Sir Karl Popper, the great philosopher of science, deeply admired Albert Einstein, not just because of the groundbreaking theories he produced, but because of the way that Einstein did science. Initially Einstein’s theory of relativity seemed very improbable. Regardless, in 1919 Arthur Eddington, believing that the conditions provided by a solar eclipse could confirm Einstein’s theory of general relativity, made the arduous journey to the remote island of Principe in order to measure the parallax of the stars.
Popper was deeply impressed by this. For Popper, a scientific theory was only interesting if there was a great measure of risk involved with testing it. And, in fact, he did not believe that scientific theories were provable at all, but only continuously not unproven. In other words, the greater the risk that the theory could easily be refuted, the more defensible it was when it remained un-falsified.
So what does all of this have to do with the work I am doing here? For one, in writing this blog I am becoming vulnerable in a way that I have never allowed myself to be. The hypothesis that I can actually do this work and amass an audience seems very easily falsifiable to me. It is certainly possible that no one will read what I have to say.
But more importantly, starting this blog has begun to stir up memories of another big risk I took when I boarded an (now defunct) Aerosvit Airlines jet and moved to Tbilisi, Georgia to teach English for three months. Then I was attempting to falsify the hypothesis that I could journey, all alone, to a country that many Americans do not even know exists. “How long will you be staying in Atlanta?” asked pretty much everyone I told about the trip.
The excursion to Georgia and the act of starting this blog elicited similar sentiments in me. Both made me feel like I was accessing an essential part of myself that had been lying dormant for years. Before I left for Georgia I’d been wallowing in indecision about my career and feeling generally dissatisfied with the choices I’d made since graduating from college. When the plane began to land in Tbilisi I started to cry, thinking to myself, “I am back. My life is back on track”. When I started this blog, that same inner voice said, “Finally! I’ve been waiting for you…”
But being who we truly are often feels like taking an enormous risk. If you are anything like me, you fear that your dreams are unrealistic and that your power to achieve them is uncomfortably vulnerable to falsification. Rather than fail, it is easier to become immobilized by that fear.
Now, you will recall that I am currently conducting the first energy experiment from Pam Grout’s book E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality. In this experiment I asked the universe to send me an unexpected gift in order to prove its existence. Within 10 hours of putting in my order something unexpected and lovely did in fact occur. I received an email from a friend with whom I’d traveled in Georgia. The subject line read, “Gamarjobat!” (Hello in Georgian) and the message simply said, “Guess where I am?” Now, I had not heard from this person in over a year, and so just seeing his name in my inbox was enough to fulfill my request from the universe. But he was not just saying “hi” from any old place. He was in Georgia, which is not an easy or cheap country to get to. So, for the past few days, memories of my time abroad had been consuming my thoughts and here was an unexpected message straight from Tbilisi.
Whether it was from the universe or otherwise, I choose to view the message I received from my friend as a timely and fortuitous gift. It reminds of a period in my life when I was very brave, when I left the comfort of my home to explore a world yet unknown. When I went to Georgia I did not even know if I would be living in the city, or in some remote village in the middle of nowhere. (Another friend of mine lived in a town outside Tbilisi that only received water on Thursdays). If my friend’s message is a sign at all, I take it as a sign that following my intuition and pouring myself into this blog is worth the risk.
(Incidentally, Popper would probably have hated the law of attraction, just as he hated Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, because it is too easily verifiable. Once you focus on the law, you see evidence of it everywhere. It is almost impossible to falsify.)