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Old 12-06-2014, 10:39 AM
ziggydsw ziggydsw is offline
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Yogi Levitation, What physics need bent?

Let's say Yogis could levitate... what rules would need to be adjusted in order to accommodate the avoidance of Gravity?
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:45 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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That depends on how they're supposedly doing it. There are many ways, even ones allowed by the known laws of physics, to make something fly. None of them are accessible to a human without tools, but that's a problem of biology, not physics.
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:37 AM
Grumman Grumman is offline
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In order to levitate, you need two things: a means of projecting a force across an air gap, and either a means of controlling that force to keep yourself stable or for the force to automatically change in such a way that it keeps you stable. Without the latter you might be able to levitate - using opposing magnets, for example - but only for as long as it takes to get flung out of position in an undignified manner.
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:48 AM
ziggydsw ziggydsw is offline
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The modern Transcendental Meditation-ers belief they can “using the unified field” obtain levitation. What physics are they intending to circumvent?
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:58 AM
x-ray vision x-ray vision is offline
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Originally Posted by ziggydsw View Post
The modern Transcendental Meditation-ers belief they can “using the unified field” obtain levitation. What physics are they intending to circumvent?
First you'd have to tell us what "the unified field" means and it's relation to levitation. That just sounds like gibberish.

Last edited by x-ray vision; 12-06-2014 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:02 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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As an incidental, if you were somehow capable of cancelling gravity's effect on you, you'd still have to contain your own inertia and prevent being flung off in a straight line out to space.
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:34 PM
ziggydsw ziggydsw is offline
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“using the unified field” sounds like gibberish to me as well, but their argument (which I’m sure is better delivered by the TM-ers themselves) is that they will be able to Levitate.
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Old 12-06-2014, 01:20 PM
x-ray vision x-ray vision is offline
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How can anyone tell you what "physics are they intending to circumvent" when you admit that the method they label but don't explain sounds like gibberish?

If you want to "fly" straight up, the force that must be overcome is gravity. I assume you already know that, but I'm not really sure what more information you're looking for.
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Old 12-06-2014, 01:43 PM
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As an incidental, if you were somehow capable of cancelling gravity's effect on you, you'd still have to contain your own inertia and prevent being flung off in a straight line out to space.
Maybe that's the problem - people are successful at levitating, but we don't have the proof - as they are space junk (assuming death cancels out their powers). Actually I guess they'd die before space, so maybe we should be looking for dead yogis with impact injuries. And I guess it would be less of a problem when done indoors.
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Old 12-06-2014, 01:59 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
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The Ranger's not going to like this.
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Old 12-06-2014, 02:31 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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The Ranger's not going to like this.

Yogi Bear:
Boo Boo, you've tried to stop my brilliant ideas with common sense a thousand times. Has it ever worked?
Boo Boo: No.
Yogi Bear: Then... let's go-go-go!


[Splat!]

Last edited by GIGObuster; 12-06-2014 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 12-06-2014, 03:17 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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This actually appears to be a General Question since no one (thank Og), is arguing that it is a real phenomenon.

Off to GQ.
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Old 12-06-2014, 05:39 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Originally Posted by x-ray vision View Post
If you want to "fly" straight up, the force that must be overcome is gravity.
Actually, it's worse than that. Assuming they're not violating the conservation of mass-energy, which is central to every logically consistent theory, they're "turning off" gravity as it applies to them, and that runs into a serious problem with what gravity even is.

Gravity isn't a force. It looks and acts like a force, most of the time, but what it is is the result of what happens when you have some non-trivial amount of mass and/or energy in the same spot at the same time. (If you have a trivial amount, you technically get the result, but it's trivial, so nobody cares.) Spacetime gets warped, straight trajectories appear to take curved paths, and you get what we perceive as a force pulling us towards the center of our planet. I really like this YouTube video which shows what I mean.

