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Old 02-14-2009, 11:47 PM   #12
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: The Magnifying Glass

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
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).
...and one can exercise vital powers along lines of excellence that increase the scope of the ability to endure suffering -- but it does not speak the ends of that suffering. In other words, as an objective evil, to be willingly be undertaken, suffering must be in preference to some greater evil to be defeated or avoided, NOT that suffering is a good in itself. Only evil destroys evil -- good destroys nothing. As Peter Kreeft has put it quite well, God has dangerous tastes -- and permissive ones ...

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
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.
Let me take this up. Conflict is an objective evil. Aikido is a system for dealing in conflict. Therefore it is not ethical in the sense that it actually harnesses an objective evil.

So in that sense, I agree with you that aikido is not an ethical system per se, but it is founded upon an ethical issue about how to resolve conflicts - or to deal in a lesser of two evils.

On the one hand, when I am attacked, I am justified in destroying the evil of the attack. On the other hand, it is objectively an evil to do violence willingly to a person -- a person is not evil -- though he does an evil thing -- it is a justified evil to reply to violence with violence, but still an evil.

Aikido resolves this conflict in its characteristic manner -- the attacker is actually in control, his will to attack is the cause (both formal and efficient) of the violence that I do to him. I form (depending on the circumstances) a conduit or mirror, conveying his own evil back to confront him with it. If he ceases to attack, nothing happens. If he continues to attack, the evil of attack destroys itself, and I have not composed my own will, but guided the will of the attack around and returned it . A killing blow reflected may yet be a killing blow.

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
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'.
I agree with (a) and (b) with some qualification. I agree with both the "good" and "pleasure" parts of (a), for participating in violence is a pleasure -- that much is inbred. But Aikido's manner of dealing in violence is oriented toward good, though it is still violent.

And I simultaneously agree with (b). Devils revel in the suffering of others, and misery loves company, as they say; saints also ecstatically receive their own suffering -- so pleasure and suffering are not at all antithetical. Suffering is deemed redemptive in some important way by Christians, and in Shinto misogi, and even and in a certain way by Buddhists, because it tears away the more seductive aspects of maya. Therefore, in suffering the truth is made more clear -- on this point the three faiths can likely agree this as a method of discovery, if not the content of the treasure sought.

Aikido for me seems to seek a special kind of suffering in and with violence -- misogi -- violence in a penitential spirit, in our terms -- where I suffer from someone initiating violence, and likewise suffer for my own. The refiner's fire. "I come not to bring peace, but a sword." "Now the Kingdom of Heaven is preached and everyone enters it violently."


Erick Mead
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