George S. Ledyard
But the outer form was designed by the Founder to point our attention inward and not outward.
This sentence summarizes quite nicely the central point about which this discussion revolves. The realization that Aikido is an emergent process doesn't, IMO, manifest itself until later in one's Aikido life. Whether this is a result of a gradual erosion of our physical capabilities as we age or some other less obvious cause I can't say. But I think that every practitioner, given enough time in dedicated practice of the outer form, passes thru a threshold that leads to the inner awakening of one's true "Aikido spirit". From that point Aikido practice becomes less about what I can do and more about who I am.