Author Topic: Ask any question about Qigong or Yoga.  (Read 24127 times)

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February 06, 2016, 07:05:49 PM
Reply #30

Steve

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The books I read were from a long time ago, and I couldn't possibly name them nor their authors. I read books with regards to history and knowledge of qi gong, martial arts that incorporated qi gong and their practices, and TCM which incorporates qi gong. They didn't use the terms "grounding" and "centering", but the descriptions of exercises were very much these things.

They are like the stretching in physical martial arts; precursors to the martial arts training itself. Most martial arts books will start off with a preword about stretching properly before practices, and then do not bother to indicate stretching before each and every set of distinct exercises or forms or practices as it becomes assumed at that point that the student will do the stretching.

And as with many things in psionics and the new-age, they adapted most of their modern views from much older traditions (and the biggest problem is the lack of understanding or context given to the psionic and new-age descriptions, which could otherwise pass for being somewhat correct).

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

February 06, 2016, 07:16:26 PM
Reply #31

Rayn

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Second, Steve is right, Qi balls serve no real purpose at best and are counterproductive to Qi development at worst. My approach nowadays is that hey, if people wanna make Qi balls, let them! However, in my practice and from people I've talked to (e.g. mystic, Kendamu) Qi balls would be essentially wasting your energy. The approach is to conserve, conserve. This means (usually) abstinence from sex, proper diet and so on. It is far more productive to practice the Microcosmic Orbit and other circulations than to make Qi balls (which theoretically dissipate the Qi, but as Mind_Bender mentioned I'm unsure if that's true).

Mystical and non-secular forms of Qigong are forms of what is called naive vitalism. The idea pretty much is when things bleed too much, they die, or when people stop breathing they die, so there must be something in blood and air we cannot see that makes living things living - life is carried in the blood or in the air. Here is the thing, though. We know that oxygen is the thing in the air we need to live, we know why blood is important, and in both of these cases, blood and air do not carry life, because life is not distinct from the physical and chemical processes which facilitate and sustain it. This idea was empirically disproven with the rise of organic chemistry via Wöhler synthesis:

Quote
The Wöhler synthesis is of great historical significance because for the first time an organic compound was produced from inorganic reactants. This finding went against the mainstream theory of that time called vitalism which stated that organic matter possessed a special force or vital force inherent to all things living. For this reason a sharp boundary existed between organic and inorganic compounds. Urea was discovered in 1799 and could until then only be obtained from biological sources such as urine. Wöhler reported to his mentor Berzelius

Wöhler Synethesis

The reason why what you eat has an impact on your body is because of chemistry and not vital energy, so there is no need to conserve vital energy in order to preserve health, because what constitutes health are chemical reactions. For example, one reason why vitamins are important in a nutrient dense diet is because they act as catalyst when it comes to reactions where an example of this is protein synthesis.

I tend to stay out of these conversations except when inaccurate mystical cosmologies and paradigms serve as a basis to make moral or normative statements. For example, based on the idea that qi ties into health and that having sex exhausts qi, you are saying that one should abstain from immoderate amounts of sex(where what is and is not a moderate amount seems quite ambiguous and arbitrary in this context). It is a moral statement that is derived from mystical thinking that was disproven hundreds of years ago. Koujiryuu, I actually recommend you read the book Sex at Dawn. Personally, I am kind of a feminists which means I am kind of sex positive. I also don't subscribe to normative ideas about that, so I am "queer". The point is that I believe formulating moral frameworks about such things as sexuality based on disproven mystical cosmologies is way overboard(I'm aware that you did not explicitly state this; however, it is implicit in your bit about the idea is to conserve by abstaining from sex). If a person does not abstain from an immoderate amount of sex, this does not mean there will be health complications due to an exhaustion of qi, so it is inappropriate to state that people should abstain from that for that reason. There are also secular forms of Qiqong. A person can practice this art and not subscribe to those things. Technically, it has the same weight as a moral ideology created within the context of a religious paradigm in terms of mysticism.

There is an inductive case against this in that more diseases have been cured and more medical advancements have been made utilizing things based on organic chemistry than utilizing things based on the idea that things have qi in them that we need or that we need to conserve qi(in this, I don't have to show it cures and fixes everything; rather, I just have to show that is a major difference in the amount of cases). Organic chemistry over turns this idea and it works better in such a way that there is an inductive case for it being probably truer and probably more accurate. There is no chemical or biological justification for it, to be frank...

And as with many things in psionics and the new-age, they adapted most of their modern views from much older traditions (and the biggest problem is the lack of understanding or context given to the psionic and new-age descriptions, which could otherwise pass for being somewhat correct).

There are cohort differences. Ancient Chinese culture was pretty homogeneous, culturally, where a lot of ideas where developed in a society that was not very diverse. Now days, society is globally diverse and the ability to find whatever you are looking for has created a more pragmatic view point that is, in part, facilitated by communities that develop based on a niche and not so much geographic relationships. Life is different now than it was back then, so people will be pragmatic with their interpretations. Sure, it is less authentic, but I honestly don't think it matters, because authenticity is not a good way to gauge whether or not something is correct.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 07:51:43 PM by Rayn »
Noein - A Resource on Psi, Science, and Philosophy
but sorcery refuses to be a metaphor for mere literature--it insists that symbols must cause events as well as private epiphanies. It is not a critique but a re-making. It rejects all eschatology & metaphysics of removal, all bleary nostalgia & strident futurismo, in favor of a paroxysm or seizure of presence.

February 07, 2016, 04:08:48 AM
Reply #32

Lakshmi

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I have to say... (Well, I don't have to, but I will) ... even trying to keep an open mind, I have great difficulty with any philosophy that requires me to abstain from, cut down on, or otherwise deny myself sex in whatever quantities I wish to have it.

To me it's like a philosophy that says you need to limit your intake of fresh fruit, vegetables, clean air, exercise, love, friendship, etc. While theoretically it's possible to overindulge in anything, in a healthy organism, there will be a natural balance, so no need to deny yourself.

But I always keep an open mind, that what seems like common sense to me (ie my comments above) may not be either common or sensible. ie, I'm open to learn. Having said that, one of my big motivators for staying put on this planet is to enjoy the physical experience, and sex is a big part of that. I was kind of hoping to put it on the up track rather than the down one. It's definitely in my top five.

