The more energy, the faster the bits flip. Earth, air, fire and water; in the end they are all made of energy but the different forms they take are determined by information. To do anything requires energy. To specify what is done requires information.
Seth Lloyd – ‘The Computational Capacity Of The Universe’
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
T.S Eliot – Four Quartets, ‘Little Gidding’
Thoughts as ‘Things’
The idea that thoughts can be ‘things’ cropped up in an article by Sally Cunis, entitled Thoughts on Reality, and originally published in the Devon Dowsers magazine in 2002. Following on from the insight of Hamish Miller and others, the article considers the possibility of human beings ‘co-creating’ the worlds we inhabit in some detail. After reading it for the first time, BK had the feeling that the idea was just more ‘New Age flim-flam’ but, after subsequent experience with further labelling experiments, he slowly came to realise that this point of view might have to change!
Months of attempting to ‘explain’ how the labels might work, from a variety of interlocking theoretical perspectives, proved fairly fruitless when it came to fitting all the ideas together – something that Mullah Nasreddin would have called ‘scrabbling in the dark.’
The worldview emerging from this way of thinking was certainly leading nowhere useful – so discovering where the ‘light was better’ felt imperative. Once again though, Goethe’s way of thinking through these difficulties was to provide a way out – or rather – a way in to resolving the problems. We simply needed to remember to think like Dowsers.
Witnesses for the Defence?
Our remaining ‘hard problem’ was that we wanted to be able to understand the labels on a personal basis (in the manner prescribed by Goethe) rather than merely explaining them in abstract terms. In particular, we needed to identify what both Billy Gawn and Seth Lloyd (in the quotation above) really meant by ‘information’, and then to find a means of fitting it into the restricting framework of a written message. A good map, for example, provides information about the terrain it covers, as does a printed score for a piece of music, or a technical drawing for making a table or a car. Similarly, mathematical or chemical formulae can define the components involved in particular situations, but they will also identify the relationships between them.
So we needed to specify both the form of the information we required in order to improve the perception of sounds, as well as its essential content. Without either of these components the necessary frameworks for our messages would continue to remain too difficult to identify clearly – even perhaps from within dowsing theory.
For dowsers who specialise in searching for lost objects, animals or people – or who use their skills to find water or mineral lodes – the use of a ‘witness’ is a fairly standard method of reinforcing the dowsing ‘signal’. A witness, in this sense, is something that relates to, is similar in composition to, or belongs to the object of the search. Typically, this would be a piece of hair or clothing, or an object of personal importance (such as a watch or a piece of jewellery) for individuals. In the case of animals it could be a chunk of fur and for water and minerals, a sample of the substance, either held in the hand of the dowser or placed in a small sample container attached to a dowsing device, might be regarded as appropriate. The purpose of the witness is believed to be to reinforce the visualisation of the dowser on the object of the search. A photograph of the dowsing target might also be considered to be a witness in this context.
However, the processes involved are much less apparent – although physical proximity to the DNA, or to the atomic structure of the target may be one explanation. Any kind of explanation however, seems to require a degree of ‘etheric’ information transfer, as the witness could not, in itself, physically pass its information on to the quester.
Visualisation apart, information transfer is actually the only rational way of applying logic to the widespread use of witnesses by experienced dowsing practitioners. The line of reasoning would seem to be that the witness and the object should have similar, or even identical, information structures. Then the dowser could use the information structure of the witness to find its source in the ‘information field’ – and from there to locate an object, or an entity, of a similar or identical information structure somewhere in the dowser’s current space and time.
The Labels as Witnesses – Emulations as Informational Descriptors
A Goethian thought experiment powered by caffeine-induced attentiveness, asking the question ‘What would the informational components of the labels look like?’ revealed the slightly unexpected answer – ‘Like emulations of the target objects.’
When the question was rephrased as ‘How could an observer experience the informational components in the labels?’ (a phenomenological format, completely in keeping with Goethe’s own investigative methods) then the answer remained much the same i.e. simply by imagining the exact thing that needed to be emulated.
The point here is that absolutely anything can be ’emulated’ while a ‘simulation’ can not. Emulation can be a wholly imaginative process, whereas any kind of simulation seems to us to need some kind of physical similarity to the ‘target.’ The similarity might of course be fairly crude, but we suggest something of the sort will always be necessary for true ‘simulation’ to occur. More importantly however, we can emulate thoughts, feelings and experiences from any point in time, past, present or future, all of which may be relevant aspects of information about the quest undertaken or pursued.
From our point of view then, the crucial reason for choosing an emulatory formulation here is that there seem to be absolutely no limits of any kind as to what can be emulated. This discovery seems to us to unleash literally infinite numbers of possibilities, to be explored in the future.
Because anything we can imagine can be emulated effectively so long as we choose our information carefully, it seems that emulation can be a very powerful aid to all kinds of dowsing. We can emulate any object we choose from the everyday world for example, as in: A PERFECT DOMESTIC HIFI LOUDSPEAKER’ (a completely imaginary device, which by other reasoning should have no effect at all on the perceived sound from a cheap domestic music system – but which does seem to be demonstrably effective once we ‘create’ the idea).
At the other end of the scale of possibilities more personalised – and also far more abstract – ideas can also be explored, such as:
EMULATION OF SYNERGISTIC RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN A LISTENER’S PHYSIOLOGY AND ALL SURROUNDING ELECTRO-MAGNETIC FIELD ACTIVITY.
