Debunking the Global Consciousness Project (USA)

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The Global Consciousness Project Meaningful Correlations in Random Data

Working from the simple scientific observation that human bodies move physical objects – but that disembodied notions of ‘mind’, ‘consciousness’ and ‘spirit’ do not, it is obvious that any Western attempts at ‘proving’ the existence of a disembodied consciousness are doomed to failure (despite the resources spent upon trying to establish this notion), and that the entire exercise is is in reality not ‘science’ but in fact an attempt of re-establishing the primacy of certain medieval theological constructs within mainstream modern society – namely that of a Judeo-Christian concept of ‘soul’ – which correlates in modern thought to a vague and poorly defined concept of ‘mind’.  In the case of the Global Conscious Project (GCP), a development within the USA, I would highlight the a priori presence of a disturbing ‘Eurocentricism’ that seeks to find White bourgeois significance in random events. This assumption invariably finds and confirms ‘meaning’ that appears to support the current domestic or foreign policy of the United States government, or ‘privileges’ the experience of the White American Establishment with a significance it does not possess. So much for ‘objective’ science. If you doubt this, why does the GCP not ‘predict’ in its observations, the sheer terror that non-White populations of the world ‘feel’ when facing the prospect of US bombing, or invasion from US ground troops? Why are the thoughts and feelings of non-White populations subordinated to those of their White counter-parts? Just as the politicised church is racist – so is its secular expression – politicised science. My personal view is that existence is unified in the sense that everything is comprised of energy (and matter), and anything above and beyond that observation is pure speculation. The following video is an advertisement for the GCP and contains some interesting sleight of hand. The Soviet Union was premised upon the exclusive use of the scientific method throughout society, and did not, as a rule, encourage belief in ‘spiritualism’. Everything observed in the USSR (if confirmed as actually happening), must be treated as ‘nothing happening’ (or ‘fake’), until proven otherwise. In the case of Uri Geller – his supposed abilities were clearly ‘debunked’ by James Randi (I will add another video about this), but as Geller is an ardent Zionist – the Zionist community, for quite sometime, attacked James Randi’s work and attempted to protect Geller from his own scandel. What the GCP video omits to mention is that Geller ‘failed’ on the Tonight Show due to experimental protocols established by James Randi. James Randi’s exposure of Geller exists in the mainstream for all to see. In 1975, the United Nations (UN), following a consultative period, declared Zionism a form of ‘racism’ (i.e. a form of White supremacy) – because it was founded by White middle class secular Jewish people in the late 1800’s in Europe – and has nothing to do with the Jewish religion per se. In this regard, many Jewish people reject Zionism – but the holding of this type of attitude should demonstrate something of the character of Uri Geller. As the US and Israel are ‘allies’ the GCP video presents Geller’s case in a highly sympathetic light. Finally, as it would be immeasurably easier to move physical objects with the mind – rather than by manual labour – it is extraordinary that humanity has not ‘evolved’ this ability species-wide, simply through the environment pressure to do so. The lack of any such ability suggests that it is not possible. As technology improves, and labour-saving devices become common-place, it is less likely (and not more likely) that such an evolutionary ability would develop. It is technology produced by the human mind (through science) that is now making life easier for many people – and not an ‘imagined’ ability to move physical objects with a disembodied ‘intention’ alone.

