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TUCoPS :: Wetware Hacking :: Others :: firewalk.txt

A thread on how Tony Robbins' firewalking works





#: 20244 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    09-Mar-96 14:55:27
Sb: Fire Walking
Fm: Jon Lewis/CA 73554,1174
To: all 

Can anyone explain to me what's going on when people walk across hot coals? 
Why don't people get burned? One might think it's a mind over matter type of 
thing, but is it really? Or is the physics of the fire? Are there insulative 
lava type rocks or coals in the fire that once burnt down shield bare feet 
from searing heat? What's the trick? 

...Jon

#: 20256 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    09-Mar-96 17:50:00
Sb: #20244-Fire Walking
Fm: Jo Tricker 100265,2020
To: Jon Lewis/CA 73554,1174

Hi Jon, have you ever seen Arthur C Clarkes Mysterious world. He often 
investigates these sorts of things and I have seen the prog opn this one 
many times. He reckons that some is in the faith (bit like hypnotising 
yourself) and therefore no skin burns, some is in the thickness of the 
feet, for those in, say, India walk bearefooted all the time, and some is 
in the fact that the feet don't touch the coals for very long in reality, 
mainly going into theta seems to help regarding the hypnosis part...

He showed many people doing the experiments with each of these types of 
aid and they all came out of it unscathed. So my personal opinion is that 
all of these methods can work and all together they work well.....

The progs have been repeated on TLC/Discovery on the sky stuff in UK but I 
think terrestrial TV repeat them often too. Worth looking out for them....

I think the fire walking one may be his mysterious world rather than his 
magical powers one....


Jo (UK)

#: 20272 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    10-Mar-96 02:28:13
Sb: #20244-Fire Walking
Fm: Dr.Wolfgang Blohm 100736,351
To: Jon Lewis/CA 73554,1174

Hi Jon,
it's a rather simple explanation: You don't need no trance or any other 
alternate state, you just walk over the fire in a speedy manner. That you 
don't get hurt depends on simple physical laws: the time your foot is in 
contact with the heat normally is not long enough to get burnt; the only risk 
you ran is to stay to long at one place. There are many experients which 
proved this fact.
Best regards and always cool feet!!
W.
P.S,. It's nearly the same with people walking over broken pieces of glass:
the pressure per qmcm is not high enough to get hurt.

#: 20306 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    10-Mar-96 17:54:09
Sb: #20244-Fire Walking
Fm: Thom Hartmann* (SYSOP) 76702,765
To: Jon Lewis/CA 73554,1174

It's partly what Wolfgang said, but mostly about thermal mass.  It's not 
temperature that causes burns, but the rapid transfer of calories of heat.

Here's the extreme example: 

If you grab a cast-iron pan that's been in a 350-degree oven, you will burn 
yourself.  If you grab a piece of opened tinfoil that's been in a 350-degree 
oven, you may cause a slight first-degree (redness) burn but most likely will 
not.  If you grab a handful of air that's heated to 350 degrees by waving your 
hand through the oven you will not hurt yourself at all.  All three are 350 
degrees, but the pan has greater mass, and so can both hold and rapidly 
transfer more calories of heat.  (Another example: people routinely sit in a 
130-150 degree sauna.  If you put yourself in a tub of 140 degree water, 
however, you will scald yourself quite badly.  The water has more mass than 
the air.)

Similarly, the ash left when a firewalk pit burns down has very little mass.  
Although it's intensely hot, it has little ability to transfer many calories 
of heat because it's lost most of its mass (particulary its moisture, to the 
atmosphere) through the burning process.  In electronics, it's the equivelant 
of high voltage and low amperage: the reason why a person isn't killed by a 
static shock from walking across a carpet in the winter, even though the shock 
that they get when they touch a doorknob or another person may be 20,000 to 
100,000 volts: there's very, very little amperage.

It has nothing whatever to do with trance states, although it's a great way to 
make people feel empowered, particularly if they know little about physics. 
<g>

#: 20329 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    11-Mar-96 03:48:25
Sb: #20306-Fire Walking
Fm: Dr.Wolfgang Blohm 100736,351
To: Thom Hartmann* (SYSOP) 76702,765

Hi Thom,
I apologize for having been that superficial, did not realize that he wanted a 
fundamental research result.
All the best for you.
W.

#: 20376 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    12-Mar-96 00:53:29
Sb: #20329-Fire Walking
Fm: Thom Hartmann* (SYSOP) 76702,765
To: Dr.Wolfgang Blohm 100736,351

Don't know that he did, but I was feeling eloquent... <g>



#: 20385 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    12-Mar-96 04:19:23
Sb: #20376-Fire Walking
Fm: Dr.Wolfgang Blohm 100736,351
To: Thom Hartmann* (SYSOP) 76702,765

I love that feeling!!
W.