February 07, 2016, 07:07:16 AM
Reply #33

Kemetin

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Mystical and non-secular forms of Qigong are forms of what is called naive vitalism. The idea pretty much is when things bleed too much, they die, or when people stop breathing they die, so there must be something in blood and air we cannot see that makes living things living - life is carried in the blood or in the air. Here is the thing, though. We know that oxygen is the thing in the air we need to live, we know why blood is important, and in both of these cases, blood and air do not carry life, because life is not distinct from the physical and chemical processes which facilitate and sustain it. This idea was empirically disproven with the rise of organic chemistry via Wöhler synthesis:


Quote
The Wöhler synthesis is of great historical significance because for the first time an organic compound was produced from inorganic reactants. This finding went against the mainstream theory of that time called vitalism which stated that organic matter possessed a special force or vital force inherent to all things living. For this reason a sharp boundary existed between organic and inorganic compounds. Urea was discovered in 1799 and could until then only be obtained from biological sources such as urine. Wöhler reported to his mentor Berzelius

Wöhler Synethesis

The reason why what you eat has an impact on your body is because of chemistry and not vital energy, so there is no need to conserve vital energy in order to preserve health, because what constitutes health are chemical reactions. For example, one reason why vitamins are important in a nutrient dense diet is because they act as catalyst when it comes to reactions where an example of this is protein synthesis.

I think the commonly asserted idea that the Wohler Synthesis disproves the existence of metaphysical energies entirely (which I believe is what you're claiming) is based on a flawed understanding of these energies and how they function.

What the Wohler Synthesis did disprove is the certain, short lived and specifically European theory of Vitalism, which was that organic substances possessed a specific property, substance, etc. which was what distinguishes them from inert substances. However it's inaccurate to use the Wohler Synthesis as a blanket argument against the existence of metaphysical energies such as Qi, as most of the worldviews and philosophies which assert the existence of these energies are not, and never have been, in line with that specific hypothesis.

To remain topical, we'll stick with the Chinese concept of Qi (although the concept is generally fairly interchangeable among different Eastern and certain specific Western philosophies, with the differences mostly being in how it's framed and labeled in terms of a wider metaphysical worldview by each culture).

 Qi in classical Chinese philosophies is not specific to organic matter - although it is essential to and deeply intertwined with the processes of life, everything that exists possesses Qi (although the nature of this Qi varies from object to object). A large part of Chinese metaphysics is devoted to the interaction of the different types of Qi between different organic and inert objects and substances (Feng Shui is a good example, the art of designing an environment to make it conducive to the most ideal flow of Qi between the objects contained within it), and many systems of Qi Gong function through gathering Qi from environmental sources (most frequently the earth beneath us and the air surrounding us). There are also some practices which involve projecting Qi out of the body into inanimate objects.

In short, Qi is essential to the life function of the body, just as the electromagnetic properties of the body are essential, but it is not limited to or somehow an exclusive property of organic matter, any more than electromagnetism is. This is in distinct contrast with the European Vitalism disproved by the Wohler Synthesis which asserted that there was some vital property, force or substance unique to organic matter which distinguished it from inorganic matter (as a quick aside, there are some very interesting studies connecting Qi and electromagnetism, and on a theoretical level they're closely tied together, especially in the body, but they are not the same thing, despite some assertions to the contrary made in an attempt to fit Qi Gong into Western reductionist materialism). 

Quote
I tend to stay out of these conversations except when inaccurate mystical cosmologies and paradigms serve as a basis to make moral or normative statements. For example, based on the idea that qi ties into health and that having sex exhausts qi, you are saying that one should abstain from immoderate amounts of sex(where what is and is not a moderate amount seems quite ambiguous and arbitrary in this context). It is a moral statement that is derived from mystical thinking that was disproven hundreds of years ago. Koujiryuu, I actually recommend you read the book Sex at Dawn. Personally, I am kind of a feminists which means I am kind of sex positive. I also don't subscribe to normative ideas about that, so I am "queer". The point is that I believe formulating moral frameworks about such things as sexuality based on disproven mystical cosmologies is way overboard(I'm aware that you did not explicitly state this; however, it is implicit in your bit about the idea is to conserve by abstaining from sex). If a person does not abstain from an immoderate amount of sex, this does not mean there will be health complications due to an exhaustion of qi, so it is inappropriate to state that people should abstain from that for that reason. There are also secular forms of Qiqong. A person can practice this art and not subscribe to those things. Technically, it has the same weight as a moral ideology created within the context of a religious paradigm in terms of mysticism.

There is an inductive case against this in that more diseases have been cured and more medical advancements have been made utilizing things based on organic chemistry than utilizing things based on the idea that things have qi in them that we need or that we need to conserve qi(in this, I don't have to show it cures and fixes everything; rather, I just have to show that is a major difference in the amount of cases). Organic chemistry over turns this idea and it works better in such a way that there is an inductive case for it being probably truer and probably more accurate. There is no chemical or biological justification for it, to be frank...

While there are systems of Qi Gong* which are intertwined with religious forms of Eastern philosophies (religious Buddhism and Daoism) and as such have moral overtones relating to sex, they are the exception - almost always the recommendation to moderate one's sexual activity has absolutely nothing to do with morality. And it is a question of moderation, not abstinence, except in the case where specific internal procedures are being conducted which might require abstinence for a temporary period of time (usually either a period of weeks or months before beginning a specific training regime, or alternating between sexual activity and training on some kind of schedule).

*To prevent confusion I'm using this as an umbrella term including related Chinese internal arts such as Nei Gong and Nei Dan - actually it's generally in practices falling under the latter two labels when sexual activity becomes a factor, but it's easier when debating to hold them under one recognizable label.

 I've never heard a Qi Gong teacher claim that complete and permanent abstinence should be undertaken (although I've heard plenty claim the opposite, and that a moderate and healthy sex life is a normal and desirable thing), and many of them have partners, children and active sex lives of their own. Those who remain permanently abstinent are usually part of monastic communities or have devoted their lives to their training at the expense of maintaining sexual relationships.

