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Chi (Qi) in conflict or harmony with science?
Posted: 13 October 2010 05:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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p.s. I do not claim to speak from a position of authorty. In fact I admit that I know very little about Chi.
This is why I posed a question, rather than making a blanket statement.

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Posted: 13 October 2010 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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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. 

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

The “zone” exists. It a point where you don’t even think about your actions. It’s like you just watch your body acting on it’s own without having conscious direction over it. One’s body actually reacts faster then you can think.

Maybe it’s a trick of the mind that can be explained by natural laws. However the experience of it is what is is regardless of what you believe of the mechanics behind it. You want proof, spend hundreds of hour at some sport, or even an activity like playing the guitar. You have to experience it yourself to know what is being talked about. We can debate the mechanics, however without the shared experience, there is no common ground to start from.

Tai Chi… spend thousands of hours going through the forms until you are bored out of your mind and watch your body take over, go though the process without conscious direction. The idea is your body will react to defend itself before you consciously know you are under attack.

I’ve never seen a unicorn, have you? However if someone describes something that you’ve experienced for yourself, how are you going to doubt that?

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Posted: 13 October 2010 05:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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mckenzievmd - 13 October 2010 04:29 PM

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.

Thanks Brennan, for your willingness to discuss the matter seriously.

Do we “know” that Chi is not related to magnetic influences? If not, could there be a relationship between the two, one an ancient, intuitive philosophy prior to the advent of science, and the other the modern scientific interpretation of certain forces such as gravity, magnetism and their influence on everything, including humans and animals?

I do believe there are examples of the moon influencing human behavior, during certain phases and proximity to earth. We know molecules will align themselves to electro/magnetic fields and heat (it is how we make steel). This phenomenon was know (not in a scientific way of course) for centuries in the East and created some of the finest samurai swords and knives known to man. What is mass hysteria?
Yes, of course I cannot prove or scientifically tie these phenomena to Chi, but I believe prominent scientists when they admit that there is much to be discovered and learned in the grand scope of the universe. Thus my probing for answers.

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Posted: 13 October 2010 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Write4U - 13 October 2010 05:14 PM

Thus “being in a zone” is an acceptable and provable explanation for performing extraordinary feats?

Throwing a ball through a hoop is not an extraordinary feat.  Even I can do that.  But the more a person practices and the more a person concentrates, the more a person increases their chances of getting the ball through the hoop. 

Write4U - 13 October 2010 05:14 PM

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.

Sure there is.  Have one group of people who have practiced and practiced a task and are allowed to then do it while concentrating on the task at hand.  Have another group of people who have not practiced the task and/or are given stimuli to inhibit concentrating on the task and see which one is more successful in completing the task. 

Write4U - 13 October 2010 05:14 PM

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.

I don’t have to have gone to the Moon to know it isn’t made of green cheese.  The burden of proof is not on me to proof “chi” exists.  The burden of proof is on those who make that claim.  As of yet, none of them have met that burden of proof.

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Posted: 13 October 2010 05:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Gnostikosis,

Tai Chi… spend thousands of hours going through the forms until you are bored out of your mind and watch your body take over, go though the process without conscious direction. The idea is your body will react to defend itself before you consciously know you are under attack.

Can one say that a Master of Tai Chi is in “tune” with his environment, and has the ability to “transcend” the normal thought processes of action/reaction?

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Posted: 13 October 2010 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Write4U - 13 October 2010 05:53 PM

Can one say that a Master of Tai Chi is in “tune” with his environment, and has the ability to “transcend” the normal thought processes of action/reaction?

You can say whatever you want.  grin Semantic sleight-of-hand still doesn’t mean the Kung Fu guy has magic powers.  He needs to provide evidence, not verbal mumbo-jumbo.

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Posted: 13 October 2010 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Rocinante - 13 October 2010 05:48 PM
Write4U - 13 October 2010 05:14 PM

Thus “being in a zone” is an acceptable and provable explanation for performing extraordinary feats?

