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StefanHultberg
08-31-2015, 05:18 AM
This post will be long, please see it as an honest statement of ignorance and extreme frustration, a cry for help – nothing more.

Time irks me. In this mysterious and wonderful (perhaps) 10 or 11-dimensional world of (possibly) vibrating one-dimensional filaments, in this dance of pure energy, the concept of time seems to annoy my brain more than anything else. There's one's own subjective experience of time, there's the physics, there's the spiritual and psychological wisdom of both east and west, add the dimension of aikido and it all becomes clear – or not.

O-Sensei has many times been quoted as stating his belief that time (and space) does not exist. One example:

“Even standing with my back toward the opponent is enough. When he attacks, hitting, he will injure himself with his own intention to hit. I am one with the universe and I am nothing else. When I stand, he will be drawn to me. There is no time and space before Ueshiba of Aikido — only the universe as it is.”

It does truly seem to be so – time doesn't exist, at least not (only) the way we think it does. It is easy to assimilate this fact as a sort of “cold fact”, but integrating this truth with “ordinary everyday time”, everyday experience of time....

A few years ago I was practicing for a grade-test and was huffing and puffing myself (and my partner) through a series of free techniques (Jiyu Waza). My Sensei, presumably considering both the technique and the heart condition of the old man before him, said to me: “slow down to the point where you can give yourself time to feel every part of every technique”. During ki no nagare techniques I try desperately to remember that kihon represents, amongst other things, the means to truly learn the details of technique and subsequent ki no nagare techniques should include all these details, albeit perhaps in modified form. I had heard it many times, and tried to live up to it, but this time it was different.

I tried again and truly experienced the phenomenon described in some of the dan-syllabusses as “extending time”. It simply felt like I had much more time, and energy, to do what I did – even if it didn't take more time. Someone here on aikiweb wrote: “slow means smooth – smooth means fast”. Those were pretty wise words I think. Admittedly we didn't make any empiric time measurements etc. when I had this experience, but it sure brought home to me the plasticity and elasticity of time, at least in a subjective sense.

Subjective indeed, if I understand some of the mainstream scientific thinking at the moment, time is always fully present in all three of its “components” – past, present, and future – and the fact that we experience these three at all is, in fact, a psychosocial construction, a consequence of the way our senses are constructed and the way we are “brought up”. Time is like an old VHS videotape, the whole tape is there the whole time, but the detector (our own mind in the case of time) only reads one snippet at a time, and this snippet we call “the present”. I find the idea that all time is there at all times a truly mindboggling concept, it is the mind's program apparently that experiences the “present”, remembers the “past”, and expects the “future”. The mind is constructed to experience time in a specific way.

Mind over matter, or at least mind and matter in equality and harmony, those are considerations illustrated all the way from religion to philosophy and on to quantum physics. It does seem to be true that an elementary particle, existing in an indeterminate state between a wave and a particle, manifests as a wave or a particle only as it is observed. An electron exists as a probability wave function, a sort of oddly shaped “field” around the nucleus of the atom and, when observed as a particle, manifests as such at the location where the probability wave function determines that it is most likely to do so. Creation actually does play dice!

If you hold an elementary particle in your hand and send its antiparticle to the ultimate end of the universe the twin particles still apparently communicate. Change the “spin” of one of them and the other also changes instantly. Quantum entanglement – freaky, do they actually talk over this vast distance or do they know that you are going to change the spin of one of them in the future? Do they operate completely outside our concept of time, or space – or spacetime??

The faster you travel the slower time passes and at the quantum scale of things, in the so-called “quantum foam”, time forms loops and spirals, goes around in circles, forwards, backwards and forms all sorts of tricks.

Myriads of questions and very few answers in my mind when it comes to true understanding of time – or reality at all. True mystery.

Dogen says: “time is being” - what the hell does that mean?? Heidegger said pretty much the same, but did he mean the same as Dogen? In the end, though – can you communicate the ineffable with words? In “The Sandman Ouverture”, by Neil Gaiman, Lord Time is described by Morpheus like this:

“Time watches us from the micromoments between seconds. Night exists in the vast stretches of untime and unspace beyond every event horizon”.

Reading what physics says about “true reality” I'm just about ready to believe anything....

In a practical aikido sense, understanding time better somehow seems important. A few months ago I noticed some of my students making grim faces every time they thought they had performed a technique less than perfectly. I considered this in my mental blender of time, kokyu-ho, mind over matter and intention, power through full focus etc. etc. and realized that perhaps one should use zanshin not to second guess your technique but to just fill yourself with a “feeling of perfectness” and focused energy. What if the period of zanshin is actually connected to the time at the start of the technique, could a feeling of having carried out a technique badly actually reach back in time and ruin the execution of it? I believe it would violate a few paradoxes and current physics-thinking, but I wonder.....

I once heard a Japanese Shihan talking about the absolute necessity of intention in kokyu Ho, the totally absorbing visualization of actually cutting the enemy with your sword in order to carry out true technique. Mind over matter. Judaeo-christian scripture says that if you have faith only as little as a mustard seed – you can tell a mountain to rise up and throw itself in the sea. Mind over matter. A significant portion of different spiritual literature emphasizes mind over matter, faith as a precursor for action, dreams as the foundation of reality. It seems to me O Sensei pretty much emphasized the same thing, mind and matter in harmony, e.g.:

The secret of aikido is to make yourself become one with the universe and to go along with its natural movements. One who has attained this secret holds the universe in him/herself and can say, ‘I am the universe.’”

Mind and matter, mind and time, only a few things are certain – we understand very little of it and everything is possible. I only know that I wish to understand more of this and I would like to include these possibilities in my aikido-training.

Could anyone add some wisdom in connection with time and aikido?

Cliff Judge
08-31-2015, 03:07 PM
I've got enough on my hands being the "consciousness doesn't exist" guy to help you out on this one, buddy. Best of luck!

kewms
08-31-2015, 03:41 PM
Don't confuse changes in your subjective perception of time with changes in actual physical reality.

Katherine

lbb
08-31-2015, 08:23 PM
Don't confuse changes in your subjective perception of time with changes in actual physical reality.

Yeah, I'd go with this one. I've known a number of people with substance abuse issues. When they're passed out, to them, time doesn't exist, time isn't passing-- except, of course, that it is, all around them, they're just not aware of it. That's one example of the difference between perception and reality.

rugwithlegs
08-31-2015, 10:29 PM
I see several separate topics.

"Slow is smooth, smooth is fast." Sensei told me "No Rush" on many occasions. Speed can cover up a mistake or a hole in my technique - until I find myself with someone just as fast or faster. Moving slow was finding moments that I might lose integration or balance, plugging those holes - and then moving with more balance and power and giving fewer opportunities away. It's like tying your shoes - you used to take several minutes to do it badly and with total concentration; now you can probably tie your shoes very rapidly and maybe even carry on a conversation or watch the news at the same time.

The closest I ever came to Mushin was surprising to me. We spend most of our lives with our brain doing a dozen different things, or having a completely different intention or no intention in our actions. Most of our daily live is reflex, and divorced from our cognition. For me, a school bully was attacking other people one by one, and the day came that I knew it was my turn. He was going to jump me from behind, but I could see what he was going to do. He had a stick, I had a book. I went from angry, a miniature hurricane in my mind, to an overwhelmingly quiet "this stops here." No dilemma, no second thoughts, no inner voices saying anything different. Every discordant thought in my head became a single voice. The world moved very slowly, there was no sound that I remember, and then I had him against the locker. He was shocked, none of his friends helped him, and I didn't inflict any injury but I felt numb. I've since heard police officers and psychiatric workers describe the time distortion effect of stress (often described as one of the more frightening aspects of the situation) and I have come close to this experience again. Most recently was a head on collision when another car swerved into oncoming traffic (me). Yes, the world seemed to stop for me briefly. No, I didn't pull out a stopwatch but I am sure the universe proceeded along as usual and no slower. I think there is research out there from psychology sources and law enforcement training.

For the rest, I got nothing.

mathewjgano
09-01-2015, 02:17 AM
Lots of fun things to consider and play with in the mind! I love the infinite what-ifs, but whatever physics I held in my tea cup got tipped over years ago. For what it's worth, I think of time as the constant unfolding/shifting of now; there is only now (whether that is exactly true or not I can't say, but for practical purposes it's close enough for me). We remember what now was like because we've imprinted memory of it; and we have a sense that now will be different in the future through awareness of change.
As for the perception of time slowing down, I think of this as relating to sample rate and perception. As our perception/mind/body relaxes, focuses, and wastes less energy, we can perceive more, and our sample of reality by way of the senses, per some period of time, increases, creating the illusion that we are covering more ground, as it were, within that period of time.
Thank you for the delicious food for thought! :D

silversmoke
09-02-2015, 12:22 PM
Short reply I've always thought of time as being in an ever present now, comes very clear particularly when meditating on the one point.

ericbuchanan
09-07-2015, 08:30 AM
Mr. Hultberg,

Interesting post! I have been thinking a lot about similar things and am currently reading a book called 'The Quantum and the Lotus' about the intersections between modern physics and Buddhist doctrine. You might enjoy it as well if you haven't already read it.

