To those who’ve been following this site over the years, it’s no secret that I’ve been a devoted listener of the Skeptiko podcast and have also interviewed Alex Tsakiris, a couple of times. As such, it was very interesting for me to read a book that summarizes his journey.
I’ve actually published the review of this book, “Why Science is Wrong… About Almost Everything” on Amazon first, so in order not to repeat myself here, head over to read the review on Amazon. And don’t worry, my review is not long.
There’s a documentary movie, released in 2009, called “The Living Matrix
”. As some other movies in the field before, it is a mix of documentary, interviews and computer graphics. The movie’s focus is what’s called energy or alternative medicine.
The movie interviews a list of notable guests, some of whom appeared in other movies, such as What the Bleep!? and my recently reviewed Something Unknown. The list of guests include:
- Lynne McTaggart – author of “The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe
- Dr. Bruce Lipton, PhD, MD – a cell biologists, author of “The Biology of Belief
- Peter Frasier – expert in traditional Chinese medicine and author of “Decoding the Human Body-Field
- Dr. Eric Pearl, DC – healer and author of “The Reconnection
- Edgar Mitchell, PhD – scientist, Apollo 14 astronaut and the founder of Institute of Noetic Sciences
- Marilyn Schlitz, PhD – President of the Institute of Noetic Science
- Rupert Sheldrake, PhD – Professor and Cambridge biologist, and author of “The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature
”, “Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals
- Dean Radin, PhD – Author of “The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena
,” senior researcher at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, international speaker and cofounder of the Boundary Institute
- Fritz-Albert Popp, PhD – Biophysicist, professor, researcher, founder of the Institute of International Biophysics, and author of “About the Coherence of Biophotons”
- 8 more guests from the field of alternative medicine
The movie also includes numerous stories told by people who recovered from difficult diseases using alternative medicine and the power of intention.
The movie presents of picture where the human is body is described not only being controlled by chemicals and DNA but also by our intentions, intra-cellular communication in the form of biophotons and other effects that are on the fringe of science. It does not speak about parapsychology, or psi as “Something Unknown” movie by Renée Scheltema does.
If you are interested in the alternative medicine, especially in finding scientific explanations to some of its possible explanations of effectiveness, I can recommend “The Living Matrix
Recently I have had the pleasure of seeing the DVD of a new movie called Something Unknown is doing we don’t know what…. This is an indie documentary filmed by Renée Scheltema that explores the science behind psychic phenomena. The award-winning movie, which was released in late 2009, is the best documentary that I’ve seen to date on this subject. Stay with me for a more detailed review of the film.
There are several things to like about Something Unknown, if you’re serious about learning more about ESP and psychic phenomena. First, the movie mostly focuses on interviewing and showing the work of the leading scientists in parapsychology, such as Dr. Dean Radin (Chief scientist of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, showing presentiment experiment), Dr. Rupert Sheldrake (biologist, talks about telepathic dogs, and telephony telepathy) and Professor Charles Tart, who guided Renée through the film and many more. Other names include Professor Gary Schwartz, Dr. Roger Nelson, Dr. Hall Puthoff, Dr. Edgar Mitchell, Dr. David Dosa and more. In short, the “casting” couldn’t be better.
Secondly, it shows these scientists in their homes or working environments, which is much more interesting than seeing them talking in “sterile” studios, which is what other movies that I’ve seen do. This adds an additional personal dimension to the experience of watching it.
Thirdly, the movie focuses on the “Big 5” psi phenomena, meaning the best 5 fields of parapsychological research which Professor Tart sees as having good evidence. These are: telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychokinesis (telekinesis) and psychic healing. The film doesn’t talk at all about less researched areas such as mediumship or near-death experience (NDE).
