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Old 07-01-2010, 02:20 PM   #70
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Hello Peter,

I think your academic research is very valuable. You were able to put many of O sensei ideas in the right cultural and social context. It certainly changes and refines some of our understanding about what Founder created.

However there is some danger of such approach. As example I can give: your criticism of close connection Budo, and particularly aikido with agriculture. From theoretical point of view it may seems right, but from my experience, and I mean real life experience, you are not right.

We moved few years ago to the country side. I'm not a farmer, still working in my job, but we have some land and started do develop a 30 000 sq feet garden with a lot of big trees. Consciously we are trying to avoid the use of big mechanical tools. It is not always possible -- example: some delivery must be done with trucks. But most of heavy work we are doing by hands.

After 3 years of this experience, I must admit that not only my body changed, also my techniques, approach to aikido and general understanding of Founder's ideas. Presently I think ppl who are not sullying their hands with soil regularly, who never physically struggle with Nature, they can't understand Founder. Only deep connection to Mother Earth can help here. Talking about The Elements (like fire, water…) and having physical every day contact with such elements are two completely different things. I could write a long essay about it, but it is useless unless somebody touch a soil.
Hear, hear. This has also been discussed at length starting about here

I think this does help with interpreting things like O Sensei's use of the Kojiki myths to illustrate his meaning (as opposed to its "meaning" in some non-contextual sense).
In the larger sense of the "hidden in plain sight" problem -- though the question is, of course "what was hidden" -- perhaps the more critical question is "Why was it missed?" The latter one gives you an answer as to how what you are looking for may be hidden from you -- and perhaps, a way to uncover it.

I am a believer in the concrete interpretation of myth -- not literal, not metaphorical, not allegorical. Myth refers to concrete things and their relationships as they actually relate -- as poetry (poesis = making) is concrete reference-- and therefore quite translatable in comprehensible ways.

My prescription: Read what he said -- see what he said in your training, or look for it if you not now see it. Build upon that. Or reverse the order of training vice reading -- to the same effect. Bun bu itchi. The order should not matter.

You will not be wrong in doing it this way -- you will, however, likely be misunderstood -- very few people think in this way.

Most people are either abstract thinkers or literal thinkers. Abstracters lose sight of actual things (equally, those that are overly analytical or overly romantic, are both thinking abstractly). They either seek abstract reduction or abstract ideals.

Literal thinkers do not observe many concrete principles of real relationships from experience -- or else do not extend in practice such principles to situations by similarity of pattern. They follow patterns of act and thought that they have themselves experienced or have been reliably told, in settings that they trust -- and tend to avoid all others.

Concrete thinkers are not romantic -- though they will use poetic image or myth. They are not literalists -- though they see things for what they are ratehr than what some ideal version might be. They see real relationships in real things that pattern across many situations or types of circumstance -- but not linearly or reductively. They do not seek abstracted predictive ideals or literal repetition of "safe" behavior or circumstances. They seek the complexities of things that are complex -- but whose patterns are shared in other real things and yet which can both endure and change in concrete (and creative) ways.

In the same way as optical illusions (two faces -- or a goblet?), the very perception of the concrete reality that denies your initial assumption of perception, completely rebuts both the reductive or romantic abstraction, and the literal linear repetition of what you "already know".

O Sensei was a concrete thinker, actor and teacher -- neither a romantic or mathematical abstractionist, nor yet a by-the-numbers rote literalist. Both types are well represented -- here and in Japan. Concrete thinkers are few and far between.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 07-01-2010 at 02:26 PM.


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