I find the section on language and scientific reductionism tremendously interesting.
Some working in so-called "internal strength" rely on the most likely older chinese concepts in order to have their discussions. But I wonder if we're not just replacing "low detail" mystical language with "highly detailed" mystical language. And by that I mean we have various terms for things we cannot explain and one methodology of attempting to communicate the ideas is using a more detailed language that itself is incomplete, misleading, and without basis. But it does "kinda" work in some sense of the word for those who train in the area.
I'm reminded of the old "aether wind
" theory in physics. I'll leave it to the reader to read up on it if they're not familiar with it, but it was a theory that was proposed to deal with many problems in physics. As a very basic idea the thought was that light was a wave and a wave needs *something* to propagate itself within -- this was the so-called aether or luminifeous aether. So this became part of the "knowledge" of the time and explained many things that were difficult to explain otherwise. It was a sort of "given" and much of physics of the time was couched with that concept underlying. Unfortunately, in the late 19th century Michelson and Morley did a famous experiment to measure the Aether and were shocked to find... Nothing. It took Einstein's theory of relatively to explain why. And everything changed...
I suppose what I'm getting at is that much of what is discussed in the context of internal strength isn't just what we might call "emotional" or "experiential" sense "data". We also seem to lack a good physical understanding of what might be happening physiologically. An example of what "might" be going on here would be discussions of fascia connections running the entire body used to consolidate and unify increasingly large "chunks" of the entire body to power movement and improve stability. I am not claiming this is *the* explanation or even part of it, but I'm trying to point to what I see as a tremendous lack of understanding of the very complex operations occurring physiologically.
So I suppose my comment is that while the entire discussion of phenomenology is really important (and no doubt the effect of "intent" on physiological states in a "trained" IS person), I think a critical component missing from our discussions is a more complete understanding of the physiology underlying these things. As I personally train in this stuff I must admit to feeling connections building inside my body. Feeling things even as mundane as "unbendable" arm now not just in my arm itself, not just in the "letting ki flow" ideas of "extending ki" (to use the less precise language), but also now feeling connection and pressure moving down my torso as I'm tested in to my center. And how I feel I can shift things almost imperceptibly internally in my torso to "project" and move my arm while being tested.
I am obviously having a hard time getting my idea in to words (rather ironically given the context), but I think that if we can come up with better theories on the internal workings along with a better and more nuanced understanding of the mechanics involved, that should allow us to hopefully remove the "placeholder concepts" (like the luminiferous aether in physics) from our discussions and hopefully develop a better language for understanding what's really going on (in the case of physics, Einstein's theory of relativity which had no use for the aether by altering our understanding of the nature of light).
But all that said... I'm in the middle or rereading a lot of my old philosophy books on language, so this is a particularly interesting topic for me. I just finished rereading all the Wittgenstein I had, reread a bunch of Nagel's work, a few of Searle's and am nowworking on "How To Do Things with Words" (Austin). Great stuff.
Oh, and Dr. Goldsbury, in rereading Wittgenstein's Tractatus, I must admit to finding his section on the notion of the "mapping" of our language and theories on the "world" as one of possibly many potentially "correct" mappings quite interesting. Like overlaying a square grid vs. a circular grid, both "map" the thing being mapped "accurately" but impose their own "structure" to some extent. And we mustn't confuse the method of mapping with the thing being mapped... Hard to put this concept in words, but I must say I reread these sections many times and have a vastly greater appreciation of what he was doing there...
Good stuff... Now to read it again... Dense... Packed... And then I'm going to go do my IS exercises...