The assumption that the advice to moderate sexual activity has inherently moralistic overtones tends to be something overlaid onto the advice by people raised in Western societies and influenced in some way by Abrahamic notions of sexual morality, which are something different all together. Within the context of Qi Gong and traditional Chinese metaphysics, it's simply a practical issue, and namely has to do with the preservation of something called Jing.

There's a lot of debate about exactly what Jing ("Essence" is the usual translation) is and isn't and how it functions, and I don't want to get into complex metaphysics, but broadly speaking, my understanding of it is as a denser form of Qi which has a few major functions and properties. Relevant to this discussion is that unlike Qi it is a much more limited resource than Qi. The depletion of Jing is generally held to correlate to the speed at which the body degrades and becomes frail with age.

Where this ties Qi Gong and sex together is that one of the functions of Jing is to fuel the reproductive processes in the body, particularly the production and expenditure of sexual fluids. So excessive sex drains Jing (although this is far from the only thing which does), which contributes to the body degrading faster, especially if steps aren't taken to counteract it. A second is that through certain exercises, Jing can be converted into Qi, and this process is a major part of many Chinese, especially Daoist, schools of Qi Gong.

 If the practitioner wastes their Jing through constant sexual activity, they have less to fuel the conversion into Qi. This leaves them short of the Qi required to maintain heightened health and fuel the further practices required to cultivate either Jin ("power" very roughly speaking - recondensed Qi which can generate martial power and certain metaphysical abilities) or Shen ("spirit/consciousness," it is through cultivating Shen that the practitioner develops spiritually - expands their consciousness, attains certain metaphysical abilities and, depending on the school in which they train, allows themselves to eg. merge with the Dao, attain spiritual immortality independent of their physical body, realize their Buddha-nature and escape Samsara, etc).

The method of converting Jing > Qi is not the only way to attain these things, many schools don't utilize it at all, but it is common amongst the different traditions of Daoist and Buddhist Qi Gong, and as such has informed a lot of the surrounding philosophy and culture. More generally, the concept of Qi (and Jing/Shen) is central to classical Chinese philosophy, metaphysics and medicine.

Native Chinese philosophy, especially Daoism, emphasizes a balanced and moderate lifestyle. To the Daoist mindset, neither abstinence nor excess is desirable, and both will generally lead to problems. This holds true for all things, not just sex.

Regarding the question of secularism, most Qi Gong schools are very much secular, in that they don't require the adherence to a particular religion (which I would define as a system of spirituality which contains most of the following elements - institutional, hierarchical, based on dogma derived from a scriptural canon, and involving the personification or anthropomorphization of the divine).

 Daoism and Buddhism, the two spiritual philosophies most closely connected to Qi Gong, both contain religious and non-religious schools, but Qi Gong itself is a practical science relating to the cultivation and utilization of metaphysical energies, one which can be practiced by individuals of any spiritual worldview, and is no more a religion than the martial arts are.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 07:35:16 AM by Kemetin »

February 07, 2016, 08:16:11 AM
Reply #34

Rayn

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Kemetin: I'm not going to get pulled into an argument on authenticity of mystical ideas cross-culturally(to be honest, it does not matter to me and it is not really a critical point in my argument in that chemical synthesis of something shows that differences are chemical and not due to qi); rather, I will say I generally addressed this, already. I said that it is naive vitalism. They are different where this form of mysticism fits in with naive vitalism. It is a pretty general abstraction, so getting into what is authentic of what and what school of what and what culture or what and what continent is not relevant. The point is that life is not carried in something; rather, life is the chemistry which comprises it; a rock is a rock because of its chemical composition and not its qi, so this idea that all things have different form of qi is not really a rebuttal in that Wöhler Synethesis shows that life is chemical. Physics and chemistry model what is essential to life to function more so than theories grounded in cosmologies dealing with qi. Generally, we can propose the existence of two large paradigms that address this(it is rather generic but it gets the idea across); medical ideas based on Biology and Chemistry and medical ideas based on mystical ideologies such as qi.

The issue then becomes which one is more accurate where one is probably more accurate than another. In other words, we are dealing with a case of induction. Empirically, this would be solved with which one cures more things more frequently and more frequently solves problems(exceptions that are not significant then become meaningless), though that is pragmatic. In terms of it being approximate of what reality is, Occam's Razor pretty much says Biochemical paradigms are more accurate because we have less assumptions where this is pragmatically supported inductively. In other words, qi does not really fit into scientific paradigms that can explain something like health in better ways. For example, it is more accurate if a doctor tells you to refrain from sexual activity due to an underlying medical condition than if a person tells you to refrain from sex due to something about qi, so I don't think normative statements predicated by mystical cosmologies should be made in a medical context because they are less likely valid. I am also well educated when it comes to the research. To be frank, a lot of the research around qi in a medical context has a lot of integrity problems so much so that they are not really scientifically supported. The point is that I don't think people on this site should be making recommendations for healthy lifestyles that are not medically supported which are morally formulated. There is not enough support. I typically stay out of this section because as with someone with a degree in Biology, I find what is said just wrong, to be honest. I am voicing my objection in this instance so that people can see a balanced argument; the site is kind of biased in one direction to be frank, so there is really no debate. Instead, there is just the reinforcement of similar ideas.     

I believe the small sub-set of people who subscribe to this thinking do so because they find scientific models lacking; however, it is lacking in exceptional cases(Science can cure a lot more than what this models can cure and more frequently so you really end up with exceptions that are not the statistical trend), so you cannot really build as big of an inductive case for it as you can with medical models based on scientific research. 

Personally, I find the limitations these paradigms place on things impractical where they also tend to be lifestyle limitations. I compared it to religion only in that the lifestyle that religions tend to support are usually derived from their mystical cosmology which is rather arbitrary like the mysticism we are discussing.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 09:17:20 AM by Rayn »
Noein - A Resource on Psi, Science, and Philosophy
but sorcery refuses to be a metaphor for mere literature--it insists that symbols must cause events as well as private epiphanies. It is not a critique but a re-making. It rejects all eschatology & metaphysics of removal, all bleary nostalgia & strident futurismo, in favor of a paroxysm or seizure of presence.

