Archive for science

Logic-master

Posted in Daoism, Feng Shui, Magick, New Age Baloney, Qi, Technology, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2009 by wizardsmoke

Some people I know seem to think feng shui is bunk. They have a nice, vain, insecure little chortle to themselves about how obvious it is that feng shui (originally ancient Chinese burial practice) is complete bunk; something for dopey LARPers who don’t understand the brilliance of science and the difference between correlation and causation.

W. Smoke, Esq.’s flawless argument for how feng shui works is as follows:

(1) Everyone agrees that music can be an emotional catalyst — a conduit to emotional and psychological states of mind. Even people who don’t care much about music will agree — music makes movies, advertisements, plays, etc. much more manipulative and affecting. Music is a medium of illusion, but an obvious one, which can make it more potent, ironically. So, we can be affected by music.

(2) If music does this, so do all forms of art — especially visual art. Paintings by sorcerors and illusionists have distinct effects upon the mind and environmental perceptions (stare at Van Gogh for too long and you feel spaced or forgetful) ; macabre or horribly melancholy paintings do likewise. There are also uplifting paintings: great masterpieces of sculpture, Daoist and Buddhist calligraphy, pinnacle achievements of technical craftsmanship in oil painting or ukiyo-e prints. All art and legit creative expression colors our mind.

(3) Paintings and music are intrinsic portions of a man-made environment. Sinister paintings create a sinister environment. And sinister art is simply a certain arrangement of lines, melody/harmony, aesthetics, etc. So, one could simply create an environment with completely decrepit and queasy arrangement, and the environment would be totally draining on a level related to natural energy. All environments naturally betray creative color or energy.

Ah! But that’s the missing link here: energy, or specifically qi. Most people don’t believe in it, because it’s not some concrete stuff they can put into a cup. The irony is that people don’t give a shit about the things that they can see and touch. Most of us, anyway. Actually, this is the entire point of prayer in religion (particularly Judaism/Xtianity/Islam): to elevate one’s gracious awareness of the delicate importance of all things we take for granted, like food and water, friends and family, the internet, our precious blog audience, etc.

So, for people to be aware of qi, they have to be aware of really basic things in the first place. Even if people could “prove” the existence of qi and these kinds of things, it wouldn’t make much of a difference. What good are people who refuse to cultivate qi because some scientist didn’t prove it to them first? Does anyone prove a sex drive to other people before they feel sexual impulses?

My science is too tight!

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The Sound and the Fury

Posted in academia, Philosophy, Technology, Ultimate Reality, Wizard Quotes with tags , , , , on February 27, 2009 by wizardsmoke

Science is the analytical description, philosophy is synthetic interpretation. Science wishes to resolve the whole into parts, the organism into organs, the obscure into the known. It does not inquire into the values and ideal possibilities of things, nor into their total and final significance; it is content to show their present actuality and operation, it narrows its gaze resolutely to the nature and process of things as they are. The scientist is as impartial as Nature in Turgenev’s poem: he is as interested in the leg of a flea as in the creative throes of a genius. But the philosopher is not content to describe the fact; he wishes to ascertain its relation to experience in general, and thereby to get at its meaning and its worth; he combines things in interpretive synthesis; he tries to put together, better than before, that great universe-watch which the inquisitive scientist has analytically taken apart. Science tells us how to heal and how to kill; it reduces the death rate in retail and then kills us wholesale in war; but only wisdom — desire coordinated in the light of all experience — can tell us when to heal and when to kill. To observe processes and to construct means is science; to criticize and coordinate ends is philosophy: and because in these days our means and instruments have multiplied beyond our interpretation and synthesis of ideals and ends, our life is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. For a fact is nothing except in relation to desire; it is not complete except in relation to a purpose and a whole. Science without philosophy, facts without perspective and valuation, cannot save us from havoc and despair. Science gives us knowledge, but only philosophy can give us wisdom.

–from the introduction to Will Durant’s The Story of Philosophy

Since this book was first published in the 1920s, I guess by “sound and fury” Willie D. was referring to crazy new inventions like the telegraph and jazz music. It’s kinda like when Dogen tells us not to be too enticed by pretty flowers — at the time it was a major distraction from the time one could be spending on (non)attaining nirvana, or exploring the superunknown.

Will was a funny guy — a fine writer, and full of interesting quirks. For example, in the first few lines of Chapter 1, he discounts 20th century Asia Minor as “quiet and apathetic,” and goes on to say that Socrates’ bust is so hideous, he looks more like a porter than a philosopher. ZOMG dude u r so judgmental!!1!

Cool book, though a little wordy. Durant wrote a bunch in this series, giving a chronological rundown in the major events of history, philosophy, great civilizations and thinkers, etc. They’re certainly better than the dime-a-dozen history books you can buy on Amazon on any subject and be absolutely mired in poor sources or a lack of inspiration (I’m looking at you Stephen Turnbull and Thomas Cleary).