Another book, 'The Unfettered Mind', advises the swordsman who asks where to put his mind in a contest not to put it anywhere. Putting your mind somewhere, i.e. on your opponents sword or hands or eyes, etc., means it will become attached or stuck there. If the mind becomes stuck, it can not respond immediately with disastrous results in a sword fight.

I have found in my own practice that as my body becomes more relaxed and my mind becomes more empty (or relaxed, after all the body and mind aren't really different are they?), I become aware of uke's attack sooner, even before he or she starts physically moving.

There is the adage that the master moves, but is never in a hurry; and O-Sensei saying something like the opponent thinks to attack me and I am already standing behind him. I think what is happening is that uke's mind becomes stuck on the idea or intention of attacking. When the mind becomes stuck on something it becomes unaware of other things creating gaps in awareness. If nage's mind is empty, he will be aware of the attack before movement begins and can respond appropriately in plenty of time while uke is initially unaware of that response.

To a bystander watching it will appear as if nage moved first or that the whole thing is choreographed. To uke it will seem as if he is trying to attack, but nage is just too fast. To nage it seems as if things have slowed down and he can almost casually deal with uke without thinking - Takemusu aiki?

So time is relative and it seems like uke creates gaps in his awareness by focusing on an attack, and nage can move in those gaps with advantageous results.

So Aikido like O-Sensei's is simple. One just has to completely empty the mind and be unconcerned with the result of an encounter even if that result could be your death. And completely relax the body, but still maintain a functional ability to receive and neutralize forces from any direction. And have the techniques of your art completely ingrained in muscle memory so they can be used without conscious thought. And...

kewms
09-08-2015, 11:49 AM
So Aikido like O-Sensei's is simple. One just has to completely empty the mind and be unconcerned with the result of an encounter even if that result could be your death. And completely relax the body, but still maintain a functional ability to receive and neutralize forces from any direction. And have the techniques of your art completely ingrained in muscle memory so they can be used without conscious thought. And...

If you master the first two, you probably don't need the techniques. I once saw Saotome Sensei do a randori with three attackers (all sandans) in which he used no techniques because no one managed to touch him. Lots of body movement, lots of atemi.

Katherine

T. Mike
09-14-2015, 01:03 AM
I have experienced this. One time that stands out to me was when i was only 15 or 16 years old. We we were in a paintgun war and I was ambushing my friend. He wasn't aware of me and was getting closer and closer to where I wanted to engage him. As he hit the target area he wasn't presenting me with a good shot. I wanted a clean chest shot and the way he was turned I just wasn't getting it. I decided to shoot him and maybe catch a chest shot as he reacted. As I shot him time slowed down an amazing amount. I was making choices and waiting and evaluating and waiting and waiting and not getting my opening I shot him again and then more waiting and watching and waiting and finally another shot all in the about 1 to 2 seconds real time. And then back to normal time.
Part of what I find interesting today was that although I was really into my ambush this was nowhere close to a life and death type situation. Also although I remember a bit of euphoria I don't remember coming down off of adrenaline like I would after a fight type situation.
I am guessing it was more a matter of intense focus rather than an adrenaline charge that put me in that space that day.

Demetrio Cereijo
09-14-2015, 06:16 AM
From another point of view: http://breakingmuscle.com/sports-psychology/being-in-the-zone-the-flow-state-in-athletic-endeavors

RonRagusa
09-14-2015, 01:58 PM
From another point of view: http://breakingmuscle.com/sports-psychology/being-in-the-zone-the-flow-state-in-athletic-endeavors

Interesting read. However I disagree with her assumption that "...we can’t enter the flow state at will...".

Ron

jdm4life
11-07-2015, 08:32 PM
Ironic, I think some folk have too much time on their hands.

johan smits
11-30-2015, 08:37 AM
Hi to you all,

It is a long time since I posted something in this forum but on this subject there is something I can share.
Many moons ago at a birthday of my sister.
A few of us (including yours truly) had become pop's and mum's with me being the proud father of a daughter. I was walking with my daughter of four months (in another forum I posted seven months but according to my wife our daughter was four months old at the time) sleeping in my arms through the debris of the living room. Children's toys all over the place. When I stumbled, lost my footing and went down face first.
During the fall I turned, landed on my back, using the upper part as a bridge. My baby girl in my arms, she did not even wake on impact. She slept through it all.
No harm done, I was not even scared. Looking back, I know it sounds funny, I got a feeling that it took a really long time before I hit the floor.

Happy landings (of which the above is my most beautiful example)

Johan Smits.

Rmada
01-29-2016, 09:56 AM
I would have to agree with Katherine on this. If you'll forgive me for quoting a movie line, it reminds me of the spoon boy from "The Matrix" and his line. "you will see it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.".

dps
01-29-2016, 08:20 PM
"Science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science, but man needs both."

The Tao of Physics by physicist Fritjof Capra

dps

neb1979
03-14-2016, 09:45 PM
Great post Stefan, very thought provoking.

I have been reading the "Hidden In Plain Sight" series by Andrew Thomas (very good read). Before I start please let me make it clear I totally understand that my perspective is only one perspective of "Time" and is definitely not the be all and end all.

My limited understanding of time is that we live in a relative universe and as such have no definitive time reference outside our own universe, hence relative. That said we live in what is called a box universe which comprises of "space-time" and all times (past,present and future as humans perceive it) are all as real as each other. Space-Time (I am lead to belive) is actually the very weak force of gravity and has no "time" scale as we humans perceive it.

My understanding is that what we as humans perceive as the arrow of "Time" is actually our entropy which gives us the illusion we are moving forward in time when in fact it is our system that is slowly but surly moving toward the highest state of entropy (death).

In relation to Aikido, if all states of past, present and future do actually exist as equal then if you were able to truly connect to our universe and be of it not in it then you would definitely have a definitive advantage.

The slowing of time and speeding up of time is, I belive biological (our chemicals in our brain) so for me entropy and time are 2 totally different things and time does not exist only entropy.

Thanks

Ben

StefanHultberg
02-09-2017, 04:43 AM
I don’t know whether there is interest or if, indeed, it makes any sense at all to revisit this diskussion about time and, specifically, time in aikido.
O-Sensei, I think, was a “true believer”. When he expressed that “time doesn’t exist in aikido” I think he actually believed it. It wasn’t a parable, no metaphor. That was his true view of reality.
Earlier in the thread Katherine Derbyshire says “Don't confuse changes in your subjective perception of time with changes in actual physical reality” - and she is so right, anything else is just so far from common sense. BUT STILL, even if I probably confuse the two is it possible, could we go past everyday conceptions of time (and space) and aikido????
And then, one more twist – reality is really really weird and the more I study it the more I am willing to believe almost anything. Time, is a dimension which ought to be quite comparable with the space dimensions. Our consciousness as well as the laws of thermodynamics seem to be intertwined with the linearity and directionality of time. Could these things be suspended in a sort of "true reality" of time??
When it comes to time in aikido and the whole question of whether one, whether I, could be a true believer too. Can I truly believe that time doesn’t exist in aikido and could we be able to experience openings and possibilities in aikido close to the one’s experienced by O-Sensei?
Can one practice aikido in a true state of enlightenment, free from the illusion of linear and unidirectional time? If that state is possible – how can it be achieved.
O-Sensei gives us part of the solution, he stressed training, training training and training, aligning ourselves with the movements of the universe. His advice is worth any amounts of gold. Still, lying here on my sofa with a back ache from hell my training will have to be more mental than physical for a few weeks – again. I think and I speculate, I meditate and I search.
If anyone has some advice as to where the ultimate aikido, the one where time truly does not exist, could be found – even for old men with aching backs  ………

In the mean time – a few inspirational lines from Rydberg’s “tomten” (“the elf”):

The cold of the midwinter night is harsh
The stars glitter and sparkle
All is still at the ancient farm
Deep in the midnight hour
The moon wanders its nighttime walk
The snow lighting up the dark
The roof a crystal slate
Only the elf is awake

He stands there, grey beside the barn
Grey against the white snow drift
His gaze rests afar
Upon the moon in its usual shift

He looks at the forest, the pines tall
They shelter the house, a protecting wall
He ponders, as in a dream
The riddle, the riddle supreme

He runs his hand though his beard and his hair
Shakes his old head resigned
That old riddle, one all sentients share
Will not be answered in my time

He straightens, ready for duty
For practical work in its beauty
He tends the farm
Silently enters the barn

He checks the locks and the doors
Making sure all is safe
The cows dream of summer and grass of course
Moonlight strokes them, full of grace

The wagon forgotten
The horse also dreams
A crib full of clover
Appears and he eats