February 07, 2016, 09:22:23 AM
Reply #35

Lakshmi

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It's not entirely true to say that life = chemistry. Speaking as someone with a PhD in biochemistry. At the moment I die (and for some time after, since it takes a while to decompose) my genetic material will be essentially unchanged, my blood awash with the same hormones, etc. Nothing is radically changed, chemically speaking, when someone changes from being a living person to being a dead body. Brain waves cease, heart rhythms and nerve impulses (ie electrical) stop, but chemically, the changes don't take place until after you're dead. And an organic molecule in itself is not alive, any more than my disembodied hand is.

On the other hand, I absolutely cannot buy into this idea that sex saps "vital energy". If anything, (if overall health is an indicator) it seems to build it up. Certainly the older people I know who seem to have active sex lives seem much more fit and healthy than the lonely ones without a partner or other outlet.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 09:27:32 AM by Lakshmi »

February 07, 2016, 09:37:48 AM
Reply #36

Rayn

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It's not entirely true to say that life = chemistry. Speaking as someone with a PhD in biochemistry. At the moment I die (and for some time after, since it takes a while to decompose) my genetic material will be essentially unchanged, my blood awash with the same hormones, etc. Nothing is radically changed, chemically speaking, when someone changes from being a living person to being a dead body. Brain waves cease, heart rhythms and nerve impulses (ie electrical) stop, but chemically, the changes don't take place until after you're dead. And an organic molecule in itself is not alive, any more than my disembodied hand is.

That is a trivial distinction. When I said life is chemistry, it was a relationship of predication. I did not say life = chemistry, I said chemistry = {life}. In other words, I am saying that life is emergent from chemistry, because chemistry is a fundamental component of life. I am not operating on categorical things anyway, though. Secondly, part of what defines life is its complexity which life maintains via taking in things, breaking it down, building itself up, and getting rid of the waste; a critical component of life is its metabolism. When this stops, entropy takes hold, because life is not building itself up, and it degrades. In other words, the information which defined life is lost where this is a radical loss, and biological information is constantly changing. Information remains the same, physically speaking, when one is discussing indistinguishable particles statistically; however, biological beings are comprised of different particles and compounds of which qualitatively change thereby making it so that the biological information changes(an example of this are metabolic changes where what people eat changes all the time). Yeah, when you are dead, the information of your life decomposes; however, while you are alive, it is still constantly changing as a result of life maintaining its integrity via it constantly exchanging materials with the environment. See, the person I am now, physically, is not the same person I physically was or will be in the future. There is an approximate similarity, but many physical changes as a result of my metabolism has happened. The biochemistry of life would make it so that you really can't get indistinguishable states as time goes on even if a being did not age. In other words, things change where such things as hormonal changes are actually stochastic.

See, genetic material is valuable in the sense it does something. In order to get that, you have to do all funny things like unzip it, decompress it, and copy it. The chemistry which calls for this makes it so that you have a lot of noise generated which creates different physical expressions that are approximately similar but not indistinguishable(this of course means there are differences in the biological information something has). Here is the funny thing, though. Those things variations can account for something that results in something that collectively shifts the genetic profile of an organism(I am not just referring to DNA here, either).

Here is another thing. You said time will change your genetic material, but besides that, it is essentially the same; however, the genetic material which contains that information is held in those chemical bonds which are time dependent in terms of them forming(the timing of a reaction is pretty important).

Anywho, my main point is that Biology does not support conservation of energy via abstinence from sex. I think you agree with this, though, so I have no objection to that.     
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 10:04:18 AM by Rayn »
Noein - A Resource on Psi, Science, and Philosophy
but sorcery refuses to be a metaphor for mere literature--it insists that symbols must cause events as well as private epiphanies. It is not a critique but a re-making. It rejects all eschatology & metaphysics of removal, all bleary nostalgia & strident futurismo, in favor of a paroxysm or seizure of presence.

February 07, 2016, 06:45:37 PM
Reply #37

Steve

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Rayn:
Quote from: Rayn
There are cohort differences. Ancient Chinese culture was pretty homogeneous, culturally, where a lot of ideas where developed in a society that was not very diverse. Now days, society is globally diverse and the ability to find whatever you are looking for has created a more pragmatic view point that is, in part, facilitated by communities that develop based on a niche and not so much geographic relationships. Life is different now than it was back then, so people will be pragmatic with their interpretations. Sure, it is less authentic, but I honestly don't think it matters, because authenticity is not a good way to gauge whether or not something is correct.
The sword cuts both ways. With increased access to communications with one another, entirely eclectic and b.s. practices spring up too.

I'm not saying "the ancient stuff is the best", but I am saying that there are a number of half-baked psionic and newage references to the ancient stuff.

Quote
Mystical and non-secular forms of Qigong are forms of what is called naive vitalism.
FALSE. Some original, and some still traditional, ideologies about qigong were/are vitalistic, but many other traditions instead say something quite distinctively different: qigong is necessary for life, but it is not the thing that distinguishes living from non-living (which is what vitalism is; the theory that there is a thing that fundamentally distinguishes living material from non-living material). To wit, there are qigong schools which ascribe various forms of qi to rocks, to pools of water, to fire, to fortune, etc; these can be in no way mistaken for vitalism.

[EDIT]
Quote
I am also well educated when it comes to the research. To be frank, a lot of the research around qi in a medical context has a lot of integrity problems so much so that they are not really scientifically supported. The point is that I don't think people on this site should be making recommendations for healthy lifestyles that are not medically supported which are morally formulated. There is not enough support.
There's a fundamental flaw in your argument: there's just plain not enough scientific research in qigong either way to support either the concept that qigong is good for you, or that it's not. However, official medical associations of the USA have made statements, and they are posted on their websites, which say it seems qigong is generally safe to practice. As one example: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/taichi/introduction.htm (don't look at just the url) and a second one for the fun of it http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085832/
[/EDIT]


Lakshmi:
Quote from: Lakshmi
I have to say... (Well, I don't have to, but I will) ... even trying to keep an open mind, I have great difficulty with any philosophy that requires me to abstain from, cut down on, or otherwise deny myself sex in whatever quantities I wish to have it.
Not all qigong practices require that, just as not all martial arts require it. *But* there is serious reasoning for it, and that reasoning is exactly as it seems; orgasms (in males, at least) reduce energy levels, both physical and metaphysical (I have verified this quite a lot in the past 19 years in my own personal life). There are practices that can be performed, mostly under the category of Tantra, which can grab the sexual energy and circulate it to greater effect, but these can be dangerous to a person who is unbalanced mentally or biologically. Also, it would seem from a lot of discussions I've had with a variety of females, women *tend to* build one orgasm up into the next orgasm rather than dying down, so if that is true for you then well... I would advice that you at least restrain yourself from having an orgasm here and there to see what it does for your qigong practices (when you get decent at the practices).