It took Renée almost 10 years to shoot and edit this film, funding it from her own money, which says a lot about her determination and serious approach to this endeavor. She decided to go on this journey after having a couple of unexplainable experiences herself. I liked the movie so much that I asked Renée to let me interview her for Mind-Energy. I’m glad to tell that I’ve recorded the interview and will post it in a couple of days. So stay tuned.
What else is in the film? She met with Dr. Jack Houck, the organizer of PK parties and she also accompanied him to one of them. These are the famous PK parties which he holds in the US, where people bend spoons. Spoon bending is a thread throughout the film, being used to connect the various parts of it, although it’s not a scientific subject by itself.
There’s footage from Brazil of psychic surgeries, there are shots from other healing events and places. You see introductions about such projects such as Global Consciousness Project and Remote Viewing from the first hands, from the scientists themselves.
The film is 105 minutes long and is available on DVD in NTSC and PAL format. You can learn more about the film and purchase it on its official site.
With collaboration with Renée we’ve added a dedicated discussion forum for Something Unknown and its topics at Mind-Energy forums. Please join us in discussing it with Renée and other viewers.
I’ve received this book from Quest books for a review. The full title is The Force Is With Us: The Higher Consciousness That Science Refuses to Accept. The author, Thomas Walker, D.C is a chiropractic physician, master-level martial artist, professor of natural science, and former Green Beret.
I’ll start with going over the structure of the book, chapter by chapter, and will conclude with my impressions of it.
In the preface Thomas tells that he started this project back in 1995 and worked on the manuscript for seven years. Several years later, in 2008 his son Clint was dying of cancer. Before he passed away Clint had promised his father to “keep in touch”. And he kept his promise. According to Walker, numerous anomalous and highly improbably events have happened later that year, described in the preface.
The book has 10 Chapters, each touching different aspect of parapsychology, spirituality or research.
The first chapter, titled “The Force – From Ch’i to Cosmological Constant and Beyond”, Walker starts with the Chinese concept of Ch’i (also spelled Qi), which is what chinese call the Life-force. Ch’i is believe to flow in the body, mainly through a system called meridians, which are highly relevant into Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). He refers to 1960s research of Professor Kim Bong Han in which he identified a series of unknown ducts in the bodies of animals and people that followed the paths of acupuncture meridians. He later discovered 2 more networks of such ducts bring to greater interconnection of cells in the body. Later follows a story about how the knowledge of Qi was brought to the west in the 20th century and how it was tested in medical tests to be helpful. Following with some research that was done on Qi, he finishes with the research of Professor William Tiller of Stanford University in which he develops a new theory build upon Einstein’s cosmological constant.
Chapter 2 – New Dimensions: Perceptions beyond the Body – talks about Near Death Experiences (NDE), Out of Body Experiences (OBE), explains what psi and parapsychology is. Explains the main areas of psi research from its early history in late 19th century through the 20th, including detailed history of Stanford Research Institute (SRI) research into remote viewing, backed by CIA.
Chapter 3 – More Dimensions: The Body beyond the Body – tells about the more esoteric subject of human bodies beyond the physical, such as etherial, astral and further, based on Theosophy. Detailed history of Kirlian photography and its research is described.
Chapter 4 – Where Do We Go? Arguments for an Afterlife – delves deeper into the research of NDEs, reincarnation research by late Dr. Ian Stevenson. Wakers covers the subject of mediumship, both in history and in research, such as Gary Schwartz’s research. Ending the chapter a detailed story of the great magician Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle.
Chapter 5 – Paranormal Panache: Superstars of Psychokinesis – tells about the rarer macro-psychokinesis events, starting with 19th century Daniel David Home , who even performed for emperor Napoleon III and Tsar Alexander II, researched, and never found cheating. He was most known for his ability to levitate objects and even himself. Following is the story of Nina Kulagina, heavily researched Russian woman with strong psychokinetic abilities. Later follows the story of most controversial Uri Geller. The chapters ends with an overview of micro-PK research by PEAR, Dr. Dean Radin and others.
