Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The LAT Looks At Guru "Magic"

File under: The Siddhi of PR

A few days back, the Los Angeles Times published an article which included an interview with Paul Ekman, who was apparently quite an asshole until he shook hands with the Dalai Lama:
The UC San Francisco psychology professor was as gnarly as an old oak, with a face hard-chiseled by a lifelong struggle with impulsive anger.

All that changed one spring day in 2000 after a brief exchange with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

"He held my hands while we talked," Ekman recalled, "and I was filled with a sense of goodness and a unique total body sensation that I have no words to describe."
It's called being at the right place at the right time with the right person. The Governator's wife, Maria Shriver, has a better handle on the phenomenon:
"I think the Dalai Lama would say look within because it's in you, not someone else. It all comes down to whether you're open to being touched in your heart."
That's more like it. Paul was ready to pop, and the Dalai Lama gave his insides the excuse to do so. Just because Paul doesn't yet understand what happened doesn't mean he's not ultimately responsible for his own transformation.

It seems to be a human trait, that when one imagines they are in the presence of greatness, the space-daddy receptor gene kicks in. After that, all bets are off, because it's in the power of one's own mind where the real magic has always been.

33 Comments:

At 12/12/2006 4:33 PM, Blogger CHUCK said...

If all that is necessary to have such a deep and life changing experience is to be a asshole, then I would suggest that Anonymouse, Jody, the Blade and myself be used to test the power of any Guru. If we have darshan and are given the required experience, that Guru would be given certification.

 
At 12/12/2006 9:17 PM, Anonymous .mistletoe. said...

This magic thing is perhaps possible only if any asshole secretly entertained ideas about the 'holiness' of the likes of dalai lama or dalai lama to be precise) and should have read enough and seen enough pictures of dalai lama and his glories and has psyched himself enough.

And on the the transformaion day when the larger than the life landed up infront and shook hands, it certainly does the magic. I would be touched if Uma thurman(despite her age and retirement)holds my hands and talks to me forawhile ! Boy oh boy...!

But as for you chuck, you are an extra ordinary and predetermined asshole who can never be impressed by any such holiness. You have to blame your own assholiness after all...

 
At 12/12/2006 9:46 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

.mistlehole. said:
You have to blame your own assholiness after all...


Hey .mistlehole. don't you be mean to chuck. He just found the ideal employment for himself, Jody, me, and an unknown, out-of-work, colonially-sensitive East Indian doctor with personality problems. That's not easy to do. And in case you are trying to join in, we just need four assholes for that job, not five, thanks.

 
At 12/12/2006 10:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds strange.

Years ago, I took a class from Professor Ekman. It was a seminar, ten or 15 of us attended and the class lasted 3 months.

He struck me as an interesting and gracious person, not crabby at all. Why he'd label himself in such an extremely punitive manner is beyond me.

In graduate school I met senior faculty who could accurately be termed assholes, but Ekman didnt give any evidence of meriting the title--at least not to this correspondant.

Ekmanis one of the world's experts at mapping micro expressions on the human face. He can read faces the way trained muscians can sight read music, and he can tell with great precision whether people are speaking the truth.

He's used to studying even famous faces, rather than being immediately charisma-stricken.

After 9-11, he was in great demand by intelligence agencies. Prior to that, Ekman assisted mental health professionals to figure out when depressed people were concealing thier plans to kill themselves.

Many persons who secretly plan to harm themselves try to pretend to be happy so they can fool hospitals into letting them go home. Mental health professionals lose a lot of sleep over this--its a heart breaker.

It can save lives when someone can read faces and figure out that a seemingly happy person is suicidally depressed.

Dr Ekman is doing his bit to make the world a better place. He even discovered that up to a point people can change their own moods by changing their facial expressions--smiling can lift mood and frowning can make one feel glum.

 
At 12/12/2006 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hhdl is genuine.
That is all you need to know !

 
At 12/12/2006 10:15 PM, Anonymous Most Rev. Jipipip said...

Jody, you're committing the sames kinds of errors in logic for which you criticize others.

That the L.A. Times distributed Paul's story in which he was an asshole until the Dalai Lama held his hands doesn't in the least establish that: (a) Paul was (or wasn't) an asshole before; (b) Paul isn't (or is) an asshole now; or, (c) a transformation did (or didn't) occur. We have no reliable information either way.

