What About Messages in the Water?

Monday Jul 15 | BY |
| Comments (32)


“How can you say that water is not living when Dr. Marasu Emoto proved that it is in his book Messages in the Water by showing pictures of living water crystals. He even showed that words such as “love” or “hate” can affect the structure of water, positively or negatively.”

I will try to answer that question today, but ultimately, I won’t have a conclusive answer for you.

The book “Hidden Messages in Water” is one that is popular in alternative health circles. It was even featured in the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know?”

However, like every claim that defies current knowledge, I believe it’s best to investigate a little further before accepting someone’s claims based on a few pretty pictures in a book. At least, that’s what my skeptical mind is telling me to do.

Is Dr. Emoto a Real Scientist?

As much as I like the idea of our thoughts influencing the structure of water itself, I first have to wonder: how exactly was this proven?

A scientist is someone who follows the scientific method. All we know from Dr. Emoto is that he is a book author and his work has not been peer-reviewed in any scientific journal, nor has it been successfully reproduced by other scientists.

By his own admission, in a brochure he distributes on the Internet, Dr. Emoto talks about how he chooses the crystals for his books:

“I choose them for their goodness and their beauty. There is a
phrase in Japanese, shin zen be. Shin means truth. Zen means
goodness. Be means beautiful. I select photographs of crystals
with all three elements combined.”

On his own website (http://www.hado.net/) Dr. Emoto says that one in 50 water samples show themselves as crystals. This shows that the select the crystals they want and ignore the ones they don’t.

Is this a method that other scientists would consider “scientific?”

There was an article in New Scientist about two years ago that talked about the lack of scientific method in his “studies”.


You will have to pay for access for this one but it is worth a read if you decide to get it.

Dr. Emoto has been discredited by other scientists, as he refuses to do double blind test in front of other researchers.

There have been some scientists who have investigated his claims. For example:


The author of the above paper says,

“Unfortunately for his credibility with the scientific community, Dr. Emoto sells products based on his claims. For example, the products page of Emoto’s Hado website is currently offering “geometrically perfect Indigo water” that is “highly charged hexagonally structured concentrate,” and supposedly creates “structured water” that is “is more easily assimilated at the cellular level” for $35 for an eight-ounce bottle.

Without providing scientific research references for the allegedly amazing qualities of his Indigo Water, Emoto’s commercial venture calls to mind ethical concerns regarding his intent and motivation—questions that would not be present if any scientist had published research supporting his claims.”

I do not know for sure whether our thoughts influence water. I certainly know that our thoughts influence almost everything in our lives, but at this point, I don’t think it applies to water as well. I like the idea romantically that blessing our water could make it healthier, but at this point, I won’t buy the claims of Dr. Masaru Emoto.

What about you? What do you think of Hidden Messages in Water?

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.


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  1. Jim McMahon says:

    Good for you. Unfortunately the vast majority of people have been swayed by Dr. Emoto’s photos and convinced of his arguments. I called Dr. Emoto’s office in southern California and wanted to duplicate the test on my local spring water and a water revitalizing device in order to determine the ‘natural state’ of my own water and whether or not this device actually works. Dr. Emoto’s son returned my call. I was told they wanted $5,000 to take each photograph. That I might understand. But then he told me that they would retain the rights to the photos and wanted an additional $1200 per year for me to use them on my website. Now that is pure unadulterated greed. It certainly leaves me out.

    It is my impression that our thoughts may indeed affect the energy of water but beyond that Dr. Emoto has proven nothing at all. Indeed it is my view that Dr. Emoto has fallen victim to his own ego and is playing to the crowd, much as would a magician playing in Las Vegas. I’m glad to see others who aren’t falling for the con game.

  2. zirah1 says:

    So if you “certainly know that our thoughts influence almost everything in our lives,…” why would that NOT apply to water? Everything is energy….thoughts are energy, water molecules are enegy, you and I are energy. Unfortunately I don’t have the research papers in front of me to direct you to, but I’ve read about a number of ways and times it’s been scientifically proven that atoms/molecules influence each other, even at a distance. You don’t even need to bring Emoto and his work into the equation.

