See those three jars? They’re part of an experiment the eight-year-old granddaughter and I began on January 1 to see if mere words and actions can make a difference to water and organic matter. We’re calling it: “What’s love got to do with it?”, after the Tina Turner song, because you know, that song was about more than love. It was about bullying and other hurtful behaviors.
We got the idea from a researcher’s experiment shown in the video The Secret of Water. If you haven’t seen it, do watch it just for the amazing images of water crystals. Absolutely incredible.
Perhaps they are incredible. Like New York Times reviewer Ken Jaworowski, I am skeptical of the video’s fascinating claims. While we see several talking heads associated with various universities and research facilities, the videographers offer no links, as far as I can tell, to the researchers’ work or to any published, peer-reviewed articles. Still, the images captivated, the assertions intrigued, and one experiment caught our attention in a big way.
One of the researchers in the film, Dr. Masaru Emoto, showed us a simple experiment he conducted with water and rice that reveals a possible connection between human emotion and its effect on water and organic substances. Inspired by his on-camera results, we decided to replicate his experiment here at home. The results astonished all of us.
In the video, Dr. Emoto places equal amounts of rice and water in three beakers. Each day for thirty days, he approaches the jars. To the first one, he says “Thank you.” To the second, he says, “You idiot!” To the third he offers no words, turning his back on it, ignoring it completely.
In the film, at the end of the thirty days, we see that the beaker with the rice and water Dr. Emoto thanked every day is fermenting nicely and appears to have no mold or rotting material. The second beaker, which Emoto assaulted verbally every day, is covered with black mold. The third beaker, which he ignored for thirty days, appears to have even more black crud in it. In fact, Emoto tells us the rice has actually rotted.
His conclusion: That gratitude and loving intentions affect even the most benign of substances–pure water and simple rice grains–in a positive way. Conversely, bullying and indifference create conditions that encourage mold and rot, respectively.
On New Years Day, my granddaughter and I set out to learn what would happen if we tried this experiment at home.
We started with three clean, identical pint canning jars from the cupboard. We did not sterilize them. To each jar, we weighed and added equal amounts of rice, then weighed and added equal amounts of water, enough to cover the rice and add a half inch above.
We set the jars on the dining room buffet. Since our granddaughter cannot visit every day, I would be the one to carry out the daily task of speaking to the rice. Knowing my schedule and myself well, I would not attempt to speak to the rice at the exact same time each day. Instead, I made a decision to speak to it once on each calendar day, no matter the time.
By the fifth day, the rice had absorbed all the water. Dr. Emoto’s experiment showed jars with water above the rice throughout the experiment. That day, I added exactly the same quantity of filtered water to each jar, enough to raise the water level about an inch above the rice.
By the tenth day, the rice began to stink. Hoo-eee. Boy did it stink. We didn’t want to live with that for twenty more days, so I moved the rice to the unheated back stairwell in our apartment building, where a little extra fetid odor likely would go unnoticed, sitting as it did just a few landings up from the open dumpster.
The first two jars were fermenting nicely, with gassy bubbles. The rice was white and clear. The second jar had a little dark mold growing on the top. As I moved the third jar, I couldn’t help noticing that it too was fermenting but also had a pinkish tinge on top in addition to mold.
We’ve had a cold January for San Francisco. The unheated stairwell is frigid. Fermentation stopped almost immediately. The first jar appeared to remain fairly static throughout the rest of the thirty days, but the mold on the second jar continued to grow. I carefully avoided glancing at the third jar, so couldn’t say what happened to it until now.
Talking to the rice
The first week of the experiment, I found speaking to the rice difficult. Merely saying a curt “Thank you” didn’t seem to arouse enough emotion in me. I experimented with different “nice” things to say, trying to find something that felt comfortable. About a week and a half in, I began to fold my hands in the Namasté gesture, bow, say thank you and “I love you.” That last never felt “right,” but having said it a few days in a row, I decided not to go back and change yet again.
More so with the second jar, I had an extremely difficult time saying negative words and backing them with emotion. I couldn’t bring myself to use Emoto’s phrase, “You idiot!”, as it is a term I especially despise. I tried “Ugh, you’re disgusting,” but the rice wasn’t disgusting, and I hated saying it. I tried just looking at it with narrowed eyes and a wordless “rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr,” but that didn’t seem to fit either. Eventually, I gave in to “You idiot!” and found I could do it with more conviction each day. Scary thought, that.
As you can see, the jar on the left, which received gratitude and love appears free of mold, although it does have what appear to be waxy puddles on top.
The second jar, which received the negative verbiage each day, developed a top layer of chunky material, some of it definitely mold. The black mold is in rectangular cubes.
The third jar, to which I gave neither glance nor notice throughout the experiment, with the exceptions of adding water on the fifth day and moving to the back porch several days later, developed thick, star-shaped pillows that are both moldy and infected with some kind of pink ooze.
The water in the first jar appears mostly clear. The water in the other two jars appears more fermented and vinegary in color. The rice deep in the jars appears about the same in all three, intact, mostly unchanged. None appears to be decomposing.
We’re so intrigued, the granddaughter and I, that we’ve decided to conduct the experiment again, beginning March 1, when we can do thirty days in a calendar month.
During February, I’m going to carry on with this experiment, but in a new way. I’m interested in seeing if kind thoughts can change the rice and water in these jars. I’ve settled on using the peaceful Namasté, gesture and word, which I will offer to each of the three jars every morning. I’m curious–and a little hopeful–to see what happens.
I’ll keep a photo journal of the experiment, whenever I can get sufficient lighting on the landing, and share the results with you all next month.
What do you think?
We were all blown away here, at Chez Grace, to see the differences in the three jars. Is it possible, as New Agers have been saying for decades, and that poets and philosophers have said for millennia, that loving intentions can alter our world? Anyone who’s ever been bullied or had a punitive parent or teacher knows how negative words can affect us. Likewise, anyone who has spent a good deal of time in life feeling invisible knows what being ignored can do to the psyche.
Is it possible, do you think, to actually change the world, or at least our part of it, with loving intention as we go about our day? What, after all, has love got to do with it?
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This post shared on Organic 4 Green Livings: Real food Fridays #175.