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Old 02-11-2009, 06:43 AM   #126
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Hello Ron,

I think I should expand on my earlier post, with more specific reference to what you have stated below. Comments marked PAG.

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
My point is that, as it relates to the study of Aikido, not only is it possible to separate the message from the imagery, but that it is desirable to do so.
PAG. I would agree, provided that nothing further hangs on doing so. In other words, I would agree that it is desirable to separate the message from the imagery, but only in order to separate the message from the imagery: in other words, only to become clearer about what O Sensei actually stated--and meant.

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
If, and I believe it is, the study of Aikido is, as George Ledyard has pointed out more than once, a transformative process then focusing on O Sensei's imagery as a source of personal understanding of the process will prevent one from turning inward in order to find the true source of personal understanding.
PAG. The issue here is the nature of the transformative process. I will agree with George that O Sensei intended aikido to be a transformative process, but whether, and in what aspects, and how it transforms need to be worked out by each individual. I do not believe that finding the true source of personal understanding will necessarily be achieved by turning inwards. One might need to do this, but doing so will not automatically lead to the 'true source'.

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Aikido transforms the body, the mind and the spirit. Getting caught up in the process of trying to puzzle out O Sensei's cosmological imagery in order to understand one's own Aikido is a way of remaining outwardly focused.
PAG. I myself believe that if I do not puzzle out O Sensei's cosmological imagery, then I will not understand what he stated, or meant. I have kept this in the first person, in order to show the great dangers of generalizing here. Others will not feel the need or the relevance to their aikido training and this is fine.

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Doing so, one risks missing out on the inward journey that begins with the first touch of foot to mat.
PAG. I do not agree with the way you put this. Your own inward journey might have begun in the way you described, but I do not believe that you can generalize here. I myself am certain that I have had / am having an 'inward' journey in my aikido training, but I do not believe that this has been adversely affected by my own studies of O Sensei's cosmology.

Best wishes,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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Old 02-11-2009, 07:11 AM   #127
RonRagusa
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
PAG. I do not agree with the way you put this. Your own inward journey might have begun in the way you described, but I do not believe that you can generalize here. I myself am certain that I have had / am having an 'inward' journey in my aikido training, but I do not believe that this has been adversely affected by my own studies of O Sensei's cosmology.
Hi Peter -

You're right and I should have made it clearer that all of what I posted applies only to me. I have written my blog almost exculsively in the first person and I should be careful to carry the habit over into my posting on the boards as well.

George -

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. After reading your posts of late I see that we share many views regarding the nature of Aikido, its practice and goals.

Best to you both.

Ron
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Old 02-11-2009, 07:18 AM   #128
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
How I use the word wise: mainly as an adj. at times used as a verb.

Who sez O'Sensei was wise. The word "wise" is referring to knowing. Knowing means O'Sensei internally questioned, that is based on a Bushido dictum (or as I like to say, "thingy") of, "Bushido consists in dying." That dying thingy is a mental attitude to act without hesitation, doubt, thought of consequences, without heed. It is a pure and simple act, no complications of thought etc.
The knowing -acting axis is the province of Oyomei-gaku, It was a Neo-Confucian school of no small influence at the period of time that O Sensei was coming up and just before the War, especially among the right wing set who abused its teachings to excuse thoughtless knee-jerk action based on their immediate (and manipulated) passions (Mukden, the March incident -- these are among many violent right-wing internal political actions). In contrast, Oyomei himself (he was Chinese -- Ming dynasty) taught quiet contemplation then action coincident with the internal realization of innate knowledge. "Knowledge and action are one" is one of its chief tenets. O Sensei's emphasis on practice as the simultaneous means and result of knowledge is as consistent with the true Oyomei teaching as the Sakurakai were an abuse of it.

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O'Sensei questioned, he questioned the ways of old Japan. It is clear with his words, his creation of Aikido in sync with the other arts created at that time, his beliefs (Omoto) and his life.
No he didn't. He wanted change, but not in the way you seem to mean. He wanted to return the REALLY Old Ways -- before the Tokugawa, before Sengoku Jidai -- the Old Ways .. . This is what the "New Religions" like Oomoto represent, by and large -- sort of a Shinto "Puritan" restoration or "primitive Baptist" type of religious movement or sentiment -- back to a presumably stripped down basic with means of direct personal, unmediated spiritual insight or inspiration (kotodama), and the typical ecstatic aspects that are seen also.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-11-2009, 07:58 AM   #129
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello David,

I think it is somewhat oversimplifying to talk without further qualification of the 'mythological truth' of Morihei Ueshiba's discourses. It might help the discussion if the focus was narrowed down to some myth or other. How about the myth of Oedipus?