#: 20364 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    11-Mar-96 17:34:16
Sb: #20306-Fire Walking
Fm: Masanobu Taniguchi(Sysop 72662,1442
To: Thom Hartmann* (SYSOP) 76702,765

Thom,

       I didn't know you ARE a physicist! <G>

    - MT


#: 20377 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    12-Mar-96 00:53:31
Sb: #20364-Fire Walking
Fm: Thom Hartmann* (SYSOP) 76702,765
To: Masanobu Taniguchi(Sysop 72662,1442

I played one on TV once. <g>

#: 20455 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    14-Mar-96 03:24:10
Sb: #20306-Fire Walking
Fm: Jon Lewis/CA 73554,1174
To: Thom Hartmann* (SYSOP) 76702,765

Tom,

Your explanation is just what I was looking for, very concise and informative. 
On top of that, whether it's a good bit of sophistry or an actual, factual, 
physics breakdown, it just sounds right! <g> Thanks.

...Jon

#: 20462 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    14-Mar-96 09:09:07
Sb: #20455-Fire Walking
Fm: Thom Hartmann* (SYSOP) 76702,765
To: Jon Lewis/CA 73554,1174

It's actually pretty factual.  When I took physics back in '69, the 
firewalkers of India were featured in National Geographic and made the 
national news, and our prof worked the whole thing out (as had, by that time, 
dozens of other scientists around the globe: this is pretty common 
knowledge)...

#: 20461 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    14-Mar-96 06:45:19
Sb: #20306-Fire Walking
Fm: Rene Duba 100773,2566
To: Thom Hartmann* (SYSOP) 76702,765

Apart from temperature and mass, I always suspected that heat-insulation could 
be a factor too in the case of charcoal. It's a very good heat-insulator. If 
you touch a glowing piece of charcoal, it leaves a 'cool fingerprint' that 
relatively slowly warms up again... To make the metaphor more complete:  
volts, amperes and ohms too. 

Kind Regards,
Rene Duba

#: 20463 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    14-Mar-96 09:09:08
Sb: #20461-Fire Walking
Fm: Thom Hartmann* (SYSOP) 76702,765
To: Rene Duba 100773,2566

Yes, but that's a function of the lack of thermal mass and conductivity of 
heat (which I suppose is an insulating property: look at fiberglass 
insulation), rather than the charcoal being some sort of buffer between your 
feet and itself.  It's that the charcoal has had all of its moisture expelled 
(which is the major contributor to thermal mass) and so therefore simply 
doesn't have the calories, or the ability to quickly transfer them, to do much 
damage during the short period of contact with quickly-moving feet.

#: 20484 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    14-Mar-96 19:56:24
Sb: #20463-Fire Walking
Fm: Rene Duba 100773,2566
To: Thom Hartmann* (SYSOP) 76702,765

Yes, to me "conductivity" would compare to Ohms in the analogy;
thermal mass to Amperes and temperature to Volts. 
Having a cup of hot chocolate after the firewalk would be kilo-Joules, I 
suppose. 

Kind Regards,
Rene Duba

#: 20497 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    15-Mar-96 03:40:18
Sb: #20484-Fire Walking
Fm: Thom Hartmann* (SYSOP) 76702,765
To: Rene Duba 100773,2566

>>Having a cup of hot chocolate after the firewalk would be kilo-Joules, I 
suppose.<<

ROFL!

Actually, thinking about it,  you're not so far off.  The thermal mass of the 
cup of hot chocolate probably exceeds that of the hot coals in contact with 
the feet at any given minute.  If the physical mass were cut in half and the 
temperature doubled (maintaining caloric constancy), that half-cup of 
now-scalding chocolate could burn the bottom of the feet, whereas the 
low-thermal-mass red-hot charcoal would be hard pressed to do the same.  <g>  

   In this example, the hot chocolate is high-amperage, but very low voltage: 
the same as  why you can touch both poles of an auto battery and not be hurt 
(the voltage is too low to penetrate the skin) even though the amperage and/or 
wattage (wattage =volts times amps) are enough to melt metal when the poles 
are touched with a better conductor.  (High wattage/joules become irrelivant 
if the voltage/temperature isn't sufficient to overcome 
resitance/impedance/insulation.)  

      Somebody oughta archive this for a high-school science class. <g>
Thom

#: 20577 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    17-Mar-96 05:44:11
Sb: #20497-Fire Walking
Fm: Rene Duba 100773,2566
To: Thom Hartmann* (SYSOP) 76702,765

>>  Somebody oughta archive this for a high-school science class. <g>

Indeed.

