Skeptic giggles on Indian national TV as mystic totally fails to curse him to death

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71 Responses to “Skeptic giggles on Indian national TV as mystic totally fails to curse him to death”

  1. Antinous says:

    Tantric magic is best known for its incorporation of sex.

    That is an uniquely Euro-American view of Tantra which utterly horrifies most Eastern tantrikas. A more classical view of Tantra might suggest that sex is pleasurable because it hints at spiritual ecstasy. When people describe Tantra as a sexual technique, it’s like referring to every table as a sex toy just because you got lucky in the dining room once. Yeah, you could use it for that, but it’s not really the point.

  2. tomrigid says:

    @Aaarrgghh,

    what if we never find proof of god’s existence — as would be the case if god did not in fact exist? is the atheist’s belief still a leap of faith?

    Many things will be clarified in the last days. For now, a position of absolute denial (of gods or fairies) isn’t warranted. There’s no evidence that they don’t exist. That doesn’t mean they exist, it just means we don’t need to think about it.

    I know the difference between belief and non-belief…it couldn’t be clearer. Perhaps faith is like Potter Stuart’s obscenity (“I know it when I see it”), but I can’t distinguish between the various flavors of non-belief (agnostic, atheist, skeptic, etc…). They all seem like atheism to me. Am I wrong?

    I’m not a believer, btw. I consider myself an atheist. If someone could put the Touch of Death on me…it would almost be worth them doing it just to know that it could be done. But it would be really unexpected. Am I a “Touch of Death” agnostic? I don’t think so…

  3. Jeff says:

    Padster123, I think the word is open to interpretation. For me, mysticism is way of seeing the Universe, a way of “knowing” that is not based on our normal way of experience. Mystical insight for me is all about cosmology and quantum theory. And I think years of meditation may have helped, but that may not be a requirement. I think you can be a mystic by finding meaning in a baby’s smile, or a flower or the perfect spring day. And what’s more mysterious than just being able to say “I”?

  4. BSD says:

    Tom@13:

    The belief is entirely explicable: neurology and psychology explains it quite nicely.

  5. Takuan says:

    people who BELIEVE that they will die from a curse occasionally do.

  6. jody says:

    have been working for a respected dark arts firm

    What, you’re an entertainment-industry lawyer?

  7. Antinous says:

    We weren’t looking for microwaves before then, were we? We’ve been looking for hard evidence of psi for practically millennia. We still don’t have it. There’s a really good reason for that.

    Unified Field Theory.

  8. tomrigid says:

    @XODARAP, #31…

    Example: In the debate about the existence of God, it is the AGNOSTIC, not the atheist, who is a skeptic. A skeptic, by definition, RESERVES judgment as to whether the fact in question is true or false.

    There are no agnostics. There are believers(going with faith where evidence will not take them) and non-believers(evidence only, everything else in the “I don’t know/don’t care category). Faith is a binary concept…you have it or you don’t.

    Agnosticism, as far as I can tell, was invented to let ambitious atheists join exclusive social clubs.

  9. zikzak says:

    Skeptics cling tenaciously (maybe desperately) to the one thing they’ve got figured out for sure: there is no such thing as magic.

    It’s true there’s no such thing as magic, but skeptics feel the need to build an entire identity, almost a philosophy around being certain of that fact. Skepticism as an identity eschews uncertainty – the glory is in having unshakeable certainty in the validity of science, and proving that to others.

    I often wonder how skeptics react to the uncertainty that remains in our world. I imagine they don’t like to think about it, which is a shame and a loss for them. Being right isn’t everything. There are still many aspects of our world where being clueless and mystified is the most rewarding attitude.

  10. aguane says:

    Takuan @15

    I’d be willing to bet that 100% of them do.

  11. Antinous says:

    Since I am a tantrika, I would like to mention that Tantra is supposed to be about evolution of consciousness, not giving people the evil eye. This guy is to Tantra what Ashton Kutcher is to Qabala: someone who’s taken a philosophy and turned it into a superstition. Oh, wait, that pretty much describes all organized religions, doesn’t it. This guy would be regarded in India just like the ‘voodoo priestess’ at the local head shop. Educated Hindus would scorn him, and uneducated ones would give him their grocery money for amulets and love potions.

