This is part three 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.
This week we’re going to dive into what Grout calls “The Alby Einstein Principle.” I wasn’t familiar with an Alby Einstein, but since much of this chapter is about Albert Einstein, I guess the author is total besties with a dead theoretical physicist.
The book points to Einstein’s formula for mass-energy equivalence (also known as “E=mc²,” also known as “the thing the smart kid on a Disney Channel show writes on the whiteboard to show they’re the smart one”) to make the argument that mass and energy are “basically two forms of the same thing.”
Therefore your own body, which you take to be a solid mass of matter (and could stand to lose a few of those holiday pounds and 2018 is definitely my year to get in shape and we’re doing this FOR REAL THIS TIME) is actually just a dense pattern of energy. And not just your body, but everything around you. In fact, every solid thing you can touch and hold and believe in is actually just a collection of energy “vibrating so fast it defies measurement and observation.”
This witchery demands scientific proof!
To prove that everything in the universe is energy, and this energy flows through each of us, Grout proposes a mini experiment. To paraphrase:
- Hold your palms three inches apart.
- Twist your arms so they form an X with your wrists at the cross. (It’s unclear if this position is scientifically important, or if it’s just to make you look more mystical.)
- Pay attention to the space between your wrists and “most likely, you will feel some sensation in the area between them.”
I tried it, but the results were inconclusive. Probably because the result I was looking for was “some sensation,” which is not exactly a high bar of specificity.
When I held my wrists as described and concentrated on them, I did feel a subtle sort of sensation. I also felt it when I put my arms straight out to my sides. I also felt it when I held my arms up, bent at the elbows like Cornholio. I’m not an expert, but I think that vague sort of thrumming energy from within is called “having a circulatory system.”
Let’s turn science into self-help!
Now that we’ve absolutely proven our own bodies and everything around us are made of vibrating energy, how can we benefit from that?
Grout theorizes we can use our consciousness to mold this energy into a form that benefits us. Not in the sense that we can shrink that Christmas-cookie gut just by willing it gone (If only! Amirite, people?!), but in the sense that the energy we put off affects the energy that is drawn back to us. In other words, if you attack each day as a joyful sprite of unbound positivity, the same positive energies will be attracted to you. On the flip side, if you’re a terrified, guilty, self-loathing assbag, you’ll be a magnet for negative energy. Or as the books says, “Like forces attract: it’s a classic rule of physics.”
As far as human interactions go, this is absolutely and demonstrably true. If you’re nice, people will generally be nice to you. If you’re a raging dickface, nobody will want to be near you. But this isn’t a social experiment about interacting with people. It’s a scientific experiment about interacting with the greater energy of the universe. So to get us back on track, Grout drops this bombshell…
Everything Is One Thing
So you’re made of energy. And so is your chair. And the screen you’re reading this on. But here’s the kicker: It’s all the same energy. Everything is one interconnected field, vibrating at unique frequencies. Or to put it another way…
“The field,” as Daddy Alby Einstein said, “is the only reality.”
I admit, I’m only sharing that quote because I didn’t want to be left alone with it. It kinda makes my skin crawl. “Oooh, Daddy Alby, let me crawl on your lap so you can expwain science to your widdle baby!” *shudder* But I digress…
On to the experiment!
This week’s experiment is designed to prove our thoughts and feelings create measurable energy waves that we project out into the world. And unlike the two previous experiments, which were purely thought based, this one uses equipment. That makes it 80% more sciencey!
The tools we’ll use are segments of wire coat hangers threaded through drinking straws. Thankfully, Grout calls these devices “Einstein Wands,” and not “Uncle Alby-Walby’s Wiggle Pointies.”
To perform the experiment, the subject is to hold the wands chest-high and ten inches from the body. Because the handles are threaded through drinking straws, the wire part is free to swing side to side. Grout instructs us to wait until the wands become still, and then…
“With your eyes straight ahead, vividly recall some very unpleasant event from your past.”
Recalling this event will cause the subject’s energy to go negative, which will be illustrated by the motion of the wands. Depending on how traumatic the remembered event is, the wand tips will either stay pointing straight (you couldn’t find a butterfly), or point inward to touch (your butt exploded). According to Grout, the wands move in this manner because they are “following the electromagnetic bands around your body, which have contracted as a result of the negative frequency generated by your unpleasant thought and emotions.”