People say all sorts of things all day long, nearly all of which are based on confabulation, fantasy, superstition, wish-fulfillment, ego gratification, denial, projection, displacement, etc., etc., etc.

So to elevate Paul's narrative to the status of accurate report, and to attribute his alleged change to some condition ("ready to pop") that's apparently more consistent with your particular set of confabulations, is equally as delusional as Paul attributing it to the Dalai Lama's woo-woo-powers...IF any such event even occurred, which none of us (including Paul) can say with any certainty.

Sure, you can collect, and blog about, and justifiably ridicule eons and tons of evidence regarding preposterous human behavior and thinking. But don't for a second imagine that your explanations, critiques, and ridicule are more credible, or sensible, or worthwhile in any way than the rest of the idiocies you point out.

The human compulsion to make (non)sense is what's patently ridiculous, not the (non)sense per se. Give it a rest, dude. We're all pathetic bozos on this bus, and nobody's shit is truer or smarter than anyone else's. And even if it were, who would know?

 
At 12/12/2006 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The dalai lama is getting on my nerves big time..or to be more accurate, the west's exaltation of this man is getting on my balls...He's the Oprah Winfrey of enlightenment...write a book, get a foreword by the man ( and he seems to write forewords to anything these days with the exception of Jenna Jamison's literary works) and you have a bestseller..
Am I envious? You bet. Does that change the fact that his excellency the Dalai Llama is not any more enlightened than yours truly, an out of work colonially sensitive (East) Indian doc - No

Anonymouse

 
At 12/12/2006 11:01 PM, Anonymous aBitAmazed said...

"....and nobody's shit is truer or smarter than anyone else's. And even if it were, who would know?"

wow, that's the most enlightened thing i've ever heard. (not meant to be sarcastic in any way)

 
At 12/13/2006 1:41 AM, Anonymous .mistletoe. said...

hehe Blade !!! you are too sharp for an asshole actually ! If I cant beat you then i should ideally join you and if cant join you too, then i should stand aside and watch you blade!

You think i can match a unusual pack of holes spewing so much wisdom?? Never ! I would rather watch you blade, the way you cut and slice and hehe make holes out all those holy beings !

Hail the hole-y pack !!!

 
At 12/13/2006 2:26 AM, Blogger J said...

Just had to comment, that phrase "space-daddy receptor gene" is fricking GOLD.

 
At 12/13/2006 7:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In one town someone had signs on phone poles which read,

'Be your own Jesus'.

Be your own Dalai Lama.

The point of practice is to find out that this is already the case.

All you're doing is removing static from the channel so you can hear the music already there.

Projecting wish fulfillment fantasies outward onto someone else just adds static and interferes with all this.

The Popes of Rome at least have a large body of theologians and media who are unafraid to analyze and critique their speeches and policies.

But the DL has been elevated to semi-sacred cow status in the minds of many of us. This really is not for his benefit or anyone elses.

The media tend to have a sentimental bias on the DL's behalf. If anyone fails to be adulatory, they're written off as having a Chinese bias, when the matter is potentially far more complex than that.

It should be noted that the Roman pontiffs have to face a much tougher level of scrutiny from the media. By contrast, spiritual leaders in Tibetan Buddhism slide by, because the media is so willing to be enchanted.

Rome doesnt have mystical fairy tale status the way Tibet, and by extension, the DL does.

Kind as he is, he is also surrounded by people who lost their baronies (both secular and spiritual) in Tibet and want to get that property back.

Treating any human being as an all perfect Santa Claus is not good for us, and not good for the designated recipient of the Santa Claus projections, either.

Buddhism is about dispelling illusion not fostering more of it.

Charisma can be considered a nonchemical intoxicant. And one of the ethical precepts in Mahayana Buddhism (which includes Tibetan Buddhism) warns us against darkening mind and body of self and other with intoxicants.

Intoxicants are more than just chemicals purchased in bars or from dealers. Charisma and wish fullfilment fantasy are two of the most powerful intoxicants there are.

Combined with religion, these are yet more powerful.

Take the good stuff in Tibetan Buddhism, but dont go looking for magic or for a santa claus/magic daddy figure.

One cant find freedom by replacing one illusion with another.

