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Old 09-14-2005, 10:12 AM   #44
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,568
Re: Omoto-kyo Theology


And here I thought it was going just swimmingly.

I do not come from the school that holds history to be just one damn thing after another. Santayana said to the effect that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This position presupposes that there are patterns of similarity, repetition such that, within a certain margin, likely consequences of certain circumstances can be avoided, or at the very least preparations for them made in advance.

There is an obvious risk of assuming teleology from these intuitve meta-theories of history. The suspicion of historians in the last several decades about this problem understandable in our highly empirical age. You have on more than one occasion, incorrectly, inferred precisely that from my argument. But complex systems theory has now provided an strong empirical basis for confiming the viability of such theories, if not their particular conclusions, and which, emphatically, do not involve any kind of teleology.

Finding ways to test historical conclusions in light of our greater knowledge of the nature of complex systems is the real challenge. I do not suggest that because meta-theories can have validity that my conclusions flowing from such a theory are necessarily correct. However, my arguments cannot be discarded on the basis that meta-theories of history are inherently unsupportable. That is simply a fasle premise based on our empirical knowledge at this time.

For an art that hopes to endure for any significant time, Aikido must endure the vicissitudes of fashion and cultural interplay. It cannot easily do that if its mythological base becomes overcommitted, unduly fixed, or exceedingly idiosyncratic. People simply cease to care, as it has no references for them to connect to.
Such an art would lose musubi, actually, because it becomes too committed to its own idea of what must occur next. At the same time it must maintain an core essence that preserves its identifiable integrity.

These are really my only points. Omoto went too far the other way, to the point of near irrelevance at this time. Its conflict with the kokugaku establishment and ultimately with the Imperial State were most un-Aikido like, I would note.

O-Sensei seems to have provided a suitable antidote or astringent through the ontology of practice that allows the accumulated glosses of mythological components of teaching to be stripped away from time to time and preserves the core meaning through the misogi of practice.

I hold this was done intentionally, on some evidence. You do not seem disagree that it has happened and functions this way at least in a few dojos. You seem to hold it occurred by mere happenstance, but respectfully, you have not rebutted my case for the intent with conflicting evidence. You have simply insisted on a different mode of argument upon the same evidence.

I do encourage you to look further into complex systems theory and its utility to good historical analysis. My own interest in this has led me to begin looking at the Chou I Ching in this light, as a basis to see if the Chinese historical works which trace the patterns of changes in the mode created by that work can be mapped upon, or alternatively, be shown to be unworkable, with analytic tools in complex systems theory.

It has been interesting all the same.

Erick Mead
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