The Latin term placere which means to please later became placebo, meaning I shall be acceptable or pleasing. Dating back to the 13thcentury the term placebo was used to describe those who were professional mourners at funerals. These folks feigned grief and showed up for the food and drink that they knew would be available. Since that time the term placebo has most often been used to describe something inauthentic or fake.
Of course we now know that placebos play an integral part in medical research as a control group in the scientific investigation of the effectiveness of certain medicines. Oddly enough, fewer pain medications are getting approved these days because those who are given the meds do not show significant improvements greater than the group that received a placebo. Nobody truly knows why placebos work, but many theories abound. To many it boggles the mind to think that something like a sugar pill could be effective, as it is not logical thinking according to material science. The consensus, however, is that the placebo effect is psychological and not physiological. In other words, we can trick our brains into believing
that something positive is happening. Researchers are open to the possibility that our thoughts can release of endorphins or hormones, but are quick to point out that we cannot cure an illness in this manner. What they don’t realize is that this is a physiological phenomenon.
It is not surprising that much of the scientific community associates things like positive thinking purely with psychology, as where else but in the study of the human mind do such things belong? The problem is that, in their view, the human mind is what is generated by the three pound spongy mass in our heads. The brain produces our consciousness, so the possibility that our minds can extend beyond our bodies is preposterous. Telepathy, mind to mind communication, is not possible despite the research into such phenomena that shows it does indeed exist. We also know that the mind can affect matter (psychokinesis), which includes not only one’s own body, but other humans, animals and plants.
So it is very likely that a mistake is being made by those who rule out physiological changes produced by the placebo effect. It is possible that we will find that thoughts can demonstrate immunological and healing effects. In fact, current studies are showing just that.
All of this got me thinking if it was possible that this physical world in which we live is a placebo in a cosmic experiment. We were put here to please the universe. Our reality is an illusion and the purpose of the experiment is to determine if we can see through the false boundaries and obstacles that surround us. The placebo is the material world, a fake façade that is not indicative of what truly matters, and our brains are tricked into believing that what we experience is the true reality. Our brains piece together a narrative based upon sensory experiences and information that it retains, but it is a false picture.
The big question is why the universe has set things up in this manner. The conclusion I have made is that our purpose in this physical life is to see through the illusion to discover meaning and what truly matters. Just as the placebo in medical research can change the way we think and change bodily chemistry, the cosmic placebo permeates our world and fosters a false sense of who we are. We appear to be a type of automaton that is powered by electro-chemical processes in our brains. Perhaps once we discover that we can use our consciousness, our mind, or our soul to transcend the illusion, we will find true happiness. Instead of reacting, evaluating and judging every moment of our lives we can learn to simply experience more.