My point is, gravity naturally falls out of both the fundamental nature of mass and energy as we know them and the fundamental geometry and trigonometry of spacetime. Negating that would require a pretty substantial re-write of what we think of as the bedrock of reality. For example: Gravity is intimately connected to why you cannot travel faster than light, and therefore why you cannot go back in time. Therefore, if someone were able to exempt themselves from gravity, they'd be able to go back in time.

Being able to float wouldn't necessarily require being able to make gravity somehow not apply to you, but if they claim they can make themselves immune to gravity, and floating is what they boast of, they're either complete imbeciles or liars who are just a bit untutored in modern physics. I know which way I'm betting.

So turning off gravity is out. How about pulling power out of their asses, in contradiction to mass-energy conservation? That's... not any better, from a logical standpoint. See, physics at the level of conservation laws is mathematical, and conservation laws are a mathematical consequence of the fundamental physical laws we test every day. In specific, a beautiful result called Noether's theorem states that whenever you can prove mathematically that some property of a system doesn't change as you change some variable of the system, there's a conservation law related to that property which applies to that system. For example, if the system doesn't change as you vary a location parameter, the system conserves linear momentum.

That's mathematical, which means it's logical. We really demand that our physics be logically sound; we're willing to give up common sense, but logical soundness must remain. (Hence quantum mechanics.) So, either these very well-verified physical laws go, or their claims do. The idea that physics is logically unsound to the point Noether's Theorem doesn't work isn't worth considering. Not on the kind of evidence they've brought, which is somewhere between "Nothing" and "Blurry video".

So, what physics would need to be revised if someone were able to float without mechanical help? All of it. Every part.
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Last edited by Derleth; 12-06-2014 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 12-06-2014, 05:54 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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“using the unified field” sounds like gibberish to me as well, but their argument (which I’m sure is better delivered by the TM-ers themselves) is that they will be able to Levitate.
Only phenomena that actually exist require an explanation. Can we first determine that there even is such a thing as yogic levitation, **then** go looking for an explanation for whatever it is we observe?
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Old 12-06-2014, 07:21 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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There was an amazing truly God-touched moment in my twenties when I traveled to India on a spiritual quest and as I slipped into a transcendent state his soothing voice told me to picture a container of woven reeds, holding snakes that represented all the problems of my life and to charm them, and as I approached the moment when my inner eye opened and all was made clear, he jokingly tapped me on the forehead and my concentration, and the insight, was lost.



I shall never forget that day: a yogi stole my epiphanic basket.
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Old 12-06-2014, 07:24 PM
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Sir, you win the Internet.
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Old 12-06-2014, 07:26 PM
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Only phenomena that actually exist require an explanation. Can we first determine that there even is such a thing as yogic levitation, **then** go looking for an explanation for whatever it is we observe?
You mean that I can't fanwank warp factors anymore?
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Old 12-06-2014, 07:48 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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Now that we are in GQ, it is true that turning gravity off is not in the Yogi's bag of tricks.

So other forces, under certain conditions, can be called.

One thing one can use is a large and powerful enough magnet.

http://www.slate.com/articles/busine...o_science.html
Quote:
Geim, a Russian-born Dutch and British citizen and a professor at the University of Manchester, and his colleague Konstantin Novoselov won the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics for their experiments involving the single-atom-thick material called graphene—the thinnest, strongest, most conductive material in existence. It is predicted to replace silicon and transform the electronics industry as we know it.

Compounding the honor of winning the Nobel is that Geim is the only scientist to date to win both a Nobel and an Ig Nobel, the award given to scientists for experiments so outlandish that they “first make people laugh, and then make them think.”
Quote:
Geim won the Ig Nobel in Physics in 2000 for levitating a live frog with magnets. “In my experience, if people don’t have a sense of humor, they are usually not very good scientists either,” he said. The image of the flying frog first made the rounds after its publication in the April 1997 issue of Physics World, though many assumed it was an April Fools’ Day prank. Most thought that water’s magnetism, billions of times weaker than iron, was not strong enough to counter gravity; the demonstration showed its true force.

