consciousness, philosophy, science theory

Seeing is Believing and Believing is Seeing

Written by Lee Schneider, founder of DocuCinema.

20dollarsv1I have been staring at a $20 bill on my desk for an hour now but it has yet to turn into $40. If I think about this blog really hard, will it write itself? There are those who believe beliefs can manifest into things, that action and thought are entangled.

There’s a kind of chocolate on the market called Intentional Chocolate. Dr. Dean Radin, a senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, co-authored a study on it, a randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind study, to see whether chocolate exposed to the positive intentions of people meditating would make a difference in the mood of people who ate the chocolate. Turns out, according to the paper, that people who ate the “positive thought” chocolate reported feeling better than those who ate regular chocolate. Huh. Would that work with pizza?

Dr. Radin admits to being surprised at the outcome of the test, but he says he’s interested in asking questions about how the world works, regardless of prejudices.

Well, scientists do tend to freak out when you suggest that the consciousness of somebody can change the outcome of an experiment. Richard P. Sloan, a professor of behavioral medicine in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times about the chocolate experiment: “There’s nothing in the way that we understand the universe that would explain how a group of people could influence the well-being of others by blessing their chocolate,” he was quoted in the article. “Besides, if chocolate could be blessed, it could also be cursed.”

Cursed chocolate bunnies aside, Dr. Sloan is an important crusader against quack science and I admire his stand. But there are other beliefs about belief.

One of the premises of quantum physics is that the observer, by the act of watching, affects observed reality. Trying to get my mind around this makes me want to lie down in a darkened room and eat chocolate. But according to a study published in Nature, scientists have demonstrated how a beam of electrons is affected by the act of being observed.

Dr. William Tiller, a Professor Emeritus of materials science at Stanford University, believes that human consciousness can change what we call physical reality. His view is that physics has been examining the interaction of mass and energy and he now wants to bring consciousness to the party. He thinks mass can be converted into energy which in turn can be converted into consciousness. This makes my head hurt, supporting the formula t/C*10=a2. That is, thinking (t) about consciousness ( C ) for ten minutes equals taking two Advil (a2) and lying down in a darkened room.

We all know the saying “I’ll believe it when I see it.” It’s at the heart of “show me” scientific thinking. Dr. Radin argues we have this backwards. It should be, he says, “I’ll see it when I believe it.”

Consider that over the weekend, and if you catch a chocolate bunny smirking at you, do not eat it.


6 thoughts on “Seeing is Believing and Believing is Seeing

  1. Bob Ellal says:

    Hi Lee,

    I left a comment earlier–I guess it didn’t register.

    What I wrote was that I believed strongly in the power of positive thinking to influence one’s environment–the more positive things you do, the more positive the results.

    Whether the Law of Attraction works, I don’t know. I do know that a lot of people are making a lot of money from books and seminars about how to implement it. That makes me a bit suspicious.


    • It is certainly the age of seminars, teleseminars, webinars and the like. But intention is a fascinating topic and I hope to write more about it. Thanks for commenting.

  2. I think there is a lot to consider with — “I’ll see it when I believe it.” For the most part we have been trained the other way — the scientific thinking way. The Secret, the Law of Attraction and various metaphysical scientists have presented to us the reverse way of thinking as you mention. I think it serves us well to dabble in both ways of thinking. I think they serve each other. I think if we are committed to only one way of thinking , our experiences will be limited to seeing the world in that way. If we move back and forth between the two, we are likely to have a richer experience of life.

  3. Gary says:

    I like Tabby’s approach (because it matches mine, of course).

    Lee: thanks for including me on your mailing list. I look forward to your weekly writings.

  4. Jeff Schneider says:

    “Use The Force, Luke!”

    I like this. I’d like to believe that positive thinking can improve outcomes. I’d like to believe my thoughts can have an influence on events. I behave this way even if I can’t prove it works. Maybe in the end there is a scientific explanation. Your attitude changes the way you act; the way others perceive you. You impact how they behave and what they do. It’s all a chain reaction that actually could effect how things play out. Could be.

    Thanks for the thought.

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