The Connection Between the Perception of Inner and Outer Space

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The Buddha’s ideas are very similar in nature to many of those generated by the philosophers of ancient Greece. Like those ancient Greek philosophers, the Buddha used his mind in a very ‘modern’ manner, and developed a logical and rational view of existence. Again, like the ancient Greeks his thinking reflected, the Buddha developed his mode of pristine thought out of the religiosity prevalent during his lifetime. The Buddha’s life dates are uncertain, but he is thought to have lived (by Western scholars) around 2,500 years ago in ancient India, and around 3,000 years ago according to the traditional scholarship preserved within Chinese Buddhism. I have speculated elsewhere, a tentative theory that Emperor Ashoka [304-232 BCE] (and his ministers) may have developed a peaceful and wisdom-loving (secular) philosophical path, that denied the relevancy and reality of an ‘Indian’ militant Brahmanism, an Indian religion that threatened to confront and over-throw Emperor Ashoka’s ‘foreign’ rule. A passive and meditating Buddhism could have been developed by merging certain Brahmanic elements (such as the yoga of meditation), with various aspects of Greek rational thought. A candidate for the Greek input for the Buddha’s mode of thinking could be the system of thought as developed by Epicurus (370-270 BCE). The similarities between the Buddha’s system and that of Epicurus are so obvious and staggering that I am surprised that this link has not been recognised in the past and studied with a greater depth. Of course, playing devil’s advocate, I have suggested that the ancient Greeks influenced ancient Indian thought, and that Emperor Ashoka ‘created’ Buddhism out of an admixture of Indian and Greek traditions. This is purely a speculation on my part, using the rational facility of my mind. It could also be that the Buddha’s mode of modern thinking was developed hundreds of years before a similar manifestation occurred in ancient Greek (spreading to Greece from ancient Indian through trade and cultural exchange). Another theory is that a ‘new’ way of using the human mind was an evolutionary development that spread ‘species-wide’ across many human cultures that had no direct (or indepth) contact with one another. The use of the rational mind (as advocated by the Buddha and ancient Greeks), is essentially a ‘free’ and ‘unhindered’ mode of thought that lies at the basis of modern science when channelled in a certain manner. This means that ‘free-thinking’ requires various modes of constraint to direct its energy into specific forms of creativity – with perhaps art for art’s sake being its most ‘free’ expression, and scientific endeavour being its most structured and disciplined.

Epicurus was taught by Nausiphanes, and their root-master was Democritus. Democritus was a genius who – without access to microscopes (or even advanced mathematics) – used his ‘rational’ mind to determine that existence is comprised of ‘atoms’ that move around through ’empty space’. Today, through the use of advanced technology and mathematics we know that this is scientifically correct. This would suggest that Democritus had an experience no less important than the enlightenment of the Buddha, as it radically redefined humanity’s perception of reality and existence, and yet generally speaking, there are no temples containing statues of Democritus, or people applying a meditative method to replicate his mode of thought. Democritus stated that atoms moved through space in a determinate manner – but Epicurus modified this idea by stating that atoms – although moving in a definite manner through space – also possessed the ability to suddenly ‘deviate’ or ‘swerve’ in a different direction for no apparent reason. This is how Epicurus explained how unusual events happened, whilst things seemed to unfold in similar patterns. Thousands of years later, Epicurus was proven right when Heisenberg produced his ‘Uncertainty Principle’ in 1927. My point here, is to explore how space and matter is perceive within (and by) the human mind. The Buddha and the Greeks said similar things about form and void. Epicurus – like the Buddha – rejected the relevancy of religion. Both seem to suggest that gods might exist in a deluded sense, but do not exist in an ultimate sense (as many people thought). Epicurus stated that even if gods existed, they had no interest in humanity, and after-all, as there are only atoms and space that define existence, the gods themselves must be comprised of atoms just like humans, and probably subject to some-type of ‘death’ or ‘demise’. For Epicurus – who understood that life was comprised of many sufferings and different kinds of pleasure – death is the absolute end of existence for the individual because the body has ceased to function and its atoms fall apart. There is no transmigration to a heaven or a hell, or rebirth into another living form. The Buddha agrees with this, but allows for a certain ‘delusional’ existence where rebirth occurs and physical death is not the end of existence. However, when full enlightenment is attained, then all rebirth (and karmic retribution) comes to an end – and yet the Buddha clearly states time and again the reality is comprised of empty space within which physical reality manifests. In other words, empty space is not ’empty’ in essence, and physical matter does not occur in a ‘dead’ vacuum.

