Blogging “The Power”: A critique of Rhonda Byrne – Part 5: Masuro Emoto

May 13, 2012

The in depth look at Rhonda Byrne’s Secret follow up, The Power continues….

The brain, Rhonda Byrne tells us, is 80% water.

In Ms Byrne’s case this is extremely easy to believe…..

She continues:

Researchers in Japan, Russia, Europe, and the United States have discovered that when water is exposed to positive words and feelings such as love and gratitude, the energy level of the water not only increases, but the structure of the water changes, making it perfectly harmonious.

The higher the positive feeling, the more beautiful and harmonious the water becomes. When water is exposed to negative emotions, such as hate, the energy level of the water decreases, and chaotic changes occur, negatively affecting the structure of the water.

So, if water is affected by our thoughts and emotions, we can turn our brains into big slush puddles of positivity, just by controlling our thoughts. We can use this positively magnetized pot of gruel to attract other positively magnetized objects to ourselves, through the “scientifically proven” Law of Attraction!!!

But before we get too carried away, let’s look at some of the fascinating “research” that Byrne is referring to. (I’ve dealt in previous posts with Byrne’s failure to realize that magnets attract their opposite pole, and the narcissistic stupidity of trying to attribute “positive” and “negative” charges to events and objects; and the stubborn refusal of human flesh to behave like a magnet, whether positive or negative.)


One of Byrne’s heroes, Masuro Emoto, is probably already known to her readers, as he was featured in the smash hit pseudo-science-fiction movie What the Bleep. Emoto’s work certainly demonstrates the extraordinary power of classical pseudo-scientific method:

1. Rig up an experiment to produce the effects you desire

2. Carefully record the results

3. Run with them to the PR department as quickly as possible

Emoto’s experiments were simple and elegant: he put water in scientific looking vials and taped words to the outside, or played music, or prayed. He froze the water and photographed the crystals that formed with a powerful microscope. Without fail, the photographs reflected his hypothesis: the vials that had words like “love” taped to them formed nice crystals; those with words like “hate” or “scamming shit-weasel” taped to them produced ugly ones.


 “You make me sick”

As chemist Stephen Lower points out, ice crystals form differently according to the rate of freezing and other conditions. Furthermore, the different crystal formations don’t mean that the water’s chemical structure is changed as Byrne claims. It just means that the water formed different shaped crystals.

Emoto didn’t blind his experiments either – of course, he doesn’t have to, being a practicing pseudo-scientist. Instead, he informs us, he explicitly instructed his photographers to choose the best photographs.

Just in case it’s still not clear, Emoto went looking for pretty crystals in the vials with the nice words on them, and ignored the ugly looking crystals; then he looked for ugly crystals in the vials with nasty words on them and ignored the pretty ones.

In other words, he faked his results.

He covers himself legally by saying he’s not a scientist, so the worst charge that can be made against him is slackness and stupidity, rather than fraud. People who sell useless and expensive water filters love this kind of thing, and use his faked results in their advertising. They are also saved by Emoto’s disclaimer from from being prosecuted for fraud, but the disclaimer is now one step removed from their customer’s eyes. The entire edifice of esoteric pseudo-science is built up through such progressive blurring of lines, supporting a massive industry based on claims of legitimacy that leave customers chasing their own tails if they try to verify any of it. The dictionary calls this a scam. New Agers call it Quantum Physics.

I don’t know if Rhonda Byrne has any financial interests in any water filter company, but I do know that their preferred medium is multi level marketing (aka pyramid schemes). Byrne could easily be sitting near the top of an MLM line without needing to advertise the fact anywhere on the internet. And I also know that Byrne’s colleague James Ray is involved in Kanga Water Filters. (One of his witnesses for the defense in his manslaughter trial turned out to be in his downline. She was dropped as a witness soon after Salty Droid broke the story about this apparently undeclared financial interest.)

Anyway, Byrne is taking Emoto’s faked results and is about to build them into her even more outlandish architecture.