  12. Debashish says:

    It’s a win-win deal for the trashy news channel as well as the Tantrik. People will still watch this channel and visit this Tantrik when in distress and when medicines & situations fail them.

  13. Takuan says:

    nahh… there have to be some that get so sick they can’t keep the self-killing belief up long enough to finish the job.

  14. RexRhino says:

    Don’t you folks know, here are the rules about this sort of thing in the boing boing crowd:

    It is only cool to laught at Creationists and Christian superstitious idiocy! You see, creationists tend to be declasse American rednecks, and it is very important to posture against creationism, to show people that you are not white trash!

    However, Tantricks are a little bit ‘ethnic’, and a little bit ‘new agey’. By believing in this type of crap, you can show other members of the white upper class that you are ‘multicultural’ and ‘educated’ because you know about ‘exotic’ religious traditions… and polytheistic traditions are more easily assimiliated into New Age low-commitment ‘buy my book’ consumer capitalist ‘spirituality’.

  15. jody says:

    occult engineers

    The oxymoron of the century!

    I wrote about this a few days ago. Some commenters from India speculate that Sanal Edamaruku arranged it all as a PR stunt, as some folks in that country are wont to do when religion is involved.

  16. sg says:

    #20: wish we got more of that here. Might keep the jesus-freaks from trying to take over the school systems.

  17. aarrgghh says:

    “many things will be clarified in the last days.”

    now there’s a 50-story leap of faith for you …

    “for now, a position of absolute denial (of gods or fairies) isn’t warranted. there’s no evidence that they don’t exist.”

    you do understand that it’s impossible to prove a negative? which is why this line of reasoning is not a plausible — and therefore rational — argument for even the possible existence of entities (fairies?!?) or forces for which we have no positive evidence. at best it’s fodder for children’s books and hollywood movies, but not for serious debate.

  18. jody says:

    @ Antinous: It’s more like this: psi doesn’t exist as anything near what its believers want it to be.

  19. tomrigid says:

    @#45, TENN…

    Atheists say there is no God.
    Theists say there is a God.
    Agnostics say there may or mayn’t be a God, but they cannot know.

    Any “atheist” who claims to know “there is no God” is a believer, I think. How could you hold such a view without a leap of faith?

    If an ‘agnostic’ says “may or mayn’t” they’re non-believers. Not deniers, not “give me Godlessness or give me death” militant enemies of faith, but…atheists. There’s nothing in-between, regardless of our desire to avoid the stigma of atheism by inventing new terms.

    Agnostics are a waste of good vocabulary.

  20. Jeff says:

    Awarness @ 49: Good post. Exactly. The kind of mystisism that is earned by scientific exploration is the best sort. IMHO.

  21. Antinous says:

    psi doesn’t exist as anything near what its believers want it to be

    Hmm. You could replace ‘psi’ with ‘US democracy’ and that sentence would still work quite nicely.

    My only point is that born-again skeptics frequently believe that nothing exists until it has been proven scientifically. I have two problems with that approach. One, it’s past-based and discourages pushing the envelope of known science, so it’s ultimately suppressive. Two, we may formulate theories that are very likely true but can never be proven experimentally, for instance at the sub-sub-sub-atomic or macro-universal level. Skepticism should be a tool, not a religion.

    Saying that we’ve been looking for proof of psychic phenomena for millennia to support your position is specious. You can’t argue that we have to use the scientific method and then base your case on what people were doing in the middle ages. That’s talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    Probably the vast majority of existing phenomena have yet to be even imagined, let alone proven. Do you utterly repudiate the idea of other dimensions? Most physicists take that notion in stride. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt on in your philosophy, and mine.

  22. TooGoodToCheck says:

    Has this been verified at all? The story has been getting a lot of traction, but the original source always seems to trace back to the same single article from the Rationalist International.

    I tried to check the India TV website, but got nothing. Shouldn’t this be getting more mainstream news coverage if it is for real?

    I’m not saying that I’m sure that this is a hoax – more just that it seems very weakly sourced. I’d love to see independent confirmation.

