Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
I have to say that I have found myself increasingly staying away from the forums. The level of vituperation just makes me tense... it isn't enjoyable nor is it educational. Looking at the forums as a staging ground for a battle of opinions really detracts from the whole experience. I find myself less and less interested in participating.
What we all post here are opinions... some may be better founded than others, but the fact is that they are just opinions. The idea that any set of opinions needs to win out over any other set is not only not true, it couldn't possibly happen in a community as diverse as the Aikido community. There are folks practicing Aikido who want absolutely opposite thing from their practice. There are styles of practice that almost seem to be from different arts when seen side by side yet they qualify as Aikido. There will never be general agreement about any aspect of the art I don't think.
So what is the point of fighting over it all? It's really just the same, albeit less physically violent, than the way people will slaughter each other over whether a "Hidden Imam" will come in the future or whether salvation comes through grace or requires an intermediary. Folks will murder each other for hundreds of years over these things.
We are almost all Aikido practitioners here. And the folks who are not, are martial artists. That puts the entire group of us in a less tham 1% community within our society. 99% of the population has little or no interest in training in the martial arts. We have far more in common with each other than we do with our fellows citizens. Yet the constant battle to have ones ideas better accepted than someone else's, the belittling, the judgemental tone, the whole sense that you are somehow less as a person if I think your ideas about our art are wrong, that's crazy thinking. It shows a seriously blown up sense of ones own importance, one that I am sure the universe will not support.
The old saying about opinions... that they are like assholes, everybody has one, is really true. Everybody has one. I may think mine is worth more than yours but given the fact that not a one of us has a window on the truth, that, to my knowledge no Enlightened Beings post here (I haven't seen any posts from the Dalai Lama for instance), not a single one of our opinions is worth fighting over. The notion that we would actually do verbal, emotional damage to another person over some unverifiable opinion of whether one person or the other understood Sensei "X" or the Founder better than some other, especially when neither one actually had one iota of first hand knowledge on which to base their opinions, well, that is just getting way to self important, I think.
Jun is right. We need to get our acts together about how we interact. As far as I am concerend, the best way to get past the constant bickering is to simply present ones ideas about a given subject and then walk away. Other folks can supply their thoughts and opinions and the readership can decide forthemselves what they believe. Sure, if you think someone didn't understand what you had meant, then add some clarification. If you genuinely think the other person has had some misinformation, then by all means, make your knowledge available to the readership. None of this requires a battle, none of is about acheiving victory as opposed to being defeated. It's a discussion not a fight. Certainly, nothing needs to get personal. You don't need to take it some personal challenge when someoe disagrees. You don't need to feel the need to lay waste when an idea seems ill founded.
I think we really run the risk of having our host simply take his ball and go home. What does Jun need all this aggravation for? So we can act like a bunch of indulgent children? I think folks should remember how much we owe Jun and that we are his guests here on the website. Maybe we should all start acting like guests would elsewhere and behave.