Tim - your points on taking ukemi is what I was getting at. Although in fairness, not everyone is sensitive to that. Also totally agree about "building" your own personal model.
As far as your disagreement with the implication of the original question -that's fair. I shouldn't assume that all might agree with my view that O'Sensei's aikido was the best. So the question can be rephrased as -
"Do you need the whole universal love thang to reach your best aikido?"
Paul - who says brand new beginners are hard to throw? Of course we all have different experiences but the majority of the time I have trouble throwing "beginners" is when I'm forcing something that shouldn't be. An inexperienced person is normally easier to throw but you have to make more of an effort to protect them if they cannot protect themselves. Geotz stated this well.
As Geotz stated we probably won't get common ground on this. I'm fine with this because my whole point was to get a sense of various thoughts. When I first started MA I thought harder was better. Break, smash, crush! I'm now old and decrepid and I like the soft subtle approach :-)