He goes to the door for the goats and the sheep
Cozily lying there, fastly asleep
On to the chickens, where the old cock
Stands proud on the highest knock

The dog in his doghouse is cozy and warm
Wakes and wags his tail
He knows this old elf, guardian of the farm
Friends are they without fail

Silently he goes into the house
To check on the beloved folk
He knows they give honour and he feels proud
Over this deep bond they hold

He reverently enters the room of the young
the children, for a while he stays
His heart fills with joy, with song
His dearest love are they

So he has seen them, father to son
Newborn, and then old and brittle
Where do they come from, these sleeping young
Again there it is, the riddle

The generations all followed eachother
The grew, they blossomed, they followed the others
The riddle comes back, he wonders
Where do they go, he ponders

The old elf climbs up to the loft
That is his favourite place
Feeling warm, laying soft
On his bed of hay

The swallows nests are barren and empty
But spring will be back with birdsong a plenty
The swallow will clean out its dome
A new family calling it home

The swallow can tell, spin many a yarn
Of many a travel sight
Yet nothing to dispel, here on the farm
The ache of the riddle in his mind

Through a small crack in the wall of the barn
A silver moonbeam shines down on his arm
He studies the moonbeam and wonders
The riddle, the riddle he ponders

Silence covers the forests and fields
Life is frozen and still
From far away, though, he can hear the stream
A silent song down by the mill

The elf listens and half in a dream
He follows the silent song of the stream
Where does it go, this stream of time
Where is its source, oh riddle of mine

The cold of the midwinter night is harsh
The stars glitter and sparkle
All sleep deep at the old farm
Until the morning hour

The moon concludes its nighttime walk
The snow still lighting up the dark
The roof a crystal slate
Only the elf is awake

My practical advice, just to be safe, is to use zanshin to, among other things, fill yourself with a feeling of having performed a perfect technique in order not to ruin it by reaching back in time with a feeling of failure……..

I don’t know WHAT I believe….

RonRagusa
02-09-2017, 09:24 AM
Earlier in the thread Katherine Derbyshire says "Don't confuse changes in your subjective perception of time with changes in actual physical reality" - and she is so right, anything else is just so far from common sense.

The idea that there's a "real, actual" reality underlying our perception of reality is grudgingly giving way under the experimental onslaught of quantum theory. Experimental results increasingly point to the fact that the act of observing is intimately connected to and entwined with the results obtained from the act of experimenting. Einstein, and others, insisted that quantum mechanics was an incomplete theory and that future developments in physics would bear this view out (a detailed discussion of Einstein's view can be found here (http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/teaching/HPS_0410/chapters_2017_Jan_1/quantum_theory_completeness/index.html#L100)). To date it seems that Einstein is on the short end of that particular stick.

But whether or not there's an actual reality beneath what we perceive doesn't matter. From a practical standpoint all that matters is what you perceive to be real in the moment. The moment is all we have to work with. Moments past and moments future have/have not happened and, as related to Aikido, need not be considered. So if you perceive a change in your perception of the speed of time passing, in that moment that's your reality; that's what you have to work with.

The common sense view of reality is bust, leave it behind and accept what is in the moment.;)

Ron

sorokod
02-11-2017, 01:48 PM
Like a punch in the face:

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away

-- Philip K Dick

fatebass21
02-23-2017, 06:31 AM
Ha!

StefanHultberg
09-19-2017, 04:39 AM
Don't confuse changes in your subjective perception of time with changes in actual physical reality.

Katherine

Dear Katherine

I have been studying, practicing, discussing, and thinking about this long and hard since your comment, not least through aikido and zen shiatsu/traditional Chinese Medicine. I cannot claim any true knowledge about any of this, but it's enough to make me wonder. My thoughts are:

1. I agree. I have had several experiences with time - and other arenas that are equally mentally challenging - that may or may not be genuine. I honestly do not know and therefore I agree that I cannot equate my experiences with genuine physical reality. That is my opinion concerning my personal experiences.

2. On a more general level I think what I have discussed in earlier posts in this thread could be possible. Note the word "could". This comes from the fact that my experiences and practices have instilled in me a sort of "damn, there lot's of things we don't know out there" - attitude. Thus I wonder, how about O-Sensei. "There is no time in aikido" - what was HIS experience of time and how much did HIS experience correspond to physical reality. The things I say "could" be possible - were they his realities? These things are, at least, possible from a physical viewpoint. This does not mean that I necessarily think levitation should be included in the shodan syllabus, but I think that if - IF - some things were possible, i.e. like physically extending time through "alligning your movements with the universe", then I think surely aikido - AIKI - would be a good candidate to explore it. So on a general level I am not sure whether I agree with you or disagree with you when it moves away from me physically - what could O-Sensei really do? Takeda Sensei? How deep did the Buddha really penetrate into the truth? Could Jesus really heal the sick? Does mind truly - TRULY - shape reality? Certain aspects of physics and aikido indicate that it does. We humans have more senses than most of us know, there are vast domains of creation that are known to be there as complete mysteries, and there are 6 or seven dimensions that are very poorly understood. Would "aligning your movements with the movements of the universe" expand our senses and our minds so much that what seem physically impossible becomes reality?

Many regards

Stefan Hultberg

Peter Goldsbury
09-19-2017, 07:52 AM
Hello Mr Hultberg,

Perhaps levitation is too soon for shodan and should be required for higher dan ranks, perhaps to match the larger size of the diploma and the increasingly smaller registration numbers?

I am joking, of course, but I agree with Katherine Derbyshire, whom I regard as one of the saner members of AikiWeb (there are many others, of course), whose feet seem to be pretty firmly on the ground.

Perhaps keeping one’s feet firmly on the ground is not the most appropriate metaphor for aikido, but it fits the type of training I have received from my own teachers, who were all Japanese and, with one exception, were direct students of Morihei Ueshiba. I learned from them especially the crucial importance of correct attacks. I also learned a little about Morihei Ueshiba. Ueshiba was a superbly gifted martial artist, with a formidable memory, who was also superb at reading the mind and intentions of the attacker. However, he was also strongly influenced by Onisaburo Deguchi and used Omoto as a vehicle for much of what he stated about aikido. I say, 'he stated', but you have to realize that his own disciples struggled to make sense of what Morihei Ueshiba said and almost all of what he stated about aikido was edited by these disciples. They probably did this with the best of intentions, but with the definite intention of placing him in a particular context, which is that of aikido as a new and emerging postwar Japanese ‘budo.’ I have discussed these issues in some detail in my AikiWeb columns.

Have you ever read anything by J M E McTaggart? He was a philosopher who believed in the unreality of time. I was introduced to his writings when I was a student. My major was modern philosophy, but I decided to begin at the beginning and go back to the Greeks, especially the threesome of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. One of my teachers also encouraged me to study empiricism, especially the other threesome of Locke, Berkeley and Hume. Since I had spent a few years in France studying existentialism, the study of Hume especially was a welcome return to the practice of keeping one’s feet firmly on the ground when doing philosophy. In fact, the Greeks, especially Aristotle, were a good model.

I have looked at the questions you raise in your No 2 paragraph and one of the advantages of my own philosophical training was the focus my teachers placed on language and the importance of language in even stating philosophical problems. To take one question you ask: whether mind truly shapes reality. You emphasize “truly” with capitals and I wonder why you did this. This comes at the end of a whole string of questions and this makes me also wonder what you believe would count as an answer—either way. A revelation? Your question also assumes that mind is a general term, like time. Did you mean this, or did you mean something more specific, like your mind or my mind? I would be interested to see what aspects of aikido lead you to think that mind TRULY shapes reality.

I should add that you are approaching Morihei Ueshiba in English translation. Are you sure that this is the best method for involving Ueshiba as a guide for answering the questions you ask? When I studied Greek philosophy, I began with the Greek originals and then looked at the translations in English French and German. Later, in Japan, I looked at the Japanese translations and found them very seriously wanting. One of the reasons for studying Morihei Ueshiba in Japanese, and also the Omoto background, was the unsatisfactory nature of the English translations that we have.

Best wishes,

StefanHultberg
09-19-2017, 08:44 AM
Hello Mr Hultberg,

Perhaps levitation is too soon for shodan and should be required for higher dan ranks, perhaps to match the larger size of the diploma and the increasingly smaller registration numbers?

I am joking, of course, but I agree with Katherine Derbyshire, whom I regard as one of the saner members of AikiWeb (there are many others, of course), whose feet seem to be pretty firmly on the ground.

Perhaps keeping one's feet firmly on the ground is not the most appropriate metaphor for aikido, but it fits the type of training I have received from my own teachers, who were all Japanese and, with one exception, were direct students of Morihei Ueshiba. I learned from them especially the crucial importance of correct attacks. I also learned a little about Morihei Ueshiba. Ueshiba was a superbly gifted martial artist, with a formidable memory, who was also superb at reading the mind and intentions of the attacker. However, he was also strongly influenced by Onisaburo Deguchi and used Omoto as a vehicle for much of what he stated about aikido. I say, 'he stated', but you have to realize that his own disciples struggled to make sense of what Morihei Ueshiba said and almost all of what he stated about aikido was edited by these disciples. They probably did this with the best of intentions, but with the definite intention of placing him in a particular context, which is that of aikido as a new and emerging postwar Japanese ‘budo.' I have discussed these issues in some detail in my AikiWeb columns.