I would *strongly* recommend that a person get a good hold of basic qigong before they attempt Tantra, unless they have a teacher, because while the internal energy manipulation practices are fairly similar in their overall ideology (guide the energy in various ways), the addition of sexual energy to those practices can cause very potent and unexpected results, including fucking over both your metaphysical and physical energy systems (I have, multiple times, killed my overall sex drive and then had to manually kick it in again because the body just did not desire sex on its own anymore).

~Steve
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 07:37:23 PM by Steve »
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

February 07, 2016, 10:23:12 PM
Reply #38

Kemetin

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Kemetin: I'm not going to get pulled into an argument on authenticity of mystical ideas cross-culturally(to be honest, it does not matter to me and it is not really a critical point in my argument in that chemical synthesis of something shows that differences are chemical and not due to qi); rather, I will say I generally addressed this, already. I said that it is naive vitalism. They are different where this form of mysticism fits in with naive vitalism. It is a pretty general abstraction, so getting into what is authentic of what and what school of what and what culture or what and what continent is not relevant. The point is that life is not carried in something; rather, life is the chemistry which comprises it; a rock is a rock because of its chemical composition and not its qi, so this idea that all things have different form of qi is not really a rebuttal in that Wöhler Synethesis shows that life is chemical. Physics and chemistry model what is essential to life to function more so than theories grounded in cosmologies dealing with qi. Generally, we can propose the existence of two large paradigms that address this(it is rather generic but it gets the idea across); medical ideas based on Biology and Chemistry and medical ideas based on mystical ideologies such as qi.


The issue then becomes which one is more accurate where one is probably more accurate than another. In other words, we are dealing with a case of induction. Empirically, this would be solved with which one cures more things more frequently and more frequently solves problems(exceptions that are not significant then become meaningless), though that is pragmatic. In terms of it being approximate of what reality is, Occam's Razor pretty much says Biochemical paradigms are more accurate because we have less assumptions where this is pragmatically supported inductively. In other words, qi does not really fit into scientific paradigms that can explain something like health in better ways. For example, it is more accurate if a doctor tells you to refrain from sexual activity due to an underlying medical condition than if a person tells you to refrain from sex due to something about qi, so I don't think normative statements predicated by mystical cosmologies should be made in a medical context because they are less likely valid. I am also well educated when it comes to the research. To be frank, a lot of the research around qi in a medical context has a lot of integrity problems so much so that they are not really scientifically supported. The point is that I don't think people on this site should be making recommendations for healthy lifestyles that are not medically supported which are morally formulated. There is not enough support. I typically stay out of this section because as with someone with a degree in Biology, I find what is said just wrong, to be honest. I am voicing my objection in this instance so that people can see a balanced argument; the site is kind of biased in one direction to be frank, so there is really no debate. Instead, there is just the reinforcement of similar ideas.     

I believe the small sub-set of people who subscribe to this thinking do so because they find scientific models lacking; however, it is lacking in exceptional cases(Science can cure a lot more than what this models can cure and more frequently so you really end up with exceptions that are not the statistical trend), so you cannot really build as big of an inductive case for it as you can with medical models based on scientific research. 

Personally, I find the limitations these paradigms place on things impractical where they also tend to be lifestyle limitations. I compared it to religion only in that the lifestyle that religions tend to support are usually derived from their mystical cosmology which is rather arbitrary like the mysticism we are discussing.

Firstly regarding "naive vitalism," that's something of a strawman which demonstrates an ignorance of Qi theory. As I have said, Qi is "vitalistic" only so far as it is essential to biological functions, and that biological functions can be influenced by it - but the same could be said of electromagnetism and the other fundamental forces of modern Western science. Qi is not the distinguishing factor between organic and inert matter, because everything possesses Qi.

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a rock is a rock because of its chemical composition and not its qi, so this idea that all things have different form of qi is not really a rebuttal in that Wöhler Synethesis shows that life is chemical.

Addressing this point in particular, again you're oversimplifying. Nowhere is it claimed that a thing is what it is because of it's Qi instead of it's physical makeup. Both are a factor, with each influencing the other. It has simply never been a part of the theory of Qi that Qi is exclusive to organic matter and distinguishes it from inert matter (which is the concept put forward by European scientific vitalism for a brief time and which the Wohler Synthesis disproved), nor that Qi exclusively determines the properties of matter.

Secondly, Qi theory is not, as you suppose, founded on simple, ignorant observations of nature - to borrow your explanation "The idea pretty much is when things bleed too much, they die, or when people stop breathing they die, so there must be something in blood and air we cannot see that makes living things living - life is carried in the blood or in the air."

This isn't true, or at least is a vast oversimplification - yes, blood and air are both immensely important to the function of Qi within the body and the environment, but they're also immensely important on a purely mechanical, biochemical level, as you pointed out. To borrow the Hermetic maxim "As Above, So Below," what is important on one layer of existence is almost always important on another.

There might be some truth to the idea that those observations are what first lead to the development of Qi theory and Qi Gong - that the members of early societies involved with developing an understanding of the universe and man's relation to it might have made those initial observations and then followed them to explore the effects of, eg. using different breathing patterns in meditation, but once they did so they developed exercises which allowed direct experience and observation of Qi and it's effects and it is from this that they developed their theories and techniques, which were refined as they were passed down through the millennia.

Now obviously these are theories, in the scientific sense, I'm not claiming that any particular school of Qi theory provides a perfect explanation of how Qi functions. In fact I'm open to the likelyhood that Qi is something akin to phlogiston and that the experiences undergone during Qi Gong and related practices are a result of some much more complex aspect of our reality which simply isn't widely understood yet. But traditional Qi theories provide a working model for the experience and effects of Qi, which become incontrovertible pretty fast if you engage in a serious practice of Qi Gong. The effects are very real, as anyone can discover for themselves, but are not accounted for by modern reductionist materialism theories of reality, and so until modern science is willing to expand and make a study of these things, people resort to a combination of older theories and understanding gained through personal experience.