    • My feeling is that our thoughts influence the outcome of our action. Think negatively, and you’ll take actions that will lead to negative results… But I don’t personally think that our thoughts influence the structure of reality and the actions of others. If not, my fear of flying and apocalyptic thoughts on planes would have crashed it more than once! 🙂

      • Oleander says:

        Yes, I certainly agree with you re flying! LOL I wrote verbatim, my negative thoughts for over five hours, whilst flying to Phuket to support a team post Tsunami. Still arrived and returned in one peice!

  3. Christy says:

    I’m glad you posted this. I’ve heard about his work a few times in books and from various people. I did some minor research as well and basically came up with your conclusions. Snowflakes are pretty, but I’d need a bit more proof before I’d believe that my thoughts and feelings can make such a lovely design in a drop of water. A real scientist can prove his theories and why wouldn’t he be willing to do so? The proof is in the pudding.. or water. lol

  4. Janna Lowell says:

    I’ve been following your water info since I’ve been consistently drinking distilled water for 25 years (not my only water intake) and benefit tremendously… Also, just published “Noodles For Dumbbells – Water Exercise, Weight Management & More” where I mention Dr. Emoto’s work. What could not be controlled for in the triple blind study was ‘intention” on the part of investigators conducting the study. This speaks to the limitations of our current scientific method… “I say we conduct our own water experiment- after all, there is no need to be stingy with our love and appreciation, is there?” Thank you for your continuing efforts in support of health and wellness!
    ~ Janna Lowell

  5. Evie says:

    THANK YOU for bringing this up!

    It is so important to separate truth from fiction. There is nothing “spiritual” about deceiving people for a profit.

    I loved the idea of Emoto’s findings, it was so beautiful! Enthusiastically, I set out to find the information that would back it up – and there is NONE. I was so disappointed! Like finding out there’s no Santa, all over again.

    It would be so EASY to validate Emoto’s claims, if they were true.

    (1) Have him do this work as a double-blind (he doesn’t know which samples each crystal was taken from, but can identify them correctly – and anyone else in the lab who assists doesn’t know, either. The vessels of water are simply each assigned a number which he cannot see when he is “blessing” or “cursing” the water with “love” and “hate” messages.)

    If his message has importance to the world, WHY ISN’T HE EAGER to do this?

    Instead, he refuses.

    (2) Have others duplicate his work, also in double-blind settings.


    It’s not hostile. It doesn’t come from a place of ill intent. It just offers the tranquility of knowing that what we think happens, really does happen.

    Imagine what this information could do to heal the world, if it was validated by scientific method? So why does he refuse?

    P.S. He also “sold” a cruise of the Panama Canal, so people could give healing love messages to the polluted & troubled waters there. Could that money have gone toward a REAL solution, instead? This is the danger, the evil, in selling deceit… it takes energy away from effective ways of doing what the false remedy claims to do.

  6. Bruce says:

    Yes, Emoto is not a scientist, and yes his institute is a money-making outfit, but I think we should appreciate what he has achieved: made millions of people water “conscious”; people who now treat this fragile and precious resource with greater respect, even reverence.

  7. Barbara says:

    Great article Frederic! I’ve always wondered about the validity of this work..and why no one else ever replicated it. Enlightening…thought-provoking.


  8. Dorothy says:

    Water is one of the four survival elements. Water has energy and has matter. All energy and all matter. All energy and matter are inter-related with all energy and matter.

  9. kiko says:

    I always enjoy your thoughts and love your open-mindedness and evolutionary nature! I have long integrated much of your research and perspective into my lifestyle.
    On water, I suggest you look into the work of Clayton Nolte, which is scientifically backed. While I haven’t gone deep enough to be truly accurate, I know the science behind it supports the flood of positive reports he’s been receiving. This information dove-tails beautifully with other “non-scientific” claims about water.
    Additionally, if you throw the most recent findings of various scientists into the mix, where experiments and laboratory samples are definitely influenced by the intentions of the researchers, the scientific method itself comes into question, and the premises offered by “non-scientists” gain credibility.
    It’s certainly a beautifully complex world we live in.
    Much aloha to you in all your work.

