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Chi (Qi) in conflict or harmony with science?
Posted: 13 October 2010 03:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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What does being able to kick ass have to do with Qi/Chi?

It doesn’t.  I wasn’t talking about Qi at all, but rather giving George my rough knowledge of what Aikido is.  And some in the martial arts community (communities?) criticize it for being “soft” or overly structured with unrealistic moves and formulaic sparring.  I was countering that by saying that those who practice it well can still beat the crap out of people so their criticisms are odd to me.

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Posted: 13 October 2010 03:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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mckenzievmd - 13 October 2010 08:53 AM

The difference between Chi and “invisible” forces like electromagnetism is that the latter can be precisely described mathematically in ways which allow consistent, reliable predictions of effects. Chi can only be “sensed” or intuited by one individual at a time and it’s effects cannot be objectively measured or predicted. To me that suggests that it is at best a sloppy metaphor and at worst a fictional force that people wrongly credit with real effects. As GdB describes nicely, it can be useful as a metaphor. But literal belief in it as a real entity just leads to nonsense like most of TCM. Ss I think Chi is clearly not compatible with a rational, scientific view of the world and only has a place, when taken literally, in faith-based paradigms.

Yes, I tried to avoid ascribing any supernatural force to chi. If there is a force it would have to be natural and therefore more or less measurable.
The question came to mind, when thinking of a mention in the previous thread of “facing a certain direction while sleeping”, in connection with Chi. Came to mind the wonderous compass and the unerring way it points toward the magnetic pole, except when interfered with by other electro/magnetic forces. Under certain conditions the compass may even spin wildly and completely lose its “atunement” to the magnetic pole. Geese fly unerringly No. and it is thought that they can “sense” the direction of the magnetic pole.
But the only reason a compass points No. is the fact it is designed to turn on a fulcrum which allows for the needle to move freely. It then occurred to me that everything which contains a measure of iron “tries” to point toward the magnetic pole. Only weight and inability to turn freely prevents this. However, the “pull” must always be there, unseen, unmeasurable, but there nevertheless.
We have all observed the beautiful patterns iron filings make on a piece of paper when in proximity of a simple little magnet.
Again that is proof of a magnetic field, in all its glory. We can also prove that molecules will align themselves relative to an electro/ magnetic field. These things have been proved and measured in great detail.
Then the question came to mind, if everything is constantly being “pulled” and “strives for alignment to the magnetic pole or, in proximity of another interfering magnetic source, may become “confused” as to the direction of alignment, could this possibly influence a person’s state of relaxation, clarity of thought, and sense of purpose? Can the body experience a “connection” or comfortable “alignment” to the magnetic fields surrounding it?  If so, might this not be an explanation of the elusive Chi?

Taking Domocato’s example of the interior of a house, if the house is laid out E/W, would that create a different “feel” (possibly even in combination with sunrise/sunset, or even the “pull” of the moon) to the inhabitants than if the house was built N/S, or sleeping while facing a certain direction?

[ Edited: 13 October 2010 03:56 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 13 October 2010 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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If chi exists, it must be the weakest force in the Universe.  Apparently you can nullify “chi” by nothing more than moving your tongue or lifting your big toes!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3cu94LnDI0&feature=related#t=3m55s

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Posted: 13 October 2010 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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p.s. As Thoreau said, “everything is connected”, that did not exclude something. It was a recognition that Everything is connected to Everything. How and what is this connection?
The more I learn here, the more I am in awe of the workings of the universe. Let us not out-of-hand dismiss the thoughts and reason of the various so-called “supernatural” identifications in connection with the greater scope of what we know and what we don’t know. Most of these philosophies sprang up before the advent of science and I can well imagine someone inventing the word Chi (life force) to what we now can identify by scientific method as a “natural law or force”.

