This is part one of my totally scientific exploration of Pam Grout’s self-help bestseller, E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality.
The book claims to offer experimental proof of an invisible energy field humans can access to enhance the quality of their daily lives. I’m going to do every experiment and report my findings.
Like Scully, I’m skeptical. Like Mulder, I want to believe. Let’s see how it works out.
The other day I was shelving books at the library when I came across Pam Grout’s E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality. This NYT best-seller aims to prove that the universe is saturated with an unseen field of potentiality that can humans can tap into and benefit from in the same way a toaster benefits from being plugged into a wall socket.
I’ve read books about this “Energy of the Universe, Power of Positive Thinking” hippie mumbo jumbo before. It’s a concept I’d like to believe in, because this kind of thing is the closest I come to spirituality. I’m open to the idea of some greater force beyond the understanding of humankind, but at the same time am reluctant to believe this force (should it exist) has strict rules about who’s allowed to eat pork or bone each other.
I’m also aware that the human brain has mechanisms that allow it to see what it wants to see and shut out things that don’t align with its preconceived notions. I know it’s easy to see proof of this “energy” (or “Supreme Being” if that’s how you roll) if you believe in it hard enough, because the brain sees what it wants to see. That’s why I was so intrigued by this book’s claim that it can prove the field of potentiality exists through scientific experimentation.
Put on your pseudolab coats, people. It’s time for pseudoscience!
Experiment One is Inexplicably a Big Lebowski Reference
The first experiment in the book is entitled “The Dude Abides Principle.” It aims to prove the field of potentiality exists and can be accessed at any time.
To accomplish this, the subject is to ask the energy for an “unexpected gift” and be ready to receive it. To make this leap of faith seem scientific-y, the parameters of the exercise specify the field must deliver on the request within 48 hours.
But what is this “gift” we’re expecting? I dunno. The book says this is unknowable. It could be a call from a long-lost friend, an unexpected paycheck, a box of free donuts, or literally anything else. The point of the exercise isn’t to make a specific wish and have it granted. It’s to ask for “a gift” and be ready to receive some piece of positivity that is a definite “Holy crap my mind is blown” sign from the universe that your request was heard and answered.
I know, this sounds like total nonsense. I’m with you. It’s classic confirmation bias. If I’m looking for an “unexpected gift,” I’ll find one, or believe I have.
I did the experiment anyway, because YOLO.
My Incredible Results
Giving the process the benefit of the doubt, I asked the field of potentiality for a gift, and I spent the next two days searching for proof my message had been received.
In my 48-hour experimental time frame, the following unexpected things happened:
- My web host emailed to let me know my account was jacked up.
- A UPS package I was expecting was mysteriously delayed.
- My internet service provider sent me a bill with a shady new Internet Infrastructure Surcharge added.
- Los Angeles burned to the ground.
- I was afflicted with diarrhea so explosive it landed me in urgent care.
So… I guess we’ll call this one a draw?
That is not to say no good things happened in the past two days. But there were no unexpected good things. They were good things that had been pre-planned before I even picked up the book. Good things that happened despite the unexpected gift of turning my toilet into a Jackson Pollack four times a day.
Also, it should be noted, I wanted this to work. I was actively projecting positive thoughts and whatnot. I was not intentionally crapping on the process. (I was also not intentionally crapping in that Rite Aid, and I offer my full apologies and condolences to those involved.)
In this kind of faith-based experiment, this is the part where I start to second guess myself. Did I do something wrong? Did I not believe hard enough? Did my skepticism skew the results? Or have I just failed to see the positive side of my butt becoming a two-day poop volcano?
I think further study is required.
Stay tuned for Experiment #2: The Volkswagen Jetta Principle.
Right after I drink a case of Ensure.