Geim became curious about magnetism when he didn’t have the equipment to continue his experiments while working at Radboud University Nijmegen’s High Field Magnet Laboratory in the Netherlands. So one Friday evening he set the electromagnet to maximum power, then poured water straight into the expensive machine. He still can’t remember why he “behaved so unprofessionally,’” but he was able to see how descending water “got stuck” within the vertical bore. Balls of water started floating. They were levitating. He had discovered that a seemingly “feeble magnetic response of water” could act against Earth’s gravitational force.
No yoga required. Of course making a magnet big enough for a human would be very expensive, and I'm not sure of the side effects a human can encounter..

Video of the levitating frog:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOtT0gB-FLE
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Old 12-06-2014, 09:40 PM
Try2B Comprehensive Try2B Comprehensive is offline
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If you are going to reject yogic levitation, you also must reject Peter and Jesus walking on water.

Not many Bible literalists around here though.
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Old 12-07-2014, 12:20 AM
am77494 am77494 is offline
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If you are going to reject yogic levitation, you also must reject Peter and Jesus walking on water.

Not many Bible literalists around here though.
I do not see the connection here. Most hindus know and acknowledge that a lot of sadhus/yogis/holy-people are bogus. Many also believe the same of religious scriptures and books - that much of it is creative liberty of an imaginative mind anyways. Some hindus are atheists too.

In general reasoning / logic / religious beliefs of the Abrahamic religions are not congruent with eastern religions.
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Old 12-07-2014, 02:36 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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I knew a family that was heavily into this crap. They touted the health benefits of TM. Of course, anything that made you stop and do mind-numbing mental exercises to forget about the stress of your life for a half hour or more a day has to have some benefit.

For flying, the yogi-wannabees start by assuming that joint-hurting folded-leg position, then they start bouncing on a mat. (That's gotta hurt) Doug Henning the magician IIIRC was one of these, claimed to have seen the truly advanced yogis graduate from the bouncing phase to zooming around the room. Nothing like that is on Youtube, of course. The skeptic types claim that in the few actual demonstrations, these guys have learned to "jump" pretty well in this pose and are just bouncing around the room like they were working a bouncy castle.

Quote:
In the mid 1980s, Henning retired from the stage and had an increasing interest in Transcendental Meditation.[1] He received a Ph.D in the Science of Creative Intelligence from the Maharishi University in Switzerland.[18]

In 1992, Henning and Transcendental Meditation founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi drafted plans for a $1.5 billion-dollar project called "Maharishi Veda Land" near Niagara Falls, Ontario[1] that would "combine astonishing, unique visual and sensory effects, state-of-the-art 3D imagery, and ultra high-tech entertainment technology with his best and most original magic illusion secrets".[19] Attractions were to include a building suspended above water and a journey into the heart of a rose but as of 2000 the project's status was uncertain.[1]
As for the power of enlightenment...
Quote:
Henning died aged 52 in February 2000 at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles five months after being diagnosed with liver cancer.[1] His ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean off Redondo Beach, California.[4]

James Randi, a fellow Canadian magician and prominent skeptic, was critical of Henning's involvement with Transcendental Meditation (TM).[25] In 2008, Randi asserted in his blog, SWIFT, that TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had "caused the death of my friend Doug Henning".[26] He claimed that Henning had immersed himself so thoroughly in TM that he "abandoned regular medical treatment for liver cancer, continued to pursue his diet of nuts and berries, and died of the disease."[26]
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Old 12-07-2014, 03:57 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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That depends on how they're supposedly doing it. There are many ways, even ones allowed by the known laws of physics, to make something fly. None of them are accessible to a human without tools, but that's a problem of biology, not physics.
Well, let us put our minds to this, and propose various alternative theories about how yogis might be doing this, and then investigate what physics (or biology) would need to be adjusted to make it work. That is, we should first suspend disbelief in order to suspend a yogi.