[ Edited: 13 October 2010 04:22 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 13 October 2010 04:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Rocinante - 13 October 2010 04:00 PM

If chi exists, it must be the weakest force in the Universe.  Apparently you can nullify “chi” by nothing more than moving your tongue or lifting your big toes!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3cu94LnDI0&feature=related#t=3m55s

Apparently the “weak” nuclear force is essential to holding everything together. To say something has a weak influence means nothing without other parameters, such as size, mass, proximity, alignment, momentum, etc. and the properties of the object on which the force acts.
If a block of iron weighs 100 lbs and the magnetic force pulling it is 90 lbs, the block will not move. But there is a force at work, wheter you can observe it or not makes no difference, but I can imagine that the iron block has (imperceptibly) changed shape.

[ Edited: 13 October 2010 04:19 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 13 October 2010 04:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Did you watch the clip?  The guy is an idiot.  He claims he can magically knock someone down with his invisible magic power (that can’t be measured), but all someone has to do is move their tongue or lift one big toe and suddenly the force doesn’t work?  A (real) punch to the body doesn’t matter where any body part is, because that force exists.  “Chi” doesn’t exist.

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Posted: 13 October 2010 04:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Rocinante - 13 October 2010 04:20 PM

Did you watch the clip?  The guy is an idiot.  He claims he can magically knock someone down with his invisible magic power (that can’t be measured), but all someone has to do is move their tongue or lift one big toe and suddenly the force doesn’t work?  A (real) punch to the body doesn’t matter where any body part is, because that force exists.  “Chi” doesn’t exist.

So you base your complete and utter rejection of a philosophy, which has been contemplated for thousands of years by some great thinkers, on the fake demonstrations of one fool?

[ Edited: 13 October 2010 04:27 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 13 October 2010 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Then the question came to mind, if everything is constantly being “pulled” and “strives for alignment to the magnetic pole or, in proximity of another interfering magnetic source, may become “confused” as to the direction of alignment, could this possibly influence a person’s state of relaxation, clarity of thought, and sense of purpose? Can the body experience a “connection” or comfortable “alignment” to the magnetic fields surrounding it?  If so, might this not be an explanation of the elusive Chi?

I see two problems here. First, as I’ve already stated, I think if Chi existed it would be possible to detect, measure, and predict it as we can with magnetic fields. Since we can’t do any of these things, and so have no reason to believe it exists, hypothesizing about its effects seems premature.

Second, even if a force is real, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has a meaningful effect on people or other animals/objects. Gravity is real, but the moon and sttars do not determine our personality, mood, or destiny as is often believed. If they did, again we ought to be able to find some consistent associations between states of one and states of the other, we ought to be able to manipulate the effect by altering the gravitational environment, we ought to see even greater effects from smaller bodies much closer to us (since the inverse square law means your obstetrician had a greater gravitational pull on you than the moon at the moment of your birth—the moon is much bigger, but the obstetrician was much closer!!). Even if Chi could be shown to exist, more would be needed to show it did anything important. And yet since we have been able to do this for the other natural forces you describe, our failure to do so for Chi seems pretty good evidence against it being real.

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Posted: 13 October 2010 04:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Write4U - 13 October 2010 04:24 PM

So you base your complete and utter rejection of a philosophy, which has been contemplated for thousands of years by some great thinkers, on the fake demonstrations of one fool?

No.  I don’t accept claims for something extraordinary when the extraordinary claim in question has absolutely no evidence in support of it.  When there is proof for “chi” I will accept it.

Do you often resort to Argument from Antiquity and Argument from Authority logical fallacies instead of evidence for extraordinary claims?

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Posted: 13 October 2010 04:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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dougsmith - 13 October 2010 03:08 PM

I’m glad to have someone try to explain feng shui, since I’ve never understood a word of it.

I’m not sure my interpretation is shared by many LOL

Although, according to my Chinese relatives, the Chinese have been known to exaggerate and use metaphors to get their point across; so it could be they know perfectly well that chi isn’t literal, and they just use it as a visualization tool. Seems to work for breaking blocks in kung-fu

Maybe us westerners are just taking it too literally?

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Posted: 13 October 2010 04:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Write4U - 13 October 2010 04:24 PM

...on the fake demonstrations of one fool?

It’s not just one.  It’s every single one!  Not a single Kung Fu master can knock me (or any skeptic) down with their magical “chi.”  It also never works on any member of any competing martial artist school, suggesting it is nothing more than students’ consciously or unconsciously acquiescing to their teacher’s claim.  We can learn more from such demonstrations about human psychology and the conforming behavior of people in groups than we can about mystical undiscovered magical powers.