Secondly, you seem intent on the idea that Qi theory and modern biochemical theories are somehow mutually exclusive. They simply aren't, and I'm not sure where you're getting this idea from. There's not really a whole lot more to say about that. There is nothing about the concept of Qi which requires that modern biochemistry be somehow invalidated, or vice versa. The two are not in competition, and in fact complement each other rather well on a practical level. I've never heard a Qi Gong practitioner recommend that Qi Gong or related therapies should be used in place of Western medicine.

Regarding your inductive argument, again it doesn't hold up because you're locked in this false dichotomy you picked up somewhere, this whole question of "does trying to heal exclusively with Qi Gong work better than trying to heal exclusively with modern Western medicine." This doesn't really say anything because there is nothing in Qi theory which requires that it supersede modern Western medicine as a healing methodology, and because even if it's healing potential is lesser by some degree (however you choose to quantify that), that doesn't make it nonexistent.

To round back to the sex thing - you keep using the word moral, and morality really has nothing to do with it. Saying "don't orgasm constantly" is along the same lines of saying "don't eat fast food constantly." It's a simple, nonjudgmental health recommendation, and generally only a serious issue in the case of practitoners of certain systems, where it's more akin to saying to an athlete "don't stay up all night and skip breakfast before performing in a competition, because you'll be too fatigued to perform at your best."

Regarding your last point, there's nothing arbitrary about these theories. Qi Gong is a very practical, experimentally founded and results oriented system of training. The theoretical understanding of Qi is something that evolved over thousands of years as practitioners trained and experienced the effect different environmental and lifestyle factors had on their practice. As with Western science, there's an almost Darwinian influence on the evolution of these ideas - ideas which stick around for long periods of time do so because they work, while those which do not are cast off.

Do you really think students of certain Qi Gong would have moderated their indulgence in one of life's greatest pleasures if they could have their cake and eat it too? In reality, those who couldn't bring themselves to moderate their sexual activity as necessary for their training either did themselves harm or didn't achieve results in their training, and so didn't become masters themselves and pass down their own training and advice. Those who did live the lifestyle which most effectively complemented their training would go on to achieve the benefits of their training, and through demonstrating these benefits would gain students of their own in turn and pass that training and lifestyle down a generation. This is particularly relevant in martial Qi Gong, where attainment could literally be a matter of life and death in a violent era of history and a culture where masters would often challenge eachother to prove the superiority of their school.

And again, this is only an issue with certain, generally very advanced, systems of Qi Gong. It is neither universal (there is no claim that everyone should moderate, let alone abstain from, orgasm) nor absolutist (there is no claim that it is simple a case of the less one orgasms, the better). It's a much more complicated and nuanced issue than that.

Morality simply has nothing to do with it, and quite frankly you seem to be reaching for a reason to be offended by a brief, somewhat ambiguous and off the cuff comment by Koujiryuu.

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To be frank, a lot of the research around qi in a medical context has a lot of integrity problems so much so that they are not really scientifically supported.

I'd be interested in which specific research you're referring to. I have something of an amateur interest in parapsychological/metaphysical research, and to my understanding there has been little by way of properly undertaken, impartial and in-depth research into different qi gong methodologies and their effects.

Part of this is a problem on the Qi Gong end of things, Qi Gong and related therapeutic modalities (Chinese Medicine has huge problems in this area as well) was hugely watered down over the 20th century, first by the cultural revolution, which resulted in the destruction of a lot of literature, the death of many masters and the dispersing of many more out into the Chinese diaspora. Then there was the resurgence of interest in Qi Gong during the 80's "Qi Gong Mania" years, where the Chinese government initially tried to use Qi Gong as something of a replacement for the spiritual institutions they had destroyed a few decades back by spreading watered down or often completely falsified techniques as legitimate training, and then cracked down on this again when several "Guru" figures rose to power and influence. Much of the Qi Gong which has made it to the West (although not all) stems from this era, and is only loosely connected to the traditional lineages. In short, those lineages which did manage to preserve the more effective techniques went underground and are only in the last decade or two emerging (partially thanks to the internet), while the watered down "Qi Gong" cooked up by the Chinese government, often little more than calisthenic exercises, was taken up and spread to the West where it was believed to be the real thing. The end result is that, much like Indian Yoga, there's a large portion of watered down training out there with partial and limited effectiveness.

But a large part of the problem is also on the Western scientific end. Quite simply, there's an enormous stigma against displaying interest or belief of any kind in these subjects, doing so publicly, let alone expressing interest in performing research on it, can cause profound damage to a scientist's career and their standing in the scientific community. Science has, ironically, become incredibly dogmatic when it comes to these matters, instead of approaching them in the proper mindset of skeptical but impartial inquiry.

The Wohler Synthesis is a perfect example of this, an experiment undertaken nearly 2 centuries ago which disproved the specifically European theory of Vitalism, "... that "living organisms are fundamentally different from non-living entities because they contain some non-physical element or are governed by different principles than are inanimate things," is used to discredit and shut down any genuine scientific inquiry to anything which can be made to remotely resemble Vitalism, even if in reality it has absolutely nothing in common with the theory.

 That bolded section has never been a part of Qi theory, and yet scientists equate the two without a second thought because at a superficial glance they appear related, and because it provides an excuse to ignore theories which contradict the current ruling dogma of reductionist materialism.

