View Single Post
Old 09-12-2005, 07:28 PM   #32
Erick Mead
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,568
Re: Omoto-kyo Theology

Thanks David.
David Valadez wrote:
- On the manner of Osensei demythologizing Aikido:

Erick, I think you need to make a distinction between these two phrases:

"Osensei demythologized Aikido/Omoto-kyo." (or any variation of this phrase)
"Aikido can be demythologized." (or any variation of this phrase)

My position is with the latter. You first seemed to be saying the former phrase, but then later you have moved slightly toward the second phrase.
When you acknowledge all of this, you can only speak of the demythologization of Aikido as either a philosophical potential or as a historical act carried out by others. It is not an act that can be attributed to Osensei -- which was what was at issue here -- (currently) that data is not there to support such a view of agency. We can thus only go with the second phrase, "Aikido can be demythologized" -- which I agree with and even recommend.

My position is not binary. That is to say, that the light is not either on or off, but neither is it anywhere in between. It is the two sides of the coin (Izu/Mizu again). Heads is up, but tails is still there even if not seen.

O-Sensei achieved a severance between the mythological environment in which aikido arose and the manner in which it may be taught. The effect of this was to allow aikido to be effectively taught in almost any cultural environment. I contend this was O-Sensei's purpose, based on his own statements and his willingness to engage his students on their own cultural basis, as the experience of Andre Nocquet in the late 50's shows. The essential elements remain, but in much more effectively translated form.

One face of aikido is a spare schematic, stripped of its original mythological basis; the other face is fully fleshed in the garb of the cultural environment in which it is taught. The first ensures the skeleton maintains its fundamental shape. The second allows exploration of the universe of creativity in its expression that the specifics of a given culture permit.

They are complements, not irreconcilable alternatives. One is a check upon the other. Either alone could not survive for long. It would either collapse as a shapeless mass under accumulated novelty, or remain a figure of dry bones. Together, there is, apparently, no cultural landscape in which they cannot flourish.

This is the effect of the substance and form of O-Sensei's teaching. Given his willingness to explain himself in Christian, Buddhist or Shinto terms as needs must, it is not too much to say it was intended so.

Erick Mead
  Reply With Quote