The source of Chi, a Biological *and* metaphysical explanation?

jarrod

Senior Master
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Messages
2,172
Reaction score
96
Location
Denver
The fact is, there isn't mind/spirit/soul seperate from the physical body. One cannot be over the other as there isn't one and the other...jsut different facets of the same system. Saying different is, in fact, a form of dualism. Inj the end, the energyu that permeates the univers is the universe. I canot tap into that and manipulate...except in the standard ways in wich oine physical nody interacts with other physical bodies...bound by the physics.

you are 100% right about the energy of the universe being the universe, but i think you might be mistakenly thinking that monism or non-dualism is inherently transcendental. the fact is that even though the universe is non-dualistic our minds are literally unable to process reality in a single bite...hence our tendency to see dualism where there is none.

this idea of one-ness is common in many traditions, east & west. it's more common in the east because organized religion operates differently over there, but that's a whole other can of worms. the one-ness is the mystical part; only it's not actually mystical, it's simply that our minds/brains can't process it (without satori anyway, depending on who you listen to). we can understand it academically, but that is different from experiencing that oneness. that is why many eastern traditions have sayings like "the tao that can be spoken of is not the tao". some esoteric western traditions have the same ideas, only the tao may be called the pleroma or the ineffable, or whatever. but no matter how much we talk about it our minds still operate in a linear, sequential way. hence the apparent dualism.

ki, as i perceive it, is exactly how you describe it: the energy of the universe is the universe, nothing more. but the question in my mind is not "is mysticism real" but "is reality mystical". in my opinion, the answer is yes, the fact that the same laws of physics & nature permeate this entire universe (!) which each & every one of us is an essential part of is pretty damn mystical. it's also no big deal.

so imo, when you say the energy of the universe is the universe, & someone else says that ki/chi is an extension of the tao, you are saying essentially the same thing. i can tell by your posts that you have an excellent mind for science, so it makes sense that you perceive non-dualism as you do. not having an overtly scientific mind myself, i understand immenant non-dualism in "mystic" language. but too often people think mystical means supernatural, when in fact it is the essense of nature.

just my thoughts, hope it made sense.

jf
 

bluekey88

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 26, 2007
Messages
2,056
Reaction score
89
you are 100% right about the energy of the universe being the universe, but i think you might be mistakenly thinking that monism or non-dualism is inherently transcendental. the fact is that even though the universe is non-dualistic our minds are literally unable to process reality in a single bite...hence our tendency to see dualism where there is none.

this idea of one-ness is common in many traditions, east & west. it's more common in the east because organized religion operates differently over there, but that's a whole other can of worms. the one-ness is the mystical part; only it's not actually mystical, it's simply that our minds/brains can't process it (without satori anyway, depending on who you listen to). we can understand it academically, but that is different from experiencing that oneness. that is why many eastern traditions have sayings like "the tao that can be spoken of is not the tao". some esoteric western traditions have the same ideas, only the tao may be called the pleroma or the ineffable, or whatever. but no matter how much we talk about it our minds still operate in a linear, sequential way. hence the apparent dualism.

ki, as i perceive it, is exactly how you describe it: the energy of the universe is the universe, nothing more. but the question in my mind is not "is mysticism real" but "is reality mystical". in my opinion, the answer is yes, the fact that the same laws of physics & nature permeate this entire universe (!) which each & every one of us is an essential part of is pretty damn mystical. it's also no big deal.

so imo, when you say the energy of the universe is the universe, & someone else says that ki/chi is an extension of the tao, you are saying essentially the same thing. i can tell by your posts that you have an excellent mind for science, so it makes sense that you perceive non-dualism as you do. not having an overtly scientific mind myself, i understand immenant non-dualism in "mystic" language. but too often people think mystical means supernatural, when in fact it is the essense of nature.

just my thoughts, hope it made sense.

jf

I totally agree with you on most of your points. I do have a scientifric mind. I also (imo...maybe some might disagree) have a fair bit of spirituality as well. I tend to hold lots of views that, at a glance, seem contradictory (I'm a martial artist and a pacifist, a behaviorist and humanistic therapist, etc.) I seem to like to take dichotmous ideas and find ways to reconcile them for myself.

having said that, I agree that I think all of us are discussing the same stuff in principle. We're looking at different facets of the same phenomenon because as you so aptly put it...the mind can't make sense of everything.

However, why I've moved away from Ki explanations has more to do with cultural issues (more precisely, a loack of cultural understanding) than with a fundamental dislike for mysticism.

I'm not one of those guys that dismisses ki concepts out of hand...i simply think there are better explanations. Ki/chi/qi as a concept is soooo muddled...and so much garbage gets attached to it that , to me, it loses a lot of it's meaning. It's breath and breathing, it neurological impulses, it's attached to mind, it's attached to soul....and in the end it's gotten to where I can't make sense of the underlying truth for all the unnecessary garbage. There is truth there...that's the improtant stuff. That's what we should be trying to get at. Not worying about magic tricks as explanations.

I know that the universe is made up of energy. As Mo by put it "we are all made of stars". that being said, I can't manipulate that energy with my mind in the way that ki demonstrations often claim. In fact, I know of several convincing fraud busting attempts that really showed how much of what people experience as ki is no more than placebo effects. Not to say that things don't happen...but that metaphysical explanation gets in the way(for me). I can't change the flow of electricty in my house by focusing my mind and breathing right. I can't trhow chi balls and knock down a tree. however....i can use my intent, get a chainsaw, and do the job just fine. most people would not say that's ki/chi...just some dude with a chainsaw.

