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Old 05-29-2012, 08:22 AM   #126
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,182
Re: Spiritual and i/p

David Orange wrote: View Post
Matt, the problem here is that so many people read this site and gather ideas on which they build "understandings" about aikido and budo in general.

Is it really correct to allow utterly inexperienced "teachers" to put out goofy claims without challenge?
"Correct"? I don't think that word really applies here. Sure, if someone says something that you consider "goofy", you're entitled to challenge that if you want. But that's your choice; it's not some kind of imperative. Ultimately, you don't control the dialogue; you can't control the access to information of all these people you're talking about. You can't prevent them from reading ideas that you consider "goofy", and you can't control their minds and prevent them from drawing conclusions from what they read that you consider equally "goofy".

You'll never get consensus; you'll never eliminate the goofy. You'll never eliminate the problem of bad information and silly notions. You may view it as your personal life mission to challenge the "goofy" wherever and whenever you see it. Personally, I view that as counterproductive. I imagine someone new to aikido comes into these forums, takes a brief look at this sound and fury, and forms an equally poor opinion of all the shouters. I see that bad ideas can be put forth persuasively and good ideas can be represented poorly. I don't think you solve the problem you want to solve by making it your mission to participate fully in this neverending call-and-response shouting match.

And really, when you get down to it, it's a rather paternalistic view, that new people who come to this forum need to be guided to the light (or your version of it). People don't have to have an advanced degree in martial arts history to have simple common sense. Someone who knows what bullshit smells like is going to smell it whether it's wearing overalls or a hakama. If your ideas make sense to a newbie, then they'll accept them; if not, if they require a prerequisite understanding of concepts that the newbie doesn't know yet, then where's the ethics in trying to get someone to swallow your brand of the truth hook line and sinker -- even if it's true? "Protect the ignorant from the charlatans" sounds like a good and noble thing, but it's a very slippery slope. Ultimately, I think you do more good by making information available (not spamming it into every thread on a forum) and then stepping back, showing some respect for the people you want to protect, and letting them figure it out for themselves.