Re: Aikiweb as a "Big Tent"
I made one comment in the "ki testing" thread and then opted out, for one reason: it's not part of my practice, I don't really know anything about it, and I'd be blowing hot air if I opined on it. I agree with what Janet has said: I don't really think that it's the place of outsiders like myself, who don't participate in a practice, to participate in a discussion of that practice, unless we can do so 1)in a spirit of true inquiry and 2)without derailing the discussion. To elaborate:
In a spirit of true inquiry: this means that you recognize that you don't know about the subject, you come to it with an open mind, and you want to learn more about it. It does not mean coming into a discussion with your inexperienced pre-formed opinion that something is worthless and trying to challenge it and pick it apart. It also does not mean coming into the discussion having tried the practice and decided it's not for you. I don't like rutabagas; that doesn't mean it's appropriate for me to charge into discussions on the cooking of rutabagas and rail about how awful they are. You don't have to eat rutabagas, and you don't have to test ki, and your opinion on either subject is really not needed. The world will continue to spin if you simply keep your opinion to yourself. In the highly unlikely event that someone asks, you can simply politely volunteered, "It's not my thing" and move on.
Without derailing the discussion: if you've got basic questions about something, there are probably better places to ask them (or ways to find answers) than injecting them into a discussion of the practice by current practitioners. Questions about the practice by an open-minded non-participant
don't always derail a discussion among those who do participate in a practice...but they can, so I think it's good to exercise some care about this.
One final thought: if the idea of not injecting challenging, contrary opinions into a thread on ki testing (or rutabagas) seems like an infringement on self-expression, or like it undermines the spirit of free inquiry, or whatever...try replacing the phrase "ki testing" with "zazen". Imagine an aikiweb in which no one could start a thread on zazen without some non-sitting individuals feeling the need to challenge the basic validity of the practice, offer their opinion that it's a waste of time, disparage the accounts of people's practice, etc. Would we praise this behavior as intellectual prowess and a free-thinking spirit of inquiry? Or would we see it differently?