The Buddha and ancient Greeks were able to use their minds to ‘see’ reality in such a way that modern science has confirmed their basic assumptions to be correct. Both Epicurus and the Buddha seem to suggest that this is not just an ‘objective’ understanding, but also the product of a profound subjective experience. It could be that the Buddha and Greek philosophers like Epicurus were able to manifest a rational mind premised upon subjective experiences that had been previously interpreted in a ‘religious’ manner – an approach rejected by ‘rationalists’. The following is a fascinating scientific documentary about empty space – which is not ’empty’:

 

Appreciating Revolutionary Beauty

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Artist: Su Zihan (苏梓寒) – 

To my mind, commenting on ‘beauty’ (wherever it manifests) is a Revolutionary act that breaks-up the control of racism through society and the world. A woman (or man for that matter), may be ‘beautiful’ in many ways, but this acknowledgement does not necessarily mean that there should be an element of ‘possession; involved. For me, beauty exists for beauty’s sake – free and freeing – for everyone to benefit from. Of course, I am talking not just about physical beauty (which is a matter of opinion anyway), but also about inner beauty – or perhaps the beauty associated with pure ‘ordinariness’. At the sametime I am certainly not denying the beauty of the female form – but would add that the net allows for a kind of ‘art gallery’ appreciation of another’s manifestation. Generally speaking, when you leave an art gallery – you generally do not take the exhibits home with you! The natural ‘distance’ the net creates prevents an appreciation of beauty falling into ordinary lust and desire – which are absolutely fine within their proper context. Beauty has many levels of appreciation that can be obscured by the immediacy of sexual desire – which necessarily exists to perpetuate the species!

Photograph Extracted From:

http://m.sohu.com/n/325945670/?v=3

Plotinus and his Assessment and Definition of Matter

Christian theology separates reality into a physical world and a spiritual realm – or a disembodied (intangible) soul that stands in opposition to a world of tangible physical matter. The ancient Greeks did not think this way (even though Christian theologians hijacked and distorted many Greek philosophical terms), and modern science does not accept this religious dichotomy (primarily because such a religious notion cannot be perceived and measured). Plotinus – being probably the last great Greek philosopher – also did not make use of this Christian thinking (in fact, he criticises it one text) – and many may be surprised by the fact that he appears to view existence as comprising of of a gross or ordinary realm of matter, which is directly related to the realm of rarefied thought, perception and understanding – which is representative of ultimate matter. This ultimate matter is the formless reciprocal within which all thought forms take shape as definite objects – but ordinary matter is unsatisfactory and unreliable because it is not constant and always in a state of flux (an argument very similar to the ‘impermanence’ theory of the Buddha). Plotinus also does not know ‘how’ thought forms (which can be sensed by an appropriately trained mind), are able to take physical shape. On the face of it, this seems like ‘idealism’, but I suspect that it is not, as Plotinus also recognises that the world of physical matter also creates and conditions itself in a manner independent of the human mind that perceives its activity (again, similar to the Buddha’s idea of dependent origination)  The reason I think it is not ‘idealism’ is because thought is itself a very subtle frequency of physical matter. In modern terms this is the equivalent of stating that matter is gross energy, whilst consciousness is subtle energy. It could also be expressed as consciousness being a certain frequency of light energy, whilst physical matter is congealed light energy – or light energy slowed down (again, another frequency of light energy). Whatever the case, I suspect Plotinus fully understood that the world of matter was primary for biological life, and that through this biological existence, the rarefied state of conscious awareness that Plotinus undoubtedly experienced, could only be realised if the physical body (and the mind it contains) was trained in the right way. What is certain is that Plotinus does not at any point posit the idea that human consciousness pre-exists physical birth and post-exists physical death. For Plotinus, transcendence as he defined it, is realised through a physical incarnation, and not in-spite of it.