I guess whwat I'm saying is not that I have a problem with the idea of an energy (we can call it ki/chi, but I still think it's pretty much just matter) that permeates the universe. I just don't see where we have this great ability to transcend the laws of how this energy/matter interacts with itself and control it. Furthermore, the way people have thrown explanation of mystical (unknown) phenomenon at it...some of which has now stuck, has made more of this concept than it is.

Peace,
Erik
 

morph4me

Goin' with the flow
MT Mentor
MTS Alumni
Joined
Sep 5, 2006
Messages
6,779
Reaction score
122
Location
Ossining , NY
I find that I extend ki best when I am relaxed, my timing is right, and my body structure is upright and balanced, in other words when I'm doing the exercise or technique properly. I believe that ki, when used in a dynamic setting is a combination of timing, physics, and physiology. In a static exercise it's just physics and physiology.
 

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
I'm not one of those guys that dismisses ki concepts out of hand...i simply think there are better explanations. Ki/chi/qi as a concept is soooo muddled...and so much garbage gets attached to it that , to me, it loses a lot of it's meaning. It's breath and breathing, it neurological impulses, it's attached to mind, it's attached to soul....and in the end it's gotten to where I can't make sense of the underlying truth for all the unnecessary garbage. There is truth there...that's the improtant stuff. That's what we should be trying to get at. Not worying about magic tricks as explanations.

I know that the universe is made up of energy. As Mo by put it "we are all made of stars". that being said, I can't manipulate that energy with my mind in the way that ki demonstrations often claim. In fact, I know of several convincing fraud busting attempts that really showed how much of what people experience as ki is no more than placebo effects. Not to say that things don't happen...but that metaphysical explanation gets in the way(for me). I can't change the flow of electricty in my house by focusing my mind and breathing right. I can't trhow chi balls and knock down a tree. however....i can use my intent, get a chainsaw, and do the job just fine. most people would not say that's ki/chi...just some dude with a chainsaw.

I guess whwat I'm saying is not that I have a problem with the idea of an energy (we can call it ki/chi, but I still think it's pretty much just matter) that permeates the universe. I just don't see where we have this great ability to transcend the laws of how this energy/matter interacts with itself and control it. Furthermore, the way people have thrown explanation of mystical (unknown) phenomenon at it...some of which has now stuck, has made more of this concept than it is.

Firstly, if you are not dismissing ki concepts out of hand, what are you doing? If, for you, ki exists please explain your concept of it. If you believe ki does not exist, we don't need to know. I know ki exists, I don't have to prove it to anybody and I would like to hear other people's opinion as to how it works for them.

Secondly, you say you can't make sense of the underlying truth. With respect, you don't seem to be trying to understand anything as you are making assertions to the contrary. What 'underlying truth' are you referring to?

Thirdly, you refer to 'magic' and 'tricks', 'mystical phenomina' and 'fraud'. :erg: These are emotive terms to suggest that anyone talking about ki is away with the fairies. There is NO magic, NO tricks and people training ki do NOT refer to mystical phenomina and are NOT frauds, so lets stick to the truth.

Fourthly,
"in fact, I know of several convincing fraud busting attempts that really showed how much of what people experience as ki is no more than placebo effects."
So where do we see these fraud busters? Which part of what I experience as ki is placebo? Is it the feeling I get in the back of my neck when someone is extending ki from behind? Is it when my centre moves when someone takes my ki? Is it the loss of intent that I feel when ki is used against me? Is it the inability to retaliate when I am attacked by ki? And as ki doesn't work against me all the time, how do I know when to fall over (placebo) and when to be strong?

Fifthly, please send me details of anyone who claims to be able to "change the flow of electricty in their house by focusing their mind and breathing right." :erg: Now we really are getting off topic, emotive and into the realm of magic and mysticism. No one to my knowledge has ever made that claim!

Sixthly, I can't throw chi balls either. I don't know if anybody can, as I have never met anyone who makes such a claim. As to knocking down the tree
icon5.gif
... please post the video, or was that just an emotive insert?

Seventhly, if you don't have a problem with the idea of an energy (ki/chi) why are we having this discussion?

And, finally, aikicomp posted a number of explanations for the training tools that he has utilised in his practice. I wish I was as accomplished in those as he is, but I haven't been training ki all that long and I have a lifetime to go.

FYI I too have a scientific background and over my entire career I relied on evidence based information. Now I have experienced something, that I refer to as ki, and I would like to understand more about it. :asian:
 

Aikicomp

Purple Belt
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
308
Reaction score
10
Location
NW NJ
The fact is, there isn't mind/spirit/soul seperate from the physical body. One cannot be over the other as there isn't one and the other...jsut different facets of the same system. Saying different is, in fact, a form of dualism. Inj the end, the energyu that permeates the univers is the universe. I canot tap into that and manipulate...except in the standard ways in wich oine physical nody interacts with other physical bodies...bound by the physics.

As to the ring trick, seen that one too...as near as I can figure, this is how it works. Like other physicval tricks, it's all about relaxation, structure and force manipulation. It's all in how you position your fingers such that the pulling force is redirected into a pushing force in the hand. You manipulate the angles of the small joints of the the thumb and finger to attain this. Stay relaxed and your muscles don't have to fight each other. This isn't ki or special energy....just plain newtonian physics. Got anything else?

