Re: Ad Hominem
Sep 21, 1996 11:46 PM
Alan Bain writes>
>IMO the validity or otherwise of anyone's esoteric *ideas* is something
>that can only be tested by considering the ideas on their own merit.
>Now esoteric *claims* - that's another matter.
Richard Ihle writes>
I don't think we necessarily disagree in general. However, in my previous
post I tried to narrow it a little by saying, "and here I am especially
thinking of those subjects like "magic" which have an application to or
association with personal adeptship." It would seem to me that the "merit"
of at least some of the ideas--certain meditative, breathing, or
visualization techniques, for example--would show up in the life, character,
or abilities of the person who is passing them along.
I have heard of some approaches which require a decade or more of practice
before results show themselves. At the minimum, I would like to see that at
least one person has been able to get the promised results before I started.
I have more than once run into younger people who--simply because they have
read an Eastern book or two--are persuaded that they are on a path which will
eventually enable them to read minds, walk through walls, fly unaided by
aircraft to distant places etc. Maybe so. However, I am more the type of
person who would want ~someone else~ to fly in from somewhere, walk through
my walls, and present himself or herself as a living example of someone with
these attainments because they had read my mind and learned that I needed a
>Concerning your "test" question [". . . if a person intimates that they have
>preternatural powers, I start the questioning by asking them how much they
can bench >press. . ."], I cannot bench press at all - arthritis prevents
these days, but I was lousy at >it before. This is a disposition and an
ability or faculty which I possess in small >measure.
Sorry about the arthritis. The bench-pressing, of course, was just a
stand-in for the general category of developed abilities which could easily
be shown to someone else. Asking a person how good a psychic he or she would
usually be the type of question which represents the opposite category--i.e.,
who can really judge this ability in others, especially when they are
unwilling to tell you exactly where the S&P 500 will be tomorrow?
Your illustration about learning astrology even from someone with a
questionable life style was a good one. I agree with it. I certainly
couldn't level any "ad hominem" against astrology in general because of such
a person; rather, I might be merely tempted to taint
little. In other words, I would still want to learn astrology, but just not
in exactly the same way which produced him. Similarly I still want to learn
magic, but just not in exactly the same way which produced Aleister Crowley.
Thanks and Godspeed,
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