December 18, 2003
Below is a conversation begun by a visitor to Are You Afraid of the Dark,
an eJournal entry written in Japan, 1995. The entry is an East-meets-West discussion of the difference between western science's view of energy, and that of the eastern mystics.
Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 1998 8:01 PM
Subject: spirit and energy
(I am not sure to whom this should be addressed ?)
I find the statement that " . . . .Chinese spirit and Einsteinian energy are not the same thing. . . ." very perplexing.
Let me rush to add that I am as sceptical of hocus pocus as anyone, but is is extremely difficult to believe that anyone has conclusive proof that "spirit" is or is not equivalent to "energy". While I believe that I cannot measure spirit with a geiger counter, or some electromagnetic meter, this does not prove that it isn't energy.
I cannot measure micron size particles with a desktop straight-edge, but that does not mean they have no size.
In a similar sense then, just because no way has been found to measure "spirit" with our current (and crude by future standards no doubt) energy measuring equipment, we cannot conclusively state that spirit is not the same as energy. At least, until conclusive scientific evidence is shown, it will be difficult to believe such a statement.
A related matter is the following: if a Kirlian photograph of a freshly picked leaf is taken shortly after a large piece of the leaf is cut off and discarded, the Kirlian photograph shows some sort of field that follows the shape of the entire leaf, including the discarded piece; supposedly, Kirlian photographs of amputees show a similar sort of "field" which follows the shape of the amputated limb, finger, etc.. (I have seen many pictures of this in several different books, though I have not done it myself).
From: "patrick jennings"
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 1998 12:13 AM
Subject: Re: spirit and energy
The key to the statement is the phrase "Einsteinian energy" and the context in which it appears. Electromagnetic radiation (the E stuff in E=mc^2) is fairly well understood and numerous instruments measure the existence of this energy. If it's there, scientists can know about it. Chi, if it exists, cannot be this kind of energy because science has not been able to detect it using instruments that have proven adequate to detect electromagnetism in all other cases.
That should be proof enough that "spirit" is not equivalent to electromagnetism. Electromagnetism, and the physical forces working on sub-atomic levels, pretty much covers the types of energy science knows about--because it has discovered ways to measure it, or deduce its existence. It's safe to say that Chi, if it exists, is not one of the types of energy, else science could measure it.
That, in now way, is saying that Chi is not energy of some sort. It's only saying that it cannot be of the classes of energy science has already learned to identify. If it exists, it's something else.
Thanks for the feedback,
From: Paul Anderson
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 1998 9:26 PM
Subject: Re: spirit and energy
The other possibility is that the levels of energy of the "spirit" are such that our present equipment cannot detect them; I believe that it is naive to assume that scientists "know" all the forms of electromagnetic energy. About 100 years ago, scientists might have told a person
"don't worry, Radium is not dangerous. We know about electric energy, and thermal energy. Radium is neither hot nor electrical, so it is quite safe to play with it; the levels of visible light emitted are insufficient to damage a person" Of course, the radioactivity levels the Curies were exposed to were sufficient to give them leukaemia, which is what I believe killed them both.
The bottom line is (and this may be too nitpicky for you, but I am scientfically educated and believe that all statements regarding scientific phenomena should be stated as plainly and factually as possible ) that one should say :
"spirit energy does not emit either any of the types or levels of electromagnetic energy that scientists of today are able to measure, or understand"
In addition, scientists believe that there is only one "kind" of energy - i.e. energy itself; there are various *manifestations* of energy (heat, light, movement, etc.), some of which are visible; energy itself is an abstract property, and is not visible or physical in any sense.
In any case, I would be interested to know about any serious scientific research done to determine exactly what it is that Kirlian photography measures (it may be electromagnetic, since the basis of Kirlian photography is the "interference" of strong imposed electromagnetic fields with whatever "field" living things give off.).
Anyway, as a matter of interest, in what area does synaptic :: grey matter media ltd publish ?
From: "patrick jennings"
Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 1998 3:43 PM
Subject: Re: spirit and energy
Paul Anderson wrote:
> The other possibility is that the levels of energy of the "spirit" are such
> that our present equipment cannot detect them; I believe that it is naive to
> assume that scientists "know" all the forms of electromagnetic energy. About
> 100 years ago, scientists might have told a person
Possible, but electromagnetism is spectrally continuous. The higher wavelenghts of electromagnetism are increasingly destructive to biological chemistry, and the longer wavelengths posess infinitesimally small capacity for carrying energy or information--and it's quite possible to detect wavelengths approaching 0 degrees. The measurable spectrum is extraordinarily wide and if "spirit" energy is, in fact, electromagnetic, it seems the only wavelengths available to it would be so short as to be potentially lethal...which seems to me more than paradoxical.
