View Single Post
Old 12-29-2009, 10:37 AM   #24
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: O'Sensei Thought It Was Important

I think there are two issues here. One is what we think today, what we need today, and what we may get from our beliefs today. That's cool. But this is the problem of history -- determining what someone/something meant *then*. In context of their world, society, norms, etc.

I think that people surely gain a lot of insight into life, living, etc. by farming/gardening. Lord knows I come from a long line of farmers who worked in less than hospitable areas. My great grandparents and grandparents worked *very* hard on farms and I have memories of both the wonders of it all but also the extremely hard work.

That said... There is another issue and that is to tease out what Morihei Ueshiba meant when he made statements about farming and Budo. Here we have a choice as to how to proceed -- do we interpret it through what we find meaningful or missing in our lives today or do we try to understand the world he was living in, the context he experienced, and the social/cultural/intellectual underpinnings he was experiencing these things from. The former is perfectly fine for each person who is striving to find meaning in what they're doing. That's great -- you're applying things in a new context. But that's not really learning anything about what Morihei Ueshiba was saying but more about what we feel is important today in our context. If his words inspire things today, that's great, but the historical question still remains -- what did *he* mean by it. How did *he* understand it. Asking those questions in no way diminishes the value that someone may gather from the inspiration of his words in today's context even if they go very far afield from the "reality" of the history.

Last edited by Keith Larman : 12-29-2009 at 10:38 AM. Reason: oops...

  Reply With Quote