    I really _want_ this story to be true, but there are aspects of it that feel implausible. Magicians generally don’t maintain their mystique by holding themselves up for public scrutiny under controlled circumstances.

  23. Jeff says:

    Chris L @#9, you can assume that. I write about the subject and have spent years looking into it. Very interesting stuff. Do you like the term Occult Engineer? I tried to make up a term that would have a more scientific ring to it.

  24. Earth Man says:

    Moon @ #12: Don’t know if you meant it that way but I love the term “cow-orkers.”

    A former skeptic, I believe in more “occult” stuff that I used to, having “seen some shi*t that would turn your face white!”

    There are many things in the world once thought to be magical that have been explained by science, and I don’t see a reason why there shouldn’t still be things to discover in that regard. Just look at acupuncture, which relies on the notion of energy flow and meridians, or yoga and its reliance on chakras. Despite modern medicine’s inability to codify such things,the consensus is that yoga, acupuncture, tai chi and chi kung all work in the way that they claim to.

    However, I draw the line at death curses and such silliness; I agree with comments above that true practitioners wouldn’t participate in such sensationalist nonsense.

  25. arkizzle says:

    “To automatically assume that these forces do not exist is as irrational as to automatically assume that some formulaic “death curse” possesses true force, energy or power. ”

    Aware:
    It’s hardly “automatic” if we have never encountered the results of such, after actively seeking for some time. No one has seen proof of these things, so why would I overburden myself to be accepting until I’m shown otherwise?

    TomRigid:
    I don’t agree. The postive holding of a belief which cannot be proven (faith) is not the same as rejecting the same view because of a lack of evidence, atheism is more akin to indifference in this respect.

    Does it take a “leap of faith” to NOT believe in the tooth fairy or leprecauns? Of course not, it is simply rational. Until you show me either, I will continue to assume they do not exist.

    And sorry to all the tooth fairy fans.. I know ther are some on this board :)

    Jeff:
    Was that well disguised sarcasm, or is that really the overriding message you got from what Aware wrote?

  26. Antongarou says:

    Zikzak @16:Skeptics aren’t afraid to admit they don’t know.They just expect the people who try to convince them in the existence of a phenomenon that has piles of evidence going against it to provide some evidence of their own.

    I’m a neural science undergraduate, a skeptic and an atheist.One of the things I like to hear from my lecturers:”I don’t know”, “It’s controversial”, etc.Why?Because it shows me these lecturers have enough intellectual honesty to tell me the limits of their knowledge, and of the current knowledge in the field.

    To me, magic is the exact counter of wonder and admission of ignorance: the “magician” claims to know the forces he’s dealing with well enough that he can manipulate them at will.No magician I ever saw/heard about was willing to say “I don’t know”.They claimed “mystery” but mystery is very different- it implies that the initiated knows, and only the uninitiated are ignorant.

  27. vjinterkosmos says:

    #12: Second that – except my workmates learned every time they hear me giggling they sigh “just some geeky joke from BB we’re not going to get so let’s not bother this guy” :D

  28. jody says:

    I tried to make up a term that would have a more scientific ring to it.

    Bwahahahahaha! Classic!

  29. funeralpudding says:

    @#7: Another sign somebody is fake and not a true occult engineer is if they start calling themselves something like “occult engineer”

  30. subtlesquid says:

    zikzak you fail to understand something quite central to scientific understanding. That being that nothing is true in a real sense. There are only theories and models, some of which or demonstrably more predictive than others. If a better, read more predictive, model comes along the old less useful model is abandoned with out sentiment.

    So, there is no identity based on clinging to the notion that the supernatural is untrue. There is simply the knowledge that no concept of the super natural has ever been shown to adequately predict real world phenomenon. While those who claim to wield supernatural powers have repeatedly been shown to be frauds.

    It is the skeptic, devoid of baseless explanations for the world, who can truly sit in awe of the great immensity of the unknown. While the believer denies the unknown, clouding much of it with assertions.

  31. Xodarap says:

    Sigh… Whether it’s been encouraged by popular usage, I don’t know, but there are some serious problems here with understanding what it means to be a SKEPTIC.