Sooo....... your saying that I change the angles in the little tiny tiny structures of the bones of my TWO FINGERS (six bones) thus redirecting the obviously more powerful force applied by the structures of the SHOULDERS and ARMS to redirect the pulling force into a pushing force. Yeah...Nice try.

to Aikicomp -- I can't explain exactly what is happening in your examples without seeing a video. I'm still willign to bet that when you relax there is a slight shift in the center of gravity. Also, ini every example you menton relaxation...a relaxed person in much more awkward and difficult to move than a stiff person. I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. In the end, these types of tricks are more about structure...and force redirection within that structure than they are about metaphysical forces.

Absolutely correct, if you do not relax you can not flow KI. As far as the shift in center of gravity, I thought I already explained that there is NO.... let me type this again.... there is NO movement, shifting of the center of gravity or adjustments whatsoever. It's just me not allowing them to pick me up or open my fingers or bend my arms using Ki (universal energy) by using my mind to access, control and focus it.

Again, there are valuabel martial lessons to be learned from such excercises, but they are hardly evidence of the physical existence of ki.

Peace,
Erik

It seems if I did post a video you would find something that you could slap the physics/scientific explanation label on so to do so would serve no purpose. (at least for you) I know you have difficulty in accepting there are forces in this world that are beyond our understanding or scientific explanation, and that is OK. However, that does not mean that they do not exist and can not be accessed. Ki is a natural force that can be used in a variety of situations for the good of the person using it and by you saying it's a "trick" (IMO, which it isn't) that may hinder a person reading this thread and discourage them from trying to develope Ki for themselves and that is a disservice to them.

Yes there are people who use the tricks you spoke of to boost their ego or get a perspective student to join their school by showing them their "powers" and that is disgusting IMO. There are many people on this planet and this board who can and do use real (no tricks) KI in their techniques and their lives and you saying that they are just using tricks puts us into that former category which I and I'm sure others find insulting and offensive.

Michael
 

Aikicomp

Purple Belt
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
308
Reaction score
10
Location
NW NJ
And, finally, aikicomp posted a number of explanations for the training tools that he has utilised in his practice. I wish I was as accomplished in those as he is, but I haven't been training ki all that long and I have a lifetime to go.

Thanks for the kind words, although, I am in no way accomplished in my use or understanding of Ki. I just do the best I can and hopefully help someone else along the way through my experience.

My advice to you, if you wish it, is to keep trying until you get it and you will if you're sincere which it sounds like you are. You must trust in your ability to access it. (that for me was the hardest part). Work on the exercises they will help you to develope your Ki a little at a time and before you know it you will have it at your disposal. You will have goods and bad days (like with anything else) they key is to never stop trying.

Michael
 

Archangel M

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 5, 2007
Messages
4,555
Reaction score
154
The "thing" I have with Chi...Ok, perhaps there is some form of energy that we are currently unable to detect. But now there are also channels in the body that contain/direct these energies and these are also undetectable and some people can control this energy through some process that is convienently undetectable as well.

Its all too convienently mysterious, undetectable and probably most importantly for the believers exotic and "eastern" (or at least not "Western") for me.
 

JadecloudAlchemist

Master of Arts
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Messages
1,877
Reaction score
82
Location
Miami,Florida
But now there are also channels in the body that contain/direct these energies and these are also undetectable and some people can control this energy through some process that is convienently undetectable as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anterior_interosseous_nerve
compared to:
http://www.healingtherapist.com/images/m-lung-hand.jpg

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/2006/0209/6867575.jpg

compared to:
http://alternativehealing.org/bladder_channel_full.GIF

The 12 channels interact thru nerves,vessels,even bone which all result in a stimulated reponse. Chinese have been doing it for thousands of years into a complex system. The mind guiding Qi or energy is no more than directing your thought to your hand to pick something up. There really is no mystery unless you are speaking in a religious Taoist view in which Qi can take the shape of a more supernautral meaning.
 

Ninjamom

2nd Black Belt
Joined
May 29, 2006
Messages
882
Reaction score
84
Location
Solomons, MD, USA
Actually, if you want to talk about 'insulting and offensive', one thing that always bothers me in these types of discussions is that they almost always degenerate at some point to a knee-jerk reaction to questions and criticisms from some ardent ki-believer, with the upshot that we non-believers have some defect because of our western mindset and our unwillingness to accept your premiss. Why do you assume that those of us who reject the existence of this force/energy called 'ki' do so out-of-hand, or for a lack of serious reasons, or because of an unwillingness to believe, or because we haven't researched it enough? Did it even occur to you that many of us have researched it and have sought evidence, and instead of finding evidence for the existence of 'ki' have found positive evidence that it doesn't meet any of its alleged claims?

As a physicist I can tell you that there is no force or energy (in the usual, accepted meaning of the word) that is both unmeasureable and can have a positive, macroscopic effect on your martial arts practice. The sizes of the forces involved in classical Newtonian physics (mainly gravity in this case), along with conservation of momentum, conservation of energy, application of the Impulse-Momentum theorem, and the use of the body's natural 'simple machines' account for everything you need to explain all of the phenomena actually measureable in the ring.

Small changes to the em field in your blood stream that might possibly allign your water molecules in certain areas of your body, fringe magnetic fields from neurons firing in your brain, and quantum mechanical tunnelling of stray elecrtons in your bones may actually occur, but not on a level to negate, enhance, or alter the basic Newtonian physics of what is happening. Think 'orders of magnitude' differences in size. It is a rule worth remembering in experimental physics and practical applications of any type that you cannot get a primary response from a secondary effect.