Chapter 6 – Magnetically Magnificent: Exploring the Human Energy Field – starts with Mesmer and his research into fluidum (the force) and animal magnetism. The story continues with Baron Karl von Reichenbach, a promising chemist, discoverer of paraffin who changed his career path to research magnetism in humans, which brought him conclusion similar to that of Mesmer that it’s not regular magnetism but other force, which he called the odic force. Next is the story of English physician Walter Kilner, who on the turn of 20th century, found that he could see energy field around living organisms with special equipment. The chapter ends with more recent research by William Tiller and Chinese Dr. Zheng.
Chapter 7 – Orgasmic Outcast: Was Wilhelm Reich Right? – tells the famous story of Austria-born Wilhelm Reich, physician, whose writings were burned thrice – by German Nazis, by Soviets and by US government. Follower and of Freud and even the director of his clinic in Vienna, Reich linked many health issues with the flow of psychic energy, which he called Orgone energy. He decided to research orgone theory. Thomas Walter tells in detail about the history of his research and his life, which ended in US Prison in 1957.
Chapter 8 – Healing the Rift: Alternative Medicine Arrives – gets into the details of many studies done in the 20th century, following the introduction of Chinese medicine and other alternative medicine practices in the west. Numerous studies showed the intent of healers, such a prayer or applications of the force, whatever it’s called, can greatly and positively affect organisms, including humans. Special attention is paid to Therapeutic Touch and to Chiropractic.
Chapter 9 – Schlock Science: Who Makes the Call? – tells about the difficulties that scientists who challenge the status-quo encounter on their way. Starting with Thomas Edison and his electric bulb invention, following the discovery of cold fusion by Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons. Then Walter talks about non-psi subject of Mars exploration and the Cydonia region research by Richard Hoagland and the lies of NASA regarding issues related to Mars research. The second half of the chapter leaves the “science” and goes on to describe the history of CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of Paranormal), established in 1976 and now called Committee of Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), started by Ray Hyman, James Randi, Marcello Truzzi and others. CSI is claiming to be an investigating organization but it appears to be a dogmatic Skeptical organization which denies any possibility of psi, without a deep look into things.
Chapter 10 – A Path with Heart: The Way Back Home – argues that the heart plays a more central role in the humans than just pumping the blood. Thomas describes various studies that suggest that not everything is controlled by the brain and that some neurological functions are scattered through the body.
Overall, I liked the book very much for several reasons. First, it is easy and fun to read. I simply enjoyed reading it, the text flowed smoothly. Secondly, I learned a lot of new stuff. Even though I thought I knew a lot about psi research, after reading such books as the Entangled Minds
by Dr. Dean Radin, I found a lot of subjects that I didn’t know about.
The book starts with the subject of Ch’i. Being a Qigong (Chi Kung) student myself for almost 3 years now, I tend to believe that there is something to it. I can relate to the fact that martial artists and Qigong masters can feel and “utilize” it.
The book goes over lots of subjects but has points where it goes deeper, telling about a specific person for several pages. So, even if I read about someone in short previously, I still found lots of new information.
Some might argue that the book is not scientific or that it doesn’t present the opposite point of view, i.e. criticisms of the studies. But having a chapter devoted to showing how science refuses to accept views that drastically differ from the status-quo and about the organized pseudo-skeptics, he clearly chose a side. I think it’s OK to write a book which shows what the author believes to be true. After all, there’s enough totally baseless criticism as well. And I also believe that the media and other establishments will much easier accept and transmit any skeptical argument, however vague, over a study proposing any psi effect.
In conclusion, I highly recommend the book to anyone who’s interesting in these areas of the paranormal or parapsychology which are presented in it. If you are a highly scientific person you’ll have 2 choices. Either skip the book or better yet, follow the studies present in the book (there is bibliography and notes) and try to read them yourself before deciding what’s right or wrong.
