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Old 12-25-2002, 02:56 AM   #6
Jeff Tibbetts
Dojo: Cedar River Aikikai
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 142
Opher, you raise a good point about wether or not this is a "phase"© This is something I have considered long and hard, and I've come to the realization that I truly am changing on many levels© There was a day where I would have said that people CAN'T change, but that is past because I expierienced how untrue it is© The thing is, what I was going through before was reactionary© You see I was raised in an agnostic family, but I went to Catholic school from kindergarten through 8th grade© This allowed me to look at the catholic faith from some mixture of an insider's and outsider's view© What I saw was shocking© At any rate I decided that I had to learn about religion and try to find the "faith" in myself that they told me I should have© I read the bible several times througout school, on my own, and I also read many other myths and legends© I was mostly concerned with things like Celtic, Norse, Egyptian, Native American and the classical myths© What I found was that the bible was virtually identical to the other myths in both content and execution© At that point I took something of a Marxist view of religion, that it was a tool to control the masses© This led me to think of organised religion as something to be avoided, even something to hate© Of course this led into reverse evangelism, and arguments popped up anytime I was around a strong christian©

Now, having established that, I think that what's happening to me now is that I see how ultimately childish many of my ways were© I think that I was reacting against what I felt was something oppressive and evil© Now, I feel like I am growing into a new level of maturity and self-exploration© I am once again asking myself questions that I may have been too scared to ask before© I still honestly don't believe in an all-knowing and all-powerful god, nor any sentient god thing but what I am coming to understand is that many of these gods that people worship are representative of something else© I do think there are over-riding laws in the universe, and I think that Ki and the spiral and things like the Kotodama are tools to see those laws© I am coming to the point where instead of wondering about all these things I'm making up my mind and acting upon them© This is very different from my exploration and reactivity of before© At least, it feels different to me© There have been things in my life that I always said I would never quit, like smoking cigarettes, doing drugs, and playing wargames© However, I grew out of those things© Aikido is not something that I feel I will grow out of, but I do feel I will grow into© I think that a lot of people I know expect me to quit Aikido, but I just honestly don't see why I would do that© It's the difference between something that's a hobby and something that's altering my life for the better© I can see real positive changes from my practice after only a few months, and in ways I don't think I ever expected© At any rate, I can see why you may have thought that, as I've thought it too and I'm sure that my loved ones all think it about me as well© To me, it feels different, and I don't know how to explain it© I think it's like what you think love is in high school, only to find that true Love is something entirely different© That's the best analogy I can come up with©

Oh, and about Japan© I do recognize that Japan has not had the cleanest moral history in the world, but you know it's very easy to pick apart a country that lost a war, as even they are quick to admit their own fault ¥except the southern U©S©¤© There is much evidence to indicate that war was truly the only option that Japan had under the circumstances, even if the way they waged it was not what we would consider acceptable behavior© I could on for days, but it doesn't matter© I do see that they have flaws, but I don't let that tarnish the good things that they've done and continue to do© On the flipside, I am much harsher on a country like America that refuses to acknowledge any wrong-doing on our part© We have done many horrible things, so have any other given nation or culture, but how a country reacts to questions about their actions is crucial, and it's something I think America fails miserably at© It may be true that the Japanese used Shinto to justify their divinity and make the individual more dedicated to national goals, but that is no different than using intellectual or moral high-ground to validate cruelty to others© All countries have to do things at some point in their development to survive that seem horrible in retrospect, so you can't use that as an argument against them easily© That's another thread entirely, though, so I'll go back to listening :¤

Thanks a lot for the great point, Opher© I can't wait to keep this one going©

If the Nightingale doesn't sing-
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