The second part of the experiment is, of course, to think happy thoughts and watch the wands swing outward as your “field expands.”
Sure. That all sounds legit…
I’m no scientist, but I even I see some problems with the experiment as presented.
First of all, because of the way the wands are constructed (smooth metal inside smoother plastic with the weight way offset), any minute movement of the wrist sends them swinging madly because of a little-known scientific principle called “gravity.” In fact, you have to concentrate hard to hold them still.
On top of that, the “lab report sheet” included in this experiment says it requires “two hours of experimentation.” Two hours?! So am I meant to hold Alby-Pie’s Silly Sticks ten inches from my chest for that entire time? Because that’s a guarantee my wrists will be moving, thus negating any possible reading of energies flowing through my aura or whatever.
Also, this experiment reminded me of an old episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! where they debunked the Ouija board. In their experiment, they blindfolded three spirit-board believers and had them ask a ghost yes-or-no questions. They also secretly turned the board 180 degrees. Unsurprisingly, the three participants repeatedly pushed the planchette to where they thought the answers were rather than to the places they actually were. (Skip to the thirteen minute point of this video.)
My point is, if I’m standing there, looking at the wands and expecting them to turn in or out, while at the same time trying to hold my wrists still, I will almost certainly make tiny adjustments to my grip that will result in the wands swinging the way I want them to.
So I came up with an improved version of the experiment.
First, I would wear a blindfold to prevent myself from knowing the position of the wands. I’d shoot a video to review the motion after the experiment was over.
Second, I would make an effort to secure my hands to minimize the effect of my own motion moving the wands. To this end I strapped a couple of workout weights on my wrists and placed them on a book on a tabletop.
Third, I would run the experiment two times before looking at the videos. Ten minutes of negative meditation, then ten minutes of positive meditation.
The setup wasn’t perfect, but I decided it would be perfect enough. I’d dampened the physical as much as I could, so if the wands behaved in a manner consistent with Grout’s hypothesis, I’d call it proof that they were moved by my interaction with the energy of the universe.
So how did it go?
Here is the result of experiment one, AKA “Sad songs say so much.”
And here is the result of experiment two, AKA “Don’t worry, be happy.”
I sped up the finished videos to compress 10 minutes into 10 seconds, which is still way too long to watch coat hangers move, so let me just tell you what happened.
First of all, my plan to anchor my arms made absolutely no difference, because teeny-tiny movements of the wrists (which were not locked down) had dramatic effects on the movements of the wands.
In the negative experiment, the large movements at the beginning of the clip represent me making an effort to get the wands into a neutral position entirely by feel. You’ll remember, I’m blindfolded. In retrospect, I probably should have used an assistant.
At any rate, once the wands stop moving they point inward, just as Grout predicted. Unfortunately, without a neutral start, I’m not sure that means anything. They didn’t move there once I was deep into negative thoughts. They landed there before I even started going to my Dark Place and then just camped out. In fact, I think one is actually resting on top of the other, making movement impossible.
For the positive experiment I did a better job starting from neutral, but then the wands seemed to just move at random. Also, with the fast-motion you can definitely see my hands moving, which negates the idea the wands are being moved by any invisible force.
If the positive video had been more conclusive I would have redone the negative experiment with a better start position, but the only thing these results proved is that it’s really difficult to hold completely still for ten minutes and I’m super good at wasting time.
Regardless of these lackluster experimental results, I do believe that having a positive attitude is beneficial for your overall health and social well being, and that being positive encourages others to direct positivity back to you. And I do believe in the science of matter and energy as described by Albubbles Einsnuggle. But this experiment did zilch to convince me that my thoughts directly influence and control a literal invisible energy field that envelops my body.
Let’s review our laboratory log thus far:
Experiment 1: The Dude Abides Principle: Inconclusive
Experiment 2: The Volkswagen Jetta Principle: Inconclusive
Experiment 3: The Alby Einstein Principle: Unconvincing
I’m sure this rough start is just to build up dramatic tension. We still have six experiments left to prove that my thoughts create my reality. Maybe we’ll get lucky next time with Experiment 4: The Abracadabra Principle.