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Old 03-03-2005, 04:54 PM   #52
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Join Date: Feb 2002
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Re: SD Question - Pizza Parlor Attack

Well I am not sure which is a sadder view of Man -- that He can be so apathetic (which as I said is an interpretation I tend to agree with here -- with other folks in the thread) or that He is both subject and slave to impulses and/or instincts that are akin to the mechanisms behind a rattlesnake's bite. The latter one is just too jaded for me to hold -- whether or not my own life experiences (and the expectations I place upon myself) can add support to such a position (and they can't).

It is an old philosophical position, one shared by almost every spiritual system, that Man and animal, though related, are not wholly equitable. This is particularly true in regards to Man's capacity to reason (to use his heart/mind -- the very aspect we seek to cultivate via Aikido) and thus to distance him/herself from any initial impulses that we might refer to as "animalistic." So central is Man's capacity to utilize his heart/mind in this fashion that without this philosophical premise there is in fact no Aikido -- no need for anything Osensei did or said. This is basic Meng Tzu -- this understanding of the heart/mind of Man and thus of the Nature of Man. Meng Tzu, who was studied by Osensei in his formal education, is at the heart of the Founder's understanding of what all we can and should achieve through Aikido training.

It may be true that there are men and women out there who act and think at the level of animals -- if we want to say such a thing -- but these folks are not closer to Nature. There existence and their actions are not justified through inevitability. In fact, they go against human nature -- they go against their own Nature when they fail to utilize their heart/mind in relation to their impulses. For this reason, unlike animals, unlike a rattlesnake that bites at a tap dancer, these folks are quite unwell (e.g. loaded with depression, plagued by self-destructive tendencies, burdened with anger, fear, and ignorance). When a rattlesnake bites at the heels of a tap dancer, it is one with itself. When a man or a woman acts like a rattlesnake that bites at a tap dancer, he or she is lost to him/herself.

To say someone "deserves" such a response from someone else is to say indirectly that Man is doomed to being lost. At the most, for those of us who have grown up where poverty breeds violence and violence breeds more poverty, and both things breed an alienation from the conventions of culture, we may want to say, "It was most unwise to respond to the woman's aggressions, or to start what you cannot finish," but this is a long way from the notion that he got what he deserved.

When a man or a woman acts like a rattlesnake, it is most unnatural. Thus, there is not truth in it, no matter how many times it happens. When a man or a woman acts without reference to their own heart/mind there is only disease. This may sound like philosophical mumbo-jumbo to some of you, but where I grew up, where animal-men and animal-women did abound, we as a community, just as those individuals knew about themselves too, we all knew that they were sick - we all knew they were abominations against their own humanity. Neither the regularity of violence, nor the jadedness we may have come to feel when fear overpowered us, really allowed any of us to understand such departures from human nature as the rule - they were always understood as the anomaly.

David M. Valadez
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