Re: Article: Clarity and Self-Delusion in One's Training by George S. Ledyard
A very nice article. I think the phenomena being described are present in many activities outside aikido as well. I'm a student of physics myself, and in this context I often observe a tendency to idolize the great physicists of the past, with the implication that the speaker cannot possibly aspire to such heights himself. This allows one to become a member of the comfortable "middle class" of physicists - all one has to do is follow the curriculum as set, progress from college to grad school to one's PhD (black belt equivalent in this context, I guess), and one will then become a genuine respected physicist. I do my best to remind myself not to take this attitude, neither in physics nor in aikido. To worship at the feet of those who have come before and to see them as almost greater than human (as with O-Sensei in aikido and, say, Einstein in physics) is very much counterproductive. It merely provides one with an excuse for weaknesses and shortcomings. The remarkable thing about individuals like Einstein and O-Sensei is not that they were super-human, but exactly that they were human and still achieved as much as they did. That they could do it should be viewed as evidence that others may do as much and go farther as well.