Yelling at rice for fun and profit



Some of us yelled at rice before it was profitable. Some of us did it for the passion.

That scene is so over now.


I do see a flaw in the way Poppy conducted the experiment. She put all the jars of rice together, so “Thank you”, “Unlabeled”, and “Michelle Bachmann” all heard her yelling at “You’re an idiot”. As Dave Barry once said, “A person who’s nice to you but rude to the waiter is not a nice person.”

Technically, though, all the rice should have rotted. I think she should repeat this experiment, this time keeping the samples separated, if only for the hilarity that will follow when she goes to great lengths to not yell in front of the rice.


Paltrow: “*I am fascinated by the growing science behind the energy of consciousness and its effects on matter. *”

It’s easy to see why people want Emoto’s results to be real. Most folks, myself included, don’t really know much about the physical details of how ice freezes or rice ferments. These are just mysterious things that happen when we’re not looking. Our emotions, on the other hand, are all too familiar

I think it’s simpler than that: we want to live in a world where consciousness affects reality. We want to live in a world where we could measure our auras and chakras and souls. We want to live in a world where, someday perhaps, those of us who have attained enough enlightenment can bend reality to our wills.

Given such a desire – how else to explain the wonderful escapism of this notion in sci-fi and fantasy books and films? – some people will cling to any science that seem to show that this is real: it’s true! the universe DOES bend to human consciousness!

Sure, people who believe that being angry at water affects it’s molecular structure may be gullible, but consider how many quite smart people misinterpret Heisenburg’s Uncertainty Principle – actually really the Observer Effect – to believe that observing something with human consciousness affects quantum particles. So many people have this misperception that the Wikipedia article even has to mention and cite the fact that “the observer” doesn’t need to be conscious.

We really want this to be true, and so grasp at anything that makes it think it’s true. Who doesn’t magic to be real?


I frequently yell at rice, especially when it’s leached enough starch into the water it’s boiling in to make the bubbles created by boiling form persistent froth that overflows the pot and creates a gluey substance that sticks to the exterior sides of the pot and occasionally on the cook-top itself. Doesn’t seem to do any good, except alleviating some of the annoyance, but there you have it.


Sadly, believers will respond by saying that Poppy was obviously doing the whole thing from a position of skepticism, and even ridicule. So her non-result reflected her intentions.


I have a great use for all The Secret stuff, but it’s really targeted.

If you have a friend/family member/acquaintance that A) believes in The Secret + affiliated baloney, and B) likes to complain a lot, it is possible to craft and speak a sentence which will alleviate some of your irritation:

“Your negative energy is really painful and triggering for me, so can you please go the fuck away?”

Your mileage may vary, but I’ve been happy with the results.


I believe Masaru Emoto and Maggie Koerth-Baker’s research into this field was an honest endeavor to prove or disprove the phenomenon and I believe they did their best. Using their findings I must conclude that it is truly a subjective phenomenon.

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Ah! Do I detect a fellow wheat-whisperer! Or are you of the millet-murmuring camp? Fellow travelers, one and all!



No matter your affiliation, I’m sure we both agree that corn-callers are a disgusting and debased aberration.


If intentionality is key, the rice will respond differently to a sincere appreciation of thanks than to a sarcastic “Thank you!”. Clearly, what we have here could form the core for that aforementioned sarcasm detector.


But, the gluten doesn’t listen! It’s almost like it doesn’t care what I say!

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Gluten only responds to glowering.


Consciousness does effect reality: otherwise by definition it wouldn’t exist (or, for those sensitive about their metaphysics: we wouldn’t be able to talk about it).

What we really want is to live in a world where we can make things happen without having to expend any effort: most importantly, not expend the effort to understand how things work.


Shhhhh! Secret!

So that’s why Uncle Ben filed those hate crime charges.


I live about 1/4 mile from the offices of Beyond Words, the publisher of The Secret.

Mmmmm . . . let’s just say that if there was anything to The Secret you’d think they’d visualize a swanker office park suite for themselves.


Not true a bit. Perhaps the tautology you were looking for is “consciousness is a part of reality, otherwise by definition it wouldn’t exist.”

If you had solid proof that consciousness affected reality, then you’d have solid proof against Chalmer’s Zombie argument, and you’d have a fast-track into a tenure position at any Philosophy department you like.

To put it clearly: there’s no evidence that our brains aren’t simply completely deterministic from first-principles (+ quantum if you’re Penrose, but that’s a stupid argument), and that our consciousness isn’t an emergent phenomenon hitching along for the ride.

Sure, there are many arguments that consciousness probably affect our brains, but you can’t turn around and tell me that consciousness must effect reality by definition.

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“Every day for one month, Emoto spoke whatever was on the bottle to the rice inside (since this is about intentionality, it doesn’t matter whether the other rice “overhear”).”