On a side note, I'd also be interested in your thoughts on the theoretical basis for whatever metaphysical phenomena you do believe in or have experienced (eg. you discuss telepathy and clairvoyance here: http://forums.vsociety.net/index.php/topic,23629.0.html ), if that's a conversation you'd be interested in having.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 11:14:11 PM by Kemetin »

February 08, 2016, 01:25:58 AM
Reply #39

Mind_Bender

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Not having any back round in science I am going to respond from what I have learned and put into practice from my first Sifu and other masters I was lucky enough to train under:

Abstaining from sex has reasons that are not dogmatic or moralistic. First of all it trains the mind. Simple. How in control of your emotions are you after sexual abstinence after your comfort zone? Most people can go 3 days to a couple of weeks abstaining, but after a month they begin to get irritated and it only worsens as time goes on - is your mind or will strong enough to stay calm even though you are extremely lustful? Instead of staying focused on sex you stay focused on training/work/family. My (short lived) Hsing-I instructor hammered into me that Hsing-I (internal martial arts in general) is all about how strong the mind is. Do not worry about Qi, about spiritual power, about combat skill - when you are getting a beating by an elder, Sifu, or just in static posture for several minutes (up to an hour) it doesn't matter if you have 'attained' Iron Body or not, but how strong your determination is to get through the beating without breaking down emotionally or mentally and continuing your practices as the years go by.

The only time I was ever directly told not to engage in sexual activity is when I was training Iron Skill due to the fact that ejaculation wastes your Jing (essence in this respect) and to train Iron Skill (especially Golden Bell covering - at least from my first lineage) you need your Jing for proper harnessing of your Iron Shirt (including pounding of the body and breathing exercises). By abstaining, I mean only the day before you practice, because if you are healthy you are getting plenty of nutrients to restore your lost essence in 12-24 hours. Personally, I always felt weaker and exhausted after practicing Iron Shirt after ejaculation, but always stronger and energetic if I did not engage in sexual activity that day. Sorry for the lack of science, but I wasn't taught by scientists, I was taught by a D.M.Q. and two internal arts Sifu's.

In a Daoist sense for a layperson, you learn to abstain from wasting Jing (sexual energy) so you can raise your Qi to your heart and learn to express yourself with compassion ('from your heart') instead of with lust, and transmute your Qi into spiritual power or greater awareness (Shen).

Like I said, I have no back round in science because qigong is not a science in the Western sense, but it is considered a science because it is the teaching of a skill that has been tested and passed down for generations (with practical alterations through time to fit into a modern and changing world view).
"Spirit is in a state of grace forever.
Your reality is only spirit.
Therefore you are in a state of grace forever."

"As relfections of the Source, we are little gods."

"...part of me doesn't want to believe that auto-eroticism while crushing on a doodle (sigil) could manifest a check in the mail box, but hey, it did."

"Everybody laughs the same language."

February 08, 2016, 02:59:05 AM
Reply #40

Lakshmi

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Abstaining from sex has reasons that are not dogmatic or moralistic. First of all it trains the mind. Simple. How in control of your emotions are you after sexual abstinence after your comfort zone? Most people can go 3 days to a couple of weeks abstaining, but after a month they begin to get irritated and it only worsens as time goes on -

Heh heh heh :)

This makes me smile, and to me reflects a healthy perspective. If only this were true.

So.... I guess I must be a million years older than most of the participants on this board :( - very often, when people get into their 40s, 50s, 60s, the very opposite is true. Apathy sets in (I know you won't believe this, but it's true) and sex becomes a chore (for men as well as women - there is a saying that if a married couple put a penny in a jar every time they have sex before they get married, and take one out for every time after, they will never empty the jar)

So, for me, a healthy interest in and expression of sex reflects health, vigour, vitality, life - not a lack of self control.

As for science, it's very difficult to apply to mental processes, and not entirely relevant. There is some value in challenging fluffy thinking, but the balance is that science relies on objective observation and measurement, and there really isn't an objective way to quantify a thought. You are always reliant on someone to tell you what they were thinking, we haven't yet worked out a way of translating a brainwave into an image, sound, or other thought process that someone outside the subject's head can observe. (My day job is actually reviewing other scientists' testing and conclusions, and I can tell you, there is a lot of dodgy science out there, even in the "hard" sciences. When you get to the soft sciences like this, .... most of it does not qualify as science. Which is partially a reflection of the subject matter and what you are trying to measure)

Anyway, I just meant to say, it's not necessary to have training as a scientist to report your own observations, and someone else's reports of your reports are not necessarily any more valid than the first hand account :)

February 08, 2016, 05:17:06 AM
Reply #41

Lakshmi

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Anyway, it doesn't seem like sex was always considered to deplete the lifeforce:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoist_sexual_practices

"Another important concept of "The Joining of the Essences" was that the union of a man and a woman would result in the creation of jing, a type of sexual energy. When in the act of lovemaking, jing would form, and the man could transform some of this jing into qi, and replenish his lifeforce. By having as much sex as possible, men had the opportunity to transform more and more jing, and as a result would see many health benefits.[3]"

February 08, 2016, 06:00:26 AM
Reply #42

Rayn

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Addressing this point in particular, again you're oversimplifying.

Kemetin, it does not matter, though, which is why I said I am not going to bother with what is authentic of what school. I pretty much said that science does not support the mystical cosmology backing that broad paradigm where I gave a valid inductive argument for why science is much more accurate on this subject. It is better to use Physics and Chemistry for that reason. My point is that your natural sciences inductively have a better case, so they model it better, so it is more reasonable to primarily utilize these things and seek to fill in where they are missing. I am saying the cosmology of the entire paradigm is wrong. You can disagree with me, but where I got you is that science inductively has a better case for it, so I can actually show you why it is likely better. My point is why even use that paradigm when it is better to use Physics for this?   

To round back to the sex thing - you keep using the word moral, and morality really has nothing to do with it. Saying "don't orgasm constantly" is along the same lines of saying "don't eat fast food constantly." It's a simple, nonjudgmental health recommendation, and generally only a serious issue in the case of practitoners of certain systems, where it's more akin to saying to an athlete "don't stay up all night and skip breakfast before performing in a competition, because you'll be too fatigued to perform at your best."

Statements that say what people ought to do are known as normative statements; they are prescriptive. All moral statements are prescriptive statements, so all moral statements are normative statements(though not all normative statements are moral ones). The whole do not have whatever level of sex because it drains whatever energy is normative, because it is prescriptive, and it has a moralistic context. All the examples you gave are normative. Ethics really develop within the context of normative statements where the bit about sex is sufficient enough to be placed within the subject of ethics and morals. The statements you said, above, are not positive statements; rather, they are predicated by what one ought to do. Sure, doctors prescribe actions to their patients; however, some doctors prescribe things based on their moral orientation, but that is a whole local political issue I do not want to get into. In the cases when they do not, well, like I said modern science and modern medicine has a better inductive track record, so it is better to consider your doctor first and then pursue alternative things in exceptional circumstances.

