15 December 2022
So my unfounded, imagined mechanism starts like this: thinking about water, and stepping into a location where there is increased water likelihood, one may become primed to look down, which is physically represented as a microscopic movement or twitch of the fingers. (Which could of course be a random twitch because that happens too.)
I am absolutely fascinated by the idea that pseudoscience ideas like dowsing could—due to the deep and strange and mysterious ways our bodies are cobbled together—actually work on some level.
See also: homeopathy. I don’t for a second think that sugar pills with a microscopic amount of something in them have any effect, but—sometimes they do. Which means that our brains and our bodies are conjuring up that response out of nowhere, because the taker believes that they do.
And maybe—to build on Matt’s point about amplifying our own bodies intuition and natural responses—paracetamol, aspirin et al often work in the same way; it’s not the active ingredients that make you feel better, it’s the action of taking it. See also: when I give one of my kids a plaster for the most minor of scrapes.Visit ➔