Re: Morihei Ueshiba's Use of the Term "Aiki"
Eric - that's possible, and surely on some level, true. On the other hand, your brother-in-law, is suggesting that there is a way beyond the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, in which any measuring device we use to determine the nature of an entity effects the nature of the entity. (Which we may be seeing here regarding all these definitions of aiki).
Regarding Ueshiba, however, I don't quite see how what your bro-in-law states translates - the limit of a simile is that it is bounded by the degree of similitude.
Since Ueshiba apparently chose to apply a term to a number of apparently different, even contradictory experiences, thoughts, attitudes, I doubt very much that were he less bewildered, he might have called his spiritual ideas, for one example, by some other term. On the contrary, I think it's clear, despite others' wishes to the contrary, that for him, aiki had the same nature, despite its different forms and all his different assertions. The simile that I offered was for "us," not Ueshiba, Because he appeared to find no paradox whatsoever in these various "irreconcilable" definitions.
People, (after I noticed the quote in Alan Ruddock's account) quote Ueshiba as saying that "you do not understand yin and yang" (actually, he said, Izanagi and Izanami, and it would be facile to assert that there are no nuances of difference here - it was changed to the former because the interlocutor decided that people wouldn't understand and they were, after all,in his opinion, the same). I've no doubt that, on one level, he was referring explicitly to a key of what one trains for internal power. I've also no doubt that, by choosing sectarian Shinto terms, that he was referring to an essential Japanese character to true knowledge. I've also no doubt that on a macro level, he was asserting that a tolerance for all paradoxes in his definition were necessary. Hence, for him, Shioda didn't get it. (he said so). And Tohei didn't get it. Not all of it.
I'll never "get over" that on his death bed he cried out for Tomiki Kenji. Perhaps a lesson to everyone, including his son, that what Tomiki offered was part of the paradox to be embraced as well.