I propose that it's biology, as Chronos suggests. There is a certain small amount of naturally helium in the air, and I think yogis develop the skill to selectively inhale relatively larger concentrations of this and less of the other gases. After a certain number of minutes of doing this (depending on their skill), they will have accumulated enough helium in their lungs to float. With sufficient practice and skill, they can control their altitude precisely, so that they can remain suspended just a foot or two above the floor, rather than floating up to the ceiling or (if outdoors) out into space.
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Old 12-07-2014, 04:12 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Nice, but the volume of helium required to lift a person is just a little more than will fit in the lungs.
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Old 12-07-2014, 04:14 AM
eburacum45 eburacum45 is offline
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Or they could have expanded their lungs to fill almost all of their bodies. You can fill your lungs with helium, and you will just weigh a few grams lighter than when you fill them with air. To float you'd need to be nearly hollow.

Last edited by eburacum45; 12-07-2014 at 04:15 AM.
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Old 12-07-2014, 04:22 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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That might work, even without the helium - turn yourself into a very thin film balloon representation of a human and you could push off from the floor and appear to float for multiple seconds at a time.
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Old 12-07-2014, 07:52 AM
Try2B Comprehensive Try2B Comprehensive is offline
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I do not see the connection here. Most hindus know and acknowledge that a lot of sadhus/yogis/holy-people are bogus. Many also believe the same of religious scriptures and books - that much of it is creative liberty of an imaginative mind anyways. Some hindus are atheists too.

In general reasoning / logic / religious beliefs of the Abrahamic religions are not congruent with eastern religions.
It seems like the same thing to me. The yogis are supposed to have... what, focus? spirituality? anyway, some quality that lets them defy gravity. In the case of Jesus and Peter, it is faith that causes them to defy gravity to walk on water. In both cases we gotta say, "nah, it doesn't work that way. Good ethics/karma doesn't ever counteract gravity".

It would be awesome if deep meditation could give you enough insight into reality to reverse gravity though, or if your religious beliefs could persuade God to suspend the attraction between the Earth and your mass. A little hokum makes for a provocative story. Advanced Buddhists are supposed to gain the power of levitation too (but they aren't supposed to use it )
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Old 12-07-2014, 10:59 AM
am77494 am77494 is offline
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It seems like the same thing to me. The yogis are supposed to have... what, focus? spirituality? anyway, some quality that lets them defy gravity. In the case of Jesus and Peter, it is faith that causes them to defy gravity to walk on water. In both cases we gotta say, "nah, it doesn't work that way. Good ethics/karma doesn't ever counteract gravity".
The observation was not about Yogis/Jesus/Peter - the observation was around how most people inside the faith approached the claims. In Abrahamic religions - the holy book/religious leaders or founders are all absolute and correct. In Eastern religions ,especially Hinduism, there is general acceptance among followers is that there is a fair amount of hokum and embellishment in the holy books and tales. Its not a deterrence to their faith.

Yogi is also a very loose term - literally it means a practitioner of Yoga. In most cases it means an enlightened person - the female yogi is called Yogini. Not trying to threadcrap and make this into a dissertation but yoga itself does not mean doing stretching exercises etc. A carpenter putting his heart and soul into her work is also an yogi - its equivalent to the concept of Flow. So in short - a person in Flow could be called a yogi.
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Old 12-07-2014, 11:05 AM
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Ninety percent of levitation is half mental.
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Old 12-07-2014, 11:15 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
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It seems like the same thing to me. The yogis are supposed to have... what, focus? spirituality? anyway, some quality that lets them defy gravity. In the case of Jesus and Peter, it is faith that causes them to defy gravity to walk on water.
Walking on water wouldn't becessarily require defying gravity, though it might require some other "physics-bending." There are insects that can do it.
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Old 12-07-2014, 11:58 AM
Section Maker:Jupe Section Maker:Jupe is offline
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Those "yogic" bouncing video clips around are pretty silly....they have contests for speed around the room etc....good workout I suppose!