Have you ever read anything by J M E McTaggart? He was a philosopher who believed in the unreality of time. I was introduced to his writings when I was a student. My major was modern philosophy, but I decided to begin at the beginning and go back to the Greeks, especially the threesome of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. One of my teachers also encouraged me to study empiricism, especially the other threesome of Locke, Berkeley and Hume. Since I had spent a few years in France studying existentialism, the study of Hume especially was a welcome return to the practice of keeping one's feet firmly on the ground when doing philosophy. In fact, the Greeks, especially Aristotle, were a good model.

I have looked at the questions you raise in your No 2 paragraph and one of the advantages of my own philosophical training was the focus my teachers placed on language and the importance of language in even stating philosophical problems. To take one question you ask: whether mind truly shapes reality. You emphasize "truly" with capitals and I wonder why you did this. This comes at the end of a whole string of questions and this makes me also wonder what you believe would count as an answer—either way. A revelation? Your question also assumes that mind is a general term, like time. Did you mean this, or did you mean something more specific, like your mind or my mind? I would be interested to see what aspects of aikido lead you to think that mind TRULY shapes reality.

I should add that you are approaching Morihei Ueshiba in English translation. Are you sure that this is the best method for involving Ueshiba as a guide for answering the questions you ask? When I studied Greek philosophy, I began with the Greek originals and then looked at the translations in English French and German. Later, in Japan, I looked at the Japanese translations and found them very seriously wanting. One of the reasons for studying Morihei Ueshiba in Japanese, and also the Omoto background, was the unsatisfactory nature of the English translations that we have.

Best wishes,

Dear Peter Sensei

Thank you very much for your input, it is much appreciated. You raise some very interesting and valid points. I will reflect on them and respond as soon as my old brain and its sluggish thought-processes allow :)

Many regards and best wishes

Stefan

sorokod
09-20-2017, 06:36 PM
I think that in martial arts absolute (wall clock) time is pretty much irrelevant. The time that matters is determined by the rhythm of your interaction with your opponent.

If you can read you opponent in advance or force his move you will experience a plenty-of-time feeling, as if the opponent is moving slower than you. On the other side of such interaction you will have the sense of running-out-of-time with your opponent being faster and ahead of you.

phitruong
09-21-2017, 07:52 AM
I think that in martial arts absolute (wall clock) time is pretty much irrelevant. The time that matters is determined by the rhythm of your interaction with your opponent.

If you can read you opponent in advance or force his move you will experience a plenty-of-time feeling, as if the opponent is moving slower than you. On the other side of such interaction you will have the sense of running-out-of-time with your opponent being faster and ahead of you.

i believed the term you want is "timing" not "time". Thinking of wave (as in sine and cosine waves and so on) in which one of my teachers is fond of using the terms: "in phase" and "out of phase". I rode motorcycle and had numerous accidents where the bike and i got in touch with the ground at relatively high speed.

reality: bike and i falling toward the ground
from my point of view: i got plenty of time. hey! i need to kick myself off the bike so it won't land on me. hey! there is the pavement coming up. hey! i need to tuck and roll. hey!......
reality: bike sliding and flipping along the street. me, rolling and rolling and rolling and sliding and flat out stopping
me: @#$@!@@!#
reality: damn! that hurts! that's going to leave a mark or two! damn! the bike will need fixing!
me: ukemi worked on the street! thank god! I got full protective gears on. slapping the street with your hands, even with leather gloves on, is stupid! got to stop doing that!
reality: those damn greek philosophers never rode a motorcycle in their whole life! I felt off the bike, therefore i hurt.

I agreed with Peter that translating from original language is fraud with dangers. time and changes to the cultures of the languages make translating quite challenging. there was a time that i didn't understand that point, but as time went on, it changed my view, and as such, time changed all things. :D

sorokod
09-22-2017, 07:30 PM
I am ok with time. Timing is a method for shaping time in your favour. Misdirection is another method. Psychologically dominating the opponent is another.

The military speak of trading space for time.

In a conflict time is shaped by the participants.

StefanHultberg
09-23-2017, 04:49 AM
Dear Peter Sensei
Here are a few reactions to your very interesting points a few days ago. Your comments are in italics.

Perhaps keeping one's feet firmly on the ground is not the most appropriate metaphor for aikido, but it fits the type of training I have received from my own teachers, who were all Japanese and, with one exception, were direct students of Morihei Ueshiba. I learned from them especially the crucial importance of correct attacks. I also learned a little about Morihei Ueshiba. Ueshiba was a superbly gifted martial artist, with a formidable memory, who was also superb at reading the mind and intentions of the attacker. However, he was also strongly influenced by Onisaburo Deguchi and used Omoto as a vehicle for much of what he stated about aikido. I say, 'he stated', but you have to realize that his own disciples struggled to make sense of what Morihei Ueshiba said and almost all of what he stated about aikido was edited by these disciples. They probably did this with the best of intentions, but with the definite intention of placing him in a particular context, which is that of aikido as a new and emerging postwar Japanese ‘budo.' I have discussed these issues in some detail in my AikiWeb columns.

The point about keeping one’s feet firmly on the ground is taken, but at the same time I live very much according to the “middle way”. I believe earth and heaven both have contributions to make, so sometimes I stay in contact with the earth, sometimes I soar towards heaven. This is me, others may follow the path appropriate for them.

The point about the disciples struggling with the spirituality of O-Sensei is like a repeat of the story about Jesus and his disciples, even the editing and framing of a spiritual message into a particular setting. Presumably there may be spiritual gems in the original message that deserve investigation. Here I have had to rely on interpretations of O-Sensei’s message – provided by some of his followers.

Have you ever read anything by J M E McTaggart? He was a philosopher who believed in the unreality of time. I was introduced to his writings when I was a student. My major was modern philosophy, but I decided to begin at the beginning and go back to the Greeks, especially the threesome of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. One of my teachers also encouraged me to study empiricism, especially the other threesome of Locke, Berkeley and Hume. Since I had spent a few years in France studying existentialism, the study of Hume especially was a welcome return to the practice of keeping one's feet firmly on the ground when doing philosophy. In fact, the Greeks, especially Aristotle, were a good model.

I do wish I had your scholarly background. I am afraid my “scholarly” background is in the direction of geology/biology and (much later) strategy, especially the age-old strategy of conflict. Even later I turned to traditional Chinese medicine and shiatsu. My background, thus, has been in natural science, business, and some of the Chinese classics, not much philosophy. I am not familiar with the writings you mention, except the greek classics of course, but I will study them based on your kind recommendations.

I have looked at the questions you raise in your No 2 paragraph and one of the advantages of my own philosophical training was the focus my teachers placed on language and the importance of language in even stating philosophical problems. To take one question you ask: whether mind truly shapes reality. You emphasize "truly" with capitals and I wonder why you did this. This comes at the end of a whole string of questions and this makes me also wonder what you believe would count as an answer—either way. A revelation? Your question also assumes that mind is a general term, like time. Did you mean this, or did you mean something more specific, like your mind or my mind? I would be interested to see what aspects of aikido lead you to think that mind TRULY shapes reality.

The words “truly” and “mind” in the passage you refer to comes from my background within natural science combined with the style of writing I have adopted in my later years, when not having to write too many scientific articles or board/government reports anymore. I have written so many formal things in my life, writings where every word was weighed on gold-scales, but in internet discussions I have made the choice to formulate things a lot more “freely”. I believe this can be a very good form of communication since it reveals more of the person behind the words and perhaps more of the actual thinking behind them. The questions that follow serve to clear up what lies behind the words while deepening the personal contact.

An elemental particle exists in an indeterminate state until observed by an “observer”. This “observer” is supposed to have a consciousness (whatever that may be). I equated an observer’s consciousness with the word “mind” in order to connect the physics to all the metaphors expressing the idea of “mind over matter”. An observer, thus, can influence elemental particles – instantaneously and over enormous distances. I used the word “truly” because I was considering the scale change from an elementary particle to, let’s say, an attacker. It has been shown that an observer (“mind”) can influence objects as big as “buckyballs”, carbon molecules consisting of up to 5000 protons, neutrons, and electrons, collapsing the probability wave functions of these particles into a concrete manifestation, e.g. in connection with teleportation. This is a stunning example of “mind over matter”, yes, but the scale of aikido involves rather more than 15.000 elementary particles.