In general, you do yourself, your beliefs, and your arguments for them a great disservice when you use words that have specific meanings in ways other than or contrary to those specific meanings. When you call 'ki' a 'force', you are saying something, whether you realize it or not. You are saying that 'ki' can exchange energy and/or momentum, can accellerate masses, can be predicted and/or modeled, and usually, that it can be measured. When you call it an 'energy', you are claiming it is conserved, it can do useful work, and it can be transformed into other forms of energy. So, if you are going to use words to describe 'ki' that mean explicitly that it will do something, don't blame us science geeks when we ask the question, "What does it do?"
 

exile

To him unconquered.
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
10,665
Reaction score
250
Location
Columbus, Ohio
Actually, if you want to talk about 'insulting and offensive', one thing that always bothers me in these types of discussions is that they almost always degenerate at some point to a knee-jerk reaction to questions and criticisms from some ardent ki-believer, with the upshot that we non-believers have some defect because of our western mindset and our unwillingness to accept your premiss. Why do you assume that those of us who reject the existence of this force/energy called 'ki' do so out-of-hand, or for a lack of serious reasons, or because of an unwillingness to believe, or because we haven't researched it enough? Did it even occur to you that many of us have researched it and have sought evidence, and instead of finding evidence for the existence of 'ki' have found positive evidence that it doesn't meet any of its alleged claims?

As a physicist I can tell you that there is no force or energy (in the usual, accepted meaning of the word) that is both unmeasureable and can have a positive, macroscopic effect on your martial arts practice. The sizes of the forces involved in classical Newtonian physics (mainly gravity in this case), along with conservation of momentum, conservation of energy, application of the Impulse-Momentum theorem, and the use of the body's natural 'simple machines' account for everything you need to explain all of the phenomena actually measureable in the ring.

Small changes to the em field in your blood stream that might possibly allign your water molecules in certain areas of your body, fringe magnetic fields from neurons firing in your brain, and quantum mechanical tunnelling of stray elecrtons in your bones may actually occur, but not on a level to negate, enhance, or alter the basic Newtonian physics of what is happening. Think 'orders of magnitude' differences in size. It is a rule worth remembering in experimental physics and practical applications of any type that you cannot get a primary response from a secondary effect.

In general, you do yourself, your beliefs, and your arguments for them a great disservice when you use words that have specific meanings in ways other than or contrary to those specific meanings. When you call 'ki' a 'force', you are saying something, whether you realize it or not. You are saying that 'ki' can exchange energy and/or momentum, can accellerate masses, can be predicted and/or modeled, and usually, that it can be measured. When you call it an 'energy', you are claiming it is conserved, it can do useful work, and it can be transformed into other forms of energy. So, if you are going to use words to describe 'ki' that mean explicitly that it will do something, don't blame us science geeks when we ask the question, "What does it do?"

Great, lovely post, NJM.

The orders of magnitude thing is so on target. When I lived in Victoria ('Lotus Land', in the parlance of Canadians who actually have to turn the heat up in the winter), I had a number of acquaintances who used to argue fervantly to the effect, e.g., that all kinds of things happened as a result of the full moon, and that these could be 'scientifically' explained by tidal forces, though they had no clue just what the tidal 'force' actually is. I did a quick back-of-envelope calculation during lunch one time with one of them and showed her that in terms of sheer numbers, the gravitational force of a person sitting at the same restaurant table with you absolutely overwhelms the contribution of the 'tidal' effect of the moon on you, and would do so even if the moon were twice its current size. As I recall, she wasn't fazed a bit... brought up the whole idiotic 'Well, quantum mechanics tells us that anything can happen' (which is, of course, (i) false and (ii) irrelevant to the point at issue). On reflection, I realized that I had been justly punished for even trying to reason with her along those lines.

It hasn't stopped me from doing so repeatedly with other people over the years, but I did wind up giving up on her mind-set...:hb:
 

JadecloudAlchemist

Master of Arts
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Messages
1,877
Reaction score
82
Location
Miami,Florida
I often wonder what do people who do not agree with Qi think Qi is?



that is both unmeasureable and can have a positive, macroscopic effect on your martial arts practice

When you say things like this it means you do not have a proper defination of what Qi is.

Small changes to the em field in your blood stream that might possibly allign your water molecules in certain areas of your body, fringe magnetic fields from neurons firing in your brain, and quantum mechanical tunnelling of stray elecrtons in your bones may actually occur, but not on a level to negate, enhance, or alter the basic Newtonian physics of what is happening.
Studies have shown the brain waves during mediation do change to a degree http://www.researchingmeditation.org/home/brain-waves/
We do know thru Biofeed back and tension release exercises which increase blood circulation do have health benefits. We do know it requires a level of "energy" to achieve this.

can be predicted and/or modeled, and usually, that it can be measured.
Can body temperture be measured? Is heat not a form of energy?
It would be nice again for those who do not believe in Qi to give a defination of what you think Qi is. If you really want to get nit picky with the word Qi it is this: Qi is compose of the charcters:Chih-pot Mi-cooking rice Yun-Steam basically it the steam coming off cooked rice is what it means and we can all see that thus by the actual word Qi exist. The problem is people are mixing up Ren Qi(Human Qi) with Bi Qi(Earth Qi)from TCM mixing with religious Taoism which speaks about supernatural ideas. Also if we look at the Japanese word Genki it means more of a vitality then a supernatural meaning. IMO all the western words used already describe what Qi is. There is no supernatural meaning there is no unmeasurable force or energy because Qi just means energy. It is when you put another word in front of it does it become another type of energy. If you want supernatural Qi you would have to use the word LING in front of Qi to get Ling Qi. But what do I know about Qi really....
 