  10. Kuru says:

    Many people are replicating Dr. Emoto’s work. It doesn’t get much publicity because so many of us are stuck in the need for scientific proof. Mahendra Trivedi and Raymond Grace are two who have gotten amazing results purifying water. Here is Raymond’s site: http://www.raymongraceprojects.com/waterproject.htm As someone mentioned, it is the intention (or prayer) that makes it happen. Frederic, your fear of traveling was not an intention, I don’t imagine, so it held no power. A wonderful book on claiming our power is Life Without Limits by Peter Calhoun, who was an Episcopal minister for 10 years before he realized the power of nature and our power in joining forces with her. You can listen to a recent interview here: http://www.hayhouseradio.com/show_details.php?show_id=149&episode_id=10639&episode_type=0&schedule_id=84754#

    I think saving this world can be accomplished with joy and ease if we could get onboard with this thinking.

  11. Flora says:

    Lets figure out a way to test water ourselves, a way that we could all do, all of us reading this thread…something simple we can apply at home somehow….and do it and write in our results. Not scientific double blind and all that, but…strength in numbers.
    I believe that water is affected in what it gives us by all that we do with it. Would love to have more info on it all emerge.

    • Donna says:

      How about muscle testing? Maybe not “scientific,” but free and easy to do at home. Use identical containers for your water tests, stick labels on the bottom that you cannot see through from the top, then bless or do whatever to your samples. Have someone else muscle test you on each sample afterward, then after you have your muscle test results, check the labels on the bottom of each container to see what gave a good or bad or neutral reaction.

  12. Thanks for this article Frederic. As I scientist (laser physicist) I drew my own conclusions about Dr. Emoto’s work several years ago when I read his book. I also talked to one the researchers in his lab. Indeed, per scientific method, he has proven nothing.

    This points to a larger challenge in the “spiritual” community. Folks are trying to use science to prove spiritual concepts. Unless it’s done well, it actually provides a disservice to the spiritual community, because rationalists can see right through poorly-constructed scientific studies.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in spirituality and daily practitioner of spiritual practices. But I believe in these things based on faith and my own personal experience, not because of quack science. And the bad science actually turns my scientist colleagues away from spiritual practices, which is really a shame.

    I do believe that our thoughts influence the water we drink, as well as the lives we live and what we attract into our environment. But I’d be hard pressed to see a scientific study that proves this. Some things are meant to be known but not understood. :o)

    Cheers and bright blessings,

    • BTW, my company, Stellar Research, has developed a methodology for proving product and service effectiveness that bridges the gap between testimonials and scientific studies.

  13. Janet says:

    Wasn’t there a test done where there were 3 jars of water which students walked past everyday for a few months and gave thoughts of love, hate or ignored and the ignored one was worst of all.
    Are you saying that he made the whole thing up then? Don’t quite believe that either.
    The ultimate test that was not revealed until recent years for fear of quantum physics not being accepted by peers was what was in the atom, energy or matter. The results showed that it depends on the beliefs of those doing the tests.
    There are many so called scientists and drug companies that have ‘proven’ double blind tests and research about drugs. They don’t seem to be so reliable either.
    Everything is thought/idea, we are the ultimate creators. Everything is energy just vibrating at different levels.
    Your fear of flying is just a thought which you can let go of. It is very often claustrophobia. In one case I had it was a fear of dying which was still there after she let go of the fear of flying. I have worked with clients on this successfully, one within 20 minutes. Don’t underestimate the power of that thought and it’s possibilities though. The mass consciousness with that type thought does create as we are seeing in many of the world disasters.

  14. Laurie C says:

    About 5 years ago when I realized how allergic I was to chlorine (I would wheeze like crazy every time I took a shower) I decided it was time to get a whole house water filter so that it would stop. We purchased a whole house Equinox filter over my husband’s objections to the cost (I think, installed, it was maybe around $1500). We then bought a reverse osmosis filter that we attached to our kitchen sink and refrigerator water/ice dispenser to further filter our drinking/cooking water.
    Although the disappearance of asthma after my showers was immediate, it didn’t take more than a month or two before my husband noticed that the plants were growing like crazy, and that most of the unwanted pests had simply disappeared from our back yard! After some reading it seemed like the plants would benefit from the reverse osmosis water as well, so we started to feed some of the plants closest to the house with that water as well (and sometimes I will drink the filtered water that is NOT reverse osmosis just to get some of the minerals that remain after the whole house water filter removes the worst of the stuff).
    The vegetation around our house….the fruits in particular, and home grown potted plants….have been so amazing to watch that now my husband says that it is the best investment by far that we have ever made. And if the plants are that much happier with this water, it must be doing a lot of good for us and our pets as well, even though the only obvious difference that I can see is with my allergies.