 
At 12/13/2006 8:12 AM, Blogger facedog said...

.mistletoe. said...

"This magic thing is perhaps possible only if any asshole secretly entertained ideas about the 'holiness' of the likes of dalai lama or dalai lama to be precise) and should have read enough and seen enough pictures of dalai lama and his glories and has psyched himself enough."

.....................

I understand the logic here and this may very well be true much of the time BUT this has not been my experience. Not comparing myself with Paul Ekman, who seems like a decent guy, but I have had "wow" experiences associated with spiritual teachers I had no notion about, pro or con. Probably the most dramatic experience was with Sant Keshavadas, who I thought was just an Indian musician giving a concert. I had never even heard of the guy, just walked in and boom! He turned out to be a tremendous sleeze bag despite his ability to be a catalyst for transformation.

I don't understand!

 
At 12/13/2006 8:18 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

.muscletoe. said,

"But as for you chuck, you are an extra ordinary and predetermined asshole who can never be impressed by any such holiness."

........................

I like the Dalai Lama even if he is allowing himself to be used to sell books, etc. The man has a big family to feed and take care of.

 
At 12/13/2006 8:24 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Anonymouse said,

"The dalai lama is getting on my nerves big time..or to be more accurate, the west's exaltation of this man is getting on my balls..."


You ain't no doctor, unemployed or not! You ain't even East Indian. You're some dude living in Cleveland. You're pompous and you're growing on me. You're alright, Anonymouse! As my friend John Wayne said, "You'll do!"

 
At 12/13/2006 8:28 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

anon said:
This sounds strange.


Yes. Tales get exaggerated, don't they? Exaggerate them enough and you have miracles.

The most rev. junky-pop said:
Jody, you're committing the sames kinds of errors in logic for which you criticize others.


Jody is providing a certain likely explanation for what the man is reporting. You make a strange error in reason if you claim that if Jody does not have absolute certainty himself about what actually happened, that Jody's likely explanation becomes illogical by that fact. Wha?

The real question is, junky, what are you smoking? And do you have any left over for me?

Mickey said...
hhdl is genuine.
That is all you need to know !


Mickey, it isn't all you need to know. You also need to know if your concept of him is genuine, and if your concept of his effect on you is genuine. Which is what some of us are about, here.

If you have an inaccurate concept of HHDL, he's probably NOT going to abuse it. But that's him, and he's UNUSUAL in that. Better get out of the habit of developing inaccurate guru-gaga thinking, because there are a lot of bad people, and bad systems out there that WILL abuse you for making that mistake.

j said:
Just had to comment, that phrase "space-daddy receptor gene" is fricking GOLD.


It is good. Thanks Jody, another one for my tool-box. :)

 
At 12/13/2006 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"After 9-11, he was in great demand by intelligence agencies."

Yeah right, and psychic detectives are in incredible demand by police agencies, the mediums tell me so themselves!

 
At 12/13/2006 9:25 AM, Blogger jody said...

Jody, you're committing the sames kinds of errors in logic for which you criticize others.

I've only offered what I believe is a more likely explanation for what transpired between Ekman and D.L.

That the L.A. Times distributed Paul's story in which he was an asshole until the Dalai Lama held his hands doesn't in the least establish that: (a) Paul was (or wasn't) an asshole before; (b) Paul isn't (or is) an asshole now; or, (c) a transformation did (or didn't) occur. We have no reliable information either way.

From the article:

The UC San Francisco psychology professor was as gnarly as an old oak, with a face hard-chiseled by a lifelong struggle with impulsive anger...

Now, the noted expert on human emotional expression understands what it actually feels like to be cheery and optimistic almost every day.


He went from being a hard head with anger issues to "cheery and optimistic almost every day." I'd say that's going from being more of an asshole to less of one, based on how I define the term "asshole."

So to elevate Paul's narrative to the status of accurate report, and to attribute his alleged change to some condition ("ready to pop") that's apparently more consistent with your particular set of confabulations, is equally as delusional as Paul attributing it to the Dalai Lama's woo-woo-powers...IF any such event even occurred, which none of us (including Paul) can say with any certainty.