Archangel M

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 5, 2007
Messages
4,555
Reaction score
154
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anterior_interosseous_nerve
compared to:
http://www.healingtherapist.com/images/m-lung-hand.jpg

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/2006/0209/6867575.jpg

compared to:
http://alternativehealing.org/bladder_channel_full.GIF

The 12 channels interact thru nerves,vessels,even bone which all result in a stimulated reponse. Chinese have been doing it for thousands of years into a complex system. The mind guiding Qi or energy is no more than directing your thought to your hand to pick something up. There really is no mystery unless you are speaking in a religious Taoist view in which Qi can take the shape of a more supernautral meaning.

The human body has systems to complete biological tasks. Nerves transmit signals. Vessels transport fluids etc. Now these "Chi Channels" flow here there and everywhere with no "system" of transport other than this "interaction with REAL vessels". Sorry I just dont buy it. You are free to believe what you want. I dont intend to belittle anybody's belief in Chi. I just dont subscribe to it.
 

JadecloudAlchemist

Master of Arts
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Messages
1,877
Reaction score
82
Location
Miami,Florida
If you look at the chart you will see Rosseous nerve is the same as the Lung channel. If you also looked you will see the Sciatic nerve follows the same path as the Bladder channel. If you stick a needle into the nerve a signal is produced,Endorphins are released. If you stick a needle else where in the body different signals go off. Nothing mystical about it really. Chinese have been doing it for thousands of years. All the Jing-luo(Qi channels) go over each organ or interact with organs by their muscle,nerve,bone etc. So again I do not see this mystical thing everyone keeps talking about and I study Qigong and Chinese medicine. Also note the channels do interact with "real vessels" I suppose you mean nervous system,endocrine system,circulatory system etc etc.
 

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
Actually, if you want to talk about 'insulting and offensive', one thing that always bothers me in these types of discussions is that they almost always degenerate at some point to a knee-jerk reaction to questions and criticisms from some ardent ki-believer, with the upshot that we non-believers have some defect because of our western mindset and our unwillingness to accept your premiss. Why do you assume that those of us who reject the existence of this force/energy called 'ki' do so out-of-hand, or for a lack of serious reasons, or because of an unwillingness to believe, or because we haven't researched it enough? Did it even occur to you that many of us have researched it and have sought evidence, and instead of finding evidence for the existence of 'ki' have found positive evidence that it doesn't meet any of its alleged claims?

As a physicist I can tell you that there is no force or energy (in the usual, accepted meaning of the word) that is both unmeasureable and can have a positive, macroscopic effect on your martial arts practice. The sizes of the forces involved in classical Newtonian physics (mainly gravity in this case), along with conservation of momentum, conservation of energy, application of the Impulse-Momentum theorem, and the use of the body's natural 'simple machines' account for everything you need to explain all of the phenomena actually measureable in the ring.

Small changes to the em field in your blood stream that might possibly allign your water molecules in certain areas of your body, fringe magnetic fields from neurons firing in your brain, and quantum mechanical tunnelling of stray elecrtons in your bones may actually occur, but not on a level to negate, enhance, or alter the basic Newtonian physics of what is happening. Think 'orders of magnitude' differences in size. It is a rule worth remembering in experimental physics and practical applications of any type that you cannot get a primary response from a secondary effect.

In general, you do yourself, your beliefs, and your arguments for them a great disservice when you use words that have specific meanings in ways other than or contrary to those specific meanings. When you call 'ki' a 'force', you are saying something, whether you realize it or not. You are saying that 'ki' can exchange energy and/or momentum, can accellerate masses, can be predicted and/or modeled, and usually, that it can be measured. When you call it an 'energy', you are claiming it is conserved, it can do useful work, and it can be transformed into other forms of energy. So, if you are going to use words to describe 'ki' that mean explicitly that it will do something, don't blame us science geeks when we ask the question, "What does it do?"

Personally, I do become upset when people debunking ki use emotive terms such as 'magic', 'fraud', 'trick', 'mystical', etc. If someone disagrees with the existence of ki then I would say they have exactly the same problem disproving the existence of ki as a person has in proving the existence of ki. It is their right to express their opinion that ki does not exist. However, it is only my opinion, if any of us were to hibernate for 1000 years (assuming mankind hasn't destroyed itself by then) we would return to a world with vastly different understanding to the understanding that we have now and the people would probably be referring to our civilisation as reasonably primative.

As a physicist I can tell you that there is no force or energy (in the usual, accepted meaning of the word) that is both unmeasureable and can have a positive, macroscopic effect on your martial arts practice.

So as a medical person I can say, I can agree with your position, but not the assertian that you make. I would not presume to say more than "in my understanding, ki does not make sense within our current scientific understanding". When I studied physics in the 60s the only sub-atomic particles were protons, neutrons and electrons and that was taught as fact. Now you couldn't list them all. As a physicist you will know there are even a dozen or more 'hypothetical' particles which at present haven't been scientifically or experimentally demonstrated. Using your terminology, logically I should be saying these particles do not exist and your collegues are wasting their time looking for them. They should stop looking now because from your scientific knowledge nothing more is to be discovered. We both know that what I have just proposed is ludicrous.

Now although I did in one post use the term 'force' it was in the terms of trying to define ki. I should have said 'life force', 'life energy', 'intent' or 'spirit/will'. And I was questioning, not stating a fact. I don't know what I have experienced but to me and the students I train with, it is real. I do find it offensive that you would dismiss, as a trick, or whatever term you like, what I have personally experienced. If you were to come and train with me and personally experience what I am talking about, I would certainly value your explanation.

