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The Secret Life of Water    by Masaru Emoto Amazon.com order for
Secret Life of Water
by Masaru Emoto
Order:  USA  Can
Atria, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover
*   Reviewed by Tim Davis

What can I say about Masaru Emoto's very unusual book?

Let me first try to summarize Emoto's thesis and presentation. Emoto begins by telling readers about hado, a concept introduced in his earlier book The True Power of Water. A subtle energy that exists in all things, hado is best understood, says Emoto, if we come to grips with three of its complex qualities: frequency (the vibrations of energy), resonance (the origins and destinations of energy), and similarity (the universality of energy). Building upon these three key words, Emoto goes on to tell us that hado draws upon at least one other important aspect: Flow. Recognized by the Buddha as a fundamental principle in the universe, flow means that all things are in flux and nothing is permanent. Therefore, according to Emoto - and here is the big leap of faith and logic in his thesis - many of the problems in the world can be mitigated (perhaps even completely solved) by working to improve the flow (circulation) of hado through all objects, both animate and inanimate; more significantly and specifically, our symbiotic and prayerful interactions with - and our deeper comprehension and appreciation of - water can serve as inexplicable catalysts for humanity's (and an individual's) physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being.

Emoto attempts to show - through less than two hundred pages of clearly written if not necessarily convincing prose, and through analyses of frozen water crystals as supplemented by dozens of attractive, interesting microphotographs - 'how we can apply water's wisdom to our own lives, and how, by learning to respect and appreciate water, we can better confront the challenges that face the twenty-first century - and rejuvenate the planet.'

At this point, I must offer a disclaimer: I am, with respect to some subjects, a natural skeptic, and I move reluctantly but confidently in the direction of captious criticism when I examine questionable varieties of New Age secular spiritualism; for example, the disciples of crystals, aroma therapies, feng shui, and other post-modern unorthodoxies seem to me to be too closely aligned with phrenologists, 19th century snake-oil hucksters, participants at table-rapping sťances, ouija board fanatics, tarot card fortune tellers, and astrologers.

Nevertheless, other commentators (especially Neale Donald Walsch, John Gray, and Anthony Robbins) have effusively praised Emoto's contributions to the literature of 'spiritual consciousness', so perhaps I should defer to their willingness to favorably embrace The Secret Life of Water. However, while I remain conscious of Hamlet's famous advice to Horatio about the many things on heaven and earth that are not even dreamed of in Horatio's philosophy, I find myself unimpressed by Emoto's arguments and am tempted to characterize it all as vacuous pseudo-science and 21st century eco-spiritualist bunkum. Individual readers, though, must reach their own conclusions about Emoto's esoteric vision by reading The Secret Life of Water with an open-mind.

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