See above. First, big jerk. Then, lesser jerk. Ekman obviously believes some kind of transformative experience occurred, and who are we to question that? What we can question is the explanation for that transformation. Ekman says:

"If I was 30 years younger, I'd take it on as a scientific task to try to explain what happened that day. It was a great gift."

That tells me that he feels that something did happen to him. All I'm saying is that it's not magic as much as fortuitous circumstance which taps hidden inner triggers. That is my BS offered over his own, but I still feel mine is a more reasonable explanation than his, especially in light of the fact that millions have had similar experiences in the presence of those who are considered to be space-daddies.

Sure, you can collect, and blog about, and justifiably ridicule eons and tons of evidence regarding preposterous human behavior and thinking. But don't for a second imagine that your explanations, critiques, and ridicule are more credible, or sensible, or worthwhile in any way than the rest of the idiocies you point out.

Well, stacked up against the nondual truth, they aren't. But in the realm of name and form, of course some explanations are better than others.

Give it a rest, dude. We're all pathetic bozos on this bus, and nobody's shit is truer or smarter than anyone else's. And even if it were, who would know?

As another clown on the bus, what I say has the most meaning to who's saying it, meaning me. However, there may be one or two other riders who find some value in my particular set of squeaks and honks. I certainly enjoy making my noises, so even if no other Bozo catches my drift, it's still worthwhile as a way to pass the time.

 
At 12/13/2006 9:43 AM, Blogger jody said...

I don't understand!

It makes my case, FD. You were ready, and for whatever reason, seeing Keshavadas set you off. The same thing happened to a very close friend of mine the first time he laid eyes on Keshavadas.

I'm convinced it could have been anyone who is good at playing space-daddy. It's something in us, not them, that makes it happen.

 
At 12/13/2006 10:20 AM, Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Well, whether Anonymouse is an 'East Indian' (okay! I'm sorry! :-)) or a Cleveland Indian, I agree with him that the truly annoying thing about the Dalai Lama is the way he's been elevated among the conspicuously enlightened set in the US.

Here in Houston, HHDL has made society-page headlines every time he's visited, with the socialites falling all over themselves to host him in their "swankiendas."

And if you're a self-help/New Wage leader of any sort whatsoever, you just gotta meet the Dalai Lama and get your pic taken with him, so you can plaster it all over your web site and other propaganda. Then you can raise your prices for your workshops and all the other crap you're hawking. After all, you're HHDL's new best friend.

And of course, Hollywood just eats him up. It's really pretty absurd. But overall, it would appear that even though he's letting himself be used by so many people, HHDL has retained most of his humility. As for his holiness, I couldn't judge that, since I don't know squat about what's holy and what isn't.

But at least the Dalai Lama hasn't come out with a bestseller, "The Lama Method: 7 Ways to Instant Enlightenment"...or "DaliNomics: Ancient Tibetan Secrets For Unlimited Wealth."

Not yet, anyway.

 
At 12/13/2006 10:54 AM, Anonymous durga said...

Facedogsaid:He turned out to be a tremendous sleeze bag despite his ability to be a catalyst for transformation.

I agree with Jody.You were probably just ready for this transformation. Sleeze bagginess is not compatible,in my opinion,with transformation. I don't understand how people can accept a teacher who has such unclean energy. But,I don't even know who this keshavada guy is.I'm just taking a break from my nerd box.

 
At 12/13/2006 11:02 AM, Blogger facedog said...

jody said...

"I'm convinced it could have been anyone who is good at playing space-daddy. It's something in us, not them, that makes it happen."

.........

We've talked about this before, Jody, and I also see it your way. It's funny that with the teachers I find reason to respect the most, I have not had these "wow" experiences. With them I experience more simple peace of mind and heart and an increased inspiration to try to give up subtle selfishness that I become more aware of when with them.

To give Sant credit, he never told me that HE was giving these experiences. He gave creit to God. I watched him closely for more than a decade and saw him treating people with kindness. He exhibited what I considered very profound states of devotion. As you say, this was my own self created experience, but it happened to lots of people, regularly.

Still, in the end, he was a sleeze bag, a "spiritual pedophile" as anonymous said. He also got his wife involved, who begged his many women not to tell anyone.

I have also noticed that as I have gotten older, mid 50's now, these "wow" experiences have decreased as sexual desire has decreased. Maybe there's a connection. I'm not sad to see it go away. Ecstacy and Agony go hand in hand!

