Re: Aikido as an educational system
I tend to agree with Mary here... I think we remove the "society" comment and focus on ourselves.
Yes, I do believe aikido is a vehicle with which to reform our behavior, develop clear ethical amd moral positions and empower ourselves in defending those positions. If in the need of defense the action required is physical, aikido provides some preparation for that response as well.
That said, I think also that some elements of our behavior are so ingrained or habitualized that it is very unlikely that reformation will be succesful. Personally, I believe violence is one of those behaviors that can take root and be so difficult to change that it is near impossible without a large measure of investment. So for me, individuals who express extreme levels of violence probably exceed the investment we place in our training. On the positive side, I think those of us who simply deal with a lesser habituialization of violence (road rage) are more likely to address our issues with greater success.