Excellent post! - As someone once said somewhere: "There is nothing more constant than change" I believe that, and I also believe that there is nothing people are more resistive to than change as well - maybe that is why the human race is so screwed up - well, at least one of the reasons
We must embrace change and make it ours...
George, you and I are around the same age and I believe we both started down the Aikido road around the same time in the mid 70s. However, our paths have been much different. You started with a quality source with a direct connection to O Sensei and stayed with him all these years, and today you are highly ranked as a 6th Dan in that organization. I also started with a quality source with direct connections to O Sensei, but I have not stayed with any single organization for longer than a couple years since then; and the highest Aikido rank I ever obtained was a Sankyu from the Ki Society dated 1977. However, today, we both are looking outside Aikido at Daitoryu and IT from Mike and Dan (among other things) in order to help further our understanding and skills in aiki.
Since we are all looking for different things out of our training, I believe that we all must take personal ownership for our own aiki development and seek out sources that will give us what we are looking for. In a lot of ways, I feel very fortunate that I was not connected to a single organization for that many years since that would have hindered my personnel development and I would have ended up just being a clone of what was being pushed downed to me - there are a lot of dojos out there where that is happening. I remember one dojo I trained in for a while where the sensei actually insisted your feet in hanmi had to be a certain distance apart regardless of your body height and length of legs - an absolutely anal approach to teaching.
In my opinion, the future of Aikido, as well as other aiki arts, is in the cross pollination of different concepts, principles, and knowledge - this can only happen by getting with different people from different arts and organizations. In a perfect world, we all would be independently wealthy and could just pack up and travel around to all the different sources as we deemed it necessary. However, that is impossible for most of us due to other life commitments. So, I think the next best thing is to try and form a small local group with like interests where each member brings their individual perspectives to the mat and you all try to do the occasional seminar to keep adding to your pot of knowledge so it can be internalized and shared as warranted. Also, seminars are a good place to test where you are at with your development and they give you pointers on where you might want to focus next, etc. This is what we do at the E-town Aiki Kurabu and it appears to be working well.