George S. Ledyard
Just as an aside...
No, I do not think that all opinions do deserve respect. The people who hold the opinions deserve respect. When someone throws out an opinion, it's just like posting something on the internet... once it's out there it's "open season".
People have all sorts of "opinions" and they certainly aren't of equal value. Opinions, as one can clearly see on the forums, can be unfounded, poorly articulated, unsustainable rationally, etc. Those opinions are not worthy of respect no matter how well intentioned the person having those opinions might be.
Out of respect for that person, one might attempt to be polite about how one might disabuse said person of his delusional ideas. Peter G is an exemplar of this approach. He is never rude or disrespectful of the person even when he is totally destroying some idiotic opinion.
It's just like our discussions of Aikido on a technical level. Everyone wants to think his or her effort is enough, wishes to be validated for whatever level of effort they can put forth. Everyone wants to feel like his opinion is worth something. But it's really just like ones Aikido... if you want to be "validated" for your Aikido, make your Aikido better. If you want your opinions to be worthy of respect, they need to be well thought out, well articulated, at least semi-rational and sustainable.
Strength in numbers doesn't really help either. Whereas having a number of other folks agree with ones unfounded suppositions may give one a sense of community, it doesn't make the opinion expressed any better. The "fifty million Elvis fans can't be wrong" approach is off base. Sure they can be wrong, just look at how we Americans are putting the Right back in power after eight years of getting hosed by the same folks.
On the forums, I expect to see civilized discourse. I realize that our entire culture has gradually been conditioned to look at everything from the standpoint of conflict, everything must be sensationalized and preferably involve screaming at one another... but thankfully, Jun attempts to keep a lid on that.
Too often these discussions devolve quite quickly into personal diatribe. Rather like the old Saturday Night Live "Jane you ignorant slut!" and "Dan you Fascist Pig!". I think that is pretty much wrong headed and it doesn't evince any real understanding of Budo or Aikido on the part of the folks on either side.
Anyway, in terms of the original supposition that Ki has something to do with "kindness", well, just look at this thread. Everyone one here on the forum has "Ki". If they didn't they would be dead. Not everyone on the forum is "kind", therefore, ipso facto, there is no essential connection between "ki" and "kindness". So, an unsustainable opinion, not terribly worthy of respect, but delivered by quite respectable people, who have every right to be respected. I think that one can see the opportunity for the personal practice of "non-attachment" in the Buddhist sense.
May I offer a couple of examples here of answers I have given in this thread and apply them to what you have said here. Firstly on the point of going to the meanings of the japanese before it was translated, which assumes the translator may be wrong. ie: O'Sensei using the word love.
I put it to those debating the issue that the fault more often than not lies with their not understanding the english and has nothing to do with anything else. I've seen this phenomena so many times through helping people who need help with study and they go all complicated and complex and agitated and angry so I take them back to where they started having this 'effect' and invariably find ONE point they didn't understand but thought they did.
This brings me to your view on respect and reminds me of a principle given in shin-shin toitsu Aikido 'Respect your partners Ki'
Every aikidoka who has been aware of this principle and then told me they were respecting their partners Ki but he was resisting or whatever other excuse they used showed me only that they didn't understand either repect, partner or Ki. So I wonder what meaning you have for the word respect?
Here's an example: Respect, regard, two words of similar meaning.Both are to do with consideration for someone or something of recognized worth. So far so good.
Here's the difference:1) Regard implies recognition of worth, with the element of approval or disapproval.
2)Respect implies recognition and esteem of worth with or without liking.
So one could take anyones views or opinions and estimate, judge, consider, debate, qestion with respect. However, as soon as one shows dissapproval or approval for that matter this is no longer respect.
Therefore one can say I respect your opinion but I don't hold in in high regard or I don't regard it as pertinent etc. Thus all opinions deserve respect with or without liking, wether you like it , I like it, the whole world likes it or not. On the other hand it doesn't mean anyone has to agree or disagree with the opinion, it's to be evaluated, considered and then put into context at which point regard enters into it.
One follows the other and then there can posibly be harmony. One replacing the other and there can only be misunderstandings and argument.
These statements given by Aikido Masters in my opinion should be respected rather than disregarded and laughed at. Tohei also said as a principle of Aikido: Relax completely. How many people know what that means or rather THINK they know what that means? ( excuse my use of Tohei Sensei as an example but I use him as he said it in English without the need for a translator)
Thus I point out continuously to fully understand Aikido a person must learn all three aspects of it and I emphasize the spiritual for that's where it all starts making sense. Unfortunately many equate spiritual with mysterious or vague unreal. Many equate it with the mind, a big mistake.
If you try to relax your body physically you would have a hard time. You could use drugs, you could go to sleep, you could have a big meal and sit by a warm fire or you could get a massage. Now if you relaxed your body by using your mind or got taught how to use your mind to relax you may well have some success via hypnosis or various pschological methods but still it's very dependant on other things or other factors. Now if someone taught you to spiritually relax, wow! You would find that your mind and your body joins in and then all three are relaxed, In fact relaxed yet invigorated, bright, expansive. Food for thought?
Lastly, your point of we all have Ki but not all are being kind. O.K. What if Ki is kindness along with love and goodness and all other good energies, does that mean that when you see others not being kind or loving then they have no Ki? I don't see that at all. I say it's not a matter of if they have it, it is purely a matter of why they are not using it and showing it.?
Hope this has at least been interesting, Peace. G.