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The matter/energy equivalence deepity

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

From a minor update to my energy medicine article, on the subject of using matter/energy equivalence as a justification for techniques like reiki and therapeutic touch…

A deepity is a vague idea that is either true but trivial, or profound but bullshit, depending on which aspect is more useful in a given moment. Energy medicine leans heavily on one of the most classic of all deepities: that we are “made of energy,” or (even more broadly) that “everything is energy.”

The prosaic interpretation of this certainly true — an undeniable fact of physics — but it’s also irrelevant to human affairs, unless you work at a particle accelerator or a nuclear power plant.

The profound implication — that a concept from advanced physics is somehow useful in medicine and therapy — is utter nonsense.