Did it even occur to you (Just a bit harsh!
icon5.gif
) that many of us have researched it and have sought evidence, and instead of finding evidence for the existence of 'ki' have found positive evidence that it doesn't meet any of its alleged claims?

I am trying to research it, but from a different angle. I have experienced what I believe to be ki. What it is I do not know. However, I have seen NO evidence let alone POSITIVE evidence that ki doesn't exist. Quite the contrary. What I am hoping is that some people who are training ki would be prepared to post some of their experiences without being dismissed as 'some ardent ki-believer' who is a crackpot because some people like you do not believe in ki. :asian:
 
Last edited:

exile

To him unconquered.
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
10,665
Reaction score
250
Location
Columbus, Ohio
So as a medical person I can say, I can agree with your position, but not the assertian that you make. I would not presume to say more than "in my understanding, ki does not make sense within our current scientific understanding". When I studied physics in the 60s the only sub-atomic particles were protons, neutrons and electrons and that was taught as fact. Now you couldn't list them all. As a physicist you will know there are even a dozen or more 'hypothetical' particles which at present haven't been scientifically or experimentally demonstrated. Using your terminology, logically I should be saying these particles do not exist and your collegues are wasting their time looking for them. They should stop looking now because from your scientific knowledge nothing more is to be discovered. We both know that what I have just proposed is ludicrous.
:

From the point of view of physical theory, K, what you've just said seems to me to be well off the mark. First of all, it's just not the case that there are 'a dozen or more "hypothetical" particles, at least in the Standard Theory (the framework in which the electroweak unification of electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force, the single deepest theory of the forces of nature so far confirmed, is framed; if we're talking about String Theory, now definitely on the defensive and likely to be abandoned within the next decade, that's a different story—and one of the major targets it's wearing is precisely those hypothetical particle partners of known elementary particles). There is exactly one: the Higgs boson. And this particle has been proposed as solution to the problem of linking the two 'outcome fields' of the unified electroweak field. The electromagnetic interaction particle, the photon, is massless. The vector boson interaction particles of the weak nuclear force are massive. Yet they are, mathematically, different instantiations of the same particle, since the two fields themselves are different manifestations of the same field. The Higgs field provides an elegant and formally precise way of associating mass with massless particle; given the formalism of non-Abelian guage field theories, the existence of a Higgs field entails the existence of a vector particle with certain very specific quantitative characteristics. If the Higgs particle is detected, it will be the final brick in the most predictively successful theory of anything that the human species has yet devised. If the Higgs particle turns out to be undetectable under conditions where it should manifest itself, then its existence will be in serious doubt, and the nature of the unification of the electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces will have to be rethought, from the ground up. There are several alternative versions of this unification which will then become prime candidates for further investigation.

That's how we wound up where we are in science: very precise theories to explain observed effects, whose consequences entail other phenomena, which are either observed and tend to confirm those precise theories, or force refinements in them that may be only quantitative (an additional planet, Neptune, posited to explain the perturbed orbit of one of Uranus' moons) or dramatically quantitative (quantum mechanics displacing Newtonian physics as our model of the fundamental level of nature). But in every single case, there were mathematically precise, quantitatively exact theories in place which offered an impressive range of empirical coverage of most of the data; the small remainder then had to be accounted for by positing further modifications—some of which were minor, and some of which, as I noted, were paradigm-changers.

If someone posits a subatomic particle , or quantum field, or spatial dimension, or anything else which does not constitute part of a solution to a specific physical problem and offer a mathematically consistent resolution to that problem—anything which, in other words, is one or another version of Rob Redmond's invisible purple snarg—the entity posited will not be taken seriously, nor should it be. Ockham's Razor is a severe test, but it's been the best friend real inquiry—as vs fantasizing about what might or might not be in a vacuum of careful measurements and replicable results—has ever had. I think you've seriously misread the point of Ninjamom's post. Her comments are 110% in line with the best scientific methodology we've ever had.
 
Last edited:

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
From the point of view of physical theory, K, what you've just said is way off the mark. First of all, you're factually incorrect about the existence of 'a dozen or more "hypothetical" particles, at least in the Standard Theory (the framework in which the electroweak unification of electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force, the single deepest theory of the forces of nature so far confirmed, is framed; if we're talking about String Theory, now definitely on the defensive and likely to be abandoned within the next decade, that's a different storyand one of the major targets it's wearing is precisely those hypothetical particle partners of known elementary particles). There is exactly one: the Higgs boson. And this particle has been proposed as solution to the problem of linking the two 'outcome fields' of the unified electroweak field. The electromagnetic interaction particle, the photon, is massless. The vector boson interaction particles of the weak nuclear force are massive. Yet they are, mathematically, different instantiations of the same particle, since the two fields themselves are different manifestations of the same field. The Higgs field provides an elegant and formally precise way of associating mass with massless particle; given the formalism of non-Abelian guage field theories, the existence of a Higgs field entails the existence of a vector particle with certain very specific quantitative characteristics. If the Higgs particle is detected, it will be the final brick in the most predictively successful theory of anything that the human species has yet devised. If the Higgs particle turns out to be undetectable under conditions where it should manifest itself, then its existence will be in serious doubt, and the nature of the unification of the electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces will have to be rethought, from the ground up. There are several alternative versions of this unification which will then become prime candidates for further investigation.

