Special Guidelines for Viewing "The Mystery of Chi"


A handout entitled "Guidelines for Book-Film Responses" has been distributed previously, and is relevant for your response to "The Mystery of Chi."  Because this video,  like "Color of Fear" and "Dead Man Walking" will keep coming back in discussions in the program, and because it raises so many issues central to the program, I am distributing these additional guidelines to assist our reaching a common focus in discussion.


What do we learn about the power and limitations of dialogue from Dr. David Eisenberg's interactions with Chinese medicine and Chinese doctors?  Likewise from Bill Moyers' interactions with Chinese doctors and with Doctor Eisenberg?


On the midterm exam, you will be asked to analyze dialogue from films and videos we have seen.  Below are the passages from "Mystery of Chi" that will appear on the midterm.


1..  Bill Moyers: "What's this one?"

Dr. David Eisenberg: "These are deer antlers--deer stump of the antler shavings."

BM: "What would be the Western equivalent of this?"

DE: "I don't know. This is the shaving of a deer-antler.  How often do you find that in a hospital?"

BM:       "But do we know what the chemistry is in these herbs?"

DE:         "We really don't.  But the Chinese weren't interested in the chemistry as we know it.  They're not prescribed because of their active chemical ingredients. They're prescribed because one of them increases heat and one of them decreases stagnation of vital energy. That's the language that they use.  It has nothing to do with chemistry.  They see the body from a different viewpoint.  To them the body is based on energy, balance.  All these herbs--and this is where most of Chinese medicine happens--are prescribed based on this sense of energy in the body. `Chi' they call it.  `Chi'."



2.  Patient:  "I feel heat."

Dr. David Eisenberg: "Is it really heat?"

P:            "I really feel heat."

DE:         "Real or imagined heat?"

P:            "It's real heat.  The heat makes me feel very comfortable. And I feel like moving.  I move the uncomfortable parts of my body to make them feel more comfortable." 

DE:         "Is it difficult to learn?"

P:            "No.  But you must be confident and sincere.  If you're not serious, it won't work."



3.   Dr.David Eisenberg: "How do you project your chi?"

Chinese doctor: "That's a difficult question to answer. I'm reminded of a proverb: `Some things can be sensed not explained.'  In order to understand chi gong, you must first cross the threshold.  Once inside, then you can ask me questions."