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The Greatest Illusion in Golf(cont.)

Second Aspect

The other aspect of the "Sensation Illusion" is brought to the fore by the French philosopher Henri Bergson. It is simply this: We tend to explain movement in terms of the trail it leaves in space. We substitute the path of the motion for the motion itself. Though we may divvy up the line that the motion has drawn into infinitely small chunks, the movement itself cannot be divided.

According to Bergson, if we assign movement to points along the line of its trajectory, then the movement must stay at each point for an infinitely short time. This thinking thus attaches movement to a line that is motionless. Bergson used this argument to completely dismantle Zeno's paradox. Because of this misunderstanding the golf swing is still taught as stages of motion as opposed to one indivisible motion. Even though we may say "yes its a flowing kind of movement, yes one motion", the mind resolves to ask "how so?". The very asking is what causes the movement to be entangled in sensation and control again becomes uncontrollable.

Even when we understand the silliness of the notion of stages of motion, we set about to gain an empirical knowledge of it by appealing to the senses. Having convinced ourselves of the first aspect of the Sensation Illusion, we become determined to solve the problem of swing by sequencing the position of the body during a series of infinite instants. In an effort to assure that the body is occupying the "correct" position at any given moment, we call upon the senses to tell us the state of the swing and the state of the body upon which the movement is acting. If sensation has not been evoked by the strain against the overly momentous movement or similarly by the uninspired movement, the mind then calls forth to sensation in an effort to determine the state of the swing. The mind simply refuses to accept a lack of sensation as an affirmation of the quality of movement. Even if the line we draw could truly represent the motion it is defining, the sensory information needed to draw the line correctly becomes garbled in the time lag created when what we absorb afferently must be translated and responded to efferently. By the time a "corrective" action takes place, new information must be processed. As a result, something is always left out; there is an ullage, if you will. The mind attempting to judge "correctness" during movement creates little gaps through which the swinger perilously falls time and again.

There are three net effects of the Sensation Illusion:

  • First: Our pure view of the ball is obscured. When we attend to these sensations connected to movement we lose the one and only necessary sensation of the ball. Once distracted by our own movement, the mind attends to the image cast upon the inner mental screen rather than the actual, persistent, retinal image of the ball. We will examine this subject more extensively in "Witnessing."
  • Second: There is a shift in time perception. This perceptual shift occurs when we try assimilate all of the events taking place in the instant of swing. When we try to line up these events of the senses contiguously, time seems to expand or gain extension. Likewise time seems to shrink when there are no sensations to account for. This is the subjective aspect of time. The actual time it takes for clubs of various length to "Wane" is different. Objectively there are measurable time differences (see "The Heart of a Goof," chapter six). Yet time perception in pure swing, no matter the club length, is equally inextended. This time paradox is fundamental to swing.
  • Third: We delude ourselves about the true nature of mechanics and control. Control can only be subordinate to movement. Control is an act of restraint upon movement and is the equivalent of doubt. Releasing motion and allowing it to cling upon itself to its own end is the equivalent of faith. If there is to be a unified theory of golf it must entail an understanding of the motion itself and not of its effected parts. Doubt re-directs movement. Faith releases motion to its own self-directing manner. When the pro speaks of "the release" this is his precise meaning. The waning motion controls the golf swing; we cannot control motion through bodily positioning. As Ernest Jones pointed out, it is the rhythm of the signature that is its life. Even to trace over our own signature is a chore. The nature of swing will not be realized until the notion that "we control movement" is dissolved.

This leads us to the prime maxim of golf:

A purely centered and waning motion, free from all sensation outside of the ball, creates observably perfect, albeit individual, golf mechanics.

This is the Whim of golf. When the ball is the only sensation, the mind dies to the concept; in turn the motion dies with it. The golf swing is a small quantum burst of movement(Whening) followed by the death of movement(Waning) followed by a dynamic re-birth of movement(Welting). It’s so simple, but as conscious living beings we don’t like to imagine the death part of the movement. It runs counter to our self-preservative natures.

go to conclusion

Copyright 1995, Golden Barefoot Golf

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