Throwing a ball through a hoop is not an extraordinary feat.  Even I can do that.  But the more a person practices and the more a person concentrates, the more a person increases their chances of getting the ball through the hoop. 

Write4U - 13 October 2010 05:14 PM

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.

Sure there is.  Have one group of people who have practiced and practiced a task and are allowed to then do it while concentrating on the task at hand.  Have another group of people who have not practiced the task and/or are given stimuli to inhibit concentrating on the task and see which one is more successful in completing the task. 

Write4U - 13 October 2010 05:14 PM

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.

I don’t have to have gone to the Moon to know it isn’t made of green cheese.  The burden of proof is not on me to proof “chi” exists.  The burden of proof is on those who make that claim.  As of yet, none of them have met that burden of proof.

Acquired skill is not the definition of “being in a zone”. It is the ability to transcend normal physical or skill limitations and accomplish extraordinary feats.
I have never seen it done, but if a Chi Master (without having ever having touched a basketball) could swish a ball from 60 feet, would that be proof? Or would you ascribe “luck” to such a feat?  What is luck?

There is an excellent book “Magic and Mystery in Tibet” by Alexandra David Neel. She was the first person (or woman) ever to meet the then Dalai Lama. I believe she spend several years studying there and wrote stories of “extraordinary” feats, which she personally observed and experienced.

[ Edited: 13 October 2010 06:12 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 13 October 2010 06:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Rocinante - 13 October 2010 06:03 PM
Write4U - 13 October 2010 05:53 PM

Can one say that a Master of Tai Chi is in “tune” with his environment, and has the ability to “transcend” the normal thought processes of action/reaction?

You can say whatever you want.  grin Semantic sleight-of-hand still doesn’t mean the Kung Fu guy has magic powers.  He needs to provide evidence, not verbal mumbo-jumbo.

Why do you insist on citing a Kung Fu student’s ability to do anything?  That is like comparing a high school student’s knowledge of physics with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

Check out David Bohm’s “Implicate and Explicate Order”. Very interesting and worthy of reading.

[ Edited: 13 October 2010 06:40 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 13 October 2010 06:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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I still see nothing to prove the existence of ‘chi/qi’.
You should know how reliable an eyewitness evidence is, after all ‘miracles’ are ‘witnessed’ every day.
Having no experience and throwing a basketball into a basket from whatever distance is called ‘coincidence’ or ‘luck’ or ‘chance’. Repeating the throw ten times in a row is a very rare expertise. Repeating it even once would be incredible. Once…not so much. Where is the (original) recording? I would need more than an eyewitness account of a single event.

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Posted: 13 October 2010 07:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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asanta - 13 October 2010 06:57 PM

I still see nothing to prove the existence of ‘chi/qi’.
You should know how reliable an eyewitness evidence is, after all ‘miracles’ are ‘witnessed’ every day.
Having no experience and throwing a basketball into a basket from whatever distance is called ‘coincidence’ or ‘luck’ or ‘chance’. Repeating the throw ten times in a row is a very rare expertise. Repeating it even once would be incredible. Once…not so much. Where is the (original) recording? I would need more than an eyewitness account of a single event.

ok Asanta, you have just devised a test. All we need now is to get a Chi Master to agree to throwing the ball 10 times from 60 feet and count hits and misses.  cheese

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Posted: 13 October 2010 07:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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I’m not convinced there is a “zone” for athletes like Michael Jordan to be in. There is a common belief in “hot streaks” and the like in sports, but there is significant controversy in statistics circles about whether they are real. The objective performance of an athlete (say, percentage of successful free throws for Jordan) may not actually correlate with their perception of being in or out of “the zone,” so it may merely be an emotional phenomenon, not a true experience of the nature of one’s own performance. I can’t claim to be able to adjudicate the statistical disputes in this area, but I think there is serious and reasonable doubt that this pscyhological perception represents reality, so we shouldn’t take it for granted that it is real and then use it as a possible example of something real but scientifically undetectable like Chi, as some here seem to be implying it can be used.

