Author Topic: Critique of George Iber's, "Can we talk with animals?"  (Read 201 times)


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Critique of George Iber's, "Can we talk with animals?"
« on: July 25, 2014, 09:30:31 PM »
Hi George,

Regarding your article of April 2013

With all due respect to you personally, professionally, and as a colleague of mine in PGSG, I have to raise some objection to the topic of your article and the article itself.

Is there any relevance of the completely unverifiable claims of Teacher Ou's communication with bees and other animals to PGSG? Considering there are more relevant and important, not to mention verifiable claims about PGSG that can be reproduced by its teachers and students, and possibly studied in some objective manner, shouldn't this be of more importance?

Your article sounds like a way to rationalize Teacher Ou's story about the bees and, while the extent of animal and insect intelligence and communication is an interesting topic, you didn't relate it to anything that I can consider practical or meaningful to PGSG, except that it's connected to something Teacher Ou said. Frankly, I find it a bit embarrassing as a PGSG teacher to see such a topic discussed publicly and I can only guess that you published it because of your surprise of hearing such an incredible story, which you hinted at in the article.

I have always been disappointed by the lack of critical feedback by PGSG students and teachers to Teacher Ou, who, as far as I know, has never solicited such feedback, partly due to the uncommunicative nature of his native culture, which does not promote critical analysis as we know it in the West. I'm sure that Teacher Ou can handle such feedback and put it into a proper and useful perspective, resulting in something more beneficial than these Dr. Doolittle tales of fancy.

I've also been disappointed about the lack of progress in PGSG curricula, so seeing time spent on more articles like this, or the one thousandth nearly identical and medically undocumented testimonial, seems to be omitting a rather obvious need to push forward with more meaningful exploration of PGSG's value as a healing method. This disappointment is amplified by going off into more nebulous and less effective methods, such as the chanting also mentioned in your article.

Considering the length of time that Teacher Ou has been living in the USA, and in an effort to translate PGSG culturally into this environment, it's time to put some pressure on the PGSG Institute to engage in some of the critical feedback and analysis common to the academic and medical fields where it is being most heavily promoted, in North America, and this definitely excludes musings about talking to bees when another topic about the health benefits of the practice is more relevant and potentially of critical importance to both existing and potential students.

Michael Udel


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Re: Critique of George Iber's, "Can we talk with animals?"
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2014, 11:07:26 AM »
Thanks Michael,
The forum is sort of on the "back of the shelf" at the moment, I don't get there too often either.  My speculative paragraph about the animals was tied to a book I had read about animal language and intelligence, which I thought was interesting. The book focused on some good research targeted with Prairie Dogs. Obviously any such research is subject to debate, but it was well written.  It was not to be critical, but in the context of some ideas and observations (I have watched Master Ou sing/chant to animals) it was just to be thought provoking. Although you may think it unimportant, as a language teacher, the fascinating question remains, "can we communicate with animals, and/or do they have a language?"

Your desire for a more critical analysis is natural, our minds want to know what is going on. Generally, I think we need to take a view that includes faith (subjectivity) and logic (objectivity). With any spiritual body of knowledge, the rational scientific mind will always come up against the inability to prove beyond doubt our most profound questions of the universe, that is why, I suppose, we continue to seek to expand our scientific knowledge.  On the other hand, faith, based on experience, can also be questioned. It may provide answers that are comforting but not everybody agrees because the nature of mystical experience is so subjective. So here we are stuck with our own subjective experience of either an objective and/or subjective universe.

That seems to be our eternal human dilemma. I think Master Ou, as a qigong master, has his way to teach his truth based on his own mystical experience to share. He does so at great personal risk and I respect him for that. I do not claim to fully understand or be an authority for his teachings. But I do find interesting links to what he has said in many different places, from  Buddhism to an occasional article on Prairie Dogs.  As a practitioner of PGSG I enjoy sharing those links. I assume that everyone will do with them as they see fit. For me, life is a pretty mysterious experience and we have to live with that uncertainty.

I don't agree that studying qigong using just the measurable and objective health benefits is the only way to go either. Life is certainly more than just getting rid of the inevitable diseases we all experience. In fact I think we make a mistake to reduce subjective spiritual arts such as qigong or acupuncture, meditation, or taichi to just measurable health benefits.  That is how the western mind may want to analyze and it may bring a sort of existential comfort to the mind to know there are objective benefits. But if we are practicing these techniques ultimately for spiritual growth, then what is the objective measurement? Will it only be better health, or might it be inner peace?

Given your stated position on animal communication, you might not enjoy another read, the book, "What the Dog Saw" by Malcolm Gladwell. The particular chapters of non-interest have added subtitles: "Cesar Millan and the movements of mastery", and "Troublemakers: What pit bulls can teach us about crime."
Take care,
Qifully, George


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Re: Critique of George Iber's, "Can we talk with animals?"
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2014, 09:59:31 AM »
Hi George and Michael

I really enjoyed this posting, the best in ages, can we have some more please!