Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

December 1, 2007

The Spell of Delusion

Filed under: culture, politics, random — Tags: — codesmithy @ 1:37 pm

The video above is a fight between a supposed kiai master and another martial artist. Kiai is term for “uniting spirit energy” or “concentrated spirit.” In practical martial arts, kiai may be a useful concept. When attempting to break a board with one’s bare hand, it may more useful to be concentrating on technique and what needs to be done mechanically rather than say, how much one’s hand may hurt afterwards. However, the kiai master has taken what may be a useful concept and taken it to an irrational, delusional extreme. He’s used a legitimate concept and claims to perfected to such a degree that it has given him mystical, god-like powers. Who can doubt him? He claims a 200-0 record and offers $5,000 to any challenger that can defeat him. A lack of challengers willing to claim this lucrative prize is proof of the kiai master’s formidableness. That is until a skilled opponent takes him up on his challenge.

Certain traits of the conventional martial artist are useful recognize. First of all, he started off cautious. He didn’t know what the kiai master actual skill was, so he defended himself and observed. The kiai master could have been very skilled in spite of the theater he usually displayed. After the conventional martial artist was sufficiently convinced that the kiai master did not know what he was doing, the pounding began. The kiai master did not know how to react when his arm got grabbed, nor had the technique, or reactions necessary to avoid that eventuality.

In the end, it is clear who had a firmer grasp on reality. However, the important point is not only peril of delusional thinking, but also how it invites disaster. If the kiai master were not so convinced of his mystical powers, it is unclear why he would have gotten into a match with a black-belt. It could be that he painted himself into a corner and just followed it through to the logical conclusion at every step because he didn’t see how he could derail it. Maybe he believed he actually had a chance, or would luck out. But, the reason for the match was to test the kiai master’s bold claims. It wasn’t just that he lost a fight, he was instrumental in setting up the fight at every stage. The standard practice is to insert some disagreeable terms such as the $1 million Swift Boat Veterans for Truth challenge.

In order to disprove the accuracy of the Swift Boat ads, I will ultimately need you to provide the following:

1) The journal you maintained during your service in Vietnam.
2) Your military record, specifically your service records for the years 1971-1978, and copies of all movies and tapes made during your service.

This is known as welching on a bet, or moving the goal-posts. However in the kiai master’s case, it would have avoided two punches and a kick to the face.

Delusion is a peculiar problem in a liberal democracy, namely, what if the majority of people are under the influence of a delusion that is counterproductive to progress, fails to address problems, or quite possibly openly invites disaster?

Rousseau argued that actual freedom is obtained by submitting to the “general will.” A true citizen is not free to do as one pleases, but what one would do according to framework of rational inquiry and moral precepts such as equality and the rule of law. Clearly, the masses do not produce better results if their opinions are uniformed, arrived at incorrectly, biased, etc. There are perfectly valid disagreements even if all parties subscribe to “general will” principles. However, the underlying problem is that it is difficult to get agreement merely on the principles, or at least, honest adherence. If the necessary preconditions are ignored, democracy will not produce better results than any other form of government, and quite possibly will perform worse.

Therefore, delusion is actually a cancer of democracy that must be fought without crossing over into oppression in order to fully unlock the true human potential. It calls for a paradoxical combination of conviction and humility, certainty and doubt. Failure to do so can lead to a collective disaster similar to what the kiai master experienced.



  1. the delusion is yours. nobody, including the fraud Kerry was ever able to refute the claims of the Swift Boat Vets.

    The idiot Kerry was delusionaly claiming to be in Cambodia when he wasn’t. what a self-deluded fraud.

    and nice try on slipping in your political views under the guise of being rational. If you believe yourself well then off to the self-deluional loony bin with you.

    Comment by bill — November 19, 2009 @ 4:03 am

  2. otherwise, I like what you’re saying.

    Comment by bill — November 19, 2009 @ 4:04 am

  3. @bill

    Please, I was using it as an example of how you make sure your bet never gets called.

    But as for the truth of the matter, my view is apolitical in this case. Here is what John McCain said:

    I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. As it is none of these individuals served on the boat (Kerry) commanded. Many of his crewmates have testified to his courage under fire.  I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam.

    The fact that the swift boaters disagree with other witnesses and the official record puts the burden of proof on them, not the other way around. The fact that they were signing affidavits years afterwards makes their case even weaker. The fact that Elliot also recanted part of his affidavit doesn’t help. So the question is: why do you believe the swift boaters accounts over other witnesses, who had more direct experience with Kerry, and the official record which is more contemporaneous with the events?

    Furthermore, Harun Yahya claims that not a single transitional form has ever been found. He apparently offers a lot of money to any one who will present him such a fossil. He hasn’t paid the bet. Does that mean we haven’t found a transitional fossil?

    Comment by codesmithy — November 19, 2009 @ 8:29 am

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