  15. Have you approached David Sereda? He made a documentary called “Water, the Great Mystery.” He might be able to provide some proof to validate the influence of intention on water.

  16. Todd says:

    Now that I have read both this article and the one concerning distilled water, I can comment here. I call myself a “scientific artist” or “artistic scientist” — take your pick, they both mean the same to me. I have found in life that I must agree with some of the posters here — too many people rely too heavily on solely science for ultimate answers. Science must be constantly updated as no one has got it all right yet. Science is good. It helps us gain knowledge. Spirit is also good (unless it’s a bad spirit) as it can direct us correctly through “pre-science” (faith). Look into the experiments done years ago concerning “our universe is a hologram”. Ever heard the phrase “life is what you make it”?
    During the mid-1980’s I made reverse osmosis filter systems. We (that company) could get water to filter to 99.9% purity. Distilled water is 100% pure. Water is the best and most universal solvent known to us. As such, as soon as water comes into contact with almost all other substances, it begins to dissolve them. (While I was making RO systems it was well known that a popular bottled-water company had problems with their water dissolving the plastic bottle container into its contents.) The best water possible is unpolluted, Earth-filtered water (practically impossible to obtain at this time). It has essential minerals collected through the filtration. Probably the most important would be calcium fluoride, the most strengthening mineral for our teeth and bones. Modern fluoridation programs use sodium fluoride. A study of human physiology shows the benefit of ingesting calcium fluoride, while also showing the great harm in ingesting sodium fluoride.
    Do drinkers of distilled water need to fear “mineral leaching” of their bodies? The answer really depends upon their life habits: just as eating a poor diet full of pesticides will eventually overtake the toxin-removing ability of the body resulting in a “degenerative” disease, drinking only distilled water without mineral intake will eventually deplete the mineral stores of the body (the bones and the teeth are the main storehouse). Note that the bones and teeth store far more than calcium.
    I wish that I could easily explain everything which I’ve written above. Unfortunately, this knowledge has come to me from almost 50 years of study of medicine, dentistry, advanced mathematics, philosophy, world religions, history, politics, business management and operations, biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, marketing, advertising, sales, etc.
    The statement, “You are the only teacher you will ever have,” applies here. Everything I have written is true to my life. What does it all mean to you? How much have you studied? Where do you get your knowledge? From free wisdom, or from someone trying to sell something?
    As a final note, consider that water is a unique substance: water expands as it freezes, water cools down when it moves in nature.

  17. Paula says:

    I first saw photos of water under the impact of kind words vs. harsh words, in a book by Dr. Horowitz. His information is captivating in his book, Healing CelebrationsI His first name might be Leonard….but he is well published on anti vaccines, viruses and big pharma too. Check out his website.

  18. Shira Nahari says:

    I am convinced our thoughts influence everything in our lives, water included – in fact especially water, as the human body is primarily made up of water. For me, as important and valid as scientific methods are, I will go with whatever works. I do not demand to know how an herb or a supplement or a mind-training method operates. If it works. I’ll go for it. I test it on myself, as each of us is so individual.
    As Dr. Emoto suggested, I love, bless and thank water, without which there could be no life. I have learned so much from his work and it has also given me great pleasure. It is easy to dis and discredit. IT is far more positive to support and appreciate.

  19. Zyxomma says:

    Whether or not we believe Masaru Emoto, there ARE things we can do to improve the quality of the water we drink, cook, and bathe with. I use a five stage filter; when I have more money, I’ll buy a Berkey with fluoride filter, or a reverse osmosis system. (I own a distiller, but gave it to the bf, because it pulled too much power from the meager electric supply in my tenement.)

