Spooky info

by Suspended Reason

People tend to find the idea of energy healers, and other social action at a distance, well, spooky.

Naturalists tend to discard the suggestion that there might be some ether-like substrate called energy” that the healers are manipulating, and instead suggest that there’s a useful abstraction, energy,” that comprises a complex of informational cues. (Much like the abstraction vibes.” Obviously vibes are in some sense real and contagious”; come into contact with them, you walk away altered. They spread across social groups; you can catch one if you’re not careful.)

But the idea that read cues in our informational can cause profound physical alterations, alterations which are largely outside our control, should be neither surprising nor spooky. We already have the concept of the placebo, after all. When we’re sexually aroused, when we become enraged or saddened, when we piss our pants from fear, we’re undergoing real physical changes as a result of information read from the environment.