There are multiple fields of knowledge that are very hard to learn about and where it's hard to find a rational person to give you good answers about the field of knowledge. 

I want to start this thread to give people the opportunity to request expertise in certain domains that they want to know more about but have a hard time finding good sources on. 

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I'd really love a friendly, narrative-style introduction to military history or space travel. (Audio, video, book, blog, in-person infodumping, all welcome.)

I have simple questions like "what are the parts of a rocket and how do they work?" and "what actually made Napoleon a great general?" and would like a level of depth that's higher than children's books but lower than Wikipedia.

Chakra's as a fake framework

Various yoga traditions use the concept of chakra's. I don't practice any yoga but I'm generally interested in understanding the major concepts that are around. In my quest to understand what the concept is supposed to mean I was meeting more weirdness than I expected in the beginning.

If there's any fellow rationalists who considers chakra's a useful concepts for themselves (even as a fake framework in which they don't really believe)?

If so, I would love to hear from you and if you don't like it to be public knowledge you can contact me via PM and I won't divulge your identity.

Chakra stuff that seems empirically true to me:

*The pelvic floor (first chakra) is connected to the emotional sense of safety. You instinctively tighten it when nervous and relax it when secure.

Learning to feel and move your pelvic floor is useful; the correct way to push in childbirth is to tense your abs but relax your pelvic floor, and having practiced this a lot beforehand was helpful for me since it's counterintuitive for most people.

*Your abs (roughly third chakra) are obviously connected to willpower and strength, since you use them for all full-body challenging exercises. There's a similar tight connection between *feeling* willful and tightening those muscles as there is between feeling safe and loosening the pelvic floor.

*I suspect that there's a "softening" thing you can do with your lower belly/hips (second chakra) that has a similar emotional connection to feelings of vulnerability. I'm less confident about this, though; I am "bad at" second chakra in some sense. (Pregnancy made it clear to me that I'm worse than average at feeling sensations in my uterus.)

In general, I believe that muscles and emotions are pretty tightly linked. There are times when the only way to move a muscle in a particular tricky way is to evoke an emotion, and there are times when the only way to evoke an emotion is to move (or clench or unclench) in a particular way.


This matches Daniel Goleman from. His book emotional intelligence. There's a link between Physiological state and emotional state. And it goes in both directions.

This is evident when you can calm down by concentrating on your breathing. Among other examples.

Spurred on by your willingness to consider the anatomy of your body and it's connection to what you experience ... Try focusing on: the 5 main muscles made easy as you move (and rest). Build the connection, feel for their relative state and positioning.

I've come to believe chakras are trying to describe the feeling/experience of the body when it is being used 'correctly' and that these muscles are the key - if I can just get a few people to give it some thought.

Working with these muscles, regaining my range of movement and releasing the tensions both physical and mental has made life so much better.

It seems to me like you consider conscious proprioception something important that has little description in mainstream writings and then mix all kind of different perspectives on the subject together.

From my perspective there are a bunch of different traditions that have their own views on the subject and I don't think it's useful to muddy all the different ways together.

When I ask myself what I consider important ...

It is getting the message across that:

  • Physically balancing the body is the key to better health, physically and mentally.
  • Working with the 5 main muscles of movement is the method to get there.
  • The 'Base-Line' pelvic floor and rectus abdominis muscles are central to the process.

The first comment I received on LW suggested my intro. post to body alignment was missing a "hook" but everything after the anatomy - including what I write about conscious proprioception - is just words. I'm trying to explain something that I feel, trying to hook a few willing to think about their body and how they move. A simple framework but it requires participation.

It's all about the anatomy and building a connection between mind and muscles.

From my perspective there are a bunch of different traditions that have their own views on the subject and I don't think it's useful to muddy all the different ways together.

From my perspective, this is the underlying anatomy that clarifies much muddiness in many traditions.

It seems to me like you judge traditions to be muddy without knowing anything about them and their developed bodies of knowledge.

Why should I believe that the concepts that you came up are less muddy then let's say the concepts of Rolfing about how to create physical alignment that were refined over decades by Ida Rolf who learned from Korzybski about how to use language well in Esalen and later by other people in other places?

I like both foxes and hedgehogs and think we need both to make intellectual progress. I enjoy leggis hedgehoggy take on emobdiment, and suspect that a fox who understands it will make better predictions than a fox who doesn't.

I've scrubbed the end bit. It was a flippant finish but I do believe this anatomy is key to how the body moves and what the concepts of chakras are trying to describe.

You shouldn't believe anything! And I appreciate your interest and questioning.

What I say is based on my experiences and logical thought - working from accepted anatomical 'facts' - of the main muscles of movement.

The concept of the linea alba and nuchal/supraspinous ligaments being midline guides for alignment is so obvious to me now but if someone can disagree then I would love to hear.

As for Rolfing, I came across it during research on "myo-fascial release". I would have liked to learn more but information isn't that easy to find - if you have any sources I would be interested. A potentially useful technique possibly turned into a pyramid scheme.

This is a do-it-yourself technique - no financial costs, just the willingness to try. T

Learn to feel your alignment by working from your Base-Line.

Most of the communication within a field like Rolfing is through in-person events and not through the written word.