How Plotinus Makes Use of the Material World

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I include below two extracts from the ‘Enneads’ (Gk: ‘the nines’) – or what might be referred to as the ‘nine categories’ of the life work of the great Greek philosopher Plotinus (204-270 CE). I doubt Plotinus – who did not even care about the state of his physical body – would have cared much whether his words were passed on or not. We owe a debt of gratitude for the preservation of these essentially beautiful words, to the untiring efforts of the main student of Plotinus – namely ‘Porphyry’.  In my opinion, far too much is said about Plotinus that diverts the student of inner development away from the correct path. Although, for instance, often and continuously referred to as the ‘founder’ of neo-Platonism, Plotinus had a teacher – Ammonius Saccas (of Alexandria in Egypt) – and if anyone was responsible for creating a ‘new wave’ of Plato’s philosophical understanding, it was Ammonius Saccas and not Plotinus, but neither man, I suspect, would have recognised the term ‘neo-Platonism’ – stating that what they follow is the ‘correct’ or ‘true’ lineage of Plato (as originally taught to Plato by Socrates, and eventually passed on to Aristotle), which has been precisely and exactly passed down through the generations over hundreds of years. In this respect, this approach is very similar to the spiritual lineages of Chinese civilisation, whereby a qualified master carefully teaches a few good disciples over many decades, to follow a systematic path of physical discipline and psychological development. Plotinus advocates a relationship with the physical world that involves an understanding of it as incomplete, but otherwise definitely existing in nature, in a sense that its ‘heaviness’ can keep the average person anchored firmly to the temporal realm, with no ability to ‘see beyond’ its superficial manifestation. Regardless of the sophistication of his method, that is the rarefied and clear dissection of perception and non-perception – Plotinus NEVER denies the existence of the material world – he simply uses it as the springboard for his method. If there was no material world (which is often admitted as being ‘beautiful’ by Plotinus), there could be no transcendent method. The point is that the realm of ideas (for Plotinus) exists within the material world, but also appears to exist as if disembodied from it – and yet it is only within a human-body, that the reality that Plotinus believes lies beyond its material limitations, is realised. This is a point often missed by those who would have use believe that Plotinus ‘rejects’ the relevancy or existence of the material world, he certainly does not. For all its limitations and inconsistencies, without a material world that provides (through evolutionary development) a conscious being to appreciate it, there can be no ‘transcendent’ system of philosophical insight. Therefore, it must be truthfully stated (as Plotinus does), that a continuously changing beauty exists beyond any concepts of ‘static’ beauty, and that such a beauty with regards to that which lives is ‘beautiful’, but that even that which is ‘dead’ is also ‘beautiful’ when viewed in a certain way. Although Plotinus advocates (for a time) a ruthlessly ‘looking within’, he does not permanently ‘reject’ the physical world he strives to ‘look beyond’. He fully admits that once a higher view of existence is attained, it must be applied not only to the realm beyond material existence, but also to the material world itself. The beauty of insight is applicable to both form and void, and yet lies also beyond form and void (with no inherent contradiction). For Plotinus, true beauty is arrived at through a strict and disciplined life-style and form of meditation – and yet once inner and outer unity successfully realised – it has absolutely nothing to do with the method through which it has been attained.

‘He that has the strength, let him arise and withdraw into himself, foregoing all that is known by the eyes, turning away for ever from the material beauty that once made his joy. When he perceives those shapes of grace that show in body, let him not pursue: he must know them for copies, vestiges, shadows, and hasten away towards That they tell of. For if anyone follow what is like a beautiful shape playing over water- is there not a myth telling in symbol of such a dupe, how he sank into the depths of the current and was swept away to nothingness? So too, one that is held by material beauty and will not break free shall be precipitated, not in body but in Soul, down to the dark depths loathed of the Intellective-Being, where, blind even in the Lower-World, he shall have commerce only with shadows, there as here.’

Plotinus: 1st Ennead – 6th Tractate – 8th Section

‘Withdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful: he cuts away here, he smoothes there, he makes this line lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work. So do you also: cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labour to make all one glow of beauty and never cease chiselling your statue, until there shall shine out on you from it the godlike splendour of virtue, until you shall see the perfect goodness surely established in the stainless shrine.

