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Old 02-14-2009, 05:00 PM   #11
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,218
Re: The Magnifying Glass

Good morning, Ross,

A few more comments on yoiur response.

Ross Robertson wrote: View Post
Peter, Jonathan... Gentlemen,

I am tempted most mightily to see if I can set you two arguing against one another. For on the one hand, one of you seems to have an objection that I go too far in calling for an ethical dimension in aikido, and declaring that service to the well-being of humanity and the environment is intrinsic and necessary for a discipline to rightly be called aikido. The other of you appears to be criticizing me for advocating the "shallow," "indulgent and destructive," and "selfishness and superficiality."
PAG. I am not sure I fully understand the logic of this point. Why would Mr Hay and I need to argue, when we are both arguing against you (though from different standpoints)?

Ross Robertson wrote: View Post
Therefore I am arguing in favor of fitness and health and success for all beings as an essential component of any sufficiently robust defensive system, including and especially, aikido. Argue against it all you like, it's a view I'm pretty comfortable with, and one I'd really like to see more widespread.
PAG. Sure, but the devil is in the details.

Ross Robertson wrote: View Post
(And by the way... voluntary privation, voluntary simplicity, voluntary asceticism... these are all practices reserved for the privileged.)
PAG. Not necessarily. Like the 'success' of your preceding paragraph, 'privileged' is a slippery term. It would certainly include the Founder himself. In his early life, Onisaburo Deguchi did all three things, but he was certainly not privileged.

Ross Robertson wrote: View Post
The pleasures of "Mercy, justice, service, love, honor, holiness" and also that of "eudaimonia" (though note well that the Greeks were by no means unified in their use of that term), are simply different aspects of hedonism.
PAG I used eudaimonia in my previous post specifically as used by Aristotle, who also clearly denied that it was pleasure (in the Nicomachean Ethics).

Ross Robertson wrote: View Post
So I will reiterate my position that I advocate an increase of pleasures of endless varieties for all beings, to the fullest extent possible, and a concomitant reduction in suffering everywhere. Further, aikido is one viable path toward that aim, and that it is virtually (hah, pun!) impossible for a discipline such as aikido to remain neutral about issues of well-being.
PAG. So, how would your position be different from that of a utilitarian like Bentham? In the example I gave in my earlier post, of the doctor lying to the patient, two ethical principles conflict. Aikido is of no help in such a case because it is not an ethical system.

Ross Robertson wrote: View Post
So if I have written in such a way as to cause confusion, then I am grateful to each of you for working with me toward clarity. I am happier still if we've found agreement in the idea that aikido has a vital place in promoting a greater good.

If, on the other hand, your position is that aikido must foster suffering or indifference, then I'm afraid we disagree, and the burden of proof lies with you.
PAG. Ah, Ross, you are giving with one hand and then taking away with the other. The way you have set up the disjunction is an example of "writing in such a way to cause confusion".
You have given us the choice of agreeing that aikido either (a) promotes a greater good (which you yourself have defined to be maximum pleasure), or (b) must foster suffering or indifference. I agree with (a), but not with your definition of (a), and disagree with (b), which I think is a 'straw man'.

Best wishes,


P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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