Thread: Ki is Kindness.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:27 AM   #142
C. David Henderson
Location: Santa Fe New Mexico
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 606
Re: Ki is Kindness.

Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I agree with this and with your previous comment (ref. my recent comments in this thread). At the same time, i do find myself sympathizing somewhat with those who find the "rigorously supported argument" approach off-putting. By this, I don't mean that I believe that any thought may be labeled an "opinion" and thus acquire an inviolable claim to be "respected" (where "respected" is more or less synonymous with "accepted whole cloth and considered unquestionable"). I don't mean that I'm in sympathy with intellectual laziness. I do find, though, that when I'm approaching a new concept (or an old concept in a new way), I usually go through a period of very fuzzy thought -- thinking by braille, so to speak. I went through this when I first bumped up against the concept of mushin, for example -- it was experience-based, not based on reading or theory, and it wasn't until literally years later that I heard the term "mushin". I don't find that the rigorous approach helps me to refine my thoughts at that stage: doing so feels kind of like applying a precision instrument when I'm not even sure of what it is I'm creating.

It may be that what we're seeing in this forum is in part a clash of these two different thinking styles, and perhaps a failure by some posters to understand which style they're using at the moment. Unfortunately, it's hard to have a "fuzzy thought" discussion in a medium like this. I think it's natural for anyone reading a "fuzzy thought" post to ask for particulars to give some kind of framework or context; it's very frustrating otherwise. But it's also frustrating for someone trying to feel their way through this fuzzy period to be asked to present their thoughts in a different mode, before they're ready to do so. Maybe part of the difficulty could be solved by acknowledging when we're having fuzzy thoughts, and not trying to present fuzzy thoughts as conclusive or definitive.

Just some fuzzy thoughts on the matter...
Hi Mary,

First, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I was thinking of this yesterday in terms of a cultural division -- much the same notion, I tend to think.

Second, I agree that exploring ideas requires room to move, cogitate, shift perspective, and at this stage holding up a model of intellectual rigor may begin a winnowing of thought too soon.

I see there also may be different "styles" of attempting to obtain that necessary room, reflecting the different styles to which you've alluded.

What occupied us for quite some time were two ideas -- the categorical nature of the proposition "ki is kindness," and the attribution of this view to O Sensei.

It's clear that some of us did not react to the statement "ki is kindness" (or the other generalizations in the OP) as implying a categorical correlation or identity. To others, when we encounter such statements, it's almost like the writer put a bull's eye on the statement and invited constructive comment.

When the statement is so easy to challenge, to us it seems, as you aptly put it, "intellectually lazy."

As to the attribution of this view to OSensei, it appears we are back at the beginning, Fesig, as now Graham presents the view as his own. Again, I have no question Graham's general view of the man is in line with a not uncommon one, and can certainly see how his observations generally fit within such a view. But to me, these are not the same thing.

Finally, I would submit that one level of what I heard Jon speak to was about writing clearly -- if nothing else, it lessens the risk of misunderstanding, perhaps especially because people have different thinking styles. Also, FWIW, if rumination is presented as rumination, not conclusion, I think it gives the conversation somewhere to go.


David Henderson
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