The problem for next week's science class is why the fakir who would walk on 
the surface of the water always fell in. Was it lack of concentration? Did the 
ice melt? An unconscious (yet repressed) desire to go swimming? Did the 
batteries go flat while listening to his favourite "you can do it" tape? Did 
secret agents from the anti-new-age mafia add a bit of detergent to spoil the 
water's surface-tension?

Join science class! Amazing new ways to get wet that scientists suspect may 
NOT exist on PLUTO! 



#: 20595 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    17-Mar-96 20:28:02
Sb: #20577-Fire Walking
Fm: Thies Stahl 100144,711
To: Rene Duba 100773,2566

>> Did the batteries go flat while listening to his favourite "you can do it" 
tape?.... <<

ROFL...

Thanks so much!

Thies

  -Thies Stahl

#: 20656 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    18-Mar-96 23:59:23
Sb: #20577-Fire Walking
Fm: Thom Hartmann* (SYSOP) 76702,765
To: Rene Duba 100773,2566

<g>

#: 20885 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    23-Mar-96 22:27:00
Sb: #20455-Fire Walking
Fm: peta heskell 100522,1602
To: Jon Lewis/CA 73554,1174

Oh no,  I really don't want to know that firewalking is not about mind over 
matter.  It has such a powerful transformational effect on so many people!

I recently attended the Tony Robbins seminar and walked the hot coals.  It did 
not have much impact on me [the rest of the seminar DID] because I had decided 
that if so many people had done it before me and had not got burnt why should 
I be any different.  I managed to hold that idea with me and therefore I 
sailed across without much fear..   That said, I met many people who really 
did get empowered by the experience primarily because they were so afraid and 
they believed they did conquer the fear just by doing it.  It would seem a 
pity to disillusion them when it has such positive results.

I have no intention of letting anyone into these facts and will continue to 
support the 'myth' if it is a 'myth' that it is mind over matter in the hopes 
that it will give hope to those who stand to gain so much from believing in 
themselves and the ability of their mind.  After all, achieving success in 
life is really about mind over matter and the will to believe in the 
impossible, is it not?
Thanks for raising the point Jon.

love and hugs
peta [London UK]

#: 20944 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    25-Mar-96 09:49:25
Sb: #20577-Fire Walking
Fm: Carla Nelson (Sysop) 74774,1756
To: Rene Duba 100773,2566

ROFL!

I really enjoyed the interchange between you and Thom on this thread.

#: 20984 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    26-Mar-96 03:33:22
Sb: #20944-Fire Walking
Fm: Rene Duba 100773,2566
To: Carla Nelson (Sysop) 74774,1756

;-)

#: 21046 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    27-Mar-96 08:06:10
Sb: #20885-Fire Walking
Fm: Terry E. Herr 73753,1537
To: peta heskell 100522,1602

The power of the mind in living life is unquestionable, mind over matter is 
questionable, and believing in something that is unreal is dangerous.

Terry

#: 21199 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    29-Mar-96 10:44:14
Sb: #21046-Fire Walking
Fm: Michael Mallows 100417,3472
To: Terry E. Herr 73753,1537

Terry,
<<Believing in something that is not real is dangerous>>
Interesting, but how to define REALITY?
If the map is not the territory, if the menu is not the meal, if, as NLP 
claims (and I believe, but is it true?) we do not react to the real world but 
to our subjective interpretation of the world, what are the risks?

If we have a dream, something that does not yet exist, and we 'believe' in it, 
is that dangerous?  (Sometime, certainly!)

<<Mind over matter is questionable>>
Do you believe that? If so, does your believing it make it real? And if the 
answer to that question is "No!" is that dangerous?
And if you answer that you believe it BECAUSE it's real (or True), how can you 
be sure whether your belief creates your reality?
Is reality a priori?

#: 21396 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    02-Apr-96 10:23:10
Sb: #21199-Fire Walking
Fm: Terry E. Herr 73753,1537
To: Michael Mallows 100417,3472

Hi Michael,

Many times people do react to their subjective interpretation of the world, 
but this does not change objective reallity. Which I believe exists regardless 
of anyones personal interpretation. As Aristotle said A is A or existence 
exists - period.  It is a rational minds responsibility to percieve it.  

A dream is not fantasy if it has a plan with it.  Perhaps we could call it a 
vision, with the determination to make it a reality - which is good.  

Believing something does not make it real in that moment.  I know some people 
use quantum physics to support the contrary, and I'm not sure how to refute 
that.  And yes I believe that reality is a priori.