    Not only do I filter and remineralize my water, I magnetize it as well. I have a strong north pole magnet taped to the pitcher of my water filter. Why? When water is magnetized, rather than forming clusters of 50-60 molecules, it breaks into clusters of three to four molecules (and I’ve seen them on an electron microscope photograph, like the ones Emoto uses in his books). They look like the Native American medicine wheel. Why is this important? When the clusters are smaller, the surface area of the water increases, in effect, it makes the water WETTER.

    Once, many years ago, I was given a bottle of Nariya water, which is naturally magnetized water from a source in Okinawa, Japan. It was incredible. Having had that experience, I have kept a magnet on my water ever since. ONLY use the north pole on water. The south pole promotes growth, and we don’t want to promote fast-growing “fellow travelers” in our bodies — unfriendly bacteria, viruses, parasites.

    Dr. Gabriel Cousens recommends using the Hebrew letters vav, mem, bet on our water. (You can look them up on Wikipedia, or Google the Hebrew alphabet.) The word they spell is the 61st of the 72 names of God, and is that aspect of the godhead that manifests as water (I did not learn that from Gabriel, I did some research).

    As for Emoto, I think his book reveals biases. No problem, we all have them. For example, he shows beautiful photos of water for which he played classical music. He shows ugly, disjointed photos of water exposed to heavy rock’n’roll. Well, I love rock music (the real stuff, not today’s AI/Glee pablum). I’ll bet if I were to take photos of water exposed to Jeff Beck, Martha and the Vandellas, or the Stones, they’d come out gorgeous, because that music makes me feel so good!

    I think the reason every spiritual tradition blesses food is because there’s a collective human memory of privation. Rather than say a prayer that doesn’t resonate with me, when I sit down to eat, I thank every hand that put that meal on my table (farmers, pickers, truckers, cashiers, whomever). I DO bless my water, because I recognize that fresh, potable water — not gold, not platinum, certainly not oil or hydrofracked natural gas — is the most precious substance on Earth. Health and peace.

  20. I think you are throwing the baby out with the bath water: using the “scientific method” you cannot prove or disprove that/if homeopathy works, or that any other healing method that determines if/that a specific therapy should be used on a person – most traditional methods that work not at symptom or organ level, but instead work at the causal or cellular level. I think the worthy piece is that there is a demonstrable difference between samples, which documents that water does have memory. I have been successfully using devices that clear the water’s memory, or the electric potential that causes it to increase the cluster size – we have measurably decreased surface tension, acidity, and ORP, and helped thousands of people to attain better health through better hydration. Emoto was using the artistic method, not the scientific method. Sort of like a photographer deciding which sunset picture to take, and which one to finally publish. I agree that he over-reached when he tried to call it a scientific proof …

  21. Cynthia says:


    I hesitate to get involved in theses kinds of debates, but I am the publisher of the English translation of Hidden Messages in Water. I want to make sure that accurate information is out these on this topic.

    Dr. Emoto has never claimed he is a scientist. He is a researcher. He discovers something in his research and then asks that the scientists prove it.

    I introducd him to Dr. Dean Radin who at the time he was chief scientist at Institute of Noetic Scientists. He did a double blind and triple blind study as well on Emotos concepts. The results were ositive. So you should do much more thorough research before you your put out a story like this. I don’t believe you tried to reach me for this story either.

    Yes it takes money to run an international organization. His book is published in over 25 languages and people want to meet and hear directly from the source.

    Thank you for bringing this up so I could Set the record straight. I travelled with him to over twenty cities and his heart is really in the right place.

  22. marlizam says:

    I am entertaining the thought of purchasing a device that restructures water. Supposedly it makes all the crap, many water districts put in the water like chlorine and flouride, inert. I have a friend who purchased and installed one in his home three weeks ago and this is what he’s noticed: Their home toilet stays cleaner; can go more than two weeks w/o ring around the toilet or mold or anything else, their watering-can build-up of liquid fertilizers has melted away, and the heavy iron content in his blood has normalized.]

    Anybody have any thoughts or knowledge about this?

