Thursdays with water

Gwyneth Paltrow thinks water thinks you are thinking about it, and that it can tell when you are thinking mean things about it versus thinking nice things about it.

Gwyneth Paltrow loves nothing more than imparting life advice to her followers, and while that advice has dabbled in the pseudoscience before, it’s rarely been as totally off the rails as the May 29th edition of her newsletter goop. Paltrow begins:

I am fascinated by the growing science behind the energy of consciousness and its effects on matter. I have long had Dr. Emoto’s coffee table book on how negativity changes the structure of water, how the molecules behave differently depending on the words or music being expressed around it.

Oooh ya that is fascinating; no wonder she’s fascinated by it. The energy of consciousness – I wonder if she’s also fascinated by the consciousness of energy? That’s fascinating too. They’re just fascinating. Energy – wo, fascinating. Consciousness – mmm, fascinating.

And she has a book. Just goes to show, doesn’t it.

She then turns the newsletter over to her health guru, Habib Sadeghi, who continues:

Japanese scientist, Masaru Emoto performed some of the most fascinating experiments on the effect that words have on energy in the 1990’s…In his experiments, Emoto poured pure water into vials labeled with negative phrases like “I hate you” or “fear.” After 24 hours, the water was frozen, and no longer crystallized under the microscope: It yielded gray, misshapen clumps instead of beautiful lace-like crystals. In contrast, Emoto placed labels that said things like “I Love You,” or “Peace” on vials of polluted water, and after 24 hours, they produced gleaming, perfectly hexagonal crystals.

Masaru Emoto, the water whisperer of whom Paltrow and Sadeghi are so fond, has a bit of a following in New Age-y circles, and was featured favorably in the popular 2004 documentary What the #$*! Do We Know!?Few scientists have tried to debunk his claims since they’re so self-evidently ridiculous. “Have I tried to reproduce Mr. Emoto’s experiments? No, and I don’t intend to,” writes Caltech physicist Kenneth Libbrecht, an expert on snow crystals. “As we liked to say back on the farm in North Dakota — it’s good to have an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out!” Libbrecht’s best guess — and the logical explanation for Emoto’s findings — is that he’s selecting pictures of crystals that fit his findings and rejecting those that don’t.

Well how else would you conduct research on the energy of consciousness and vice versa?

The closest replication of Emoto I found was done in Skeptical Inquirer by Carrie Poppy, who focused on an “experiment” of Emoto’s wherein he poured water over cooked rice in three separate jars, one labeled “Thank You,” another labeled “You’re an Idiot,” and a third without any label.

Read the rest; it’s hilarious.



  1. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    So, not only is water conscious but it reads English. Fascinating.

  2. NitricAcid says

    What scares me most about Emoto’s work is that some idiot at my college library has filed it under “chemistry”.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    Seven of Mine… @ # 2: … not only is water conscious but it reads English.

    Maybe Dr. Emoto (with that name, somebody needs to write a song about him) should replicate his experiment with vials inscribed in Japanese, English, and other languages (Navajo! Tocharian! Klingon! – I bet it would boil when place in a freezer, from sheer defiance), and water from various nations (available at many supermarkets, for crysake), and report back to us.

  4. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    Grrrr, “What the #$*! Do We Know!?” I hate that fecking movie. A friend of mine watched it, and I’ve been attempting to shoot holes the delusions it stuck him with ever since.

  5. RJW says

    Professor Paltrow’s “Consciously Energised Water” sounds like a nice little earner, say @$50 per fancy green phial, unit cost $0.05, millions of potential customers. Consumers are already conditioned to buying bottled water and paying a 100x premium, so marketing would be no problem whatsoever.

  6. Menyambal says

    I used to grow bacterial cultures. That rice experiment, as done by the original nut, was useless. All kinds of stuff drifts through the air, and a different bit of anything could have wound up in each jar, and grown to take over the jar. It makes me angry ….

  7. iknklast says

    What scares me most about Emoto’s work is that some idiot at my college library has filed it under “chemistry”.

    Just a word in defense of the “idiot” at the library. My husband (a librarian) gave me a little lesson in libraries when I was enraged over the filing of Henry Morris’s and Duane Gish’s anti-evolution books as science. The choice isn’t made by the person at your library. The categories are set out by OCLC (don’t ask me what that stands for; my husband isn’t home right now, and I don’t feel like googling it, but it’s a national thing that librarians use). OCLC apparently uses the publisher’s categorization of the book. Which is why Philip Johnson ends up sharing shelf space with Stephen J. Gould.

  8. resident_alien says

    Positive or negative emotions/vibes physically affecting a liquid?
    Who you gonna call? 😉

  9. Blanche Quizno says

    I get a pang of conscience over finding it much easier to side with Paltrow’s Cold Play band member husband, you know, potentially misogynist and all, but so much stupid keeps spewing out of her mouth! I keep thinking how annoying it must be to be in the same room with her!

    That said, I *loved* her in “Shakespeare in Love”. Watch it. Love it.

  10. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    What do you have to say to water to get it to turn into wine?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *