(1/2) > >>

Mefiante (January 24, 2007, 17:35:08 PM):
So this is where South Africa's grubbies congregate! Time permitting, I'll infiltrate various proceedings and take notes, possibly a recording or two.

Anyone else think that, for my own protection, I should go and have a lobotomy first?

(soon to be "Woothon64")
bluegray (January 24, 2007, 17:56:44 PM):
Only R10 entrance fee!
Make sure you get one of the 'Therapeutic Massages'. They are probably much nicer that a lobotomy :D
Mefiante (January 29, 2007, 10:05:40 AM):
So there we were, Dr Luthon64 and yours truly, listening to Professor Feng Shui expound over a cup of something resembling chamomile tea on how the flow of Ch'i, with due regard for the eight houses of the bagwa, is a science that takes its cues from the latest in mathematics, geography, philosophy, physics, religious and astrological studies, and spills over into aesthetics for the purpose of augmenting the worldly success and positive frame of mind of its practitioners.

"But how do you know that this Ch'i you postulate really exists?" asks I.

"Well, you can feel it. It's all around us, all the time. You just need to sensitise yourself to it through practice. Besides, it's not a material thing, like water or air; it's more like the essence of life, of the universe."

"I don't really understand this 'insubstantial substance' idea. Nevermind. But if, as you say, adjusting and tuning the flow of Ch'i around a person has a real effect on that person, then surely it must be measurable in an objective way. Yet there have been no reliable reports that say this Ch'i is real in the way I describe."

"You're thinking too much about it. You mustn't do that. Some things are simply beyond our ability to understand and must just be accepted and believed in. Because they help us to understand our relationship with the world."

Oh, what glib rot! thinks I.

"I'm sorry, but that isn't really an answer, is it? Unless you're now saying that Feng Shui is faith-based, and thus no better than any other superstition, like rabbits' paws, about what brings success."

"No. Feng Shui really works. If it didn't, it wouldn't have lasted as long as it has. There's a lot of common sense in it too; simple things like avoiding clutter and keeping channels open for the free flow of air, for example."

"The idea that the Earth is flat was around for a long time too, but it was quite wrong. But okay, suppose for a moment that it does 'really work' as you say. If much or most of it is common sense, why then is it necessary to invent this great big mythology to support these ideas?"

"Well, as I said before, they help us understand the world better, in a figurative, a metaphysical way."

"I'm not sure they do. The way I see it, a wrong way of thinking about the world is, ...well..., still wrong, and can only help to hide what's really there, especially if it becomes the common way in which people talk about the world. It took real effort to banish the idea of the aether pervading space, or that most diseases are not caused by unbalanced humours, or that continents stood eternally still."

"Okay, so you're sceptical. I think you think too much about it; I've been practising Feng Shui for many years now, and I can tell you that it works very well. I can give you many names of people who have benefited from it."

"But did it work for the Oppenheimers? Also, I've seen and heard of different Feng Shui practitioners give very different, often conflicting, assessments and recommendations. That shouldn't really happen, should it?"

"We know that reality isn't the same for everybody. So different people will read and interpret the Ch'i slightly differently."

"I'm not talking about minor differences here, like where to hang a mirror; I mean major differences, like the placement of a door or a window, or the orientation of a corridor with respect to the rest of the house - things that can completely change the character of the house."

"I would have to see such examples for myself to decide how good or bad the Feng Shui is."

"And if another practitioner disagreed with you?"

"They'd have to give me some really good reasons why."


That pretty much ended the discussion.

Mefiante (January 29, 2007, 12:19:35 PM):
So there we were, the same day, Dr Luthon64 and yours truly, listening to Divine Master Astrology-Reflexology-Crystal-Healer-Aromatherapist-Cheiromancer-Meditation-Guru-and-All-'Round-Freakin'-Amazin'-Spiritual-Being expound on the truth of the spiritverse, reincarnation and the eternal persistence of consciousness through ectoplasmic entities.

The discussion, mostly between Dr Luthon64 and the (self-appointed) Divine Master, has been the customary "show-me-the-evidence/there-isn't-really-any-so-just-trust-what-I-tell-you" merry-go-round. The Divine Master has many, many obvious talents; among them is the slight smile of long suffering and superiority. The smile puts in appearances with predictable regularity.

"How do you explain the existence of ethics, of morality, in human affairs?" asks the Divine Master.

Dr Luthon64 replies, "Quite simply, really. If I behave in such a way that causes no harm to those around me, then I can reasonably expect them to behave in a similar way towards me. So 'moral' behaviour is that which increases everyone's safety, including mine, and..."

"No, it is these values, and developing them through different incarnations, learning the spiritual lessons we need to learn until we become perfect beings. That's what morality is. Spiritual lessons."

"But it is far simpler and therefore more plausible that morality arose and developed for the purely pragmatic reasons I talked of - those of increased survival through group cooperation. We need far fewer basic assumptions for this explanation. So I'm afraid you haven't given me any good reason to believe that any kind of spiritual realm exists, except in the imaginations of some people."

"Then you should read the right books and adjust your thinking. So you can see the truth and beauty of the spiritual, the eternal."

(Why, you... thinks I, but Dr Luthon64 is a bit less measured and certainly no slouch.)

"You know what really bothers me about that? The assumption that, because I disagree with you, I haven't read the 'right' books or that I haven't thought about it enough, or in the 'right' way. You cannot possibly know what books I've read, nor how I've thought about it. You can only assume. And your assumptions are just plain wrong. But the biggest tragedy of all? That you are totally unaware of your own supreme arrogance. Goodbye."

Needless to say, that was the end of a very short, somewhat strained relationship. Sometimes a strategically opportune "f*** you!" is worth a thousand learned tomes.

bluegray (January 29, 2007, 14:14:06 PM):
Well, you certainly have a way with words. I enjoyed that. ;)
Did you at least have some positive experience while there?


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Skeptic Forum Board Index

Non-mobile version of page