When you know that you have become this perfect work, when you are self-gathered in the purity of your being, nothing now remaining that can shatter that inner unity, nothing from without clinging to the authentic man, when you find yourself wholly true to your essential nature, wholly that only veritable Light which is not measured by space, not narrowed to any circumscribed form nor again diffused as a thing void of term, but ever unmeasurable as something greater than all measure and more than all quantity- when you perceive that you have grown to this, you are now become very vision: now call up all your confidence, strike forward yet a step- you need a guide no longer- strain, and see.’

Plotinus: 1st Ennead – 6th Tractate – 9th Section

Alan Watts: Consciousness and Matter Entwined

The following video is part of a lecture by Alan Watts. He is discussing and describing the interconnectedness between mind and matter. Of course, different people who hear this lecture, will comprehend its meaning through their current level of understanding, My view is that Alan Watts is acknowledging the existence of a material world standing in opposition to the mind that perceives it – but that this material world is unknown to humanity, if humanity does not possess a mind that can perceive it. Furthermore, mind is not ‘separate’ from the world of matter, but is an integral part of it. This is an evolutionary view of existence (despite its apparent ‘transcendent’ nature), which logically suggests that mind emerges from matter (as a function of the physical brain), although Alan Watts only implies this and does not openly state it. Listen carefully and you will see that this lecture is not only inaccordance with modern science, but is also the description of existence and perception described by the Buddha (particularly found within Early Buddhism), where the Buddha posits a physical world that stands in contrast to the human mind that perceives it – and defines human suffering as being the product of a ‘faulty’ internalised view of this material world. The Buddha rejects any and all attachment (formed in the mind) to this external world (experienced through the senses), and expands upon this position by stating that the idealism expressed as theistic religion is also non-existant (as in the Buddha’s time – as in today – theistic religion is often presented as an ‘answer’ to the suffering of the world). The Buddha states this with certainty because he says that he followed all the meditative paths to their complete end – and discovered that there was no ‘atma’ or Brahmanic ‘soul’ lurking somewhere in the deepest recesses of the mind. When abiding in an enlightened state of mind, karma nolonger exists, rebirth nolonger exists, and a divine (and ‘unseen’) world nolonger exists. The physical body and all social and cultural expressions are also changing, and nothing is impermanent. Assuming things are unchanging is one of the major roots of human suffering for the Buddha. Even the physical world – which the Buddha describes as developing through dependent origination – and which may appear stable for thousands of years, still changes over-time, sometimes tremendously in times of natural calamities. Religion – for the Buddha – is an imagination about something that does not exist in reality. What Alan Watts suggests is that we are left looking at the physical world and the mind that perceives it. The question then becomes not one of realising a divine entity that stands in opposition to matter – but is in fact the ability to ‘see through’ the apparent ‘subject-object’ dichotomy, and rediscover the unity of mind and matter. Alan Watts talks about ‘stilling’ the mind to give the perceiver a break from the mind’s continuous clutter of obscuring thought and feeling. When the mind is ‘still’ its ‘oneness’ with the material universe is clearly reflected. Alan Watts, I suspect, is mixing Western notions of Japanese Zen with modern, Western concepts of science, and he does this very well, but the point he is missing is that from the perspective of Chinese Ch’an, there is a stage of development he does not know about and therefore is missing in his analysis. This reflects two things; 1) the limitation of Japanese Zen, 2) the Western lack of knowledge of Chinese Ch’an. The stage Alan Watts is missing is that both ‘thought’ and ‘stillness’ has an origin in the mind which must be ‘penetrated’ [through hua tou enquiry) for the empty mind ground to be fully realised. It is not simply the case – as Alan Watts suggests – that the mind transitions from ‘movement’ to ‘stillness’. This very much has the ring about it of the distorted ‘Zen’ taught by such people as DT Suzuki both before and after WWII.

