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Old 09-13-2012, 11:31 AM   #18
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,139
Re: Even at Boot one can reach inside you and make you feel. Your feelings

I'll chip in...

I believe in personal responsibility. That is, the responsibility we assume in making our daily choices, the benefits we derive from our choices and the consequences of those choices. I am responsible for making the choice to eat a piece of cake (chocolate, of course), the tasty experience my body enjoys from the cake and the extra weight the cake adds to my body. It is permissible to kill anyone who ruins good cake.

However, personal responsible is a sliding scale. A child has less personal responsibility than an adult. The infirm have less personal responsibility than the firm. Legally, we even allow for persons to designate those more able to make better choices than themselves. A soldier with PTSD, for example, has diminished personal responsibility. Is that soldier responsible for herself? Yes. Is she less capable of making decisions then when she was well? That's the argument. Is she expected to resume a "well" life under her own decisions? Arguably no; that is why people diagnosed with PTSD are ushered into programs where others may help them. This is also true of alcoholics, drug-abusers, and other illnesses. The common thread with many help programs is that they do encourage some amount of personal responsibility

In this I believe aikido is about learning our personal responsibilities and living with the intention of accepting our decisions, the benefits and the consequences. I am not sure why it becomes an issue when we acknowledge some of us need more help than others. For example, if I told you that I could not dunk a basketball, most people would concede that is beyond my skill. However, if I do not carry a high grade-point average, then I must be dumb. Why not simply "beyond my skill"?

I do not mean to make light of serious illness that diminishes our ability to control our bodies. I wish to simply point out that we all experience diminishing control of our bodies on a scale. Whether it is MS or old-age, an old injury or presbyopia, we are constantly battling how much control and responsibility we can assume over our bodies.
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