I’ve just finished reading Lawrence LeShan’s book A New Science of the Paranormal: The Promise of Psychical Research. I’ve received the book for the review from its publisher, Quest Books. It went out in April this year.
I must say that I’ve never heard of Lawrence LeShan earlier although, based on the book, he was researching paranormal for several decades. He was born in 1920, he’s trained and published psychotherapist, and is the author of the best selling book How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery.
“A New Science of the Paranormal” consists of seven chapters and an appendix. Each chapter also includes one or two “case histories” – a paranormal case from Lawrence’s career or another famous case. The chapters in the book are:
- Psychic Research and the Consistency of the Universe.
- What Do We Know About Psychic Phenomena
- Normal and Paranormal Communication
- Designing a Science of Psychical Research
- Psi and Altered States of Consciousness
- The Next Step: Implications of the New Science
- What Dare I Hope
The Appendix in titled: “When is Uvani”.
Chapter 1 tells some history of psi research, the concepts, why is it difficult, including psychological factors. One tidbit is his current disapproval of connecting psi and quantum physics which has become so popular lately.
Chapter 2 describes the 4 things that were proven about paranormal research and 9 which are almost certain to be true.
Chapter 3 tries to compare normal and paranormal types of communication. He gets away from the “paranormal” terminology into cleaner one in order to better understand the differences and similarities between regular and “paranormal” communication types.
Chapter 4 begins what I think was the main goal in writing the book in the first place. Lawrence explains how science approaches different subjects and argues which approaches would be best for psychical research. He writes that he now believes that psi research should be approached not with more laboratory testing, like exact sciences, but like social sciences which employ other methods of research and deduction.
In Chapter 5 Lawrence describes how theories about “reality” shape the worldview and how the conflicts between observed phenomena and what we think about reality should be handled, in science. It is quite a philosophical chapter, in the good sense of the word.
Chapter 6 starts with some more psychological effects of psi events. How people reject them after they happen. This chapter also has a call to scientist to bring psi research into the mainstream science and also explains how to do this.
In Chapter 7 LeShan hopes that the acceptance of the existence of psi by the public will bring change to the way people think of the world and how they behave, to the better.
The Appendix is like a chapter by itself. In it LeShan tries to continue his design of the new science of the paranormal. He explains how we might try to overcome some difficulties with psi research by asking the right questions and thinking of it all in more abstract way, like in mathematics, for example.
The case histories after each chapter are very interesting and diverse. I’ve never heard of any of them although they all seem very compelling. They are all what a skeptic of psi would call “anecdotal” but again, one of the main points that Lawrence LeShan tries to pass in the book is that psi research should be taken out of the laboratory and the focus should be on these unique and very strong cases, which he calls “need-determined”. These are the cases where something “paranormal” happens because of a great need of some other person.
If you’re serious about psi research, consciousness and want to get a wider point of view on the various difficulties of this research and how to approach it, you should read “A New Science of the Paranormal”. It is quite different from many other books which are either too unscientific on one hand, or those which are heavy on statistics on another.
I think Leshan could also be a good guest for the Skeptiko podcast.
The book I’m reviewing today, Personal Development for Smart People, by Steve Pavlina was one of my most anticipated books lately, since Steve announced it. And I was fortunate to be sent a review copy.
I’ve already written about Steve Pavlina here and there on this site, mostly as related to his and his wife’s experiences with developing psychic abilities, mostly mediumship. I’ve also interviewed Steve’s wife, Erin Pavlina in June 2007. She is a psychic medium. But this book is not about psychic abilities at all.
Steve is one of the most known personal development bloggers today. I’ve known his site for several years now and have found him to be one of the most original and prolific bloggers on the subject. He had many unique ideas and views on many topics and his writing style is very much to my taste.
Steve has published several hundred articles on his site on various topics and it was interesting to see what he could innovate in his book. Steve promised that the book won’t be a rehash of site’s content and I’m glad to say that he delivered.
