On Thursday the 3rd, in the middle of a discussion of Nikola Tesla, a coworker asked rather suddenly, “What do you think about Ch’i?”
My reply was succinct: “Um…”
He proceeded to tell me that one who has mastered the art of the Ch’i can move and levitate objects by power of thought alone; that is, without making physical contact. Telekinesis. And he kept asking me how I thought it could be done as “a real thing. No wires or any kind of trick like that.”
He was joking. Probably he thought my story about Tesla inadvertently creating a Manhattan earthquake with a small electrically-driven mechanical oscillator spurious (it is not) and decided to see how well I could differentiate fact from fantasy in even more incredible reports. I never once wondered if Ch’i might be authentic, but he was so deadpan in in his delivery that I began trying to find away of saying this that wouldn’t completely estrange him if he did indeed take the concept seriously.
(As an aside, our resident mystical agnostic interjected drolly that he didn’t know if someone could actually levitate an object by mental exertion but “maybe reduce it by a gram or two.”)
Finally, our Ch’i authority broke out laughing. To the room, “He’s never seen ‘Tai Chi Master.’” To me, “You need to go rent that movie!”
As I understand it, the “Ch’i” in Tai Ch’i comes from a word also transliterated as “Ji” and means “unsurpassed,” while the “Ch’i” that means our Lucas-like life force is often transliterated “Qi.” For all I know (mysticism is for the most part not my area), Ji and Qi are completely unrelated words, but it still happens that Qi is a central concept of Tai-Ji.
As I said, on Thursday I was completely unconvinced of a Qi’s ability to either lower an object’s mass or to block the earth’s gravitational influence upon an object of constant mass. Actually, I wasn’t about to accept the existence of a Qi or anything like it at all (despite a working knowledge of Tesla’s own enthusiasm over photographic evidence of a “Kirlian field” generated by living matter).
That was Thursday. Today, however, I stood on the medical-grade scale that our club of health nuts uses in the company lunchroom to document weight loss. As I stood on said scale, I was able to make the weight reading rise or fall at will by at least twenty pounds. This was without stepping off or shifting my weight, which I can prove by doing the same thing with an inanimate object rather than myself. (The twenty-pound difference between weights functions as a percentage of the object’s overall mass, and as such I am still unable to actually cause said object to become weightless.)
I’m not being sarcastic when I say that this gag may be on par with those of the great physicist/prankster Dick Feynman. This is going to be classic!
Tomorrow I am scheduled to give a demonstration of my Qi power to various coworkers. The Fitness Squad should be on hand to explore this new method of weight loss.