Taijiquan for Self-Defence

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Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles – High Horse Stance

Before assessing Taijiquan and its use for self-defence, certain logical ground rules must be established. Although in modern times Taijiquan can be used in a sporting or competitive setting – testing form and pushing hands through a point-scoring system – in philosophical essence and historical development, Taijiquan is not a sport, but a fully comprehensive martial art premised upon the principles contained within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). A Taijiquan form – regardless of style or length – equally emphasises both health maintenance and martial ability. However, according to the needs of each martial school, a short Taijiquan form might be used to emphasis health, whilst a long Taijiquan form might be used to emphasis self-defence – in either case – the opposite attribute is never abandoned, but merely re-organised through assigning a particular training prominence. Logic dictates that an individual can only participate in self-defence if a) they have trained in self-defence, b) experienced realistic martial situations, and c) gained an all-round appreciation of combat. Of course, Taijiquan self-defence IS NOT and never has been in anyway similar to modern combat sport, and cannot be compared to it. Taijiquan is far more subtle in principle and advanced in technique to be limited to this form of martial interaction. From a philosophical perspective, comparing Taijiquan with modern combat sport is a category error. Having made this clear, it is also important to understand that in many traditional Chinese martial arts schools, young people (and beginners in general) undergo a thorough training in a robust (external) martial arts method that toughens the bones, ligaments, tendons, muscle mass and inner organs, whilst simultaneously strengthening the mind. These systems of martial training involve extensive body-conditioning and bare-knuckle fighting (alongside weapons training), and quickly prepare a person for individual, community or national self-defence. These styles use (to varying degrees) a sophisticated brute force to destroy the enemy. It is only after mastering this dangerous, rugged and arduous path that a successful student is introduced to Taijiquan as a means of self-defence. This means that a martial arts student who can already hold their own in a violent encounter is fit to train in Taijiquan as a method of self-defence. Without this background in hard physical training and experience in real combative situations, it is very difficult for a student to understand Taijiquan at its most advanced levels. This is because Taijiquan was developed by martial artists that had survived a life-time of martial encounters, before creating Taijiquan as the summation of all their experience.

The Taijiquan form is NOT the method used in combat – but is merely the means through which the advanced technique that must be used in combat (in any manner suitable to the situation) is preserved and conveyed from one generation to the next. In this regard, the techniques of Taijiquan represent the ‘internal’ (i.e. ‘yin’) refinement of the ‘external’ (i.e. ‘yang’) martial systems, but it is the external systems that serve as the functional foundation of Taijiquan self-defence. Having made this clear, I am aware of Daoist priests in China who have never trained in any external style of martial arts, but who are renowned as being very effective (and dangerous) martial artists. How can this be? This can happen if an individual leaves society and lives a very pure and austere life-style free of the money and relationships that define ordinary existence. This form of meditative existence also requires an expert guidance from a fully qualified master. This type of mastery of Taijiquan is possible but is very rare.

However an individual arrives at Taijiquan mastery, the fact remains that the bones and joints are aligned (allowing the bodyweight to drop unhindered into the ground – creating an equal and opposite rebounding force), creating a rounded posture that deflects any incoming force – making the bones appear to have the density of concrete (thus damaging the opponent’s attacking limbs). This is internal iron vest. The musculature – although extensively trained though external exercises – is fully relaxed, but is able to contract at the exact point of impact of an incoming blow (protecting the inner organs) – this is external iron vest. The rebounding force generated from dropped bodyweight (referred to in the Chinese language as ‘combat qi’), can be instantaneously moved anywhere around the skeletal frame by an act of ‘will’ (or ‘intention’), and emitted through any part of the body without the requirement of ‘tensing’ muscles to generate the force. This allows for the massive generation of force where none would seem likely. This basic explanation maybe extrapolated through the individual movements of the Taijiquan form – using each set for particular self-defence applications – or deployed in free combat.