The book is just about 150 pages but it is so packed with original ideas and concepts that other writers would have smeared it at least on a handful of books. Luckily for the readers, Steve’s ability to present his ideas succinctly, without much repetition packed the book dense with information.
So what is this book about? The book presents a way of how to look at conscious personal development. The book is built from the ground, in a bottoms up approach, which gives it a somewhat philosophical kind of depth. Indeed, Steve has tried, for the purpose of writing the book, to analyze, in his mind, many of the existing successful growth practices. He analyzed them by trying to identify the most basic principles that unite all of them.
His goal was to find a set of basic principles that would be universal, meaning that they should be for everyone and for all areas of personal development and life. They should be timeless – work in the future and should have been working thousands of years ago as well. They should be collectively complete, meaning that all laws of personal growth should be based on them. And the primary principles should be irreducible. Of course, they also shouldn’t conflict with each other.
Steve then introduces the seven principles. Three core principles: Truth, Love and Power. And four secondary principles, oneness, authority, courage and intelligence. These secondary principles are based on the first 3 in different combinations.
So, part I of the book explores these principles. There’s a chapter for each of them. This is the more “dry”, philosophical part of the book, where the reader builds the foundation.
The second part of the book shows how to apply each of these principles in various areas of one’s growth process. There are chapters for habits, career, money, health, relationship and spirituality. Every area is explorer through the lens of the principles.
Some of these chapter include practical advice as to how one should analyze his situation in the given area. Usually this is done by truthfully answering some very difficult questions. Sometimes feelings and emotion are the guide. But everywhere Steve tries to be only the guide, asking the questions and showing the way one should take to analyze his situation and find the correct answer for himself, which might be different for everyone.
Whoever follows Steve’s blog knows that he changed his diet, from regular to vegetarian, then to vegan. In the last year he switched to eating only raw food. One of the positive effects that Steve mentioned from these changes and that his mental clarity improved with each of this changes. His thinking abilities improved since concentration was easier and mental fog dissipated. This book clearly shows that Steve’s mind capable of going into real depths of thought, giving the process of personal development an almost scientific approach.
The book is titled “Personal Development for Smart People”. And it delivers.
<strong>J.J. Lumsden</strong>, a UK-based parapsychologist, who did his postgraduate studies at the Edinburgh’s known Koestler Parapsychology Unit has recently published his book about parapsychology, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0955911400?ie=UTF8&tag=tradinghqcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0955911400">The Hidden Whisper</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=tradinghqcom-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0955911400" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />.</p>
<p><strong>The Hidden Whisper</strong> is a great introductory book to the different aspects of parapsychology, its concepts, research accomplishments and criticism. The book tells a fictional story of a UK parapsychologist, Dr. Luke Jackson, who while heading to a professional convention in the US, stays for a week at his grandmother’s house in the deserts of southern Arizona. During this week he is asked to investigate an intriguing poltergeist case in the house of one of the local most known families.</p>
<p>The story-line of the investigation is by itself an interesting and thrilling story, written like a good detective book. Its style actually reminded me of Agatha Christie’s books about Hercule Poirot.</p>
<p>The different concepts of parapsychology are intervened in the book by the means of dialog between Luke and other characters. Since the latter are not scientists, the explanations are all on a very basic language, so that any one could understand. These parts are rich with endnotes references.</p>
<p>In fact, the endnotes themselves are perhaps the more important part of the book. There are about 70 page of endnotes, all going deeper into the subjects of parapsychology described in the story. So, to get more insight into the research, its results and criticism, you’ll need to read the endnotes.</p>
<p><strong>The book covers the following subjects in the field of parapsychology:</strong><br/></p>
<li>ESP (Extra Sensory Perception) </li>
<li>Skepticism (including the “fundamental”, non-scientific skeptical arguments)</li>
<li>Spontaneous ESP, different testing methods of ESP and the results of those</li>
<li>Meta analysis in parapsychology</li>
<li>Macro and micro Psychokinesis (PK)</li>
<li>Using Random Event Generators in micro PK research, </li>
<li>Cold reading and other means of pseudo psychics</li>
<li>Near Death Experiences (NDE)</li>
<li>Healing, including remote healing</li>
<li>Out of body experiences (OBE).</li>
<p>J.J. Lumsden wanted to show the required critical thinking of both sides of the parapsychological debate. He wants the skeptics to see the research and not dismiss everything out of hand. Similarly, he doesn’t like people jumping to fast conclusions and attaching a paranormal label to even the most strange events.</p>
<p>To summarize, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0955911400?ie=UTF8&tag=tradinghqcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0955911400">The Hidden Whisper</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=tradinghqcom-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0955911400" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /> is both an interesting read and a book to study. The story is captivating and the quality of 70-some pages of endnotes and over 12 pages of references to studies are an invaluable resource to anyone who takes these subjects seriously.
