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How does it feel to be wrong? Scary, dumb, shameful?
Actually, being wrong feels the same as being right. What feels bad is realizing we’re wrong.
Our brains encourage seeking behavior with dopamine. If we’re searching for food, and we see an apple tree in the distance, we get a little dopamine. We get closer and see ripe apples, we get a little more dopamine. When we reach the tree, you guessed it, even more dopamine.
But seeking out places where we’re wrong? No dopamine, serotonin, or happy neurotransmitters of any kind. There’s no innate drive to seek out places we’re wrong, because our brains didn’t evolve to seek truth, they evolved to keep us alive, create offspring, and seek social status.
Seeking our errors is something that must be taught through culture. And most cultures don’t.
This came up last week, talking with a friend about testing energy techniques. I told her about a class I took years ago, taught by a nurse for medical professionals to learn energy healing for patients in hospitals. Exactly the sort of teacher you’d expect to test their exercises.
Here’s the first exercise she gave: With the index finger of your right hand, almost touch the palm of your left hand. Notice the tingling. That’s energy.
I did feel tingling. I had a friend almost touch my palm, and felt tingling again. Then I asked that friend to either almost touch me or not, while I closed my eyes. I felt nothing, until I opened my eyes and saw they were already almost touching me, when I felt tingling. Which tells me: This sensation is caused by knowing I’m about to be touched, not by feeling the energy radiating off someone’s body. (The term, by the way, is proprioception.)
And the shame is, this teacher had techniques that really do help people. She was doing a lot of good, and could do even more good if her more mainstream peers would take energy healing seriously. But when the very first claim is so easy to test, and so clearly incorrect, it makes all of her work so easy to dismiss.
Telling this story to my friend, she said, “Yeah, some teachers are so lazy.” And that’s a nice fantasy: People get things wrong because they’re lazy, and as long as I’m not lazy, I won’t have to worry about overlooking my own false beliefs.
Only, it doesn’t work like that. This teacher worked as a nurse in a hospital. She is not lazy. And her error is far more pervasive, and far harder to avoid.
Our brains are wired to confirm our beliefs, not test them. Our broader culture doesn’t teach us to test beliefs, either. And the only tests I’ve ever seen in energy classes were rigged so students would succeed whether they were using real energy or not.
I want to learn how energy truly works. I want to develop techniques and demos that win over mainstream society. And to do that, we need a culture that encourages real testing.
I hope you’ll join me in creating that. There’s a lot to do, but a good first step is to blindfold a friend and play with energy. Then talk about it, write about it, and invite energy workers and teachers to explore real energy with you.If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.