I offer this in the spirit of learning mindfulness, not as an attack. The fact that 10 people agree upon something and derive feelings of unity and harmony from their agreement does not mean that what they agree upon is objectively correct. So long as they do not or cannot test the subject of their agreement their harmony is a product of assumption. However, those good feelings may be more important to them than discovering if the agreement is in fact based on reality, in which case it is preferable to maintain the joint illusion and remain happy.
I test everything I can since I am deeply familiar with the human tendency to cling to that which makes them feel good about what they hold onto. Spirituality is the safest ground of all since there is no test which we can all agree to, At least when someone designs a 1 winged plane we can all watch the crash.
'A scholar was being rowed across a river and by way of conversation asked the boatman," my dear chap, have you ever learnt to read?" The boatman replied, "no." To which the scholar, "well then you have wasted half your life." Sometime later a storm began and the boatman asked, have you ever learnt to swim?" and the scholar shook his head. the boatman then said, "well you just lost all yours".
It has been a few years when we last met in Leiden. Hope life is treating you well and that your dojo is flourishing.
I think people get often confused about the idea of spirituality. The word may mean different things depending on where you are coming from.
In Budo spirituality means you make an effort in sharpening and polishing the mind or the spirit. It has got nothing to do with feelings of unity or agreement whatsoever. It has got nothing to do with opinions either. Testing one opinion against another opinion will not teach you much.
And as real Budo is an internal process and not so much an external process, the aim I would say should rather be to find a subjective correctness then an objective correctness. You cannot see what is going on inside, so how would you be able to say when someone is doing it correct or not? People tend to look at the results and think that that is an objective way of judging if it is correct or not. But serious students of Budo are very aware of the fact that they can influence the results in many different ways. In archery I shoot three arrows easily into the center of the target. The onlooker will see the result and conclude that it was a good shot. But my teacher can see, due to decades of practice, that I am only aiming for a result. It is up to me to change and to sharpen/polish the mind/spirit and start real practice. To see how with each shot your own mind is trying to fool you or to disrupt your practice is the real test. And will take up the most time while learning the art of archery.
But not everyone will get to that level of practice. Or are even interested, they are just happy with form, with winning or with a bit of horsing around.
Things go haywire when people think that form or results or horsing around is the ultimate aim of Budo. Or that style is important. It leads to discussions and debates that are not very interesting or inspiring.
Greetings from the Auvergne,