View Single Post
Old 08-19-2009, 08:55 PM   #4
Erick Mead
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,404
Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 15

P. Goldsbury wrote:
.. the crucial distinction between mere sounds and meaningful words. ... there is large body of evidence that equates logos in Greek with thought, logical organization, rather than with words expressed in sound ...the equally profound reasons why the so-called ‘teachings of the Logos' were not able to maintain their influence ...
Leaving aside the Nestorian stele and Prajna's tutelage of Kukai and cooperative efforts with the Christian prelates in Chang'an, (the more prosaic and documented historical reasons to assert the influence of Christian teachings over the early development of Shingon) -- the issue of the Logos is one that we need not delve so deeply into misty ur-history of Japan to work with. Morihei Ueshiba made connections to it -- himself. If we take those connections from our side, and take his imagery in its concreteness and follow them -- they lead us to intelligible places in the context of physical practice -- which, I take it, is the ultimate point of these (valuable) digressions.

The more interesting thing is the question of relationship. To question the relationship of the system of meaning to the sound of words transmitting that meaning is the same category of inquiry in finding the relationship between the principles (essence) of aiki and the relationship of the structures and movements that express those principles.

The Logos leads us there because Logos is an inherently relational doctrine, and if you like, Chardin's point is that when a sufficient degree of relationship is attained a system self-organizes and self-identifies. This would be surprising only if that were not in the nature of the super-system in which such a self-organizing system arises.

The point seems to be that any set of relationships -- if they are true -- relates deeply to every other set, subsets or supersets of relationships that actually do, have or will exist. The prospect exists that this is a fundamental aspect of the universe, of which we are reflections -- and at levels of quantitative inquiry far above merely "idle" speculation.
[spoiler]The Invariant Set Postulate is framed in terms of invariance, a concept that
forms the very bedrock of physics, and conjectures that states of physical
reality are defined by a fractal geometry I , embedded in state space and
invariant under the action of some subordinate causal dynamics I D . The
postulate is motivated by two concepts that would not have been known to
the founding fathers of quantum theory: the generic existence of invariant
fractal subsets of state space for certain nonlinear dynamical systems, and the
notion that the irreversible laws of thermodynamics are fundamental rather
than phenomenological...

A key conceptual component of the perspective pursued below, is that the
geometry of the invariant set should be considered as more primitive than the
differential equations whose asymptotic behaviour generates the invariant
set. This is not the normal perspective used in dynamical systems theory
where the difference or differential equations are primary.

... the Invariant Set Postulate subordinates the notion of the differential equation and elevates as primitive,
a dynamically invariant fractal geometry in the state space of the universe.
This geometry is used to define the notion of physical reality - states of
physical reality are precisely those on the invariant set.

If states of physical reality necessarily lie on I , then points p [where p is not an element of I) in state space
are to be considered literally "unreal". In a hypothetical "oracle" theory of
physics which (non-computability notwithstanding) had perfect knowledge
of I , these points of unreality would be an irrelevance. However, for
practically-relevant theories (such as quantum theory and any algorithmic extension) the intricate structure of I is unknown and these points of
unreality cannot be ignored. We return to this in Section 4.3 where one of the key questions considered is how to represent quantum-theoretic states in a mathematically-consistent way for such points of unreality. [/spoiler] [[N.B. -- the underlined aspect in the spoiler is the point, in linguistic terms, in which kotodama (and similar systems of relational recognition/patterning) is operating -- much to the consternation of "classical" linguistics, as quantum mechanics is to classical mechnics. ]]

This, then, seems the teaching of kotodama (to the extent it is even accessible to non-Japanese), it is the play of associational relationships within the structure of that language. Usually, language is the finger -- but in this case it is the moon -- which is why it does not fit the categories of language you are trying to apply. Mythic stories (a la Tolkien -- or Kojiki) are the same thing. Poetry, likewise, -- be it the Doka, or O'Shaughnessy, or Eliot. We anthropomorphize not because we see personified attributes in inhuman things, but because we relate to them as human persons.

When Morihei Ueshiba states that "True Budo is Love." he is teaching a relational doctrine in the heart of a conflict.

P. Goldsbury wrote:
Thus Nakazono asks the same question that Kukai asked during his life as a monk, and that many other budo exponents have asked and continue to ask: how can one train the body-mind to reach, enter, achieve, rest in, a certain state of being, such that, in Nakazono's terms, the physical, the mental, and the spiritual are in complete harmony. ... Nakazono sees the goal of budo as the ‘achievement of the highest human capacity'. I think there is general agreement that martial arts in general, but especially aikido, set out to make the dedicated practitioner ‘better' and that this ‘better' is a blend of the undifferentiated ‘physical', 'non-physical' and ‘spiritual', but the absolute, transcendental way this is expressed here raises the kind of questions asked of Kukai in Column 13: What does this achievement consist in? Is it similar to sainthood? Does this achievement have a moral dimension, or is it purely a capacity to do whatever the possessor wishes? At what cost is it achievable? How does it relate to the ‘average' budo practitioner, who sees budo training as a part, albeit an important part, of life as a whole?
This is the heart of the issue for most people training in aikido. Only in working through the relationships will it make sense. Every part of the pattern is inherently unique, but nevertheless grasping the local pattern makes every other pattern, large or small, near or remote more intelligible, as patterns that fundamentally relate. But first one must have a mind/body that instinctively seek relationship even in the stark and often harsh oppositional mode of contradiction or conflict. This is the same mode in which Zen koan operates, hence its longstanding affinity for martial endeavors. It is the same way in which Shingon uses the mandala and the incidental association of the thrown flower in the initiation rites. It is a commonplace of all systems of divination, of which these are all a part in one manner or another, though they are not intended and cannot actually be used for linear prediction.

The "incoherence" of linguistic association you see in kotodama or is simply the oppositional mode of its operation, where the (often very arcane, and "just-so" quality) of the linguistic associational exercises are not linguistic in the sense you are attempting to reach them with -- they are spontaneous "verbal acts" (res gestae, "Kwatz!") transcending that mode of oppositional discrimination, in finding relationships where none (in a proper linguistic sense) seemingly exists. It is inculcating an habitus -- a virtue -- of finding instinctive relationship in conflict.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 08-19-2009 at 09:01 PM.


Erick Mead
  Reply With Quote