Quantum Mechanics and The “New Age”

One of my favorite topics at Uni was quantum mechanics. I had an inspiring lecturer, Dr Michael Morgan. He looked like your typical coke bottle bi-spectacled nerdy guy, but had a sharp, pointy sense of humour which he used to pepper his lectures, keeping the class focused and entertained. He was one smart guy.

It would be fair to say QM was also the subject I least understood, (DSP aside). Conceptually I sort of got it, but I never understood it well enough to explain it to someone else – which means I didn’t really understand it… after all, if I actually understood it, I should be able to explain it, right?

Recently I received a news letter from a “New Age” business that offers meditation and other “self help” type courses. It contained a narrative on QM and their theories on the link between quantum mechanics and the human race.

I am as fascinated by these subjects as the next person, but I get rather annoyed at non-scientific scammers who attempt to give themselves greater credibility and authenticity via their version of science, which is essentially some loose jargon and non-scientific mumbo jumbo. They tell half truths and over simplify complex scientific theories to “prove” their point. I guess they could argue they are making science more accessible to the masses. In reality, I believe, they are simply focused on making more money for themselves.

I have noted this particular organisation’s ongoing attempted manipulation of people. It is quite contrived. They use the classic – I give you something for free and then you feel obligated to respond/pay/provide something in return (proved through experimentation and documented in “Influence – Science and Practice” by Robert Cialdini… This is a great read …. and it helps when being manipulated by charity phone calls!) This simple psychology works on many people. It made me feel uncomfortable to say the least.

I have also observed people in the organisation in question couple the “giving” with NLP techniques to maximise their gains. NLP is a subject I have researched reasonably well. It’s truly fascinating and I love it! But I don’t like seeing it abused to extract money from people.

The sad part about this situation; the business I refer to genuinely offers a useful service – teaching people to meditate. Meditation is, I believe, a valuable skill. It has numerous benefits including, improving ability to deal with stress; enabling a high level of relaxation; lowering oxygen consumption; increasing blood flow and reducing heart rate and most importantly (to my husband at least) reducing symptoms of PMS. I’m sure there are heaps of others too!

So, here I am, Ms Hypocrite. I love NLP, I adore the psychology of influence and learning how various techniques can be used to shift people’s thinking. I also love business, business development & business strategy and planning – and using influencing techniques to drive a business forward. And yet I feel eminently violated when these techniques are used by businesses on me. Go figure.

Perhaps if they left the precious realms of Science untouched, I would somehow feel less defiled. How dare they drag quantum mechanics down into their pseudo-intellectual petty money making concerns!


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