 
At 12/13/2006 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People have told me that they feel strangely stimulated when they are in my presence, even when I personally have not been aware of any larger force working through me...Could it be that I have the magic?

Anonymouse

 
At 12/13/2006 11:55 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Anonymouse said...

"People have told me that they feel strangely stimulated when they are in my presence..."

......................

Yea, my X wife used to tell me the same thing! I'd recommend flossing your teeth. It worked for me!

 
At 12/13/2006 2:28 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Jody wrote:
> it's not magic as much as
> fortuitous circumstance which
> taps hidden inner triggers. *snip*
> I still feel mine is a more
> reasonable explanation than his,
> especially in light of the fact
> that millions have had similar
> experiences in the presence of
> those who are considered to be
> space-daddies.

That is: if people got these big transformation experiences with Mr D Lama and nowhere else, it would be reasonable to assume that he's the cause. Since people report similar experiences in the presense of any number of Gurus, Yogis, Advaita satsangs, photos, stone statues of dieties or whatever, charismatic Christian churches, nature, etc, etc... it becomes reasonable to assume we carry the cause ("trigger") with us.

I do feel a little funny resorting to the scientific method. It's so less... poetic... than all the spiritual hoo-hah. But it still seems irreplacible as a bullshit detector.

ALSO, it's not just "reasonableness" that we can use to judge the competing theories (i.e., Ekman's conclusion that D Lama has special mojo, vs Jody's assertion that we have the trigger within). We can also judge different views based on how USEFUL they are. Which view is most useful is entirely an individual matter, since we may differ in our life direction. For myself, I prefer believing that it's all within, because that way, I don't need to follow some holy man around the world like his puppy.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm

 
At 12/13/2006 2:35 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Anonymouse said:
>People have told me that they
>feel strangely stimulated when
>they are in my presence, even
>when I personally have not been
>aware of any larger force working
>through me...Could it be that I
>have the magic?

Set up a screen, so that such people can't tell whether or not you're behind it. See if they still feel strangely stimulated when they only think you might be there, as they do when you're actually there. Can they tell the difference between your presence or absence if they can't see or hear or smell you?

So simple, huh? Doesn't require million dollar grants or white lab coats. A space-daddy/mommy like Gurumayi etc could set up this experiment so easily, and settle once and for all whether there's any truth to the devotee's claim that they can feel the guru's energy.

Yet strangely, the gurus never allow this simple experiment. Reasonable people can draw conclusions.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm

 
At 12/13/2006 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the ethical precepts in Mahayana Buddhism (which includes Tibetan Buddhism) warns us to beware of praising ourselves at the expense of others.

The precepts are there to help us serve reality and avoid delusion.

Well, the flip side of this precept would be 'Beware of devaluing oneself, taking what you've subtracted from your own genuine worth and using that to build a guru-pedestal and overvalue someone else.'

The LA Times article mentions that Professor Ekman spent many years in psychoanalysis.

That is very hard work and requires a lot of self insight--a very brave thing to do when you
have traumatic memories as Ekman reported in the article.

He did hard work to gain insight into his own inner workings. He became a scientist and his methods of mapping human facial expression required decades of work, extensive documetation and have been published in peer reviewed journals.

He may have had his release from anger not just because he met the Dalai Lama, but also from having done all that hard work on himself in psychotherapy.

Genuine assholes dont spend years in therapy--its too painful.

There is no need for Ekman to put himself down to exalt the Dalai Lama. Both of them have worked hard to make the world a better place and can meet each other, peer to peer.

No need for one to put the other on a pedestal.

They can both stand, shoulder to shoulder.

 
At 12/13/2006 7:01 PM, Anonymous Most Rev. Jipipip said...

Ah, I see. Sorry for the intrusion.

Carry on.

 
At 12/13/2006 8:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That is: if people got these big transformation experiences with Mr D Lama and nowhere else, it would be reasonable to assume that he's the cause."

Even still, CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION. The inability to see why one may be present in the other, but one does not MAKE the other is what separates those trying to better themselves than the braggarts looking for an experiential "kick". It's also why new-agers may make terrible scientists ;)

 
At 12/13/2006 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correlation does not prove causality--exactly!

