they uncritically believe unsubstantiated or unfounded ideas. Short for woo-woo.
Defining the practices that are considered woo is getting harder and harder. Things that used to be woo, like meditation, are mainstream now, and the science is behind it.
Given that woo practices have been around for millennia, what is still considered woo?
Well, to my rather logical brain, here are a few still woo practices:
- Reiki massage (hands off manipulation of your chi, or energy)
- Crystal healing (stones placed on the body to draw out negative energy)
- Necromancy (speaking with the dead)
I know, I know, you will find people who disagree with me. Just Google any one of these words and you’ll turn up a treasure trove of articles, for and against.
Frankly, I don’t know what to think
Woo Science and Newton
Science tells us that atoms vibrate at specific frequencies and that heat can change that frequency.
And that all things are made up of atoms.
Ergo, we all are walking around as vibrating frequencies.
Who’s to say that those frequencies can’t be manipulated with Reiki massage or crystal placement?
But I know if I paid $80 for a massage and all the therapist did was run his or her hands about a foot from my body, I would feel ripped off.
Of course, this is all based on Newtonian physics.
Just in case you’ve forgotten what that is (I’m raising my hand), here’s the simplest definition I could dig up. Newtonian physics is the description of mechanical events—those that involve forces acting on matter—using the laws of motion and gravitation formulated by physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727).
However, for this discussion, it means that everything is made up of matter or that everything is physical.
That is literally what our five senses tell us.
Woo Science and Quantum Physics
But what about quantum physics? Now there’s a question you don’t hear too often!
This article in Collective Evolution explained it rather well.
“Quantum physicists discovered that physical atoms are made up of vortices of energy that are constantly spinning and vibrating, each one radiating its own unique energy signature. Therefore, if we really want to observe ourselves and find out what we are, we are really beings of energy and vibration, radiating our own unique energy signature.”
Well…that sounds a lot like Newton.
Here’s the difference, though.
If you observed the composition of an atom with a microscope you could measure an invisible tornado-like vortex. As you focused in closer and closer on the structure of the atom, you would see nothing; you would observe a physical void. The atom has no physical structure, therefore we have no physical structure. Physical things really don’t have any physical structure! Atoms are made out of invisible energy, not tangible matter.
Kind of hurts your head, doesn’t it?
Woo In Light of Quantum Physics
Richard Conn Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University says this. “A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality.”
And here’s an article entitled 10 Scientific Studies That Prove Consciousness Can Alter Our Physical Material World.
You know what all that sounds like to me with regard to woo?
It sounds like the placebo effect. A placebo is anything that seems to be a “real” medical treatment — but isn’t. It could be a pill, a shot, or some other type of “fake” treatment. What all placebos have in common is that they do not contain an active substance meant to affect health.
The placebo effect, then, is a beneficial effect that cannot be attributed to the properties of the placebo itself. Therefore the benefit must be due to the patient’s belief in that treatment.
If, as observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality, all woo can be scientifically proven.
Let’s say that you believe a psychic medium can help you communicate with the dead. Then quantum physics says you can create that reality.
If you believe a tarot deck can foretell your future, then whatever the cards tell you, you can make into your reality.
Farmers, to this day, plant in harmony with moon cycles. What is that, if not astrology? Maybe the energy of the moon cycle DOES play a part in the energy of the seeds and plants. Quantum physics says it does.
Have I thoroughly confused you?
I started this out by stating that woo is the way a person is when they uncritically believe unsubstantiated or unfounded ideas.
Doing the research for this article though, proves that what may be unsubstantiated or unfounded in Newtonian physics, may be completely plausible and likely in quantum physics.
Maybe those woo people are just smarter than us in quantum physics!
But I’m still not forking over $80 for a Reiki massage…
Leaving you with this from the lighter side:
“My client pleads not guilty on the grounds that Saturn was transiting his natal Pluto at the time of the incident.”