I'd be interested in which specific research you're referring to. I have something of an amateur interest in parapsychological/metaphysical research, and to my understanding there has been little by way of properly undertaken, impartial and in-depth research into different qi gong methodologies and their effects.

I don't compile qi research, because that is not my interests or practice, though, I've looked at the research enough to spot integrity problems in addition to reading the arguments of proponents and critics. I also have visited various "institutions" and had discussions. I do, on the other hand, compile parapsychology research. That can be found on my site which is in my signature.

I, personally, don't think these arguments will sway you, because, like I said, I believe people gravitate towards those models in the context of exceptional experiences and problems where they think science is lacking, so I think why people pursue things like this is grounded in psychological or emotional needs more so than reason. There is no problem with that; however, the problem is when people generalize those exceptional instances(conventional modern science and medicine does not treat this but qiqong treats this; therefore, as a whole, modern medicine should be taken with less credit than qiqong) in a fallacious way(when you look at the data, conventional science medicine has a greater track record). I am honing in on the medical context, because the comments I am addressing was made in that context, though, similar cases can be argued for your other natural sciences.

There's a fundamental flaw in your argument: there's just plain not enough scientific research in qigong either way to support either the concept that qigong is good for you, or that it's not. However, official medical associations of the USA have made statements, and they are posted on their websites, which say it seems qigong is generally safe to practice. As one example: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/taichi/introduction.htm (don't look at just the url) and a second one for the fun of it http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085832/

Steve, due to my background, I have more access to research than you. You know when you look at peer-review articles in science journals and you have to pay for that article to read it? I do not, which means that I have greater access than you, probably(I have and have had greater access than just that, though), so this likely means that I have looked at more about what science has to say on it than you. I have no interests in debating this further with you, though. Ideas of qi are not scientifically supported, and research into it is plagued with integrity problems(which is why I keep saying it is not scientifically supported in that the integrity problems I keep mentioning are ones that involve messy set ups). If you have a problem with that, write letters to science journals. Being that I do have a Genetics degree obtained from a university, I did, and do, have access to a lot of research common people not involved in that field do not have access to, which means I have likely seen more than you have. Also, that link does not serve as a rebuttal to anything I've said, because my case has been inductive where I do acknowledge exceptions where I state these exceptions cannot be generalized to hold true for a trend. So, sure, it can be used to treat things; however, as a whole, we still default to modern science and medicine because it works better. In other words, the exceptions are not significant enough inductively, and I do recall telling you that scientific hypothesis and theories operate within an inductive space.

As for science, it's very difficult to apply to mental processes, and not entirely relevant. There is some value in challenging fluffy thinking, but the balance is that science relies on objective observation and measurement, and there really isn't an objective way to quantify a thought.

Sure there is; it's called numbers... Whether or not something is empirical is different than it being objective where an objective framework to account for empirical and non-empirical entities is math. Whether or not you can or cannot observe a thought or merely infer is existence(to be honest that sounds like a philosophical issue to me) is not relevant to whether or not it can be modeled objectively because a mathematical framework will do. Empirical observation is what science is about; however, empirical observation should not be conflated with objectivity in that objectivity merely demands that something be consistent and not change all the time per the interpretation where such consistency in a framework can be achieved via mathematical frameworks. 
« Last Edit: February 08, 2016, 06:45:11 AM by Rayn »
Noein - A Resource on Psi, Science, and Philosophy
but sorcery refuses to be a metaphor for mere literature--it insists that symbols must cause events as well as private epiphanies. It is not a critique but a re-making. It rejects all eschatology & metaphysics of removal, all bleary nostalgia & strident futurismo, in favor of a paroxysm or seizure of presence.

February 08, 2016, 08:03:05 AM
Reply #43

Lakshmi

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Look, I don't want to debate with you, because frankly I find it tedious, but a) I have access to as many research articles as you, guaranteed, b) my job is effectively analysing claims that are made on the basis of experimentation, so I look at this stuff all day long... (ie, I'm not a novice when it comes to mathematical analysis of scientific data)

My personal opinion is that a lot of this stuff is not conducive to the scientific method. You can do research, sure - you can even apply an element of rigour. But once the theory starts to include concepts such as, "your very thoughts and assumptions are affecting the output of the measurements", then objective analysis and scientific rigour go out the window. Unless you disallow anything that cannot be objectively measured, which is very limiting.

Reminds me when I was a child, and I had a question I wanted to ask, but I didn't know how to put it into words. I asked my mother and she said, "if you can't ask in words, it's not a question". Well, obviously she was wrong - it was a question, but the limits of my grasp of language were too narrow to enable me to convey the question to another person. Science is, by its very nature very narrow. That is not to say that it is not extremely valuable - it is. But it is limited when we start addressing philosophical concepts, or things that are considered to be affected by a perception that we cannot objectively measure.

Anyway, I'll bow out of this dialogue unless I see something interesting to respond to :) - happy debating all :)

February 08, 2016, 09:49:37 AM
Reply #44

Rayn

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But it is limited when we start addressing philosophical concepts, or things that are considered to be affected by a perception that we cannot objectively measure.

I could debate it further, but your overall stance on this particular thing is more similar to mine than different, so I'm happy as is; however, I will say that I believe subjectivity is an illusion, for in order for something to be said to consistently exists, it has to have a consistent identity which is tautological and therefore objective in that in being tautological, it does not change based on the interpretation. If I were to speak of the experience of a person, I have to presuppose a consistent person exists that predicates an experience that consistently exists, otherwise, that thing we are speaking of would not consistently exists. That is beyond the scope of this, so I don't really expect you to respond nor do I want to debate that more than this in this particular thread. My main point is that normative statements that say something of how many times we should have sex based on the idea it saps vital/subtle energy is unwarranted and inaccurate. 
Noein - A Resource on Psi, Science, and Philosophy
but sorcery refuses to be a metaphor for mere literature--it insists that symbols must cause events as well as private epiphanies. It is not a critique but a re-making. It rejects all eschatology & metaphysics of removal, all bleary nostalgia & strident futurismo, in favor of a paroxysm or seizure of presence.