  23. Aurelien Ca says:

    Dr Emoto and his family’s greed is a shame, for sure, but that shouldn’t discredit the basics of his work. Structured water is serious, although scientific studies in Russia or China don’t necessary follow occidental standarts and so our “peer-review” community laughs at it.
    I watched this movie, on naturalnews TV (it’s russian with english subtitles), here: http://tv.naturalnews.com/v.asp?v=5D4067664921F3EA4B5FD744F9846D5A, and it’s convincing.
    Sure, the idea of simply telling “I love you” to the water and turning it into structured water with healing power, sounds like a caricature. But I do believe the idea that water is a living creature and is affected by ambients of love or hate. Anyway, a water being exposed to such love as hundreds of people praying in a sacred place shows amazing structures at a microscopic level, and there has to be an explanation.
    Regarding Emoto, it’s like the organic industry, there are often dirty people wanting to make money about it. But it doesn’t discredit the principle of organic food.
    Aurelien Ca.

  24. Sarah Kalell says:

    @ Frederic: Thanks very much for bringing this information to us – it’s actually very sad to hear when something like this is not backed up with openness and transparency by the ‘scientist’ involved.

    I would like, however, to ask you about Homeopathy as this works on the principle of energy in water. Although it is not the same as Emoto’s work, the principle is that water can absorb healing energy.

    Also, I strongly believe that our thoughts CAN influence our reality and the actions of others. The human body is a semi-conductor and we know that EMF negatively affects our health. Most of us, at some time or other, have experienced ‘negative vibes’ or ‘positive vibes’ when walking into a room or when meeting people. We also experience ‘goose bumps’ when a certain song or thought resonates with us. Are we not all energetic beings who can both transmit and receive energy in the form of thoughts?

  25. The credibility of one person and the claims they make do not provide a definitive answer either way. whether water is dead or alive may not depend at all on crystals in the water or human emotions.

    Many years ago in Europe scientifically based experiments were conducted that demonstrated changes in the behaviour of water according to how it was handled. These changes were denied by many scientists and many attempts made to discredit the tests and or the proponents of life or the lack of it in water by a scientific community which had other agendas.

    Taking ‘life’ out of water by the way it was handled defied ‘conventional’ mainstream scientific thought and theories. Acupuncture still does yet there is no doubt it works despite the difficulty of western science to explain or understand it.

    Being skeptical is the natural state for the enquiring mind as opposed to being simply critical and dismissive. Absolute statements most often prove to be false, like “The Earth is the Centre of the Universe”.

    Water appears to be a fundamental element for biological life so to think that it would be ‘dead’ yet so apparently life giving seems to me to be an oxymoron. Better we accept that we humans lack sufficient understanding to fully comprehend water and whether it is alive or dead, whether it has a memory effect or not and just what is happening with crystals in water.

    Peter Tomkinson

  26. Patti says:

    Lots of thoughts on water. Nowadays, I am almost afraid to drink any water. I remember in the 70’s when (I know, I hate that, too, but it’s true), when I could hike in the mountains in Washington State and drink water straight from the streams. In the late 70’s we were told to boil that water because of the microbes in the streams. It seems water has gone straight downhill from there. I just feel clean, pure water is so different from the processed stuff we get now; I think we can honestly “feel” it. So, is Dr. Emoto wrong? Who knows, but I think many of us sort of believe him because it fits with what we “feel”. I’m sorry he doesn’t trust his own findings enough to replicate them in a “scientific” manner, but there really does seem to be something “wrong” with all this processed water. Whether our intentions affect the water, who knows, but I believe the part where he took water from different places and could see differences in the structure.

  27. Todd says:

    For my second post I begin with the #2 poster’s mention of how everything in our universe is energy, including our thoughts. Our thoughts do influence everything. Fortunately, there are other people/souls besides ourselves whose thoughts also influence reality. That is what keeps a plane from crashing when one person has thoughts of a crash. We are a collective being.
    As to water again, how many can recall that Ishi asked for “sweet water” (clean, natural water as opposed to piped water), and that was before most of today’s pollution (whether in the pipes or the natural flows). I pray our species cleans up its actions for the betterment of us all.

  28. water is truly a living thing and it conveys and delivers also that is why there is a ritual to recite a mantra and blow it in water and to give to the person . 2/3 of my body is water ..it sustains this living body just because water to is alive .
    water being H2O—–two element of hydrogen and i oxygen has been proved that all elements at sub–sub atomic level are alive /.

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