Some great philosophy, thank you, folks! I think the highest ideal in humanity is love (I like to make the tough statements
). It is through love that we can most easily, perhaps, reconcile misgivings we acquire throughout our interactions.
We divide into camps and generate more heat than light when talking about where to look for the food.
I really like the way you put this, Chris! I grew up having a wide variety of friends who rarely liked each other. In any interaction (as much as I can muster), I begin with the idea of connecting with the person and finding commonality. This is the only way I know for people with very different views to come together. It's harder for some than others...and it's a shame that our past experiences always seem so ready to color the present. I guess our brains learn and remember for a reason though. The trick, as I see it, is to actively seek to build bridges rather than burn them. This is the essence of O Sensei's spiritual message as I've come to believe it to be. Recently I read an article which described Doshu's view of the different groups within Aikido as being necessary and good. Some folks are loath to suggest almost purely philosophical Aikido can still be Aikido, while others are loath to suggest almost purely combative Aikido can still be Aikido. Doshu seemed to suggest what's important is that we're working on something to show others; to leave it to them to determine the things most relevant to them and their part of the very big reality we all share.
I have to work hard sometimes in order to keep from being a very cynical person. I'm one of those idealists who became somewhat jaded and started to hate people because they got shit on my rose-colored glasses. On the other hand, I'm typically a very nice person to everyone I meet because I automatically see them as valuable to me, directly and indirectly. This kind of cognitive dissonance typifies the human condition for me. We're social, loving, animals who have powerfully violent, anti-social urges hard-wired into us. It takes work
; to promote in others to do that work, we have to find common ground. If we're not seeking that common ground, either actively or passively, then we're not able to progress spiritually...in my opinion, of course.
Abstractly, this work is idealized by the concepts of shugyo and keiko; of personal discipline/study/work and mixing it with others'. Simply getting on the mat will not necessarily produce results, but the effort must be there to build up ourselves and the world around us or entropy wins by default. Obviously martial arts aren't the only place to work on this kind of thing, let alone Aikido, but it is one medium of practice which can work very well for some people.
The consequences of an invalid training paradigm involve much more serious injuries than to feelings.
Well, not necessarily. And when it comes to spiritual/philosophical values, no one gets to determine what's valid except the individual doing the practice. Where people value physical potency very highly, they tend to gravitate towards those who express that trait. However, for those who see that as secondary, even for a budo practice, I don't think it make their practice invalid. Less valid, perhaps, but that's a personal choice subject to a series of personal judgements/values...and not one discussion will ever solve. It's still a matter of bringing a horse to water...and anything that smacks of forcing will cause the horse to resist.