Still, I cannot even begin to assess the can of worms that the quote above opened. Better to zip my lips. For once I’d like to write a post that doesn’t generate boatloads of hate mail.

Show me what is real

Posted in Mysticism, Occult, Philosophy, Religion, society, Stayin' Alive, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Although there is probably nothing outside of the universe itself, the material/physical universe is not the only game in town. I’m not an athiest or Bright/”Naturalist” since I don’t subscribe to a strict materialistic view of existence.

Science is pretty popular as the methodology to explain unknown phenomena. But it’s just an academic method of recording data and experiments. To me, science does not actually prove anything beyond a cold, stale collection of data; science just accumulates data used to expand upon human lines of reasoning. And what is reason but an argument for one’s desires? Human reason generally seeks to influence people.

As some religious proponents have mentioned (contrary to what it looks like, I am not “religious”) if scientific analysis says something is true or factual and I don’t understand the explanation but am simply told to accept it as fact, this is no different from accepting religious gospel I don’t understand. Believing in things on blind faith is pretty useless. The only truth is direct experience. Transmission is a form of direct experience.

The only truth is experience –> transmissions can only be made in person, in the flesh, as experiences –> ultimately, enlightenment is self-realized, not transmitted

Which makes sense. All the great mystics and saints and demons and wizards have pointed out: reality must be realized by oneself. I can only show you the door, you have to open it, blah blah. Like the Buddha’s “Alone in the universe I am exalted” idea, for if one is alone in the universe, how can one’s perceptions rely on anyone else’s interpretation of life? Why are people so afraid to trust their own perceptions of reality?

Austin Spare wrote about how all desires and realizations must be done and achieved through flesh — that flesh is reality. And Musashi talked of how true understanding of martial arts and violence could only be learned through direct experience and transmission. Buddha said don’t believe something just because someone told you it’s true — try it for yourself. It is all the same idea: live in your body, live out your ideas, experiment with deep philosophies in your actual life, not just as thoughtful meditations. When people sit around and make speculations about things they don’t do, when they don’t actually go out and experience those things for themselves, they become worthless people. A person has to throw themselves into their experiences to understand life in any worthwhile capacity.

More Feline Feng Shui

Posted in Feng Shui, Future World, Mysticism, Occult, Relationships, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , on June 24, 2008 by wizardsmoke

I took my cat to the vet today. I didn’t tell the vet my feng shui theory, but then again, she’s actually sane (a.k.a. a machine of cold, logical western science!). One of my favorite “ultra-killing-science” instructors was mentioning the other day how feng shui is awesome and all, but it can’t make major changes in a short period of time or heal serious rifts. Like I once heard the story of a student who had a crappy marriage and bad feng shui in his abode, and radically improving the feng shui didn’t heal the marriage.

Of course, I think there is something completely usable, relevant and scientific to feng shui which makes me pursue it. I don’t particularly care for divination, though. Despite what I may have learned along the way, I never really wanted to learn that stuff. I don’t like the idea of looking into the future. I never practice tarot, card divination, crystal ball or looking glass stuff. Not interested! Well I am… just not in my own future.

But then again… isn’t medical science or practice related to divination? It’s just more concrete, so we think it’s the big kahuna — we think it isn’t so superstitious. But if you think about it, you go to a doctor and occasionally they give you a prediction: you will be healthy for a while, you have six months to live, etc. It’s not a whole lot different from a Chinese medical specialist who tells you which elements are out of balance in your body. Basically I think science is just saying, “well, if we have the evidence for this claim, there’s nothing you can do to refute it.” But evidence is only empirical data; data recorded within scientific mediums!

Not that I disagree. It’s a valid line of reasoning. It’s just that you can’t actually prove anything in life, or so the defeatist in me would say. Or I might phrase it, no matter what you prove, nothing is 100% for certain. Things always change or are subject to flukes and flaws and karmic flux.

Obviously divination isn’t a science, since it can’t play by empirical scientific rulesets. Yet I wonder what amount of divination can’t just be ascertained by expansive insight or knowledge of things. You know, an ability to perceive someone’s karmic lineage way far off into the distance, like what saints and arhats can do, or like the famed yamabushi ability to intimately perceive diseases or curses plaguing another person. Ultimately everything can be understood as karmic fluxuations. But how the frik do we get our minds to see to the very finest levels of being?

Ah, but I ramble! It is more interesting, seeing a cat at the vet. My feline in question is a house cat, which makes trips beyond the front door ever more disruptive to his psyche. I wonder how he perceives the vet. You know, the only place he’s ever been except our house is the vet. He might think the outside world is a population of veterinarians. It reminds me of that Philip K. Dick short story written early in his career, from the perspective of a dog who thought the garbage men were stealing possessions from his family. He couldn’t figure out why the family wasn’t concerned that all this delicious food was being stolen from them every week. Sometimes I try to perceive the world from the perspective of an animal, or try to feel people’s presences the way an animal would. I don’t constantly do this, but it is a worthwhile practice to empathize with animals.