Life In The Fast Lane

Readers, what do you make of this?


  1. Kevin Kim says

    Typical Hindu legend. He’s taking in some sort of sustenance. Send him to America for better, more rigorous testing.

    In my coursework, I’ve encountered stories of gurus and yogis who supposedly could live for years on “light and air.” Bull, I say. When something like this happens in a superstition-prone country (as often happens in Korea, a country in which wild claims are distressingly common), it’s little different from wild-eyed Americans who claim to have witnessed a nature-defying miracle or to have just returned from an alien anal-probing experience.

    Life is magical enough, just as it is, without our having to invent more magic.

    Posted May 13, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    My sentiments too, of course.

    This wasn’t the post I expected you to comment on!

    Posted May 13, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Permalink
  3. Kevin Kim says

    What is there to say, really, about that other post? I obviously disagree with your position, but I don’t see that I’m going to convince you to change your opinion. Besides, I think this is ground we’ve already covered in some form or other — possibly in discussing Sam Harris and his accusations against religious “moderates,” pluralists, etc. I’ve written at length on that problem, both in the comments to your posts and on my own blog. Your post covers, I think, thematically similar ground.

    Or maybe it’s just that I’m back from a 3-day trip to upstate New York and am too tired to engage that topic.

    Posted May 13, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Fair enough.

    Hope you had a good trip!

    Posted May 13, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    I must say also that my earlier post is in no way meant to denigrate scholarly work of the sort you do, Kevin. I’m just pessimistic about the prospects of rapprochement.

    Posted May 13, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    And as for the story linked in this post, I wil say that I am certainly aware that in Indian tradition feats such as described here are considered not a particularly big deal; they would really be considered mere parlor tricks for a sufficiently advanced adept.

    But, following Hume, I must ask what is more likely: that someone is being flim-flammed here, or that a man can live without food or water? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and this is about as extraordinary as it gets.

    Posted May 14, 2010 at 12:04 am | Permalink
  7. Kevin Kim says

    Yes, I’d agree that Hume and Occam’s Razor are relevant here.

    Posted May 14, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink
  8. Gotta throw in a quick anecdote.. I recently came across a spiritual healer type who said she didn’t eat or drink, and that she was able to directly metabolize light for sustenance. So, I pressed her and said “so NOTHING passes your lips, like ever?”. Her response: “well, I sometimes drink tea and eat a biscuit, just because I don’t want to get addicted to not eating”. I bit my lip, hard and walked away.

    Posted June 1, 2010 at 12:38 am | Permalink