This is really interesting, very relevant to me.
I have a limited perspective, but that never seems to stop me from having an opinion... After reading, I am left thinking about something my sensei talks about a lot, which is Paradox.
I don't (in my limited experience) think that this is as much of a dichotomy as Jason has set up. Often in my dojo we work from the perspective of resolving hard and soft, effort and effortlessness, receptivity and proactivity. I don't know if this is what my sensei has in mind, but it feels as if actively addressing this paradox-set has the effect of reverse-engineering the "Late O'Sensei Aikido", or developing both the hard and soft aspects simultaneously (?)
Another way to put this:
By admitting that there is both hard and soft and actively seeking to resolve them, I am consistently aware as a student that both parts are integral, that Just Soft Aikido is not the real goal.
Thanks, good thread!