That's how we wound up where we are in science: very precise theories to explain observed effects, whose consequences entail other phenomena, which are either observed and tend to confirm those precise theories, or force refinements in them that may be only quantitative (an additional planet, Neptune, posited to explain the perturbed orbit of one of Uranus' moons) or dramatically quantitative (quantum mechanics displacing Newtonian physics as our model of the fundamental level of nature). But in every single case, there were mathematically precise, quantitatively exact theories in place which offered an impressive range of empirical coverage of most of the data; the small remainder then had to be accounted for by positing further modificationssome of which were minor, and some of which, as I noted, were paradigm-changers.

If someone posits a subatomic particle , or quantum field, or spatial dimension, or anything else which does not constitute part of a solution to a specific physical problem and offer a mathematically consistent resolution to that problem, the entity posited will not be taken seriously, nor should it be. Ockham's razor is a severe test, but it's been the best friend real inquiryas vs fantasizing about what might or might not be in a vacuum of careful measurements and replicable resultshas ever had. I think you've seriously misread the point of Ninjamom's post. Her comments are 110% in line with the best scientific methodology we've ever had.

I accept all you say from a scientific point of view. Thank you for broadening my understanding. However, it has no bearing on the current discussion. I will say, as fact, our scientific understanding of subatomic particles is much different now than it was 50 years ago and leave it at that. I am not suggesting ki is anthing to do with sub-atomic particles, physics, calculus, asteral projection or any other notion somebody would like to postulate. All I am trying to ask is, why can't we discuss ki, in whatever dimension you like, without using emotive language to dismiss it an BS? Most people would refrain from posting on the subject for fear of being labeled irrational or stupid or whatever. Nobody can disprove ki just as nobody can disprove a divine being (not that I'm equating the two).

All I am asking is for those people who would like to discuss what they believe to be ki, to be able to do so without people, who don't believe in ki, derailing the discussion. If you want a discussion on the existance of ki I will start a new thread for you all to get together and confirm your scepticism. :asian:
 

Archangel M

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 5, 2007
Messages
4,555
Reaction score
154
With the "you have no proof it doenst exist" argument...well I could argue the existence of tiny wizards living in my body using their magic to run my Ki system by that standard.
 

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
With the "you have no proof it doenst exist" argument...well I could argue the existence of tiny wizards living in my body using their magic to run my Ki system by that standard.

Mate, go for it. If you have little wizards floating inside I will be the last person to take your belief from you. However, please keep them under control as I would hate them to run amok with the fairies at the bottom of my garden.
icon7.gif


PS I did ask people to avoid the use of the word magic! If you have wizards doing the work it isn't magic.
 

Carol

Crazy like a...
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
20,311
Reaction score
541
Location
NH
I'm still trying to get the voices in my head to start paying rent.... :idunno: :lol:
 

exile

To him unconquered.
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
10,665
Reaction score
250
Location
Columbus, Ohio
I accept all you say from a scientific point of view. Thank you for broadening my understanding. However, it has no bearing on the current discussion.

No, I think, and will argue below, that it has everything to do with the current discussion.

I will say, as fact, our scientific understanding of subatomic particles is much different now than it was 50 years ago and leave it at that. I am not suggesting ki is anthing to do with sub-atomic particles, physics, calculus, asteral projection or any other notion somebody would like to postulate. All I am trying to ask is, why can't we discuss ki, in whatever dimension you like, without using emotive language to dismiss it an BS?

The problem, K, is this, I think. Arguments about the 'existence' of something are inherently linked to the work that is done by positing the existence of that thing. The only entity that we have a priori reason to believe in the existence of is ourselves, because we are aware firsthand only of our own consciousness—Descartes' cogito. And what Decartes was doing in his famour epigram was making an epistemological point: the only thing whose existence we can be sure of is ourselves, since we have no immediate knowledge of anything other than our own minds. Everything else we posit is a matter of inference—and we need good and sufficient reason to make that inference. What constitutes good and sufficient reason is, of course, itself a matter of debate. But if we exclude the position of radical skeptics, guys like Berkeley for whom nothing but our own minds could be assumed to exist, then it's clear that the existence of some entity X receives incremental support as the number of problems its existence eliminates increases. Conversely, if positing the existence of X does absolutely no work at all, then positing it violates the basic premise underlying all of our successful inquiry to date: an account of the world which multiplies entities which do no work is inferior to an account without such entitites. That's the whole point of Redmond's purple snarg thought experiment that I linked to in my previous post.

Now the problem with Ki, or Qi, or Chi, is that so far, there is not a single thing that the concept seems to do that requires us to posit it. Redmond's examples here are very much to the point:

When asked for examples of effects for which ki would be the cause, the following are usually cited.

High Levels of Martial Skill is sometimes credited to an ability to harness and manipulate hidden flowing energies. However, physical training and other factors are better explanations for which we possess mountains of evidence. There is no way to remove these causes for the effect of good skills in the martial arts, therefore it is impossible to find another cause. In order to assert that ki were to be credited for martial arts abilities, someone would have to demonstrate an effect for which there could be no other cause in order for ki to be a reasonable explanation. For example, if a martial artist could levitate in a laboratory and on demand anywhere anytime, then we might speculate as to the cause of this effect.

Accupunture’s Effectiveness Against Pain is sometimes shown as evidence that there is ki. But, this has been shown to be a physical effect on the way the nervous system behaves. At some point in their history, the Chinese came up with “chi” (or borrowed the idea from someone else) as a life force that flows through the body which acupuncture is able to affect. They were trying to explain the effects of acupuncture and other things, and they were operating in the dark, so they came up with ki as a reasonable explanation. However, we now know the real cause. Thus, this is no longer a reason to believe in ki because of this effect.

