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Old 07-06-2012, 01:26 PM   #124
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,086
Re: Ki to the Highway

Matthew Story wrote: View Post
I agree that there is sometimes a usefulness to ambiguous terms, but I've never seen anything in aikido that needed more explanation than science could provide. Can you give an example?
I don't think it's about "needing" more explanation; it's about a choice in conceptual terms. The main reason it's present is because it's part of the original terminology used by the founder and other subsequent Japanese techers. It remains partly out of a sense of tradition, but I've been prefering to frame it in terms of choice (or trying to) because I think it ultimately comes down to that, particularly when we're talking about non-Japanese interactions.
I agree with the purposes behind a "no-nonsense" approach to learning, whether it's the internal or the external aspect of Aikido, but I see a potential purpose/value to a more roundabout method as well and leave it to the individual to judge according to personal taste and applicability. I personally am very attracted to poetic and/or vague language because I believe the emotional and abstract processes of brain are powerful tools for generating creative and visceral learning.

I think mind is a philosophical concept which works because it stays on its own philosophical and psychological plane. The reason ki stumbles where mind doesn't is that ki crosses over into the realm of physics, a world of measurable math.
I'm not sure I understand your meaning. Both philosophy and math are abstractions of reality; they cross over to the realm of physics any time someone applies them to behavior. Do you mean to say that they employ more logic-based processes of directly assertaining validation? I would agree, but only insofaras we're looking at "mind" in terms of the scientific processes of psychology and related fields. Most people don't have that background to apply to their understanding of mind, but they use the word commonly because it's a convention of language. "Ki" is also a convention of language, albeit one which has a much more limited context for semantic development for non-Japanese speakers, let alone non-Japanese language speakers.

You're right. It's not intended so much to disprove as to illustrate the dangers of leaving supernatural beliefs unquestioned. When someone tells us they can do something with ki, we need to be wondering what this ki is and how it works. And if there are no answers, then we ought to be questioning the reasoning behind bringing it up at all.

And here I have to disagree. It's like my example from earlier: I assert that there is an invisible ghost named Norman who puts ideas in your head. It's impossible to know that I'm wrong, and our science of how the brain formulates ideas is certainly incomplete, so why don't you believe in Norman? The obvious answer is that you have no reason to believe in Norman. It is not an assertion of belief to say that Norman doesn't exist; it's a reasonable conclusion based on the available evidence.
Belief is the absence of knowledge. If it is impossible to know, any assertions made are a belief. I'm not saying all beliefs are equally reasonable. I'm saying they're all unknown. I believe deeply in the importance of suspending belief in order to evaluate things. It creates massive cognitive dissonance, but it's the only way I know how to authentically evaluate my role in understanding the world around me. It leaves everything on VERY uncertain terms, despite my also having a strong sense for various degrees of probability. The only thing I know is I know nothing...which I guess means I don't know I don't know...ya know?
Take care,

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