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Old 09-11-2005, 01:53 PM   #21
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,619
Re: Omoto-kyo Theology

David Valadez wrote:
Well, thanks Erick for the post. I'm not sure of how it is all connected to the current discussion or the points you brought up earlier, but it was an effort I can appreciate.

I think my approach to history is a bit different from yours - we tend to be more local specific and we seem to have our reasons for that, etc. So as a result, we tend not to jump all over the map and/or time like this - so maybe the connection is there only I have not been so trained to see it. Apologies.

Again, thanks,
The more local is history the more likely that its significance will be understood from a standpoint of exceptionalism. This risk is evidence in Japanese history, and even in the U.S. "manifest destiny" and similar colonialist, and some far worse, ideologies in Western Europe.

What was often ignored is the fact of continuing and important contacts between distant parts of the world from a very early time. These connections are often diminished or suppressed in order to indulge the collective ego exercise of cultural exceptionalism, in whatever nation it happens to rear its head.

I do not mean to deflect discussion of the particulars of Omoto and its place in creating preconditions for the transition away from State Shinto in post-War era Japan. But there is a larger picture to consider when looking at Omoto and its relationship to aikido. The the international presence of aikido across so many cultural boundaries compared with the seeming relegation of Omoto itself to its particular milieu of Japan, needs some observation and explaining, especially if we are acknowledge O-Sensei's sense of debt to Omoto in his creation of aikido.

The thrust of Omoto is its embracing of particular expressions of religion within a universal framework in order to better relate them to one another. This has been pursued in mythological terms
by Onisaburo's direct intellectual decendants wihtin Omoto. Mythological is not meant derogatorily; myth is extremely powerful, but also highly suspect as an explicit teaching mechanism in the modern world. It nevertheless survives with fervent abandon in the subversive elements of culture, Warner Brothers and other comics/cartoons come to mind, and various manga and anime in Japan.

O-Sensei pursued the same ideals as Omoto but using non-mythological tools. He was, evidently, successful. The scale and vigor of Aikido's spread thoughout the world over many cultural boundaries is testament to that success. Aikido is an antidote to exceptionalism, certainly of the personal ego trip, and potentially of much large type. O-Sensei clearly envisioned its purpose in these terms. We should do as much as possible to unbury the totality of legacy that aikido expresses.

Connections (musubi) exist between parts of the world from an early age. The destruction of musubi is, in terms of budo, the precondition of conflict. Creating musubi is the task of aikido, and it is made far easier by understanding the connections that already exist to be discovered, and those that once existed and may be reestablished.


Erick Mead
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