Terry

#: 21486 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    03-Apr-96 04:47:22
Sb: #21199-Fire Walking
Fm: Trevor Anderson 100025,3252
To: Michael Mallows 100417,3472

Hello Michael,

<If the map is not the territory, if the menu is not the meal, if, as NLP 
claims (and I believe, but is it true?) we do not react to the real world but 
to our subjective interpretation of the world, what are the risks?>

It might be more useful to think about our subjective interpretation of the 
world as our own working model of the world. Models are built to approximate 
to the real thing as is useful for the purpose they serve. Now I don't know 
about you, but my model of the world approximates enough to reality to let me 
know that jumping out of an aircraft at 10000 feet without a parachute will 
result in me exiting this world. (Although my wife tells me this happened at 
her local flying club a few years ago, when someones parachute failed and the 
person survived.)  Risks here in thinking " well its only my subjective 
interpretation - lets try it and see what happens". However, it is useful for 
me to understand that there will be areas, where the degree of match between 
my model and reality will not be so close.

Regards

Trevor

#: 21509 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    03-Apr-96 08:41:01
Sb: #21486-Fire Walking
Fm: Michael Mallows 100417,3472
To: Trevor Anderson 100025,3252

Trevor,
How about if I jumped out of a 'plane without a parachute, but was strapped to 
a hangglider? I might not exit the world <g>.

And there are people, apparently intelligent - possibly even wise people - who 
claim to have witnessed Fakirs transcending the ordinary (?) laws of physics.

It is not that long ago that a 'Reality' existed which did not allow walking 
on the moon, or flying at all, or travelling faster than a few miles and hour, 
or a ball shaped earth.
 Was it DaVinci who was villified or ex communicated or burnt at the stake or 
something for claiming that the Earth went round the sun?

I am not arguing against 'reality', only the all too frequent trap of 
beleiving that our own version IS the only reality. This underpins or 
reinforced prejudice, and may engendour intolerance, xenophobia, bigotry and 
worse.

Michael

#: 21581 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    04-Apr-96 03:56:17
Sb: #21509-Fire Walking
Fm: Trevor Anderson 100025,3252
To: Michael Mallows 100417,3472

Hello Micheal,

<How about if I jumped out of a 'plane without a parachute, but was strapped 
to a hangglider? I might not exit the world <g>.>

Even then confidence without competence might not be enough.

<I am not arguing against 'reality', only the all too frequent trap of 
beleiving that our own version IS the only reality. This underpins or 
reinforced prejudice, and may engendour intolerance, xenophobia, bigotry and 
worse.>

My eality is the only eality which is real to me. However,  there are 
occasions when it is appropriate to realise that we have ways of processing 
and orientating in the world which would not be the same as others. 

Bye

Trevor


#: 20992 S5/NLP/Hypnosis
    26-Mar-96 07:28:01
Sb: Fire Walking
Fm: Robert Flatau 100722,1450
To: peta heskell 100522,1602

Hi peta.

I missed the beginning of this thread, so excuse me if I am repeating a 
previous point.

I can empathise with you realising that NLP loses some of its sense of 'magic' 
as you  begin to learn more about it. When I did my master's, I came home & 
found I was no longer getting dramatic trances with people I worked with. 
(Instead, I was tracking them while working without formal techniques. This I 
found ultimately a lot more enjoyable and challenging.) So it can be useful to 
think of this as a further learning step towards a fuller understanding of 
NLP. (The map moving closer to the territory?)

Richard Bandler discusses the firewalk experience in 'Using your Brain for a 
CHANGE' (pp. 112 - 114). As well as explaining some of the physics involved - 
that it is no more difficult than, say, snuffing out a candle with your 
fingers, he also refers to some of the  "bizarre & dangerous beliefs in the 
world". He sugests that learning to run your brain with skill is  more useful 
than a dramatic experience. It is easy to think of the perils of encouraging 
people to believe that they are safe in apparently dangerous environments.  
This often has disasterous results.

If 'mind over matter' were really the explanation of the firewalk, it should 
be easy to put your arm in a pan of boiling water. After all, it is a mere 100 
degrees C, rather than the 1000 degrees C of the hot coals of your fire walk. 
I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS EXPERIMENT!

Unfortunately, trainers using sales gimmicks like the fire walk are selling 
conjouring tricks as if they were magic. When this happens to NLP it seriously 
risks devaluing the whole subject in the eyes of the public to the level of 
astrology and UFO watching.

The most important issue here is the difference between competence and 
confidence. It is easy to fire people up with confidence (Tony Robbins does 
this in a weekend; I don't know how religious cults go about doing this - but 
I guess they use similar methods), but difficult to make people competent. If 
you give them confidence without competence, they are in danger. This is 
unecological. People DO get badly hurt by exactly this process. (It is easy to 
think of examples - a would be martial artist who overestimates his skill 
level could fight a gang when running would be a much better option. Or a 
company that go bust when the boss overreaches himself.)

I hope this is useful. Good luck with your computing course. ( You could try 
'GO DPTRAIN' - my partner finds this helpful in her computer training.)

Yours	 Robert	 (also a Londoner)



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