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Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Universe and "Not"

Just as there are precious few actual scientific experiments in psychology capable of giving a straight yes-or-no answer to a real question, there is not much in philosophy or metaphysics that can be similarly tested. I recently met with an instance.

You may have encountered this instance in a New Age context called "The Secret," or "The Law of Attraction," or other names I haven't heard, being a novice. The basic idea--forgive me, believers--is that what you think, visualize, or otherwise make real in your internal life, you will attract from the Universe and thus experience. So if you consistently imagine yourself rolling in money, you will become rich (if you are not already rich). This idea is not new.

The clause that arrested me was expressed by one friend ( no doubt quoting): The Universe doesn't hear "not." Thus if you constantly obsess, "No, I will not, not, not get cancer like my mother did," guess what?

I find this claim fascinating. It raises two distinct questions:

a) How to prove or disprove--in the sense of physical scince?

b) If so, why?

4 comments:

  1. (a) Does the Universe hear the contraction in, "The Universe doesn't hear 'not'?"

    (b) What if you rephrase it to, "I will, will, will remain healthy like everyone who differs from my mother in regard to cancer status!"

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  2. Bob, I think your (b) is precisely what the proponents of this have in mind. As for your (a), don't you suppose that the Universe can speak English, or Tagalog, or what have you as well as you and I, since it contains us (at least if we stay off drugs)?

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  3. Wabulon,

    Umm, I apologize if you are just kidding right back at me, but my point was, if the Universe can't hear "not," why could it hear "doesn't"?

    But admittedly, we're not saying that sentence to the universe, so in retrospect the joke doesn't really make sense. :/

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  4. Bob, I think we must use "not" in the generative grammatical sense of an early sentence element that may ultimately reach the surface utterance in many ways. Some languages may not have a word--or even an affix--directly translated by English "not."

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