The Design of Taijiquan Movements

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Taijiquan is often misunderstood outside of China, and sometimes even within China. Why are Taijiquan movements designed the way they are? Taijiquan is a martial arts style premised upon the ancient ideas that define Tradition Chinese Medicine (TCM). Therefore, the movements of Taijiquan are both ‘martial’ and ‘medical’ in origination. The movements are simultaneously rounded and elongated to allow the energy channels that carry blood, nutrients and oxygen (qi) to be loosened, strengthened and freed from unnecessary psychological and physical tension. When these energy channels are fully ‘opened’, then qi energy flows unhindered, and the inner organs are literally soaked in health-giving nutrients. The movement can be performed slowly (although not always) as a means to build awareness and concentration that penetrates the parts of the body being moved whilst remaining aware of the central requirement to remain ‘rooted’ to the ground through the legs and feet (even if the legs and feet are moving). Kicking stimulates the energy channels of the legs, as do stances such as ‘Monkey Pushes Away’, and ‘Snake Creeps Down’, etc. For the energy channels throughout the limbs and torso to be fully opened, the major and minor joints must also be open and rounded. All this requires a system-wide relaxation of muscular tension. Once the energy channels are opened, qi energy flow is enhanced and assisted by the maintenance of a rounded posture (that moves forward and back – up and down). Bodyweight is dropped into the ground through the centre of the bones (creating the unbreakable ‘root’), whilst the resultant rebounding force creates a reservoir of effortless power that can be channelled anywhere throughout the skeleton and emitted through any part of the body as required. Breathing is deep and full, taking oxygen in from the outside and circulating it through the energy channels. The term ‘Taiji’ refers to the ‘Grand Ridge-pole’, which despite its cosmological implication, actually refers to the spine in the human body. Essential nature (jing) – along with qi – is guided up the spine from the genital area, up and around the top of the head to the upper jaw (traversing the Governing Vessel), and then travels down the from lower jaw and the front of the body (the Conception Vessel) back to the genitalia – where the two energy channels meet between the genitalia and the anus. All other energy channels in the body feed off of these two central meridians – and by circulating and nourishing sexual energy (jing) and vital force (qi), these two substances integrate and merge together (thus transforming one another), whilst both feeding into ‘shen’ or ‘spirit’, which means the building of a strong mind that perceives its own empty nature, whilst realising this emptiness contains all things (including jing and qi). Taijiquan looks peculiar to the Western mind because it is an encapsulation of an entirely different way of viewing the world. Its harnessing of dropped bodyweight and rebounding force is not only ingenious, but also very difficult to master. This type of power emits the bodyweight anywhere and at anytime through an advanced understanding of the body-mind nexus. It is a higher form of physics that transcends the usual localised muscular tension and superficial joint leverage utilised by many other fighting systems. As such, combat efficiency within Taijiquan can take a considerable time to master, and only then if one has access to a master that has been thoroughly trained in its use. Due to the difficulty of this kind of training, and the dedication required to master it, many people simply practice Taijiquan for health and have no real understanding of its combat ability.

Practical Ch’an Buddhism: Never-Mind Life After Death – What About Life Before Death?

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When I am asked about the possibility of life after death, I always ask what about life before death? After-all, this lifetime is all we can really know for sure. How can we continue to exist after death – when we have not even worked-out whether we exist before death? I suspect the question of whether there is any existence post-mortem is a category error. It is a question premised upon false assumptions. As someone who has followed the Buddha’s path for years and experienced the reality he conveyed – I can say that there is no after-life – and I am not entirely convinced that there is an ‘existence’ in the present moment – in the conventional manner that many think there is. Attachment to Buddhism turns it into a religion – something the Buddha never intended. Why would a human-being become attached to a step (one of many) that conveys them from one place to another? Why would part of a road be anymore important than any other part? The Buddhist path is highly expendable and is designed to progress an individual before becoming completely redundant. Being attached to redundancy is nothing but dogma. But what about ’emptiness’ I hear you cry? Well, what about it? Is it real? Yes. Is it experienceable? Yes – but so what? Is it easy to achieve? No – but so what? Having no thoughts in the head is unusual but not impossible – but afterwards thoughts start to function again in a completely different way. Things are different but exactly the same. Rebirth is a myth which the Buddha rejected – but which certain Buddhists re-engaged – presumably because they could not ‘detach’ their minds from this superstition (editing the Buddha’s teachings to support this delusion). My point is that life after death is a Judeo-Christian idea that we must be alive ‘now’, and that in the future we must also ‘exist’ post-mortem (in a disembodied manner), and as such, I do not believe it is a compatible assumption for Buddhists to hold. In the West, many misconstrue Buddhist enlightenment (which is nothing other than practical and induced psychological states), for Judeo-Christian ideas of divinely inspired  ‘rapture’ and ‘grace’ – this is a grave error of interpretation that has nothing to do with Asian Buddhism. All that can be truthfully known for Buddhists is this present moment and how it relates to the past moment and the future moment. Everything else is merely imagination and extrapolation that moves the mind’s attention away from the correct analysis of its own functionality, and into the realms of imagination (and theology). By focusing and directing the mind upon the focus of correct existential awareness, we have – I believe – the foundation of modern scientific thinking. From this development, Buddhists could help the world develop new technology and medicines that reduce suffering. This can only happen if Buddhists give-up their mistaken ideas about the Dharma and renounce their habitual attachments to the Buddha’s path.