    Example: In the debate about the existence of God, it is the AGNOSTIC, not the atheist, who is a skeptic. A skeptic, by definition, RESERVES judgment as to whether the fact in question is true or false. They fail to believe ANYTHING completely (unless sufficiently justified), including the opposite of the proposition.

    There is a big difference between
    (SKEPTIC): “I don’t believe that you can curse me to death.”
    (CYNIC): “I believe that you can’t curse me to death.”

    The skeptic doesn’t know and waits to find out. Of course, they are often smug, but that’s because they tend to have an incredible disdain for those who do believe things without sufficient justification; NOT because the skeptic believes (positively) the opposite of the other person (at whom the skeptic is likely laughing).

    That said… #10 got it right. ;)

  32. jody says:

    There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt on in your philosophy

    But there is still not a shred of evidence that psi as it is imagined exists at all outside the imaginations of its believers. What’s important to remember is that folks have been trying to prove psi for centuries. Those things we haven’t dreamt yet are things we have decidedly NOT being trying to prove.

  33. Tenn says:

    Tomrigid

    No agnostics? I’m terribly sorry then, I’ll go about purging a friend or two of mine who are pretty certain they qualify as ‘agnostic’.

    Atheists say there is no God.
    Theists say there is a God.
    Agnostics say there may or mayn’t be a God, but they cannot know.
    Nontheists say there may or mayn’t be a God, but he’s likely not messing with the universe, and it may be impossible to determine, so they don’t concern themselves with the quest.

    I fall under the last two, really. I don’t actively disbelieve in a God- the idea of heavens or another plane with a God in them is very Schroedinger’s cat to me.

    Like the nonobserver of Schroedinger’s cat, I do not know- but I do not deny that there may well be one.

    I don’t know much about Tantrika etc, but I do know that the occurrence of vodun zombii can be explained by herbs and medicines. Not exactly magic- but occult that works.

  34. jody says:

    Saying that we’ve been looking for proof of psychic phenomena for millennia to support your position is specious

    I’m confident that shamans of various cultures have been trying to prove (or more accurately, fake) their powers for at least 5000 years, and I believe it’s not far-fetched to say it has been for much longer than that.

  35. fnc says:

    And then there’s apatheism, in which the, oh who cares.

  36. tomrigid says:

    @Arkizzle,

    Wait, if atheism is indifference then what is agnosticism? Is it like coming home to find a pie in the oven, where you can sort of smell it and it looks really sweet but you have no idea what’s inside?

    Isn’t faith an either/or position? Where’s the middle ground? And don’t give me that Atheists deny the existence of God/Fairies/Libertarians bit…I don’t take any negative positions and I don’t have to defend them.

    I like pie, btw.

  37. Christovir says:

    What this story fails to mention is that Skeptics automatically get +4 on their Save vs Death rolls.

  38. aarrgghh says:

    any “atheist” who claims to know “there is no god” is a believer, I think. How could you hold such a view without a leap of faith?

    i’m holding a ball. i “claim to know” that the ball will hit the ground if i release it. is this a leap of faith? maybe. the only way to know for sure — and to prove my believe was not a leap — is to release it.

    but what if i don’t release it, never proving my claim? is my belief still a leap of faith?

    what if we never find proof of god’s existence — as would be the case if god did not in fact exist? is the atheist’s belief still a leap of faith?

    or does the plausibility of one’s belief — not the belief in and of itself — determine whether it is a leap of faith?

    if so, i would therefore conclude that my belief that the ball will hit the ground — even if i never release it — is not a leap of faith.

    so the nut of the matter is not whether god exists, but whether it is plausible, and therefore rational to believe so.

  39. Tom says:

    I was, of course, being sarcastic about persistent belief in “real fakers” being inexplicable. The great thing about text as a medium of communication is that it uses so little bandwidth. The terrible thing about text as a medium of communication is that it uses so little bandwidth.

    Sceptics have good reason to be in a state of disbelief with regard to the implausible propositions put forth by various failed mystics (a true mystic knows the mystery is impenetrable–a failed mystic believes they have the solution). Science as a communal activity, and the Bayesian reasoning behind it, is universally applicable. Failed mystics, when studied systematically, have always been unable to achieve any significant increase in the posterior probability of the proposition, “This person has some power that is not utterly mundane.” For greater clarity, “lying” and “self delusion” would both count as “mundane powers”.