It is perhaps equally possible that the levels of energy of the "spirit" are such that our present equipment cannot detect them; it may be naive to assume that scientists have discovered the entire spectrum of sonic energy.
The question is, what is plausible given our current level of understanding.
> The bottom line is (and this may be too nitpicky for you, but I am
> scientfically educated and believe that all statements regarding scientific
> phenomena should be stated as plainly and factually as possible ) that one
> should say :
> "spirit energy does not emit either any of the types or levels of
> electromagnetic energy that scientists of today are able to measure, or
That is a clear statement of the current scientific consensus. It's a restatement of my own position, too: if spirit energy is electromagnetic in nature it defies measurement by current instruments.
We can detect radio frequencies which are miles long and nearly energyless. We can detect high energy radiation which would cause irreparable damage to our bodies within seconds of exposure. So far, we have not detected wavelengths of any length or energy under conditions in which spirit energy is apparently manifested. There seems very little lattitude for discovery in this area. Higher energies than we can detect, given it's even possible to generate them 'naturally' outside a laboratory, would likely kill us. Lower energies would likely be swamped by the noise of all other energies, unless we can discover some sensory organ tuned to such low energy/frequency radiation.
I wouldn't rule this out. Was it just this decade or last that medical science discovered a neglected organ in the nasal passageway? This one detects pheromones and is wired to the brain in such a way that we are unconscious of its affects on our psyche.
Still, it seems more plausible that spirit energy is likely to represent a variation of the manifestations of energy that will necessarily differentiate it significantly from electromagnetism. It's not reasonable to ignore the possibility that Chi is electromagnetic in character, but it's reasonable to doubt it and look to potentially more promising models.
> In addition, scientists believe that there is only one "kind" of energy -
> i.e. energy itself; there are various *manifestations* of energy (heat,
> light, movement, etc.), some of which are visible; energy itself is an
> abstract property, and is not visible or physical in any sense.
Actually, it's more profound than that. Einstein showed that matter and energy are two manifestations of the same thing. We're just stuck with the baggage of outdated language and its accompanying conceptual framework.
Matter is an equally abstract property, and is not visible. We do not "see" an object but rather detect the energy in the form of photons which it's atoms reflect, refract or produce. Even after detection, there is much post-processing of the detected signals in order to fix the information in a sensible mental image.
Matter is physical only in the sense that energies are detected through sensory receptors for pressure, heat, vision, scent, taste. Some of these senses are decidedly chemical in nature, but what is a chemical compound--or molecule--but a particular organisation of energies? And what is pressure but the resistance of forces, of energy?
And we have not even opened the can of worms--only read the label. We don't know yet what constitutes a 'particle' of matter. We keep finding 'smaller' particles.
> In any case, I would be interested to know about any serious scientific
> research done to determine exactly what it is that Kirlian photography
> measures (it may be electromagnetic, since the basis of Kirlian photography
> is the "interference" of strong imposed electromagnetic fields with whatever
> "field" living things give off.).
You run a small current through a piece of photographic paper and place a biological object on its surface. The electricity could be inducing the apparent field. The electricity could be signalling some internal mechanism to produce a "field".
As long as we're being particular about language, 'basis' is the wrong word here. What you have given is but one *unproven* model attempting to explain the results obtained through the process. Still, Kirlian photography definitely seems to give the scientific community the willies. As do psycho-kinetics, poltergeists and the like. Hell, I myself have confounded my own basis for scientific rationalisations by experiencing prescient dreams every now and again. The scientific understanding of time provides no clue as to why I've been able to quote, verbatim and two words in advance of their speaking them, long sections of my high-school teacher's lectures. "I dreamed it a couple weeks ago," just doesn't fit any acceptable model.
What's more interesting to me is "Since Kirlian images defy current explanation, and imply conditions in the physical world which defy long established and accepted scientific understandings, why does there appear to be so little serious inquiry?" This question applies equally to psychokinetics, apparent manifestations of Chi in martial arts masters and monks, why teenage boys can dream the future, and any other experience or observation which defies common scientific knowledge.
> Anyway, as a matter of interest, in what area does synaptic :: grey matter
> media ltd publish ?
<grin> Big websites including text and images generated during my travels. (Pretty much what you see on <www.synaptic.bc.ca> Someday, I'd like to earn a living selling my content to various commercial media outlets.
|Presently listening to:|
Wild Horses - The Sundays - Blind (04:46)