Re: Frustrated by unconvincing aikido
To be sure, it is indeed wise to remember that there are two sides to everything. However, equally wise, it is important to remember that to every two sides there is but one center. In my opinion, at the center of what may be either an act of foolish pride and/or an act to inspire humility lies a fetishizing of rank. To bypass explanation, or demonstration, and/or any other true testament of one's inner being and thus one's capacity to make sense, and to instead posit rank as the ultimate form of "upaya," is to give to rank an unreasonable and excessive amount of attention or reverence. More than that, because rank is never a true testament of a human's inner being, it is to pretend or to be misled into believing that rank is capable of inspiring proper human virtues (such as humility). At its best then, I would propose that such action never really does inspire a true humility. Rather, its only capacity is to inspire a false humility and/or the kind of "humility" that one actually comes to take pride in (ironically). That is to say, rather than cultivating a true openness of the human soul, the fetishizing of rank can only inspire in us a more close-minded pride. It forces us to come to the world according to categories that are at best completely arbitrary and thus often without merit. If someone has higher rank, we will shut up and listen, but only by the force of an inner repression to gain more pride by feigning humility under these "proper" conditions. If someone has lower rank, that pride goes on to expect the same kind of repression from the person of lower rank -- a kind of forced inner repression that is wrongly motored by a pride in one's "humility." As a result, when such a repression is not present in another, such a fetishization of rank causes us to feel insulted and then equally pressured to inspire or force the same fetishization that we have within in the Other.
On the surface, while the fetishization of rank may appear useful and/or practical, at a spiritual level, at the level of human virtue, it is completely without merit. The kind of "humility" it may produce comes with too huge a price. It is too thoroughly tied to notions of ego, and pride, and also too tied to one's will to power, to provide any of the actual insights that may come to us from being open in both heart and mind. To truly open the heart/mind of another, to truly inspire humility in someone else, their heart/mind must be exposed to a heart/mind that is already thus -- already open, not guarded. Therefore, we cannot offer up as a motivator for humility a fetishization of arbitrary distinctions. When faced with closed-mindedness, we should not inspire or expect more close-mindedness from ourselves and/or the other person. Rather, when faced with closed-mindedness, if the cultivation of humility is truly one's aim, and/or if gaining the benefits of humility are one's aim, then rather than being guarded and/or seeking to be protected by the powers afforded to us by our institutions, we should rather seek to expose ourselves. To do that, we cannot make more of what is around our waist than what is in our bodies, or in our hearts, or in our spirits, or in our souls.
Rank should never be fetishized.