    We know, from other perfectly ordinary evidence, that a proposition that fails to increase in plausibility after many attempts has in fact decreased plausibility. When a proposition becomes implausible enough, it engenders a state of disbelief, and rightly so.

    Even modest consistency in thought requires us to disbelieve the claims of failed psychics. Otherwise we would be opening the gates of belief to a vast array of wildly implausible propositions, and it would not be cognitively efficacious to do so.

  40. CitrusFreak12 says:

    I really wish people would lay off occult engineers. I had a double major in occult engineering and necromantical science, went to grad school, and have been working for a respected dark arts firm for the past five years.

  41. arkizzle says:

    Tenn, I’ll add to your list:

    Antitheist: down with God!

  42. Chris L says:

    @#31 For me, the problem with agnosticism is that many treat the god question as a true or false question. Either there is a god or there isn’t. But the question does not take into account the fact that our idea of god may be an outright wrong assumption. Why god and not goddesses? Why god and not various demigods and demons? Why god and not “the force?” The possible “yes” answers are only limited by what the human mind can imagine but the physical evidence for any of these have been conspicuously missing.

    In all likelyhood, the idea of god that we’re fence sitting is nothing like what the actual “god” element of the universe is like. At best, the idea of god has been a placeholder for the mysteries of the world around us that we have yet to solve. IE lighting coming from Zeus.

    I’ll admit that there might be aspects of the universe we live in that will always be beyond our comprehension, but those aspects would still be of the universe and not metaphysical in nature. I’m not about to call whatever it is “god.”

  43. colonel gentleman says:

    RexRhino @ 19 –

    Now that Boing Boing has started mocking other religions I guess you’ll have to go elsewhere to be persecuted. Now dry those tears!

  44. Awareness says:

    There are some who feel and direct life or other energies at others but few with this kind of ability would direct energies to harm someone. That is black magic and no matter how effective one thinks they are, all forces that you put out from your center will return to it, albeit in different forms.

    To automatically assume that these forces do not exist is as irrational as to automatically assume that some formulaic “death curse” possesses true force, energy or power. Most who are aware of these forces only intend for positive results to be effected by same. For a skeptic to expect proof for forces and effects that are directly influenced by the BELIEFS of the experimenter studying these phenomena is proof of profound ignorance of these subjects. If the experimenter is reductionistic (as most scientist’s are), guess what, the real results will never show up. Here you have a minimum of two forces, one generated by the individual consciously directing energies and then the other force generated by the skeptic(s) unconsciously directing counter forces. And, as we know from our general psychology, that it is generally unconscious forces that are stronger than conscious forces, so…this is one possible explanation for the dearth of replicable evidence in these areas. Approaching these questions without these kinds of considerations is to assume that reality is a certain way that you believe it to be, rather than allowing reality to show what it actually is through proof and evidence. Never call an individual’s awareness or experience of life or other energies anecdotal again, as it is not.

    To observe a living human being and then to observe a lifeless corpse and then to conclude that there in no animating principle is absurd. To envision human beings existing at all without a spiritual principle is impossible as it is truly engaging in magical, mystical or wishful thinking.

    Yeah, sure, chemicals generally do spontaneously form themselves into complex patterns of organization (Just ask any chemist!). To conceive of complex patterns of particles of energy just coming together over billions of years to form human beings, when nothing observable on this Earth supports the facts of free-standing, self-organizing beings existing independently of a central organizing principle of action.

    Observation, common sense with just a touch of philosophy compels only one logical conclusion and it is that our whole physical system must be organized by frequencies of information. Just because science hasn’t developed the instruments to measure these forces means nothing. Every living being is just such an instrument providing physical proof of the action of life-energies. All the so-called skeptics need to do is what is expected of any scientist and that is to OBSERVE REALITY, NOTE THE FACTS AND FORM REASONABLE HYPOTHESES BASED ON THOSE FACTUALLY BASED OBSERVATIONS.