The center of every cell is water, and each cell is completely surrounded by a layer of water.

If this were true it would have profound implications for life on this planet. Who knows, maybe some form of amphibious life could have developed, but it would not have been the kind of thing you would want to invite home to meet your parents.

Can you imagine the impact of love and gratitude on your body? Can you imagine the power of love and gratitude to restore health? When you feel love, your love affects the water of the 100 trillion cells in your body!

There is of course, no need to imagine that. The impact of love and gratitude on the structure of your body’s water can in fact be measured with 100% accuracy. Byrne’s fans won’t be happy about it, though. It is exactly zero. The good news is that we don’t need to do anything special to the structure of our H-O-H molecules in order for our bodies to feel love and gratitude. There are much more complex and refined hormones and neuro-chemicals that do that job quite successfully.

Water has a fairly simple yet really quite wonderful structure. That’s why it’s good for splashing about in. You can also drink clean water without having to worry that it will subtly destroy you from within because it has been “exposed to negative emotions”. Really, Byrne fans, you can relax about that. And once you’ve gotten over it, you might like to apologize to your friends for trying to frighten them into buying a useless water filter from you too.

In Part 6 we will learn more about the wonders of modern pseudo-science.

Earlier parts can be found here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4 



  1. […] Part 5 is now finally up! […]

  2. […] is No Excuse « Blogging “The Power”: A critique of Rhonda Byrne – Part 5: Masuro Emoto Blogging “The Power”: A Critique of Rhonda Byrne – Part 6: Gregg Braden […]

  3. Another great series of posts, Yakaru! I wrote 3 articles (well, 2 and a link to a funny video) on my blog criticising the LoA many moons ago. If you’re bored enough some day you might like to read them.
    Thank you for these thoughts of yours. I didn’t really notice the fact you spelled out here, that the legal constraints on “spiritual” literature are very liberal, so all the kooks and charlatans can pump out their bull without having to answer to anyone. It’s just dawned on me – the bookshops are stuffed full of all this utter crap selling invisible pink unicorns, have been for decades, and it’s rotting the minds of the general public.

    I get the sense you’re more savvy about the extent of this sick “spiritual health” industry. I just meander around and deal with what I fall into. For some time I wrote on Steve Pavlina’s forum, referenced in one of my blog posts. That’s still archived, but has been closed. I never realised the depth and complexity and subtlety of people’s credulity until I went to that, “Personal Development for Smart People” (cough). I had a lot of run-ins with a certain Acting Like Godot, on whom it’s hard not to wish the deepest poverty and maybe an incurable disease or two that he can’t think himself out of with the LoA. But now I see it everywhere, people desperate to be told what religion or philosophy to follow….or just happy to make their own up that pleases them…and the most hideous ignorance of science. Kudos for your work. I’ve read the James Ray overview, and hope to get into the details of that soon. So glad to have found your blog. John.

  4. Thanks for linking to your articles. I’ve added a link on my blogroll.

    Yes, it’s a massive scam, the whole freaking lot of it. They found loopholes in advertising laws as well loopholes in peoples humanness (aka trust, hope & logical fallacies). If a toothpaste company pulled the kind of advertising stunts these guy do, they’d be garroted within an hour. But because the claims are “spiritual” they’re outside the law. And, paradoxically, people can be counted on to automatically LOWER their normal standards for proof.

    Their customers will also provide free promotion (viral marketing was a deliberate part of The Secret’s strategy according to the marketer), and if you expose their tricks their customers will attack you! That’s product loyalty! Not bad for a product that doesn’t exist.

    The result does not add up to consumer protection.

    James Ray stood by and watched people die before his very eyes, and then went off to have a shower and a sandwich. In court, his ($5million) attorneys argued that although he’d promised people he would take care of them, he was not legally bound to help them or keep them safe. They based an entire mistrial motion on that idea. That’s their attitude to their customers. Many of Ray’s colleague wrote letters of support for him to the judge. It’s business as usual.

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