This is a review of the book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/184694077X?ie=UTF8&tag=tradinghqcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=184694077X">Practicing Conscious Living and Dying: Stories of the Eternal Continuum of Consciousness</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=tradinghqcom-20&l=as2&o=1&a=184694077X" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /> by <strong>Annamaria Hemingway</strong>. I’ve been sent this book for a review by Annamaria’s publisher.</p>
<p>I was not sure what to expect from this book, when I received it for a review. Annamaria has contacted me in August 2007 and told me the book was about “researching survival of consciousness” and that she would arrange a review copy for me when the book publishes in January 2008. I’m interesting in this topic very much, so I, naturally, agreed. But let me tell you, although this book deals with the subject of research of consciousness, it is much more than that.</p>
<p>About the structure of the book. The book is divided into 3 sections. Each section has an introductory chapter, followed by a number of personal stories. There are 16 such personal stories in the book. The sections are:</p>
<li>Near-Death Experiences – Not the end but a new beginning (5 stories)</li>
<li>Dying to experience Life (4 stories)</li>
<li>Birth, death and rebirth: A continuum of consciousness (7 stories)</li>
<p>In the first section, there’s an introduction into NDE (Near Death Experience). Annamaria covers the subject from a historic perspective, by describing historic writings, such as <em>Republic</em> by Socrates and the <em>Myth of Er</em> by Plato which also touches the subject of dying and the world beyond. From historical accounts she moves into modern era research, such as those conducted by Dr. Pim van Lommel, Dr. Michael Sabom, Dr. Peter Fenwick and others. It is a good introduction into the subject of NDE, OBE and related research. The five personal stories tell different accounts of NDEs, including the personal background, the NDE experience itself and its effect on the life of the person. From the story of Reuben who wanted to commit suicide, through story of Tiffany, who was struck by a lightning, all the accounts are very interesting and in all of them the experience changes the lives of the people in a very strong way and in the positive direction.</p>
<p>The third section (I’ll return to the second) deals with the subject of the spiritual world, the continuum of consciousness, mediumship and other aspects of spirituality. The personal stories following the introductory chapter, are very touching as they usually deal with the deaths of close ones and later contact with them, either through mediums or some other way.</p>
<p>But the stories in the second section are those that made me cry when I read the book. There is nothing supernatural in these stories, except maybe the almost supernatural compassion that people may feel after being touched by the death of the loved ones. These 4 stories alone are worth the entire book, even you have no interest in NDE’s, spirits etc. Take the story of Joanne Cacciatore who gave birth to a stillborn and how this experience changes her life into a life of great compassion as she established the <em>Kindness Project</em>. She also befriend Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and then continued her work of teaching people to come to terms with the dying process.</p>
<p>Story of Peter Samuelson whose almost random act of helping a child dying from cancer to fulfill a dream turned him into establishing several philanthropies to help ill children pulled a lot of tears from my eyes. Other stories are very emotional as well and they give a small glimpse into the lives of some great people who after seeing death changes their life to help others in very remarkable ways. I believe these are the stories that tell about how to live and die consciously.</p>
<p>This is one of the more interesting and touching books I’ve read in a long time. Being interested in NDEs and the survival of consciousness I found the book very inspirational and thought provoking. It is not a scientific book, although it cites scientific work, and it is not written in such a manner. The book is written by a woman and it can be felt in the writing. It was much more emotional than I expected a book on NDE to be.</p>
<p>I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone. Even if you don’t take the subject of NDE and life after death too seriously, the stories are interesting and touching nonetheless. And if you are interested in these subjects then your enjoyment of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/184694077X?ie=UTF8&tag=tradinghqcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=184694077X">the book</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=tradinghqcom-20&l=as2&o=1&a=184694077X" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /> will only be larger and more complete.