    Never assume that an individual with a spiritual perspective on life and reality has not based their own conclusions squarely on an empirical, an experiential and a rational basis. Scientist’s are no different than many in religion, in that they both have beliefs but how many of the beliefs of the science of today, will square up with the facts of the science of tomorrow? That is the question!

  45. jody says:

    To automatically assume that these forces do not exist is as irrational as to automatically assume that some formulaic “death curse” possesses true force, energy or power.

    To automatically assume that the contents of one’s subjective perceptual envelope indicate anything other than the assumptions and beliefs of the subject’s own mind is quite a bit more irrational than rejecting mythologically-based ideas that have never been proven in an acceptable experimental design. There’s a really good reason parapsychology is a dead science.

  46. Tom says:

    Awareness @49: Not all scientists are reductionists, and not all people who have engaged in scientific study of people who claim to be able to direct “life or other energies” are sceptics.

    You claim (correctly) that no one has ever been able to reliably observe any psychic phenomena under conditions where valid statistical inferences about the existence of novel powers can be made. But you say this is the case because some people lack the requisite beliefs. This argument is trivially fallacious on purely logical grounds, but it is also false on empirical grounds. The researchers at the Rhine Institute, to take one example of many, were by no means sceptical reductionists. Yet they failed to produce any proof of the existence of psychic powers.

    Also, what about ex post facto analysis? If there are all these psychics running around in the world, and they are as powerful as all that, they should have some effect. Surely a sceptic coming along next year won’t sap them of their mysterious powers today? If that were the case, then the mere intent to study psychic phenomena by anyone anywhere could bring all psychic activity everywhere to a halt… hey, maybe it’s already happened!

  47. serpent says:

    Not easy to kill a skeptic.

  48. Jason Pitzl-Waters says:

    Rather than get into the subject of defending or decrying those who believe in the reality of magical powers, what I’d like to know is who Pandit Surinder Sharma is in the context of Indian society. “Famous Indian tantrick” can mean a lot of things. Is he the Indian equivalent of Sylvia Brown? Are other, conceivably more sensible, Indian tantricks sitting at home shaking their heads ruefully, knowing they’ll have to put up with uppity atheists inviting them to put death curses on them?

  49. noen says:

    Grant Morrison probably fancies himself as an occult engineer. What happens I think is that when intelligent people get into these things what they are searching for constantly recedes from them. Until at some point their field of study becomes non falsifiable. It is at that point that people take different paths.

    The con artists will then keep developing their con while those who have a bit more integrity will start to fill in the blanks with humanistic values. That is why there is still much of value in the various religious traditions. The magical reality they are based on is false but the social and cultural values they hold have worth and even ought to be given some respect.

    @ #5 javitrino
    Sorry hun but no, science is not a “modern religion”. Religion and science are two completely different things.

    @ #16 zikzak
    You imagine wrong, I love having my world view challenged. I enjoy reading about real mysteries like the Pioneer 10 anomaly. Now that’s exciting! Unfortunately every so-called mystery that I have looked into falls apart and is easily explained once you get good data.

  50. Kyle Armbruster says:

    …sensible tantricks…

    Let’s just let that hang there for awhile…

  51. angryhippo says:

    My mojo is so strong that I *guarantee* that anyone I curse will eventually end up deceased. Someday. Possibly waaay in the future.

    On a side note if the skeptic dies of a heart attack or stroke or anything in the next few months or so, will the tantrick be charged with murder or will he deny it was his doing?

  52. Stacyj says:

    Of course, when -ever- this guy does actually die now, be it tomorrow or forty years from now, I would imagine Pandit Surinder Sharma will claim victory – some of them thar death spells just take a little while to set in, don’t you know …

  53. javitrino says:

    with “tantrick” you imply that the guy is a trickery master? maybe he has a “fake tan” (tan – trick)? so, he might use the sprayed tan thing? is he really scandinavian?

    well, anything goes with magicians… hehehe…

    of course there are lots of things we don’t understand yet, so we call it “magic” (don’t confuse with superpowers). the modern religion is science, the cosmogonic wiew that conforms our conception of the world, the way we percieve it and act to it.

    there’s no need to say that science doesn’t have all the answers, but it really is a good approach to this “understanding” of our reality. maybe the problem is when we transform “religion” into the magic show or the superpowers displayed in a manga-like epic…

    is it a matter of language?