The Material Basis of Quantum Mechanics

Quantum theory is an extrapolation of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is the study of the construction and functionality of low level physical matter. It is not a theology, a metaphysics or a spirituality. Without quantum mechanics – that is the mathematical analysis of low level physical matter – there can be no quantum theory. Quantum theory in its strict scientific manifestation, has been taken by idealists and adapted and adopted to serve all kinds of disembodied thinking – effectively the process of distorting hard material science to justify theological thinking – or the exact opposite of what scientific thinking is supposed to be. The reason this happens is because the implications of quantum mechanics (essentially the paradoxical idea that light energy can behave as either a ‘wave’ and a ‘particle’ – but never at the sametime), suggests that low level reality is different from that of macro reality as described by classical physics. As classical physics serves most human needs within macro reality (i.e. the everyday world), the low level world of quantum mechanics gives the impression to the ordinary mind that there are two radically different realities functioning simultaneously. This suggests ‘nothing is certain’, and this idea has been incorrectly used to allow for theology to be used as a consequence of this paradox – but this is illogical. Theology is not a product of science and remains ‘unscientific’ from beginning to end – and this remains the case regardless of the extent of the development of scientific understanding. The way the human mind is used to develop science, is very different from the manner in which the mind has been used in the past to develop theology (with its accompanying mythology that its theistic content was somehow developed ‘outside’ the mind that conceived it). The reality is that the micro (low level) world of quanta (or small pockets of energy), and the macro world of everyday life do reconcile – albeit in a manner that is not yet fully understandable to the rational mind. This is an ongoing process of scientific development and discovery. Even if it is allowed that human perception somehow ‘adds’ to the phenomenon being observed – there is no evidence that this process exists outside the world of physical matter. This would suggest that ‘consciousness’ (used as a back-door into science by religionists), is not an entity ‘separate’ from matter (like a theological ‘spirit’ or a ‘soul’), but is rather part and parcel of an integral aspect of material existence. Whatever consciousness is – it does not lie ‘outside’ of the realm of material existence. This is because it is incorrect to associate ‘consciousness’ with a theological concept of ‘soul’. Why this happens is curious, because even within theological teaching, it is clear that a ‘soul’ is very different from humanity’s ‘ordinary’ conscious awareness. Modern science does not speculate beyond the logical analysis of physical existence – whereas the entire premise of theology is that it speculates about what might lie beyond the boundaries of material existence. Both systems of thought are completely different and cannot be reconciled without one over-coming and subsuming the other. The theories that underpin quantum mechanics are scientific and not theological. Conscious awareness – regardless of its origin, nature and functionality – is not a ‘spirit’ that stands in opposition to physical existence. Therefore, it logically follows that quantum mechanics – regardless of its paradoxes and implications – cannot be used as a substitute for theology. Once the material basis of human consciousness is fully understood and appreciated, an in-depth study and analysis of its implication and functionality can be ‘scientifically’ pursued outside of the limitations that theological understanding suggest and impose. Without firmly separating the study of evolutionary consciousness from theology – the true extent of the power of the human mind will not be fully understood.

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