Thread: Pareto Optimum
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:38 PM   #6
R.A. Robertson
Dojo: Still Point Aikido Center
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 345
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Re: Pareto Optimum

Graham,

Thank you so much for taking the time to revisit one of the mothball articles.

Qualities like love which, as you say, cannot be quantified, are interesting. Robert Fripp had something to say about "qualitative action not being bounded by number," if I'm remember the phrase correctly. I think in aikido we are looking for the sweet spots where a small gesture can have a rippling effect, or a benign butterfly effect.

But without quantification, it's really hard to have verification. The risk of feel-good activities is not that they feel good, for surely that's a good thing -- but that our actions may not be having their desired effects.

It's a bit like the church-goer who feels like they're doing divine work and feels great satisfaction in regular attendance, but who does nothing to "feed my sheep."

So for me, I try to be careful in my thinking and speech to know when I'm talking about love as a feeling, and love as an action. Feelings of hope and desire and joy can inspire action, but only action will bring about meaningful change.

Love may be infinite, and it's heartening to know there is a source of endless renewal. But we express and experience acts or instances of love in moments, in places, and people -- all things bounded by time and space.

Perhaps one way to think of aikido is as the art of making the transcendent immanent, and the immanent transcendent?

It's all very thought-provoking, and I really appreciate the conversation.

RA
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