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Posted: 13 October 2010 07:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Part of what people call ‘the zone’, is trained automaticity. Brennen, you do it at work in an emergency, I do too. It is a result of training to do something over and over and over again over the years so that you can do it in your sleep. Some people get there, some don’t. I’ve done emergencies so many times in my career, I can see one coming and plan the next step, without thinking about it, before we need to get there. This has nothing to do with any sort of supernatural essence, Michael Jordan (was) just a highly trained talented basketball player!

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Posted: 13 October 2010 08:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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mckenzievmd - 13 October 2010 07:07 PM

I’m not convinced there is a “zone” for athletes like Michael Jordan to be in. There is a common belief in “hot streaks” and the like in sports, but there is significant controversy in statistics circles about whether they are real. The objective performance of an athlete (say, percentage of successful free throws for Jordan) may not actually correlate with their perception of being in or out of “the zone,” so it may merely be an emotional phenomenon, not a true experience of the nature of one’s own performance. I can’t claim to be able to adjudicate the statistical disputes in this area, but I think there is serious and reasonable doubt that this pscyhological perception represents reality, so we shouldn’t take it for granted that it is real and then use it as a possible example of something real but scientifically undetectable like Chi, as some here seem to be implying it can be used.

Thus performance can be attributed to state of mind? Would it not follow that, if one can achieve a state of mind which draws all the skills and abilities of an athlete together, it would enhance their performance in a more consistent way?
As I understand it, Chi employs mental disciplines and meditations to achieve such “harmony” of available assets. I cannot see where this invalidates Chi (at least the meditative parts).
Please do not misunderstand, I am not advocating for Chi. Theoretically and practically speaking, the same might well be achieved by other methods and disciplines than advocated in Chi. However, if a measure of success can be achieved by following the chi regimen, can we still dismiss these disciplines as worthless exercises in futility?
I am just trying to investigate the nature and validity of some of these practices and claims of effectiveness.

[ Edited: 13 October 2010 08:25 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 13 October 2010 10:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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For example, Elissa Patterson has published a long article entitled “The philosophy and physics of holistic health care: Spiritual healing as a workable interpretation” in the British Journal of Advanced Nursing (1998, 27, 287-293). She relates spiritual healing to the belief that “we are all part of the natural harmonious energy of the universe.” Within this universal energy field is a human energy field “that is intimately involved with human life, often called the ‘aura’.”

Evidence for this aura is claimed in Kirlian photography. The author is obviously neither a philosopher nor a physicist. She does not exhibit the high school level of physics knowledge required to understand that this phenomenon is simple corona discharge, observed as far back as 1777 and completely understood for almost a century

Wat a minute, the fact that a phenomenon was observed and known about for a long time does not disprove Patteron’s “aura”.
On the contrary I see this as in support of the analogy between aura and corona discharge.
Its just a different name for the same phenomenon.

I find it interesting that many logical narratives of philosophical viewpoints can be identical to scientific narratives, where the only difference is the name of the phenomena they are describing.
When I learned the word “universe”, my artistic intuition immediately interpreted that to mean “Uni Verse” (single song), which served me for many years as an intepretation and description of the majesty of the universe.
Only much later when I began to doubt my interpretation of the word, did I look it up and discovered the scientific definition of the word universe is completely different, yet the narrative and its implications remain the same.
To me this presented an interesting question and I am always in search of commonality, rather than differences in the area of the metaphysical (spiritual) vs the physical nature of the universe.

[ Edited: 14 October 2010 12:56 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 14 October 2010 01:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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No, Patterson was just spreading New Age Manure. I find it strange that someone who doesn’t believe in a god because there is no proof (of course you may have another reason for disbelief) would believe in this type of woo without a shred of evidence.

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