Today, another article by drew hempel who wrote several intriguing articles before, including The Highest Technology of All Technologies: The Yan Xin Secret article. This article is a bit heavy and requires reading it with attention.
The Purloined Phantom Limb: Solving Sack’s Syncopation Susceptibility
By drew hempel, MA
Anti-copyright (free distribution)
Professor Oliver Sack’s new book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain is a treasure-trove of analysis on the mind-body conundrum. Sack previews neuroscientist Patel’s forthcoming book focusing on rhythm as subcortical binding for motor coordination with language. But as Sack notes Patel’s take on the Thai elephant orchestra music (of which I’m a big fan) may be questioned by some readers. The issue is do humans have a unique capacity or, as William James’ stated a “susceptibility” towards music, in contrast to the rest of Nature (and nonwestern cultures) seeming noise? Does this supposed unique ability of human rhythm processing also solves the “binding” problem of the mind-body paradox—also seen as the mystery of long-term potentiation (synapse growth) as an unknown function frequency and amplitude?
The answer is amazingly found in the most famous short-story of Edgar Allen Poe who, as Edmund Wilson quotes, wrote that his goal in writing was the “indeterminateness of music.” Poe, the creator of the mystery story, gives the reversal to Freud who, Sacks states: “despised music.” In Poe’s psychoanalysis we find a direct answer to Sack’s contradiction of the phantom limb as an “overflow” of neuron sensations, in contrast to the overflowing OBE as related to a musical hallucination. It’s exactly in the primal language of rhythm, more specifically Sack’s susceptibility for syncopation, that we also solve the mind-body mystery which Poe also addressed in his famous solution composed as his short story The Purloined Letter.
I’ve written before about my first qigong lesson. Nowadays, I still go the classes and am much more knowledgable on the subject.
But first, what is Qigong, anyway? Qigong (pronounced like chee-kong) is an ancient Chinese system of working with the Qi (Chi) energy. The translation from Chinese is something in the lines of “energy cultivation” or “Working with energy”. It is a system of exercises involving postures, movement, breathing, meditation and mind body interaction. Qigong was the basis both for the Chinese healing and to martial arts. As such there are many variations to qigong and some are more relevant to combat while others to healing.
I’ve learned that the specific form of qigong that I study is called YiQuan qigong (pronounced e-chuan). This specific form of qigong was founded in the 1920ies by master Wang Xiangzhai, who developed it out of another martial arts system, xingyiquan. Although it started as a form of martial arts qigong it is now studied mostly for health benefits. In many places it still learned as a martial arts qigong, similarly to kungfu. At the end of the post I attached two videos of master Yao Zongxun (1917-1985), who was the formal successor of Wang Xiangzhai. In these videos one can see the exercises.
As I wrote before, there are several types of exercises in the Yiquan. One type is call Shi li and they are motion exercises. The motion is usually slow and has many aspects to mastering it, including body control, relaxed and diaphragmic breathing, synchronous movements of various joints and energy control. You can see many Shi Li performed in the first video of Yao Zongxun starting with around 2:43 minutes.