5/24/2005

Energy: More New Ageisms

I'm sure you have heard someone, or maybe even you have, say that something or somebody has "negative energy". My favourite is hearing a person's energy being described as dark, or that their energy field gives off bad feelings. Have you ever thought about what that exactly means? I know that in the past I have been guilty of saying the very thing and found myself latter puzzling over my choice of words. What exactly had I been trying to say about a situation or a person anyhow with that catch phrase? Let's look at the word energy first of all. What exactly does it mean? All of us who practice various healing modalities use the word in various circumstances: we call what we do energy work, we refer to something we call a person's "energy field", or we make reference to the energy in a space.(see above negative energy comment) But do we really know what it is we are saying or describing? Funk and Wagnells Standard Dictionary offers the following three definitions: Vigor or intensity of action or expression, capacity or tendency for vigorous action, and physics, the capacity for doing work or overcoming inertia. In the first and second cases it is being used describe either a person's action or their character. If we say a person has a lot of energy we are using it in the second case, for we are describing what they are capable of, while if we say they used a lot of energy we are talking about the amount of effort they put forth. The last is a term in physics describing its function, it enables us to do things and get off our butts. Now where do our qualitative judgments of good or bad fit into any of those definitions? I don't think they do. While we could say a person's energy is low, or they didn't put much energy into that job, saying that their energy is bad really doesn't mean squat. Energy is a quantity not a quality so calling it bad is the same thing as calling a cup of salt bad. Now a cup of salt may not be the healthiest thing in the world for you if ingested all at once, but there is nothing intrinsically bad about it's size. Energy is a measurement of "how much" not of value. So while a person may have an energy field, a manifestation of how much they put forth into living, there is no value that can be placed on that field. Value may be placed on what that person does with the energy at their disposal, but that has nothing to do with energy. The reason I'm making such a big deal out of this is because its so typical of new agers to try and make themselves sound important at other people's expense, or to use catch phrases that have no meaning to make excuses for something not working. "They have so much negative energy that there's no way this could have worked" Excuse me are we batteries here that we're polarised with negative and positive ends? My personal favourite is: " Oh I felt like there was something evil in their energy field and it was very threatening, I was so worried about corrupting the sanctity of my own energy that I decided not to give them a treatment." These statements and others just like them mean absolutely nothing. When you hear people talking like this my advice is to turn and run, don't walk, away from them at your earliest convenience. The sooner we start talking about how somebody's behaviour affects us the quicker it is we can start making decisions about whether we want to help them, know them, or run away from them. None of us have the energy to waste on prattling on about how their energy is this that or anything else, it's just too much gossip. cheers gypsyman

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