Regarding my “string of questions” – yes, revelation would be great, and many breakthroughs do come as sudden insights, manifestations, e.g. the discovery of the molecular structures of benzene and dna. Seriously, though, these questions are not really asked in order to receive answers. The questions are there to indicate possibilities and stimulate the mind (my mind at least). Sometimes there can be partial answers and sometimes the questions are enough as they are.

I should add that you are approaching Morihei Ueshiba in English translation. Are you sure that this is the best method for involving Ueshiba as a guide for answering the questions you ask? When I studied Greek philosophy, I began with the Greek originals and then looked at the translations in English French and German. Later, in Japan, I looked at the Japanese translations and found them very seriously wanting. One of the reasons for studying Morihei Ueshiba in Japanese, and also the Omoto background, was the unsatisfactory nature of the English translations that we have.

The simple answer to your questions is – of course not. I do believe in reading things in the original language whenever possible. Philosophy, religious scripture, geological reviews, or “Fellowship of the ring”. Something always changes in translation, not to mention taking writings from one cultural context to another. Whenever we’re talking writings in English, the Nordic languages, German, Flemish/Dutch, Greek, and French I will read in original language. My Japanese, unfortunately, is still at dojo-level.

I could make a serious effort to seriously study Japanese – and maybe I will, but in order to answer some of my questions Chinese could be quite important. Another contender for illumination is Sanskrit. The language of particle physics may be written down mostly in English, but it doesn’t look like it. Thus, the questions regarding the nature of time also involve the mathematical language – which is mostly far beyond my capacities.

On top of these considerations there are lawns that need mowing, grandchildren that need hugging, an elderly Mother to drink coffee with every now and then, places to visit, and good deeds that need doing. If my musings, inspired not least by the training in the dojo, lead me to try to approach O-Sensei’s spiritual message it will, for the time being, have to be English. Thus, for the time being, I will have to live by the paradoxical and “tongue in cheek” words of Susan Jeffers: “Everything worth doing is worth doing badly”.

Words may be in Japanese or English. I believe some of the deep questions can only be answered through training/revelation. The ineffable cannot easily be transmitted in any verbal language, but the words can support the process certainly.

En passant I may add that I am presently struggling with the words of Dogen regarding time and being – “time is being”. I would like to penetrate how he, in Japanese, constructs his message around “for the time being”. Here availability of Japanese originals and understanding of the Japanese language would be most helpful.
In any case, I will make a serious effort to try to match your wisdom to my abilities and options as best I can. I will read what I can, listen to those that know much more than I, and practice diligently in the dojo.

Perhaps levitation is too soon for shodan and should be required for higher dan ranks, perhaps to match the larger size of the diploma and the increasingly smaller registration numbers?


I may not reach the levitation-stage in my present life, but I did feel quite lightheaded towards the end of my sandan grade test, so I believe I’m getting some of the hang of it.
Again, I am so grateful for your input. I look forward to future continued dialogue!!

Thank you so much, best regards

Stefan

StefanHultberg
10-16-2017, 05:34 AM
Dear Peter Sensei
Here are a few reactions to your very interesting points a few days ago. Your comments are in italics.

Perhaps keeping one's feet firmly on the ground is not the most appropriate metaphor for aikido, but it fits the type of training I have received from my own teachers, who were all Japanese and, with one exception, were direct students of Morihei Ueshiba. I learned from them especially the crucial importance of correct attacks. I also learned a little about Morihei Ueshiba. Ueshiba was a superbly gifted martial artist, with a formidable memory, who was also superb at reading the mind and intentions of the attacker. However, he was also strongly influenced by Onisaburo Deguchi and used Omoto as a vehicle for much of what he stated about aikido. I say, 'he stated', but you have to realize that his own disciples struggled to make sense of what Morihei Ueshiba said and almost all of what he stated about aikido was edited by these disciples. They probably did this with the best of intentions, but with the definite intention of placing him in a particular context, which is that of aikido as a new and emerging postwar Japanese ‘budo.' I have discussed these issues in some detail in my AikiWeb columns.

The point about keeping one's feet firmly on the ground is taken, but at the same time I live very much according to the "middle way". I believe earth and heaven both have contributions to make, so sometimes I stay in contact with the earth, sometimes I soar towards heaven. This is me, others may follow the path appropriate for them.

The point about the disciples struggling with the spirituality of O-Sensei is like a repeat of the story about Jesus and his disciples, even the editing and framing of a spiritual message into a particular setting. Presumably there may be spiritual gems in the original message that deserve investigation. Here I have had to rely on interpretations of O-Sensei's message -- provided by some of his followers.

Have you ever read anything by J M E McTaggart? He was a philosopher who believed in the unreality of time. I was introduced to his writings when I was a student. My major was modern philosophy, but I decided to begin at the beginning and go back to the Greeks, especially the threesome of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. One of my teachers also encouraged me to study empiricism, especially the other threesome of Locke, Berkeley and Hume. Since I had spent a few years in France studying existentialism, the study of Hume especially was a welcome return to the practice of keeping one's feet firmly on the ground when doing philosophy. In fact, the Greeks, especially Aristotle, were a good model.

I do wish I had your scholarly background. I am afraid my "scholarly" background is in the direction of geology/biology and (much later) strategy, especially the age-old strategy of conflict. Even later I turned to traditional Chinese medicine and shiatsu. My background, thus, has been in natural science, business, and some of the Chinese classics, not much philosophy. I am not familiar with the writings you mention, except the greek classics of course, but I will study them based on your kind recommendations.

I have looked at the questions you raise in your No 2 paragraph and one of the advantages of my own philosophical training was the focus my teachers placed on language and the importance of language in even stating philosophical problems. To take one question you ask: whether mind truly shapes reality. You emphasize "truly" with capitals and I wonder why you did this. This comes at the end of a whole string of questions and this makes me also wonder what you believe would count as an answer—either way. A revelation? Your question also assumes that mind is a general term, like time. Did you mean this, or did you mean something more specific, like your mind or my mind? I would be interested to see what aspects of aikido lead you to think that mind TRULY shapes reality.

The words "truly" and "mind" in the passage you refer to comes from my background within natural science combined with the style of writing I have adopted in my later years, when not having to write too many scientific articles or board/government reports anymore. I have written so many formal things in my life, writings where every word was weighed on gold-scales, but in internet discussions I have made the choice to formulate things a lot more "freely". I believe this can be a very good form of communication since it reveals more of the person behind the words and perhaps more of the actual thinking behind them. The questions that follow serve to clear up what lies behind the words while deepening the personal contact.

An elemental particle exists in an indeterminate state until observed by an "observer". This "observer" is supposed to have a consciousness (whatever that may be). I equated an observer's consciousness with the word "mind" in order to connect the physics to all the metaphors expressing the idea of "mind over matter". An observer, thus, can influence elemental particles -- instantaneously and over enormous distances. I used the word "truly" because I was considering the scale change from an elementary particle to, let's say, an attacker. It has been shown that an observer ("mind") can influence objects as big as "buckyballs", carbon molecules consisting of up to 5000 protons, neutrons, and electrons, collapsing the probability wave functions of these particles into a concrete manifestation, e.g. in connection with teleportation. This is a stunning example of "mind over matter", yes, but the scale of aikido involves rather more than 15.000 elementary particles.

Regarding my "string of questions" -- yes, revelation would be great, and many breakthroughs do come as sudden insights, manifestations, e.g. the discovery of the molecular structures of benzene and dna. Seriously, though, these questions are not really asked in order to receive answers. The questions are there to indicate possibilities and stimulate the mind (my mind at least). Sometimes there can be partial answers and sometimes the questions are enough as they are.

I should add that you are approaching Morihei Ueshiba in English translation. Are you sure that this is the best method for involving Ueshiba as a guide for answering the questions you ask? When I studied Greek philosophy, I began with the Greek originals and then looked at the translations in English French and German. Later, in Japan, I looked at the Japanese translations and found them very seriously wanting. One of the reasons for studying Morihei Ueshiba in Japanese, and also the Omoto background, was the unsatisfactory nature of the English translations that we have.

The simple answer to your questions is -- of course not. I do believe in reading things in the original language whenever possible. Philosophy, religious scripture, geological reviews, or "Fellowship of the ring". Something always changes in translation, not to mention taking writings from one cultural context to another. Whenever we're talking writings in English, the Nordic languages, German, Flemish/Dutch, Greek, and French I will read in original language. My Japanese, unfortunately, is still at dojo-level.

I could make a serious effort to seriously study Japanese -- and maybe I will, but in order to answer some of my questions Chinese could be quite important. Another contender for illumination is Sanskrit. The language of particle physics may be written down mostly in English, but it doesn't look like it. Thus, the questions regarding the nature of time also involve the mathematical language -- which is mostly far beyond my capacities.

On top of these considerations there are lawns that need mowing, grandchildren that need hugging, an elderly Mother to drink coffee with every now and then, places to visit, and good deeds that need doing. If my musings, inspired not least by the training in the dojo, lead me to try to approach O-Sensei's spiritual message it will, for the time being, have to be English. Thus, for the time being, I will have to live by the paradoxical and "tongue in cheek" words of Susan Jeffers: "Everything worth doing is worth doing badly".

