Self delusion is a remarkably powerful thing. It’s capable of enabling total blindness to basic tenets of physical reality. At the same time, it’s capable of causing others to believe something so deeply that they’ll think and act in ways precisely in line with what the delusion demands, as if following a script.
The video below is a terrific illustration of self delusion’s power, both internal and external. The older gentleman is a self reputed Kiai Master — Kiai being a martial art that requires no physical contact with one’s opponent. The wielder harnesses his or her Kiai (or Chi/Ki) energy to fight instead of using hands and feet. You’ll see at the beginning of the video that the Kiai Master appears to effortlessly throw his students around the dojo without ever physically touching them.
Clearly this guy has a big following and plenty of students who believe exactly what he says — and evidently, so does he. So sure is he that his power is real that he offered a $5000 challenge to anyone willing to fight him. Unfortunately for him, someone took him up on it.
This post originally appeared on Neuronarrative with the title, Warning: Self-Delusion can be Painful.