I once got a free test many years ago, of those flotation tanks....extremely high salt content in the water gave you much more buoyancy......you felt like you were lying on TOP of the water, rather than in it....I've heard the Salton Sea feels the same.....

When I was a kid we would try and run across partially frozen shallow lakes, with the ice bowing under our feet.....kinda like walking on water Someone almost always broke through, filled up the boots, and home we went.
Probably not a good idea with deeper water...

Last edited by Section Maker:Jupe; 12-07-2014 at 12:00 PM. Reason: fix
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Old 12-07-2014, 12:06 PM
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Walking on water wouldn't becessarily require defying gravity, though it might require some other "physics-bending."
Or the simple expedient of freezing the water first.
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Old 12-07-2014, 12:19 PM
Try2B Comprehensive Try2B Comprehensive is offline
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a person in Flow could be called a yogi.
Ah, the state of walking on sunshine. Also physically impossible, but works great as a metaphor.
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Old 12-07-2014, 12:54 PM
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Assuming they somehow need to de-gravitize their component matter, they could maintain stability in their levitated space by de-gravitizing only as much of their mass as would equalize the weight of the atmosphere that they displace,and distributing their weight distribution. They would then become a body in the air that was at equilibrium, like a hot air balloon. If the fluid atmosphere remain free of drafts, they could learn to hover. That would solve the problems of flying off into space or bobbing unceremoniously.
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Old 12-07-2014, 01:48 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
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Ah, the state of walking on sunshine.
Great, now you've got that song stuck in my head.
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Old 12-07-2014, 01:59 PM
TreacherousCretin TreacherousCretin is online now
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Ninety percent of levitation is half mental.
Speaking of Yogi...
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Old 12-07-2014, 02:59 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Ah, the state of walking on sunshine. Also physically impossible, but works great as a metaphor.
Just as some animals can walk on water, some things can be supported by the pressure of sunshine, although you'd have to redefine "walking.". Gotta page a physicist on this one.
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Old 12-07-2014, 08:01 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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Ninety percent of levitation is half mental.
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Originally Posted by TreacherousCretin View Post
Speaking of Yogi...
"I'll believe it when I believe it." - Yogi Berra.
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Old 12-07-2014, 08:16 PM
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If levitation is done through manipulation of physical forces, then a scientific explanation would be required.
If your waterwalking depends on Divine forces (especially since Jesus is infinitely powerful [in the Bible ar least]), then bending/cancelling such physical forces is done through extraphysical means and science could not help us understand them.
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Old 12-07-2014, 08:16 PM
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To walk on water, you just need to add custard powder first.

I can't prove it, but could you levitate by continually releasing enormous farts?!
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Old 12-07-2014, 08:31 PM
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Sure, in principle, but then the problem is that humans are too heavy and insufficiently flatulent.
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Old 12-07-2014, 08:34 PM
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Or they could have expanded their lungs to fill almost all of their bodies. You can fill your lungs with helium, and you will just weigh a few grams lighter than when you fill them with air. To float you'd need to be nearly hollow.
I'm still thinking about this helium theory. Another possibility is the yogi could learn to compress and retain the helium in his lungs as he breathes in more and more of it, thus allowing him to get a whole lot more helium into his lungs.

Of course, in the correct physical world, compressing more helium into the same volume would just make it less buoyant, totally defeating the intended purpose. But this gives us a promising direction to our inquiry: Now we understand exactly what physical principal needs to be bent to make it work. We need to be able to compress more helium into a fixed volume without losing its buoyancy. That's all there is to it.
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Old 12-07-2014, 08:41 PM
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I thought that Eastern teachings were that once one could see past the "illusion" of physical reality, one could levitate. IOW, =miracle/not scientifically explainable.