Words may be in Japanese or English. I believe some of the deep questions can only be answered through training/revelation. The ineffable cannot easily be transmitted in any verbal language, but the words can support the process certainly.

En passant I may add that I am presently struggling with the words of Dogen regarding time and being -- "time is being". I would like to penetrate how he, in Japanese, constructs his message around "for the time being". Here availability of Japanese originals and understanding of the Japanese language would be most helpful.
In any case, I will make a serious effort to try to match your wisdom to my abilities and options as best I can. I will read what I can, listen to those that know much more than I, and practice diligently in the dojo.

Perhaps levitation is too soon for shodan and should be required for higher dan ranks, perhaps to match the larger size of the diploma and the increasingly smaller registration numbers?


I may not reach the levitation-stage in my present life, but I did feel quite lightheaded towards the end of my sandan grade test, so I believe I'm getting some of the hang of it.
Again, I am so grateful for your input. I look forward to future continued dialogue!!

Thank you so much, best regards

Stefan

Ps. And here, a few weeks after writing this, Peter Sensei, I find myself looking at MIT, Oxford, Open University etc. homepages looking for distance learning bachelor courses - there may be hope for the old swede yet :)

StefanHultberg
04-26-2018, 05:44 AM
Don't confuse changes in your subjective perception of time with changes in actual physical reality.

Katherine

Dear Katherine, the short comment would be - I don't.

It will, I am afraid, be accompanied by this long piece of text :) . I do not expect many to have the time or energy to read it or, even less, comment. It would surely be presumptuous. This is an honest sharing of thoughts. They are expressed the only way I can express them. My apologies.

I have tried to form my basic reasoning leading to my conclusion that time could – COULD – be affected by the mind, not only as a mental/sensory experience, but as a physical reality – whatever that may be. There may be repetitions of the original post and there may be (many) errors in fact and thinking. Thank you all for previous comments, especially the above quote from a comment by Katherine. Thank you! I have thought about this pretty constantly, mulled it over, considered, wondered, changed my mind, laughed, wrinkled my brow, meditated. I believe there is overwhelming evidence that you are right, Katherine, and I certainly do not consider my little “time-experience” all these years ago a breakthrough into Jedi-grade aikidoka rank, but the experience described made me think about this whole matter and your comment has been a great inspiration for me to share my thoughts, specifically about the phenomenon of timeand Aikido, more deeply. Thank you so much!

Here goes:

The foundation of traditional Chinese medicine, so ingrained in practically all Asian martial arts (including Aikido), is energy - ”ki” (or ”Qi”), its different forms and its circulation and change through the universe and through man. Everything is energy, both in the eastern tradition and western science. If we start with what some of us know best, western scientific thought, an oak table is actually not an oak table at all, it is a vast empty space which every here and there is filled by a ”particle” - an atom. This atom is not really a particle at all, though, the atom itself is mostly empty space where there is an ”electron”, appearing here and there (as a probability cloud – a “wave function”), and a nucleus consisting of ”protons” and ”neutrons”. These particles (two of which consist of even smaller particles, quarks, which consist of …..) are actually not really particles at all, but energy patterns, perhaps based one one-dimensional strings (!) vibrating in a 10 or 11-dimensional space. This spattering of energy patterns, consisting mostly of empty space, over more empty space, is then assembled to look and feel and smell like an oak table because our senses are constructed to experience it thus. Our senses, therefore, construct the illusion that overlies true reality – or at least one level closer to it. So, in western thinking we call these energy-patterns ”electrons”, ”quarks”, and ”superstrings” and we try to understand them in places like the American TEVATRON accelerator and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN.

When quantum theory is introduced the world goes from just strange to absolutely bizarre, not only because the very small – the quantum ”world” - seems to be incompatible with the large, the relativity theory of cosmology, but to a large degree because it turns out that the quantum world can turn out differently depending on who is actually observing it, or rather ”how” it is observed. An elementary particle is then a ”probability wave”, existing in an indeterminate state and an indeterminate location – until it is observed. When observed – as an expected particle that is - it manifests as a particle in the location where the probability function determines that it is most likely to appear. This certainly brings home the possible reality of the old question of a tree falling in the forest – if no one is there to see or hear it fall, does it actually happen, does the tree exist, does the forest exist?? Do all thing “come and go” or “fade in and out” depending on degree of conscious observation??? Do the different observations connect to each-other, through the “collective subconscious” or a “quantum-field” in order to construct the collective sum of probabilities in order to create the outcome – the presentation of the forest at that time (whatever THAT is)? These are all reasonable questions in the light of modern science, especially in the field of physics.

This mechanism of the observer(s) dictating the outcome (consciousness (mind) over matter) seems to work not only at the minute scale of the elementary particles, it has actually been proved on larger aggregations of matter, e.g. so-called ”bucky-balls” which are assemblages of carbon atoms (60) – indicating that the old ideas that our minds affect what happens, that faith can move mountains, and that intention and expectation determine future events – may actually be literally true, may actually be a common mechanism in our daily lives.

The famous late physicist John Wheeler (1911-2008) formulated the so called ”Participatory Anthropic Principle”, arguing that a pre-life earth would have existed as a potential creation – in an indeterminate stage, a state of probability – until an observer (early life at some stage) existed, whereupon the pre-life earth would have manifested retroactively as a result of being observed by consciousness. Time is an illusion of consciousness, one dimension out of 10 or 11, nothing more, meaning that the expression ”retroactively” should not be taken too literally as basically the past, present, and future all exist ”at the same time” 😊 and are only separated by consciousness and convention. Actually, then, the universe may be created – or at least manifested from its potential/indeterminate/un-manifested state – by life, by consciousness.

A Japanese Aikido Sensei was asked if he could explain the intricacies of the kokyu ho – techniques. These techniques are supposed to be based on kokyu ryoku - ”breath power”, a concept which is rarely explained, presumably because it, like so many other things, has to be experienced personally rather than transmitted by words. Sensei explained that one crucial part of all kokyu ho techniques was intention, the total intention not only to carry out a technique as a training movement, but to keep in your mind the feeling of being in a battle of life and death and maintaining this mind-set to the degree of actually feeling your sword cutting through skin, flesh, sinew, and bones. Through this, he said, one could develop the power of will and intention to secure the outcome of a confrontation. He thus indicated that the physical outcome of a technique was dependent on the state of the mind as well as the actual physical movement. He emphasized that in order to achieve perfect technique one must maintain total commitment – faith – before the technique, during the technique, and after the technique, recognizing the fact that past, present, and future are one and it is only our minds that create the division.

A quite esoteric view of energy and the universe was propagated by O-Sensei e.g. in his view that when someone attacked another human being he had already lost, just by attacking. Here the view of O Sensei's aikido and, at least, parts of modern physics come together as it is based on the idea that everything in the universe is tied together, can be said to be ”one”. Remember that attacks can be physical, someone trying to stab someone with a knife, or they can be mental, based on words that hurt. The situation can be anything from the street to the boardroom – and thus be directly relevant in e.g. a leadership context. Attacking another, thus, is the same as attacking yourself, if you hurt even a part of the universe you are hurting yourself. If you then go against the natural order of the universe, by attacking another and by attacking yourself, the universe will resist you, you will be moving against what is natural and, therefore, you will lose. This, quite esoteric, principle can be brought down a little closer to the known world of strategy and tactics by recognizing that the one who attacks has, at least, shown his hand or has committed himself, whereas the defender is still free to do a multitude of things, has several degrees of freedom. The more committed an attack the more limited are the options for the attacker. The options for the defender are still relatively many and, in a committed attack, there is plenty of energy from an attacker that can be turned around – against the attacker or, even better, towards de-escalation and conciliation.

Basically, eastern wisdom and western science both agree that everything, including time, is one and that everything is energy. This is not our everyday world, but it is at least interesting to recognize one other level of reality from the illusion even if the illusion is our main habitat. Naturally we do live and act in the ”everyday” world of illusion, but why not consider the (perhaps) deeper reality behind it.

The relationships between the potential and the manifested, between the mental and the physical, and between expectations and outcome were observed in many societies – the Chinese (illustrated in the Taoist literature), the Japanese (utilized in esoteric Shinto, Zen-Buddhism and the thereto related martial arts) etc. Some words from the Australian aboriginal tradition illustrates the same thing:

The dreamtime process of creation resembles the simple act of baking bread. First there is an internal desire, a hunger, a need for a delicious morsel existing in a purely energetic state of mind. The desire comes before the bread, just as the dream of the flint is present in the stone before its emergence in the world. Conscious activity gathers the ingredients in the physical worlds that correspond to those in the dream. By combining and working the ingredients, the dream of the bread clothes itself in body. As the bread is eaten, the dream is devoured; it becomes internal and invisible again. The dream of the bread has been digested into a memory.

