I thought it was fairly clear you weren't speaking against loyalty. You spoke of a problem things like loyalty tend to produce. I like what you've described, but for me it has nothing to do with my experiences in martial arts...I simply haven't been around that block enough for it to be an issue for me. I grew up wrestling with this idea and over time came to a very lonely position in life simply because I was more loyal to the concept of truth than I was to any person...and I still am, really. The best of people do the worst of things. I try to be loyal to virtue and to people who demonstrate a degree of reliability for sincerity in that regard. "Mutual respect" is a great phrase for this. Of course there is a natural hierarchy for the dissemination of knowledge, and it's important to respect that. The problem comes when two people disagree on which direction that flow ought go (or forget there can be multiple flows), and either both seek to impose their view on the other, or one acquiesces (or they disengage from each other comepletely).
As usual, I don't feel like I'm contributing in a very organized way, so I guess I'll stop for now. This topic brings up so many ideas for me it's hard to pick from them and make something cohesive come about. Good food for thought at the least, so thank you for that!
Yeah, I'm all for loyalty. The instance where one is entrusted and made to promise to preserve cultural traditions (nevertheless traditions that are not made to impede individual progress but ones that are used as a pedagogical paradigms to ensure progress) is a form of loyalty that I can respect.
The kind of loyalty that I think is also good is one where you are loyal to the community of like-minded people. That is, you're not doing this for your own skills but you're out to help those in the community as well, and also help the leader of the community, a person who is most likely having trouble disseminating the skills he knows to the students he teaches. Once you're in this, it is difficult for you to make 'Faustian bargains'--you are less tempted to compromise your moral integrity for whatever knowledge/skill you pursue because you are committed to community. But the baseline for that commitment is trust and friendship and all that, so those who think that the pursue of knowledge is mutually exclusive with friendships/trust/single-minded in pursuit and that seeking both in martial arts is worthless is missing the benefits of communal learning.
As far as being loyal to truth (in martial arts at least), I think that's a deeper topic that's worth pursuing in another thread.
To bring up another thread from my OP:
They say, when you are ready to be a student, then the teacher will appear. That is, when you know what to look for, you know know what questions to ask, and the teacher (whoever and whatever that may be) will have answers fr you. If you do not know what you are looking for, you cannot be a student, and therefore you will not find your teacher. You don't know what to ask, the answers cannot be given to you.