Come train with me, I am always on the offense, I avoid the defense and believe in always attack, always win. That is the aikido I was taught and the aikido I practice. Retrograde operations only occur when you cannot attack and they are only temporary measures to get you back to a position of dominance.
Anyway, not everyone in aikido is about the hippie fruity stuff! Actually I am on a philosophical level, just not in martial practice.
It probably has a lot to do with semantics, but it's interesting to me how often "defense" takes on a negative connotation to people. In my opinion, there is only action and inaction; and offense or defense simply imply who's giving and who's receiving the attack. My view is that I can be defensive AND proactive/progressive in my approach to dealing with an attack...and even that this is usually the best way to prevent conflict in general. Defensive driving is a good example of what I'm trying to describe.
I was also curious what you mean by being on a philosophical level, though not in martial practice. My view is that people tend in one direction or the other (i.e. philosphical or physical), but cannot escape either. In my view, philosophy and physicality are just an extention of the mind-body dichotomy, and as such, are inseperable from each other. How the physical aspect of training evolves is through our philosophy, which is in turn shaped by our perception, which is based upon our physical interaction with the world around us, and so on and so forth.
ps-and not all us hippie fruity types are afraid to get physical. Even the softest peach has a pit that can break teeth...if you'll forgive the attempt at poetry.