(Robert Lawlor, 1991. Voices of the first day – awakening in the aboriginal dreamtime)

In terms of e.g. leadership it may not seem particularly important to understand the intricacies of quantum theory, esoteric Taoism, or Australian aboriginal dreamtime in order to expand – say – a hardware store chain. It may, however, be very important to understand that intention, belief, faith, and expectations are fundaments of actual outcomes, not only as a mindset of the leader but as a collective mindset of the whole organization. Some of the principles of quantum theory, therefore, illustrate the relevance to, in this particular case, motivational leadership, making sure that staff are onboard, making sure that they believe while at the same time illustrating the fact that good intentions are more likely to be successful than bad intentions (”good” and ”bad”, by the way, is an interesting constellation, perhaps better discussed at another time 😊).

Quantum theory also indicates that, at least at small scales, things are quite different from what we ordinarily experience. At the minute scales of the ”quantum foam” time goes in all directions,
forwards, backwards, turns back on itself and so on, minute black holes may appear and disappear, and myriads of particle pairs appear and distinguish each other in a frenzy of activity even in the total vacuum of so-called ”empty space”. Empty is not at all empty at all, empty equals “full of potential”.

Emptiness does actualize the question of the abovementioned ”true reality” - if there is such a thing. In a down to earth manner we can ask ourselves what we are holding when we are holding a book, it's a book, right? Yes, it could be, but it could also be a tree, the tree that the paper was made from. When we are holding a glass we are holding a glass, right? Yes, maybe, but we are also holding sand, the sand grains that the silica of the glass is made of, the magma that would form the granite that would be the source of the sand, the exploding star, the supernova, that produced the silica that the granite was made of.

The link to emptiness is more visible when we go a level deeper, the book which is paper made of a tree is not really a book at all, just as in the above example of the oak table, it is mostly emptiness, emptiness which here and there contains isolated energetic phenomena, particles, strings, or waves of probability inhabiting a point in space like a pretty lonely star in the void of deep space. The only reason we perceive it as a book, as a solid object is due to the interaction of the particles in the book and the particles that make up our fingers through the force of electromagnetism – the negative charge of the electrons surrounding the atoms of the book being repelled by the negative charge of the electrons which are part of our fingers. Visually it's the light, photons, interacting with the particles of the book, affecting the retina's of our eyes, and eventually being used by our brains to construct a sort of ”virtual reality”, an illusion based on ”true reality”, an illusion which lets us function in the sense-driven virtual reality we have been constructed to live in.

Since all our sense-based perceptions are individual we all, to a degree, construct our own individual reality. This can be illustrated by the words of the famous Zen patriarch Dogen:

All beings do not see mountains and waters in the same way. Some beings see water as a jeweled ornament, but they do not regard jeweled ornaments as water. What in the human realm corresponds to their water? We only see their jeweled ornaments as water. Some beings see water as wondrous blossoms, but they do not use blossoms as water. Hungry ghosts see water as raging fire or pus and blood. Dragons see water as a palace or a pavillion. Some beings see water as a forest or a wall. Some see water as the seven treasures or a wish-granting jewel. Some see it as the dharma nature of pure liberation, the true human body, or as the form of body or essence of mind. Water is seen as dead or alive depending on causes and conditions.

Thus, the views of all beings are not the same. You should question this matter now, are there many ways to see one thing, or is it a mistake to see many forms as one thing? You should pursue this beyond the limit of pursuit. Accordingly, endeavors in practice-realization of the way are not limited to one or two kinds. The ultimate realm has one thousand kinds and ten thousand ways.
When we think about the meaning of this, it seems that there is water for various beings but there is no original water – there is no water common to all types of beings. But water for these various kinds of beings does not depend on mind or body, does not arise from actions, does not depend on self or other. The freedom of water depends only on water.

(Dogen)

The great Socrates himself has some thoughts on the matter, described in a Wikipedia article:

Socrates's idea that reality is unavailable to those who use their senses is what puts him at odds with the common man, and with common sense. Socrates says that he who sees with his eyes is blind, and this idea is most famously captured in his allegory of the cave, and more explicitly in his description of the divided line. The allegory of the cave (begins Republic 7.514a) is a paradoxical analogy wherein Socrates argues that the invisible world is the most intelligible ("noeton") and that the visible world ("(h)oraton") is the least knowable, and the most obscure. Socrates says in “the Republic” that people who take the sun-lit world of the senses to be good and real are living pitifully in a den of evil and ignorance. Socrates admits that few climb out of the den, or cave of ignorance, and those who do, not only have a terrible struggle to attain the heights, but when they go back down for a visit or to help other people up, they find themselves objects of scorn and ridicule. According to Socrates, physical objects and physical events are "shadows" of their ideal or perfect forms, and exist only to the extent that they instantiate the perfect versions of themselves. Just as shadows are temporary, inconsequential epiphenomena produced by physical objects, physical objects are themselves fleeting phenomena caused by more substantial causes, the ideals of which they are mere instances. For example, Socrates thinks that perfect justice exists (although it is not clear where) and his own trial would be a cheap copy of it.

(Wikipedia, 2017)

Since all realities are, to a degree, individual, there is no objective reality, no objective “truth”. Even natural laws and acts by deities are filtered through the human individual and collective consciousness. The manifested is influenced by this consciousness and, presumably, the more an individual’s consciousness is concentrated on a task the more will this individual influence the actual outcome. His “will” or “concentration” affects things, mind over matter.

The everyday reality we experience, then, consists mostly of emptiness and, following the principle that the ultimate yang is born at the center of yin and vice versa, ”emptiness is form and form is only emptiness - the Buddhist ”Heart Sutra” expresses a truth about existence, illustrating the duality and interplay between Yin and Yang, light and darkness, up and down, warmth and cold, nonbeing and being, opposites balancing and giving birth to each other. Beyond this dualistic, relative, universe, this ”apparent” reality, then, lies the ”ultimate” (?) or ”true” (?) reality, the world where all opposites are united to wholeness, Yin and Yang merging and becoming a wholeness, Tao:

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.
We work with being, but non-being is what we use.

(Lao Tzu)

This illustrates the utility of emptiness and, perhaps, the reality that emptiness isn't really empty at all. In the Chinese (eastern) tradition the thinking about emptiness is similar to the western view, but the terms are different. The basic emptiness is called ”the void” and sometimes ”Tao” (the way). This is considered to be the primal emptiness which is so empty that it is full of potential (actually not that different from modern physics where a vacuum can be shown to be full of particles and antiparticles that appear and annihilate each other in an intense froth of spontaneous creative activity). From the completeness of Tao comes Yin and Yang, the female and the male aspects of ”the force”. Yin is female, dark, mysterious, hidden, strives downwards, belongs to the earth, and is associated with the moon. Yang is male, light, straightforward, manifest, strives upwards, belongs to heaven, and is associated with the sun. The combination of Yin and Yang produces the energy of the 5 elements. The energy of these 5 elements is always around us and within us in different mixtures and combinations depending on mood, season, age, time of day, weather, food intake etc.

Yin and Yang have several expressions in e.g. Aikido, good examples being the Omote and Ura forms of techniques. Omote is associated with Yang, straight ahead, straightforward, etc., whereas Ura means, Yin, behind, turning, secret, hidden etc.

What is the relevance in terms of life, health, leadership? That can vary quite a lot, if nothing else at all this quantum theory and esoterism can at least bring home the quite relevant message that – WE KNOW NOTHING – which perhaps could bring with it a certain openness in terms of new ideas, a certain humbleness in terms of realizing that since nobody truly knows anything we should not be sure we are right, should have a certain carefulness since we should realize that we cannot really know the consequences of our decisions and actions (there's nothing more frightening than a person who is absolutely sure of something). Maybe, in relation to these fascinating mysteries, we
could also see ourselves as just a little part of the whole, still important and precious, but absolutely a part of the whole, meaning that we could be more motivated to see the wholeness rather than our egocentric desires. The wholeness can, sometimes and to some, be an integrated part of goals and objectives.

In order to bring home the message that WE KNOW NOTHING one may highlight one absolutely mind-blowing fact – we have many theories and views of matter and energy. That may make us think we actually know a lot about the workings of the cosmos and the quantum world, but all this theorizing is in relation to ordinary matter and energy – i.e. approximately 5% of the universe. The rest is made up by so-called dark matter and dark energy, of which practically nothing is known, no theories and no models, only guesses and speculation.

If all the above seems too much, too bloody far out, one must at least accept that we have an incomplete understanding regarding approximately 5% of the universe. The remaining 95% we know pretty close to absolutely nothing about.

We do not know what we are, who we are, where we come from, where we’re going, when we are, when we’re going, not for sure.

Can a horse learn to sing in a year? The old story does not say whether Nasrudin succeeded or not, but who can say for certain it cannot happen, especially if the horse is part of the universal energy system and can be influenced through it?

