Bruce, you realy do think way too much about all kinds of mostly useless stuff.
You mention "our childlike mind" finding satisfaction in images and icons. Speak for yourself there chief, I cannot stand religious art or carvings.
Personally, I am not practicing any religion, I have a few beliefs, mostly the stuff that makes the most sense from zen buddhism and taoism (one in the same realy)
But I am not a vegan, I dont have a meditation cushion, I dont chant, or stretch or have regular enemas or any of the other new-agey trappings associated with these eastern philosophies.
Yet, I am a good, moral, honest and admitantly flawed human being.
To me Aikido is still just a bit of exercise three times a week and some fun techniques which I can demonstrate to my friends. Even so, I am already gaining a deeper understanding of the philosophies I embrace from the internalisation that comes with the practice of Aikido.
Where else is "giving in to get your way" and "embracing adversity" as well demonstrated as in Aikido practice?