  54. Glossolalia Black says:

    “Bart, don’t use the Touch of Death on your sister.” – Marge Simpson

  55. Antinous says:

    rejecting mythologically-based ideas that have never been proven in an acceptable experimental design

    So….does that mean that microwaves didn’t exist before 1888?

  56. Jeff says:

    To Quote the Master Frank Herbert:

    This is the awe-inspiring universe of magic: There are no atoms, only waves and motion all around. Here, you discard all belief in barriers to understanding. You put aside understanding itself. This universe cannot be seen, cannot be heard, cannot be detected in any way by fixed perceptions. It is the ultimate void where no preordained screens occur upon which forms may be projected. You have only one awareness here–the screen of the magi: Imagination! Here, you learn what it is to be human. You are a creator of order, of beautiful shapes and systems, an organizer of chaos.

    –Atreides Manifesto,

    Bene Gesserit Archives

  57. Jeff says:

    Real magicians of the occult sort don’t usually go around bragging about what they can do. That’s usually a sure sign that they are fakes and not true occult engineers.

  58. Takuan says:

    what would have been REALLY funny would have been him dropping dead right there on the air. Can you imagine the look on the curser’s face?

  59. Takuan says:

    just the Panasonics

  60. Mengele says:

    Real magicians of the occult? :3

  61. Caroline says:

    RexRhino @ 19, I encourage you to actually read the comment thread and possibly adjust your assumptions about “the boing boing crowd.”

  62. Chris L says:

    @#7 ah yes, and I assume you’ve met “true” occult engineers. (Which, by the way, sounds like a job a dead person would hold in the “BeetleJuice” afterlife.)

  63. padster123 says:

    Would anyone care to define “mysticism”?

    Seems to me that “mysticism” and the scientific method are mutually exclusive.

    Now, if by “mysticicism” you mean the warm fuzzy feeling you might get from looking at some Hubble images, or thinking about, like, sexy wierd quantum stuff then, yeah. Maybe. Whatever.

  64. airshowfan says:

    Yeah, y’know, the ones who make a living off of James Randi’s money…

  65. billy says:

    soon….very soon…..

  66. Mark Temporis says:

    In occultism, Tantric magic is best known for its incorporation of sex. In a more prosaic sense, it’s major selling point/use is the ability for men well-trained in tantra to hold their orgasm for a very long period of time.

    Sting, for one (the musician, not the wrestler) has claimed to last as long as seven hours at a stretch using such techniques.

    So, yeah, most tantrics probably have better things to do than cast death spells. ;-)

  67. jody says:

    So….does that mean that microwaves didn’t exist before 1888?

    We weren’t looking for microwaves before then, were we? We’ve been looking for hard evidence of psi for practically millennia. We still don’t have it. There’s a really good reason for that.

  68. Moon says:

    #3, I burst into laughter when I read that and cow-orkers came running over, because I SELDOM laugh or even smile at work.

    :D

  69. ill lich says:

    #30 SUBTLESQUID :

    “It is the skeptic, devoid of baseless explanations for the world, who can truly sit in awe of the great immensity of the unknown. While the believer denies the unknown, clouding much of it with assertions.”

    Wow.

  70. Tom says:

    Real magicians of the occult…

    Not totally clear what “real fake” means. A fake who believes their own fakery?

    In any technological endeavour there are simple tests to determine capability. Software developers write code. Architects build buildings. Engineers build machines. Doctors heal.

    Statistical analysis is capable of teasing out the most subtle effects, and the curve from “barely works at all” to “commonplace in undergraduate laboratory courses” is frequently less than a decade.

    All phenomena that are even remotely real–including quantum entanglement, which doesn’t even take place in space-time as we know it–are susceptible to analysis and repeated, routine, laboratory demonstration.

    The persistent belief that there are “real magicians of the occult”, if by “real” one means “have operational efficacy” is the only truly inexplicable phenomenon.

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