The basic assumptions about what we are and what ”this all” is, is about, etc. affect our ambitions, our dreams, our opinions, our actions, decisions, prejudices. If we have the fundamental assumption that all time – past, present, and future, exists “at the same time” (as some convincing theories postulate) then somebody like Van Gogh perhaps made a bloody smart investment, he lived for a few years as a spectacularly creative madman who ended up taking his life in a sort of ”creative misery” - if I have understood the biographies. Clever boy, he croaked miserably but ended up as a mega-celebrity, an archetype in his own right. If, as Jung seems to postulate, then, archetypes have ”true” lives on their own. Becoming part of, merging with, this true archetype would, all by itself constitute quite a way towards immortality. Jung does have a point, and who could conclusively – beyond all reasonable doubt – rule out the actual “existence” of archetypes as illustrated brilliantly in “The Endless” in Neil Gaiman's classic comic ”Sandman”, then Van Gogh achieved immortality and recognition of genius, lots of economic value, lots of admiration etc. Perhaps his, seemingly tragic, life was an investment in expectation of future (which is now) gains? The totality of his life, seen as the temporal totality of his life, seems increased, the balance sheet has grown. Maybe he truly lives with Morpheus in his palace in the center of the Dreaming 😊.

Van Gogh may have been famous and rich during what we see as his physical life if we see the ”temporal totality” of his life. Van Gogh is Van Gogh in 1264 when the first events start to be seen that eventually will lead to his birth, his genome. Van Gogh is Van Gogh, cutting off his ear and hanging in the Van Gogh Museum. Van Gogh is Van Gogh travelling to the South Pacific and being sold at auctions for prices that make you feel dizzy. It may be so, it could possibly be so. Some days in late summer with a leisurely glass of rosé in my hand and butterflies in the air one could even truly believe it. Most of the time I think it’s bollocks.

If one actually believed the possibility of above Van Gogh - style temporal totality many would probably prioritize more clearly in the direction of doing good, meaning, like some REAL goodie stuff, archetypical Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, Malala, but we do not. We live in daily ”ordinary reality” - defined by biological senses and a tiny bit of intuition, and this state rules our ”every day” reality. Sometimes you get to see, at least, the possibilities behind the thin veil, the ”gossamer sheet”, and you may remember some of it every now and then.

Even if we live our daily lives in a world where a book is a book and what we see is what we see we should know that there is something else behind it all, this is the only ethical, moral basis of life, an honest attempt to understand our world and humbly act from this attempt.

It is from that basis that I cannot completely rule out the possibility that time may be “truly”, at least, influenced by consciousness, both individual and collective.

Thus the statement by O-Sensei “Time does not exist in Aikido” could (COULD) be absolutely or partially literally and truly TRUE. It may (MAY) not be.

If anyone has bothered to read this far – thank you so much & my sympathies 😊

All the best

Stefan

dps
04-29-2018, 01:08 PM
Consider this:

"Ordinary everyday time" is a misperception of the actual flow of time. "Extended time" is the actual flow of time. Your mind, being distracted by thoughts and emotions, does not notice the actual flow of time (Extended Time).

dps

StefanHultberg
05-02-2018, 05:21 AM
Consider this:

"Ordinary everyday time" is a misperception of the actual flow of time. "Extended time" is the actual flow of time. Your mind, being distracted by thoughts and emotions, does not notice the actual flow of time (Extended Time).

dps

Very interesting. That would indicate that increased concentration would move one towards "extended time". Is this a "purely" subjective phenomenon or is it "real" - and is there a difference between the two??

All the best

Stefan

dps
05-02-2018, 06:50 AM
Very interesting. That would indicate that increased concentration would move one towards "extended time". Is this a "purely" subjective phenomenon or is it "real" - and is there a difference between the two??

All the best

Stefan

Time is time. We measure it as sixty seconds to a minute, sixty minutes to an hour, twenty four hours to a day, seven days to a week, etc, etc. Scientifically measured fact that exists outside the mind and out of our control ( real time).

Our perception of time exists in the mind and can be controlled ( subjective).
In practice you concentrate on learning how to move and apply techniques. Time seems to pass by quickly. When you progress to the point of moving, applying technique without concentrating is when time seems to slow down or extend ( real time).

dps

dps
05-02-2018, 07:11 AM
The secret of aikido is to make yourself become one with the universe and to go along with its natural movements. One who has attained this secret holds the universe in him/herself and can say, ‘I am the universe.'"

Becoming one with the universe. Hmm. Extended time is real time, becoming one with time.
dps

RonRagusa
05-03-2018, 05:34 PM
This post will be long... in connection with time and aikido?

Interesting post Stefan; but you're overthinking it. Aikido happens at now when past and future become irrelevant. The closer you can come to being in the moment the slower your perceived time will be. Becoming mired in what happened or what may happen, remove you from the moment and serve only as distractions. Training is about stripping away the noise of what was and what might yet be and seeing what is.

Ron

RickMatz
05-03-2018, 07:11 PM
I know exactly the feeling of having more time. I get this sense when I've had periods of training a lot. It's unlooked for and unexpected, but damn; it's there!

In old videos of Shioda and Tohei, there is a slight difference to my eye. Tohei strikes me as the most relaxed person in the universe as he's going through his paces and it's all very effective for him.

But Shioda to me seems to be moving at a different tempo than his ukes. It's as if two different videos were shot at different speeds and superimposed.

Maybe this feeling is a side effect, a symptom of simply being relaxed and having an open mind.

dps
05-03-2018, 08:08 PM
We are in good company in our discussion about time:

"A Debate Over the Physics of Time"

https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-debate-over-the-physics-of-time-20160719/

sorokod
05-05-2018, 04:10 PM
Never thought Gödel will come up on AikiWeb, anyway please jump into this rabbit hole: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/godel-and-unreality-of-time.html?m=1

StefanHultberg
05-10-2018, 05:26 AM
Interesting post Stefan; but you're overthinking it. Aikido happens at now when past and future become irrelevant. The closer you can come to being in the moment the slower your perceived time will be. Becoming mired in what happened or what may happen, remove you from the moment and serve only as distractions. Training is about stripping away the noise of what was and what might yet be and seeing what is.

Ron

Hehe, of course I am overthinking it, I used to be a scientist - I overthink everything :p

Meditation and keiko (not much difference to me, wonderful stilness and movement) are my main diversion from my overacademic nature :)

All the best

Stefan

Peter Goldsbury
05-10-2018, 10:51 PM
Hehe, of course I am overthinking it, I used to be a scientist - I overthink everything :p

Meditation and keiko (not much difference to me, wonderful stilness and movement) are my main diversion from my overacademic nature :)

All the best

Stefan

Hello Stefan,

I spent a few years in what might generally be called a monastery: a place where people follow a fixed rule in almost complete silence. So there was much time to debate the questions with which you are concerned in this thread. One possibility is to choose one of two alternatives: overthinking (as Ron R puts it); or 'underthinking', which I suppose would be militantly in the 'present moment' to the exclusion of everything else.

Or not. One of the attractions of aikido, for me, is the dimension of humor, of not taking anything too seriously--and this includes all those 'cosmic fragment' sayings of Deguchi, O Sensei, and all the disciples. There is a tradition here as well, of course, well represented by philosophers like Heraclitus and Parmenides. An aikido 'sensei' occupies an analogous role: he / she is supposed to make 'important' statements (sometimes called kuden) with the generally acknowledged aim of helping students along the 'way'--whatever this turns out to be.

In my experience there was a long tradition of inviting Hombu shihans to give weekend seminars and after training we would all gather and 'ask Sensei questions.' For me it began when I was at Harvard and attended a seminar given by Kisaburo Osawa. Since I was at Harvard, I was supposed to ask the really difficult questions. Now I am in an analogous position. I do the teaching and my Japanese aikido students are in the position of asking the questions--or not. For I tend to discourage questions.

Since I do philosophy, the topic of the role of language in the pursuit of truth is the one with the longest history; it probably predates the question whether time is real.

Best wishes,

erikmenzel
05-11-2018, 04:01 AM
I am an academic, I have a scholarly background.

My way of training and learning Aikido is by doing. If there is one thing that I try to do during training it is to let go of thinking. Thinking makes me focus on myself, on my expectations and on the desire to do something, to have/take control. There is in my opinion one small problem with that, one inconsistency, for I don't matter, I am not the center.

Letting go of me is not easy, but when it happens I observe what is going on, I see the motion and from the motion everything happens. Time is irrelevant there. Things happen when they happen. There is no thinking, no decision making. There is freedom in motion as true freedom comes from not having a choice.

Sounds vague, I know.

dps
05-11-2018, 10:41 PM
I am 63 years old and retired ( or recuperating from living for over 60 years). My physical problems prevent me from doing much. I have a quiet and still house. When I venture outside my house for a doctor's appointment or go grocery shopping I loose time because time speeds up and passes by quickly. When I return inside my house time resumes its normal pace.;)

dps