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Old 09-12-2012, 08:32 AM   #41
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,192
Re: inferiority complex in aikido

Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
What exactly do you mean by that response? You made an authoritative comment about what it is like in boot camp and I disagreed with it and essentially asked for info on your experiences that could support your initial statement - simple as that.
Granted that the response was perhaps unnecessarily cryptic (or perhaps necessarily so), but I think perhaps this tentacle of the discussion is verging on reductionist and perhaps unintentionally confrontational. I understand that the boot camp example was just that, one was, wasn't it, and not some kind of statement that boot camp is the ultimate getting-in-your-head challenge that human beings will ever face? The problem is, in the US we live in a culture that venerates the military sometimes to excess -- by which I mean that our veneration sometimes takes an ugly turn into disparagement of anything else, discrediting of the validity of the views of anyone who has not served in the military, etc. So, I think the use of military experiences as benchmark examples can sometimes backfire a bit.

At the same time, the famous quote "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" and its many derivatives is in much the same category: true, at least technically, but not always helpful. It has become a platitude. The statement itself encompasses extremes of duress and endurance, but it can, and often is, used in a rather glib fashion by people who have experienced no such extremes and who do not respect the trials of those who have. I confess that my usual reaction on hearing it is, "What the hell do you know?"

The military is an example of what I believe sociologists call a total institution, where a person does not have a normal level of autonomy. Prison is another example, so is a cloistered religious community, so is a cult. One would hope that a martial art is not. In a total institution, while it is theoretically true that no one can make you feel inferior (or anything else) without your consent, you have little ability to change your condition, even to simply get people to leave you in peace. All you can do is try to learn the system so you come out on the top side of the rules. That's got nothing to do with superiority, inferiority, or belief in either.

Rambling on...
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