Joseph Bowen wrote:
What would Ki be a metaphor for?
For a number of things in our body that we can not otherwise easily describe, I'd say. Some of the phenomena that is usually explained with the concept of ki can actually be descriped in pure physics. Is the exercise "the unbendeable arm" familiar? One person holds out his/her arm, and another tries to bend it. The arm gets stronger if the person is concentrenting on extending ki, than on resisting. Actually, while resisting with all one's might one tenses the muscels on both sides of the arm - the ones that bend the arm, but also those that straighten it. Thus one is fighting oneself. Just maintaining the shape of the arm, often most easily achieved by imagining something flowing through it - like ki, or water - is stronger since one only uses the muscles needed.
We could say "OK we know how this works and it isn't ki, so ki has nothing to do with it". If so, we have to adjust the definition of ki to a number of things in our body that we can not explain at all,
and everything that can be explained otherwise is removed from the concept of ki. Since I can not envision tensing one particular of these muscles, or both the groups, I find the concept ki useful here and would like to include the inbendebla arm way of handling the body in things that have to do with ki.