Recently, the Fascia Research Congress brought people across different disciplines of body work together. The congress resulted in the book Fascia: The Tensional Network of the Human Body which provides a good overview about plenty of different paradigms.

As far as the underlying anatomy goes, fascia seems to be central.

Anatomy Trains by Thomas W. Myers is a good anatomy book by a Rolfer that's written for a broader audience.

Most of the communication within a field like Rolfing is through in-person events and not through the written word.

I ask why is that? What benefit? For whom?

I dislike the term "fascia", I feel it is poorly defined but fashionable. If you have a solid definition I could work with because I do think it's a useful concept. I use 'connective tissue' a covering term for what is a blend of fibrous tissues in various forms. I've handled a lot of mammalian tissues over the years, it's interesting stuff - in many forms, blending through the body. I've never thought it of central, rather almost ubiquitous.

I came across anatomy trains whilst researching my hypothesis a few years back, you've spurred me into sending an email to anatomy trains. On honest reflection of why I've not done this before - trust issues (I don't want someone stealing my ideas) and because it's so frikking obvious with a bit of thought and Myers seemed closer than most. I think I've published enough to be able to say 'it's mine' now. Oh the ego.

The anatomy trains pictures are a useful illustration of 'patterns' that I will expand on in further posts. The "trains" should be free to fully extend, this can't happen when physical restrictions are present, unbalancing the body.. Imbalance leads to further imbalance - the stress and tension zig-zagging across the body, twisting and mis-aligning, up and down and across the "trains" as the body stiffens to keep us functioning when we don't have full usage of the main muscles.

We can't control our connective tissue directly, we can learn to control our muscles. To use them well and regain a full range of natural of movement.

This blog post is the best attempt at a gears model here I've seen so far. I occasionally think and work in terms of chakras (mine or someone else's) and find it useful, and don't mind saying so in public. Lots of people have weird beliefs here but that doesn't mean there isn't a thing in the territory that's being pointed to. I expect reading about chakras to not be particularly helpful relative to experiential exercises.

He writes:

The “major energy centers” the so-called “chakras,” are mostly coincident with major glands in the body, e.g. the endocrine glands.

In a answer above from Sarah she says things like:

your lower belly/hips (second chakra)

To me it seems like in one first sense a chakra is something quite small (e.g. the size of a gland) and in the second presentation it's much larger (e.g. the size of the hip).

Do those two concepts have different Hindi names? How do they relate to each other? Why aren't other people confused by those two different views in a way that causes things to be written about them?

Second chakra definitely does not consist of your hips. I don't know what it does consist of, but it's probably more like a gland / a bundle of nerves / a bundle of muscles. It's tricky to separate these experientially because most things that would affect one of them (e.g. touching) would affect the others.

The gland thing seems weird to me. Most internet sources associate the first chakra with the adrenals, which sit on top of the kidneys and aren’t physically anywhere near the usually pictured location of the first chakra (at the base of your spine.) Most sources associate second chakra with the ovaries (which are in the right place) or testes (which aren’t, afaik, in anyone’s lower belly area.) I’d been thinking of second chakra as basically my uterus, but altering hip posture is relevant for e.g. relieving uterine pain.

Why do you consider it to be a good attempt? As far as I see the person who wrote it had no guidance and there knowledge mainly from books and thus doesn't have any experiences of energy flow.

Both on the phenomenological level and also on the practical level given that he writes about not being able to "last longer" which requires to get the energy flowing up.

"Best" does not imply "good"! I suspect many of the particular claims are wrong but I appreciate that he made an attempt at all. He seems to be working from substantial self-experimentation but of course he is one idiosyncratic human and what works/doesn't work for him may not be so for others.

I believe they are based on the experience of conscious proprioception and using the body correctly - feeling/sensing the state of balance and positioning of our anatomy when body and mind are connected.

I've not looked into the details (names, associations etc.) but that's not stopped me publishing my rationale on chakras. (with links to a couple of interesting articles.)

Landmark Forum

In researching a subject I came about the distinction of completion and as far as I can trace the roots of the ideas I believe it comes from the Landmark Forum but I'm not sure given I have never been at the forum. I would like to talk to someone who was there and he believes he has a good handle on the underlying concepts.

Tiago Forte, of Forte Labs, has an interesting post titled A Skeptic Goes to the Landmark Forum. It describes his experience day by day, and may be of intrigue to you. On Twitter he is generally open to engaging with strangers.

I love Tiago, with whom I have talked on occasions, but the title of his article is misleading. He is most definitely *not* a skeptic. He tends in the opposite direction actually: accept things as presented and see what benefits can be had from immersing yourself in the mindset. It's not an issue, but you have to be aware of that.

If anyone is a multidisciplinary expert in some or most of the following: sociology, psychology, law, business, political science and economics; I'd love to reach out. I'm thinking of pursuing a post-grad after a few years of practice, where my thesis would be trying to combine/map out the relationships between those fields. Having someone to ping ideas off of would be great.

If anyone wants to ask me about Law and Economics, (mostly Canadian) legal theory and/or (Canadian) constitutional law, or behavioural economics, feel free.

Caveat: Don't consider anything I say as legal advice, everything is in an academic context.