Importantly, it does not seem to be necessary to have any first hand personal experience of the object(s) or concept(s) to be emulated. A clear and specific idea about them seems to be sufficient.
We should note, too, that emulation messages appear to be able to transcend temporal boundaries such that the message ‘EMULATION OF THE ORIGINAL MUSICAL PERFORMANCES FINALLY RECORDED OR BROADCAST’ has also consistently proved to have positive effects – even when listening to ‘historical’ performances!
The Message is the Medium – Passing Information Onward to Intended Recipients
In contrast to the difficulties involved in working out how to encode information into the labels, building in some means of ‘sending’ the information on to listeners turned out to be relatively simple. Rupert Sheldrake’s ‘Morphic Resonance’ was an obvious candidate, providing that a suitable instruction to ‘engage’ with it could be found.
A second ‘thought experiment’ brought up the fairly obvious idea that the encoded information in the message could, in fact, be mediated by Morphic Resonance between the label’s information and the listener. This implied that the label should actually specify this idea, and a completed message would therefore include statements about the emulations it contained, PLUS the types of mediation (as there could actually be several kinds) used to send the emulations onward.
EMULATION OF A SPECIFIED SPEAKER (for example) could be MEDIATED BY RUPERT SHELDRAKE’S MORPHIC RESONANCE – or by any other mechanism that might cross the boundaries between more than one consciousness. CG Jung’s ‘Collective Unconscious’ might be another usable mechanism, or perhaps Lynne McTaggart’s ‘Bond.’ (See L. McTaggart – The Bond : The Power Of Connection.
More suggestions of how readers might construct their own labels are given in our ‘Do It Yourself‘ page. Before that, however, we need to discuss whether personal intent plays any part in the effectiveness of the labels.
Intention, Attention and Mindfulness
We are sometimes asked why the labels are necessary at all to produce the effects that they do. ‘Wouldn’t it be easier,’ some might say, ‘just to think the messages they contain, or perhaps just to express the intention that the desired results will materialise?’. BK has found a serious problem with the first suggestion, however, in that the messages are now so complicated and multi-faceted that they are actually really hard to remember – even for him, the person who wrote them in the first place!
It seems, too, that despite Lynne McTaggart’s other researches into the effectiveness of repeated and regular applications of intentionality to achieve particular ends (see The Intention Experiment – Using Thoughts To Change The World), positive evidence of an end result remains annoyingly elusive.
However, a piece of supportive evidence arrived from a very different quarter. Rasmus Gaupp-Berghausen gave an intriguing series of presentations about a related topic at the British Society of Dowsers Annual Conference, held at Keele University in September 2014. RG-B was a co-worker of the better-known Dr Masura Emoto, who achieved recognition (notoriety, in some quarters) by demonstrating that ice-crystals formed by freezing water from various sources had markedly different structures and formats. Furthermore, he went on to show that the ‘quality’ and ‘beauty’ of the ice crystals seemed capable of being affected by human thought or intention. As a hard-nosed and well-qualified research chemist, RG-B’s own original intent was not to be an acolyte of Dr Emoto, but to prove his outlandish ideas wrong. Having failed to do so, he has spent many years researching why and how such phenomena might work. This has led him to discover that people who direct concentrated intent when the ice crystals are forming seem to have far less success in producing ‘beautiful’ results than those who formulate their idea, but then relax and just ‘open their hearts’. His catchphrase is that this is the process of ‘awakened attention’ rather than ‘focussed intention’. While this research is something of a ‘fox in the chicken run’ for some of those who promote intent (such as Lynne McTaggart herself), it does imply that relaxation could well be one of the keys to understanding the label phenomenon – and indeed to a wider appreciation of the process of dowsing itself.
A relatively recent, and potentially very useful, development in the study of attentiveness and relaxation has been the introduction of ‘Mindfulness Training’, which is designed – at least up to a point – to combat the stresses of modern living. Many of us seem to live our lives very quickly these days, bombarded by (so-called) ‘information’, and struggling to get our bearings in a confused, and confusing, world. Mindfulness practice provides people with a chance to slow down, and to experience periods of real stillness. With more ‘spare’ mental space at their disposal, the ability of a person to truly listen (and therefore both to perceive and to learn more) could be of a radically different quality.
Mindfulness certainly allows most people to create a sense of distance between themselves as thinkers and their thoughts. Its current popularity as a psychological therapy is largely based on the gentle manner in which it allows practitioners to notice their thoughts as they arise – and to recognise that their responses to thoughts and emotions are critical, in terms of lessening the severity of the impact that they have on us.
In some recent psychological studies, a good deal has been made of the role of “flow” or “fluidity”, as an optimal state in which a person is able to access a greater sense of personal happiness and creativity. Somewhat paradoxically, practising mindfulness appears to help this along through a greater acceptance of both unpredictability, and of the uncertainty that this can cause for us. With its historical roots in Buddhist philosophy, which accepts the challenging nature of life as being unavoidable, mindfulness practice seeks to provide us with skills for managing our internal struggles more effectively.
As our researches progress, we are inclined to think that the relaxed attentiveness, apparently promoted by mindfulness, is somewhere very close to the core techniques and attitudes of dowsing practice. We also suspect – although, as yet, we cannot ‘prove’ – that ‘Morphic Labelling’ may work, at least in part, by helping this process along.
We are grateful to SD – a professional therapist and Mindfulness trainer – for his helpful summaries of the topic.
Nigel Twinn and Bill Kenny 2015