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Posted: 13 October 2010 04:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Rocinante - 13 October 2010 04:44 PM
Write4U - 13 October 2010 04:24 PM

...on the fake demonstrations of one fool?

It’s not just one.  It’s every single one!  Not a single Kung Fu master can knock me (or any skeptic) down with their magical “chi.”  It also never works on any member of any competing martial artist school, suggesting it is nothing more than students’ consciously or unconsciously acquiescing to their teacher’s claim.  We can learn more from such demonstrations about human psychology and the conforming behavior of people in groups than we can about mystical undiscovered magical powers.

Well, in the western world we also have a word like chi, we call it, “being in a zone”. Is there no such thing? Ask Michael Jordan.

[ Edited: 13 October 2010 04:51 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 13 October 2010 04:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Write4U - 13 October 2010 04:49 PM

]

Well, in the western world we also have a word like chi, we call it, “being in a zone”. Is there no such thing? Ask Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan got where he is through hard work and practice, practice, practice.  It is an insult to him to claim some mystical, magical power is in any way responsible for his talents and abilities. 

“In the zone” simply means a person is concentrating and working to the best of their ability on something that they have presumably done hundreds or thousands of times before.  That practice, and their tuning out all distracting factors allowing them to concentrate on the task at hand is being “in the zone,” not a mystical, magical force that has yet to be discovered or measured.  Bring me evidence then we’ll talk. 

Just because poets in the past have written about Unicorns doesn’t mean Unicorns have ever existed.  Some times fiction is just that…fiction.

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Posted: 13 October 2010 05:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Have you ever watched one of those videos that teach you have to bend a spoon with your “mind power”?

You visualize bending the spoon, imagine the metal glowing and can proceed to twist the spoon into a pretzel like it was playdoh. Kind of freaky the first time you try it.

You imagine it takes no effort and perceive the reality of it taking no effort. You expect it to be difficult or impossible and it is difficult to bend. I do things someone else thinks it would be difficult to do only because I believe I can do it and they don’t believe they can.

I don’t know but I heard of people showing amazing feats of strength when they need to pull someone they love from out under a car. Maybe the strength was always theirs but they didn’t believe themselves capable.

Chi, you visualize being in harmony and you perceive your self in harmony with reality. Sometimes I get busy, don’t think about eating and don’t feel hungry. However I remember I haven’t eaten for a while and suddenly I’m starving.

One time when I was younger, playing baseball barefoot in an open field. I was having fun, at the end of the game someone told me that my foot was covered in blood. I had step on a broken bottle and had about an inch of broken glass embedded in my heel. I’ve no idea how long I had been running around with a piece of glass stuck in my foot. I never felt anything.

Reality is what it is, however our perception of it is not so certain.  So maybe something like chi is just a way to educate one’s perception to what is possible.

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Posted: 13 October 2010 05:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Rocinante - 13 October 2010 04:58 PM
Write4U - 13 October 2010 04:49 PM

]

Well, in the western world we also have a word like chi, we call it, “being in a zone”. Is there no such thing? Ask Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan got where he is through hard work and practice, practice, practice.  It is an insult to him to claim some mystical, magical power is in any way responsible for his talents and abilities. 

“In the zone” simply means a person is concentrating and working to the best of their ability on something that they have presumably done hundreds or thousands of times before.  That practice, and their tuning out all distracting factors allowing them to concentrate on the task at hand is being “in the zone,” not a mystical, magical force that has yet to be discovered or measured.  Bring me evidence then we’ll talk.

Thus “being in a zone” is an acceptable and provable explanation for performing extraordinary feats?  Ask a scientist if an experiment can be devised that yields predictable and measurable results to the concept of “being in a zone”. I think not.

Domokato just posed the question if we westerners understand the concept of chi at all. Do you have intimate and thorough knowledge of the subject? If not, then you cannot speak from “ancient, recent, or any position of authority.

[ Edited: 13 October 2010 05:19 PM by Write4U ]
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