Redmond alludes to other possible effects that might motivate ki/Qi/Chi, scrutinizes them, and then concludes:

The point is that there is nothing we observe in our world which calls for ki to explain it.

This concept is difficult to explain, but it all comes down to this: If there is not something that needs ki to explain it, then coming up with ki first and the thing it causes second is usually evidence of invention, hallucination, or deception.

Therefore, it is irrational and unreasonable to believe in ki, since there is nothing that you see in the world as an effect which cannot be explained without using ki to explain it. For those things we do not understand, ki does not explain them. For the effects that ki can supposedly have, there is no effect.

And note that Redmond doesn't overlook the way the 'translation' issue ("Japanese ki = English 'energy', so what's the big deal??"). As he observes:

When challenged, some point to ki as being not an explanation of any paranormal activity, but rather that it is a handy catch-all term that encompasses the mundane. For example, one instructor said that ki only represents good mechanics and solid training. Another wrote, “It is just your life force that is the manifestation of all the electro-chemical reactions going on in your body. It’s energy - that’s all.”

Well, that’s fine. I believe in all of that. However, I don’t feel the need to dress it up in a fancy suit by using the Japanese word for “energy.” Besides, it reads like excuse-making to me. It sounds like someone has been using the term ki in their karate instruction, the same way they heard it, and they are not quite ready to admit to themselves that using it has not been a good idea. It reads to me like political weaseling, “I voted for that bill, but only because I believed it would not pass.”

“I say ki all the time in my classes, but I don’t mean anything other than the normal expression of energy that you said you believe in.”

Fine. But then why not use the English word?

I think it is unwise to use a paranormal sounding term, especially a term that many people firmly believe to refer to supernatural activity as some sort of verbal shortcut. The real explanation is no more difficult than the initial training in jargon, so there is no true gain in efficiency...

This seems to be an apology for the use of the vague, meaningless term “ki”, which in Japanese means “energy”, as in “I feel energetic” (ki ga tsuyoi) vs. “I feel tired” (ki ga nai). There is no English equivalent for the catch-all idiomatic expression “ki”.

We have English expressions for efficiency, being in the zone, psyching up, digging deeper, and other things like this from our own sports. I believe using the term “ki” leads to these false explanations and beliefs in magic energy forces tapped by acupuncture needles and then broadcast out over the airwaves to convince us that we never really went to the moon and that Elvis is alive.

I think Redmond's points here are 100% on the mark. There either is something that the word ki points to which is not explained by our best physical theories, or there isn't. If there isn't, than Ockham's razor kicks in automatically and pitilessly. If there is, then, as Redmond quite correctly insists on, the burden of proof lies on those who are urging the existence of whatever it is that this sense of ki denotes. That means, showing what work ki actually does—what specific results it yields.

And this is the reason why my previous posts about postulating as yet unobserved subatomic particles is completely germane to the point. Because the only reason for positing such particles is that—as in the case of the Higgs particle—the existence of such entities reduces the apparent complexity and patternlessness of the world. Only such particles have been posited in modern physics which have this explanatory yield, and the explanatory payoff that confirmation of their existence would give us is the reason why they have been investigated so relentlessly. What Ninjamom, Redmond and many others are saying is that there is nothing even remotely comparable for the concept 'ki' to do beyond what is done by the very prosaic sense of 'energy' (defined as the capacity to do work, i.e, impose structure beyond the random equilibrium state) . And if saying, X occurs because of energy isn't very illuminating as it stands, then substituting ki for 'energy' isn't going to be any more illuminating.


Most people would refrain from posting on the subject for fear of being labeled irrational or stupid or whatever. Nobody can disprove ki just as nobody can disprove a divine being (not that I'm equating the two).

K, if something can be neither proved or disproved, then the question of its existence is inherently meaningless, because, by its very nature, it can have no material interaction with the world. That's why a nonfalsifiable hypothesis simply doesn't get a place at the table. I don't need to disprove the existence of ki, as Redmond's essay nicely underscores. The burden of proof is on someone who's positing ki to show that it yields a more satisfactory picture of the world (i.e., does more work, by accounting for specific, replicable results of observation) than assuming that there is no such thing. Again, my comments in my previous post are exactly relevant here: that's the whole reason why people have posited the Higgs particle, and why they are moving heaven, earth and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to create the conditions in which it should, if it exists, reveal itself. I hate to keep repeating the point, but read what Redmond has to say about invisible purple snargs, and where the burden of proof lies, and why it lies there.

All I am asking is for those people who would like to discuss what they believe to be ki, to be able to do so without people, who don't believe in ki, derailing the discussion. If you want a discussion on the existance of ki I will start a new thread for you all to get together and confirm your scepticism. :asian:

Regardless of whether you want to listen to what those of us who ask for basic standards of proof to be met are saying, everything that transpires in any discussion between 'ki-believers' is subject to the same conditions that I've been talking about above. If people want to get together to talk about invisible purple snargs without the objection that the concept receives no support from anything like a replicable body of results, that's fine; it doesn't change the fact that the concept receives no support from anything like a replicable body of results.

And please note that the OP actually was trying to posit a 'scientific' model for ki, so that issues of scientific methodology, in all its unapologetic harshness, are 100% relevant to this thread.
 
Last edited:

Latest Discussions

Top