This week I will talk about mysteries, about parallel worlds and shadow worlds, about an existence beyond our every day life, about something better, more glorious and wonderful. In short, I will say something about Quantum Mechanics, John Dickson Carr and Yunnan Tea.
The following bit of information I got from an episode of QI, a quiz that is presented by Stephen Fry and specialises in useless but at the same time interesting facts. As an aside, it gets rid of quite a lot of common myths (for instance: it´s not true that dictators are general smaller than other people, champagne was not invented by the French but by the British, and the earth has not one but two moons).
In this particular episode, it is mentioned that once there was a guy that believed that snails who had mated were henceforth for ever telepathically connected. And so, he came up with the idea of a snail telegraph. Have a set of 26 snails in Paris and label each one of them with a letter of the alphabet. Send all their 26 ex-lovers to New York, and – again – identify each one of them with the same letter as their telepathic partner in Paris is associated with. Then spell out a word by wriggling the tails of those snails in Paris that make out the letters of that word. Their telepathic partners in New York would immediately receive their signal from their soul mates and hence wriggle their tails too. A reader in New York would then be able to figure out what the word is. In that way, one could send out messages from Paris to New York without losing time.
Whenever the “placebo effect” is mentioned, people always hurry to say that what they have experienced is not due to that. Somehow, they feel embarrassed to acknowledge that the placebo effect also works on them. Like being fooled by a magician. Instead, they prefer to believe in a pseudo-scientific explanation (homeopathy, chiropractice, reiki, tarot, astrology, …).
There is nothing shameful about the placebo effect. Next time you have a slight headache, try closing your eyes, putting your hand on your forehead and think of something peaceful. You´ll feel better already.
In fact, the placebo effect is more profound than just that. The placebo effect falls in either one of two categories:
– By believing some medicin will work, one feels better already which improves the healing process.
– Some ailments (headaches, sleeplessness, a cold) will improve just automatically and this improvement mistakingly might be attributed to medicins taking during that time.
Ironically, it´s a lot more foolish to believe the unverified and inconsistent theories of new-age quackery than to acccept the placebo effect. A case of pride upside down. The irony is that in their fear to be fooled by a magician, they believe in wizards.
And then there is the wildy insane lunacy as barfed out on pages like this: BARF .
There are two jars of water. On one jar I write the word “hate”, on the other jar I write the word “love”. Apparantly, there are people who believe that this will affect the water molecules in the jar. And they have photos to prove it. Let´s go back to the caves and be idiots again, is basically their message.
Strip a man naked and ask him what he has got in his pockets. Most people will agree about the answer: nothing. He doesn´t have any pockets. Now, imagine having a million men stripped naked. Claim that all of them carry something in their pockets (which they don´t have) because one of them once used to know a guy who carried something in his pockets. That´s the sort of thing homeopathy claims.
A lot of talk is going on lately about the calendar of the Mayas, the “Tzolk’in”.
It seems to me that even though, yes, Hernán Cortés treated the Mayas very badly, that doesn´t mean the Mayas necessarily were wise people nor that their religions and philosophies would be superior to our scientific findings. I don´t see why the cruelties committed by the Spanish invader would mean that some calender based on superstition (i.e. irrational beliefs) would have any relationship with our real world.
If I would burn an ant hill down, would that mean that ants are right and as a matter of fact the whole universe is created by a gigantic insect? (Well, to be honest, I don´t know whether all ants believe that. Black ants do, but red ants are more divided on the matter.).