I kinda asked this question in another thread I started: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=742762
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Old 12-07-2014, 08:44 PM
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I thought that Eastern teachings were that once one could see past the "illusion" of physical reality, one could levitate. IOW, =miracle/not scientifically explainable.
A warning though:
There once was a faith healer of Deal,
Who said "Although pain isn't real,
If I sit on a pin
and it punctures my skin,
I dislike what I fancy I feel!"
Don't let this happen to your compressed-helium-filled yogi.
  #44  
Old 12-07-2014, 11:03 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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That poem and the thread reminded me of a very old tale/joke/legend from China or India:

"Three monks decided to practise meditation together. They sat by the side of a lake and closed their eyes in concentration. Then suddenly, the first one stood up and said, “I forgot my mat.” He steeped miraculously onto the water in front of him and walked across the lake to their hut on the other side.

When he returned, the second monk stood up and said, “I forgot to put my other underwear to dry.” He too walked calmly across the water and returned the same way.

The third monk watched the first two carefully in what he decided must be the test of his own abilities. “Is your learning so superior to mine? I too can match any feat you two can perform,” he declared loudly and rushed to the water’s edge to walk across it.

He promptly fell into the deep water.

Undeterred, the yogi climbed out of the water and tried again, only to sink into the water. Yet again he climbed out and yet again he tried, each time sinking into the water. This went on for some time as the other two monks watched.

After a while, the second monk turned to the first and said, “Do you think we should tell him where the stones are?”"


While it is a funny joke, the lesson that should not be missed is that there are amazing feats out there that have mundane explanations, and sometimes the mundane explanation is that some things like walking on water or levitation never took place and are examples of tales that got better with the passing of time.
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Old 12-07-2014, 11:57 PM
Try2B Comprehensive Try2B Comprehensive is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
I thought that Eastern teachings were that once one could see past the "illusion" of physical reality, one could levitate. IOW, =miracle/not scientifically explainable.
Some Eastern teachings endorse the idea that the world is sort of an illusion without suggesting that one could levitate. Same school of thought says you can do better than yoga if you're into this kind of stuff. So, what you said there isn't cause-effect in either science or (all anyway) "Eastern teachings". It has to work some other way.
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:42 AM
Johnny Q Johnny Q is offline
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There's also the story of the man who spent ten years learning how to walk across the river. Only for the local Holy Man to point him toward the perfectly good bridge just a few yards downstream.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:22 PM
Corner Case Corner Case is offline
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It's perfectly simple - Yogis levitate precisely the way brinks don't. The first Yogis just learned to teleport up subatomic distances, but that was very difficult and caused many to overheat and spontaneously burst into flames. The more enlightened ones realized the basic nature of the uncertainty principle. D
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:35 PM
Corner Case Corner Case is offline
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Sorry, missed the edito window

It's perfectly simple - Yogis levitate precisely the way bricks don't. The first Yogis just learned to teleport up subatomic distances, but that was very difficult and caused many to overheat and spontaneously burst into flames. The more enlightened ones realized the basic nature of the uncertainty principle - DxDp³h/2 - meditation reduces momentum so there is greater uncertainty in the distance vector. The more they look down upon you, they higher they go.
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Old 12-09-2014, 12:17 AM
am77494 am77494 is offline
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In a strict sense - we are all levitating all the time since particles of our body cannot touch the particles of the floor due to electromagnetic repulsion. Our sense of touch is really a strain gauge of our skin.


As to Yogis - they come in all shapes and sizes - many are fake and are only there for the drugs - others are lost and trying to figure things out - a lot are mentally challenged. A very few and rare ones are enlightened and mostly seek seclusion. Conversations with one of these kind is very thought provoking. General rule of thumb - If the Yogi asks you to pay, he/she is fake.
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Old 12-09-2014, 12:36 AM
Urbanredneck Urbanredneck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Q View Post
There's also the story of the man who spent ten years learning how to walk across the river. Only for the local Holy Man to point him toward the perfectly good bridge just a few yards downstream.
See I dont see the reason or the fuss over levitating.

Yeah sure, a few have some sort of magical or demonic power but the most they levitate is a few inches anyways so what's the big deal. Plus it only lasts a short time, is not always certain to happen, and requires special meditation. So they cant just say levitate and fly off to somewhere.
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