For the past several days, I’ve been mulling an op-ed piece that ran in last Friday’s Wall Street Journal titled If I Don’t See It, It’s Not There.
The piece is written by Steve Salerno, a former Men’s Health editor who wrote a book in 2005 about how the self-help industry is not really all that helpful.
Salerno’s target this time is the “talking heads” who contributed to the DVD version of The Secret, which — in case you spent 2007 dozing in the ol’ armchair — was a blockbuster addition in the robust tradition of “positive thinking” literature we Americans have been devouring en masse since the days of Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale.
Salerno takes The Secret crowd to task for the way they’re reacting to the recession — which, truth to tell, isn’t always very, erm, nuanced. For example, he includes a quote from one Nan Akasha who says she chooses not to believe in the recession. The implication being that one can make unpleasantness go away by squeezing one’s eyes shut or something.
But here’s the thing. As seductive as Salerno’s mockery is, open that same paper’s Tuesday May 5 edition and on page A12 there’s a piece about the latest research on quantum physics. The research confirms what quantum physicists have been theorizing for quite some time: first, that particles can somehow stay connected with one another across space (non-locality); and second, that the act of observation is itself somehow involved in defining a quantum particle’s characteristics.
Some people would dismiss this as pertaining only to sub-atomic phenomena. In the big-particle world of paychecks and golf balls and stubbed toes (they would say) quantum spookiness doesn’t apply.
But what if our minds operate on a quantum level?
What if our thoughts are sensitive to quantum-level energy patterns?
What if thought itself is a quantum-level activity?
Even more radical: what if our minds function in some respects like a lens that causes quantum-level particles to resolve and literally come into being as a prelude to perceiving them en aggregate with our physical senses?
And, furthermore, what if the demarcation between our minds, as individuals, isn’t as well-defined as we might suppose?
Think about it. The electromagnetic waves emitting from my brain don’t stop at the edge of my skull.
Is it possible that your brain might start resonating with mine if we stood near each other, or vice versa?
And if so, might there be on a collective level a kind of mass entrainment involving the synchronization of our individual energy fields, that might in turn exert some sort of effect on what we describe as physical phenomenon?
If so, then maybe recessions and pandemics — as well as prosperity and cures — really are influenced by our minds. Not created — this isn’t cartoon magic — but resolved out of a kind of soupy pool of potential events or phenomenon — then fixed into place because we take collective notice.
Personally, I suspect something like this does occur. But its mechanics are not only too subtle to be discerned by our physical senses, they are also too subtle to be described, let alone manipulated in terms as childish as “if I don’t believe in the recession, it won’t have happened.”
Salerno’s mockery isn’t entirely misplaced. I’m reminded of a funeral I attended not long ago, where the preacher assured us that the deceased was sitting on a cloud, watching us. Yes, he meant that literally. Presumably Salerno would guffaw as loudly at that solemn Christian as he does at Bob Procter and Joe Vitale.
Which is too bad, because he’s missing something important — something that might mark a turning point for mankind. Quantum physics attempts to peer into a dimension where space and time don’t exist in the way our senses would conscribe them — where death isn’t really death, and where life really is a kind of dream . . . it would be a shame to miss it just because, stated simplistically, it sounds too fantastic to be true.