Two people can be walking side by side down the street. (correlation)

But just walking side by side doesnt prove that person A is cuasing person B to walk alongside.

Additional information must be gathered to prove, beyond reasonable doubt (or a level of statistics beyond 50% randomness) that person A actually affected person B's behavior.

Ekman did a lot of work on himself during those years of psychoanalysis. And you have to have some inner stability to hang in with psychanalysis. If people are fragile inside, they cant take it--they get unbearably anxious or depressed and have to stop.

A bonafide asshole wouldnt have the insight to admit something was wrong and seek psychotherapy and wouldnt be willing to hang in and keep going when it gets tough or boring.

So, given all work he did, Ekman might perhaps have discovered in some less exotic context that his temperment had changed, even if he'd never happened to meet the DL. If he'd noticed this transformation in a less exotic setting than meeting the DL, chances are, it would never have been mentioned in a newspaper story.

Even if the DL had something to do with it, even he could not have that kind of effect on Ekman unless Ekman had already been receptive--and a really nasty person is not going to be tahth receptive.

It has been said that some people wake up all at once. Others wake up so gradually and undramatically that the realization just doesnt seem a big deal at all.

Its the difference between getting ones clothes soaked in a sudden downpour of rain, vs getting just as wet over a period of six hours while walking through dense fog--the first way is much more dramatic than the second.

Either way, its the same.

Again, its just as delusional to devalue oneself to put someone else up high on a pedestal as it is to praise oneself and to devalue others.

 
At 12/13/2006 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stuart says: "Set up a screen, so that such people can't tell whether or not you're behind it. See if they still feel strangely stimulated when they only think you might be there, as they do when you're actually there.."

I haven't (and probably won't) tried this, but tell me, why would this invalidate their experience? After all, thoughts themselves have an energy. For example, a negative thought has a negative "energy" in that is leads to negative emotions, which leads to reduced energy. And the converse is true for positive thoughts.
Now, if my presence (or the thought of it) did lead to a positive emotion, and therefore to positive energy, it would seem to me that I had some role in causation.
I see that Jody and the rest of you are looking at this as an either/or thing: it is all in the minds of the recipients and therefore someone else cannot have a role to play in causation.
I submit to you that the interaction is akin to a chemical reaction - and both the person "receiving" the energy and the person "transmitting" the energy are equal participants.

Anonymouse

 
At 12/14/2006 7:49 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

We might be spinning off a little here about causality. Let me tighten it up a little (as I see it).

There is a point to the kinds of experiment that Stuart suggests and there is a reason why they are not done in the guru-culture. The point is not about the causality, but the nature of the causes. As a skeptic, I have no problem admitting that the causality is often real, but I believe the cause is generally much more mundane than is believed in the guru-culture. In the typical guru-culture, a magical view of the guru's power is cultivated. It is AMAZING on the one hand, and very much seen as the guru him(r)self on the other. The truth is that it isn't that amazing, and the state of the 'chela' plays a huge part in it. It's ordinary, human internal processes that the guru may play a part in catalyzing. The kinds of experiment that Stuart proposes would prove that the chela's belief and expectation is playing an enormous part in this phenomenon that is called 'guru shakti'. The experiments will not be done (or made well-known) because the typical guru culture is not interested in this fact, because the very knowledge of that fact shifts the power in a way that is not wanted in that, excuse me, somewhat parent-child or even narcissistic-codependent way of life.

 
At 12/14/2006 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now, if my presence (or the thought of it) did lead to a positive emotion, and therefore to positive energy, it would seem to me that I had some role in causation."

Pricey placebos are still placebos.

 
At 12/14/2006 12:10 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Anonymouse wrote
>if my presence (or the thought of
>it) did lead to a positive
>emotion, and therefore to
>positive energy, it would seem to
>me that I had some role in
>causation.

During the holiday season, you think about Santa Claus and become jolly. You could accurately say that Santa's presence (or the thought of it) did lead to a positive emotion. You can't accurately say that Santa had a role in the causation.

>I submit to you that the
>interaction is akin to a chemical
>reaction - and both the
>person "receiving" the energy and
>the person "transmitting" the
>energy are equal participants.

In the above example, you and Santa aren't equal participants. Santa doesn't participate, because he doesn't exist.

(Sorry, Virginia.)

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/mypage.htm

 

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