Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Re: Omoto-kyo Theology
Sorry - here is the whole of my post:
Hi Erick, thanks for writing.
Like I said, these are different training methods in viewing history. From my school of thought, it is the lack of specificity that leads to the repressions and other political manipulations of information (i.e. fabricated beginnings, false continuities, etc.). As such, partly in an attempt to expose such efforts for what they are, folks from my camp ask different questions, and as a result, we get different answers.
For example, your larger perspective makes it seems like there is one type of Aikido - a practice that has existed without modification and that exists in the same shape wherever it is present throughout the world -- one traced to the Founder. It seems deny how contrary many styles of Aikido are to each other and how determined things are by the individual practitioner. It also seems to deny the numerous discontinuities that actually separate us from "The Founder." Hence, you can say things like, "Aikido is an antidote to exceptionalism," etc. From my perspective, no statement could be further from the truth. Moreover, when you say such things, you need to manufacture support for such claims, and hence you say things like, "Osensei pursued the same ideal as Omoto but using non-mythological tools." Again, from my perspective, nothing could be further from the truth.
In contrast to your perspective, if we look at things more specifically, we find that there is indeed no one thing called "Aikido." Moreover, we realize that the defining and/or describing of "Aikido" is actually a political game currently being played out -- one a historian is supposed to be reflective enough to not be suckered into playing right along with everyone else. Once we realize that "Aikido" does not exist as a single agreed upon event and/or practice, we are not only able to better record the relevant larger economy of power, we are better able to note those agents that seek to exchange one form of capital for another form of capital in the truth game of defining "Aikido." Since, Osensei (or one's understanding of "Osensei") is big capital in such a truth game, we can see how and why certain folks want to look at him in a certain way and measure these efforts against the accuracy of documents proven to be reliable. From here, we can with greatly clarity add to our self-reflective efforts to not be suckered in by the current political battles that are raging and thus produce ourselves histories that are more accurate. Alternatively, we can go on to study sociologically or politically the various moves that certain groups, or individuals who act in the name of a group, perform in their pursuit to understand "Osensei," "Aikido," etc.
When we do this, it becomes very strange (suspect) to suggest that Osensei in some way demythologized Aikido and/or the possible philosophies that underlie Aikido. From a local specific point of view, it is clear that Osensei did no such thing, nor attempted to do such thing. From a local specific point of view, it would have been impossible for Osensei to do this. From a local specific point of view, if there are today demythologized Aikidos out there, they are obviously the product of later folks who seek to legitimate their efforts by saying that they are only doing what Osensei already did. A more accurate form of history would see such statements for the political maneuvers that they indeed are -- truth games where social and cultural power is at stake.
Once you reach this point, we aren't so subject to the party line of one group in particular and thus better come to see that there are probably a whole lot of other more relevant reasons than the demythologization of Aikido (in certain areas, but individuals other than Osensei) for explaining how or why Aikido has spread throughout much of the modern world. When I said earlier that we are looking at history differently, this is exactly what I meant. I see us coming to different understandings regarding all of the things you have mentioned in your posts (e.g. Shingon, Shinto, Omoto, Aikido, Osensei, Japan, the Silk Road, etc.). For me, to go into why I choose not to look at history in the manner that you seem to opt for would be an immense project, but one can see here what I mean in this brief example I provided regarding "Aikido," "Osensei," the demythologization of Aikido, etc.
Indeed there are personal preferences to why we do one form of history over the other, and often both sides deem that "accuracy" is the primary motivator. However, when two perspectives are coming out with two contrary interpretations, while both can claim "accuracy," only one perspective can indeed be deemed "accurate." For me, you got a long road ahead of you in proving that Osensei sought to demythologize Aikido (and that it was not others like Kisshomaru, etc., who are primarily responsible for this departure from what Osensei did do -- which is speak with the voice of his personal culture, one that was saturated in mythological understandings), or that Aikido is spreading around the world because a single reason and/or even because of a single set of reasons. Etc. However, that is just my perspective, coming to me from my own slant on how to do History.
Thank you for your reply,