Saturday August 9 2008
Silly season is in full swing. At the Telegraph, their correspondent has gone for a bioenergetic health audit. “The resident homoeopath, Katie Jermine, quizzed me about my diet, stress levels and lifestyle. She then strapped on a wristband and plugged me into an electronic device called the Quantum QXCI, which scanned my system for vitamins, minerals, food intolerances, toxicity, organ function, hormone balance, parasites, digestive disorders and stress levels.”
We’ve all come to accept that the hypochondriac pages are somehow exempt from the transaction constraints of “cash for précised true facts” in the newsagents. So you will be unsurprised to hear that several intolerances were diagnosed with the Quantum QXCI machine, each requiring extensive treatment. And not just some healthy fruit and veg. No: only an idiot would pay £150 to be told to eat more fruit and veg. There were also 120 pills, of varying colour and size.
What is the mysterious QXCI machine? Sadly the Telegraph seem to have kept the most interesting details from us, for this is no less than the Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface, “the most advanced medical assessment and therapy device in the world today” according to the distributors. It loops all 200 trillion human cells within a 55-channel biofeedback system to gather bioenergetic data at nano-second speeds, creating optimal wellness. It is covered in lights and switches, with special sciencey connectors like the printer ports on an old computer, and it looks like the equipment on an intensive care unit.
This is nothing less than cargo-cult science, as Professor Richard Feynman had it over thirty years ago, describing the similarities between pseudoscientists and the religious activities on small Melanesian islands in the 1950s: “During the war they saw aeroplanes with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they’ve arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head as headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas – he’s the controller – and they wait for the aeroplanes to land. They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn’t work. No aeroplanes land.”
Quantum, of course, is a word that many interpret as permission to make stuff up, although almost the entire electronic manufacturing output of the world is driven by a perfectly adequate understanding and application of quantum principles. Xrroid meanwhile is a word simply concocted by the machine’s inventor himself, a wealthy gentleman described as Professor Bill Nelson. He has at least five doctorates (by my counting), is reported by the Seattle Times to be a federal fugitive on the run from the US, and his machine costs £10,750 (a bargain, as they explain: “Technology attracts clients and charges are higher for practitioners who use state of the art assessment and therapy systems”).
But more fascinating than the ridiculousness of this machine is the confident mindset of a man who would choose to make it. For a window into this world, I can only recommend the website of his International Medical University of Natural Education, which hosts trailers for several feature-length movies about the grand and glorious life of Professor Bill Nelson, inventor of the Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface. One piece, entitled “Bill’s theme” (available in full at www.imune.org/films/1/trailer), very clearly wins the internet.
Supported by a large cast, on lavish sets, Professor Nelson (playing himself) has dramatic fist fights, lifts weights, champagne is poured, equipment is brandished, he mooches in glamorous strip bars, attractive women stroke him, and evildoers in cars – suppressive agents of the pharmaceutical industry we suspect – try to run him off the road! But best of all, the entire story is narrated by Professor Nelson, at the side of the screen, sometimes hushed, sometimes in a dramatic baritone, but entirely in song, setting his own words to the tune of “I am the lord of the dance”.