Best wishes,

Peter G
Hi Peter,

You're absolutely right that my comment was very general.

Oedipus? That story gives me urges. Uncomfortable urges. Then dissuades me from following through on them, somehow.

I'm willing to think more about this, when I get a spare moment.

Best regards,

David
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:29 AM   #130
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post

PAG. The issue here is the nature of the transformative process. I will agree with George that O Sensei intended aikido to be a transformative process, but whether, and in what aspects, and how it transforms need to be worked out by each individual. I do not believe that finding the true source of personal understanding will necessarily be achieved by turning inwards. One might need to do this, but doing so will not automatically lead to the 'true source'.
Hi Peter,
This is an important point... we each need to work this out. The Founder as "mythic figure" can help us give some direction to our inquiry, just as research into the Founder as "historical figure" contributes as well.

Unless one is a person like Rev Koichi Barrish, we're not going to duplicate precisely the manner in which O-Sensei trained nor will we end up with exactly the same insights.

As teachers it is our responsibility to define the art and pass it along to another generation. In the case of Aikido it means not just passing on what has been received but re-discovering what has been lost in many cases. Teachers must keep training continuously to achieve this. I think that the Founder modeled that for us as well, he kept changing and growing right up until he died. It was his students that attached themselves to an Aikido defined by a period in the Founder's development and froze into a style.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:34 AM   #131
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Don't feel bad about yourself . It might be George's fault for adding myth to the discussion, but I myself think that adding myth was something of a mixed blessing. With myth there is a lot more to explain and so I think that myth should not become a convenient receptacle for making otherwise intractable statements or activities suddenly 'true' or 'wise'.
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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
My life in aikido has taught me the great value of Occam's Razor. (Entities--such as deities, demons, myths, inaccessible concepts such as KI--should not be multiplied beyond what is necessary.)
Ah.. a sharp instrument that... best used cautiously. My favorite proof of the existence of Santa Claus is the method of Occam's razor -- either there is a world-wide uncoordinated conspiracy involving the families of children around the world and reaching into the highest levels of multi-national corporations and governments to consciously maintain the pretense of a fictitious being who delivers presents to children on Christmas Eve --- OR --- Santa Claus IS real. By Occam's razor, the latter is the simpler conclusion and therefore more likely correct. QED.

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An important consequence of Occam's razor, as it applies to aikido training, however, is that it is up to each one of us to apply it as he/she thinks fit.

I agree that Joseph Campbell made a very good attempt to explain myth, as James Frazer did before him, but to what extent will you apply the Hero with a Thousand Faces paradigm to Morihei Ueshiba? Of the 17 'features' of the Hero's Journey, some fit, some do not. Where does that leave us?

Oedipus Rex ... he was fated to do all this and my Japanese class felt that this was hugely unfair to Oedipus, for he could not help himself by escaping from the bounds of the prophecy. He was fated to be a scapegoat.
Since when is "fair" a part of myth -- or life for that matter. This is the essence of Tolkien's "Northern theory of courage" -- the will to fight in honor to the bitter end of a known and inevitable destruction. He saw that as a proto-evangelical sentiment -- which inspired all his work.

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(It's somewhat like Harry Potter. The prophecy requires that he or Voldemort dies, but J K Rowling does not explain why there should be such a prophecy, or why it should prophesy such an outcome. And, obviously, the mythological element in Harry Pottter or Tolkien would never work with aikido, because, as O Sensei allegedly tells us, aikido transcends victory or defeat, which rather nullifies the point of Harry's final battle with Voldemort and Frodo's battle with Sauron.)
Because quite simply one of them is willing to kill in order to live. Therefore, one of them has to die for the other to live. How we get there is the point. Harry Potter [spoiler] did not win -- Harry willingly submits to death, and Voldemort kills him. That death is the final act -- it is simply not the end of the story. And she does explain it -- through an epitaph in the Peverell graveyard "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." (1 Cor. 15:26) Harry conquers it by submitting to it; Voldemort dies horribly because he is unwilling to suffer it. "He that would lose his life shall save it; he that would save his life shall lose it." "Let him who has ears listen" [/spoiler]

Frodo did not win -- he succumbed to the Ring -- Only Smeagol the completely undeserving, murderous object of Frod's continued pity, and seeking only satisfy his most base and unredeemed desires, THAT saved his mission -- and the whole of mankind, in spite of everything, and Frodo's own complete failure. Grace, in a word, at the end of all things. Gold spun from straw, another tale tells.

Not victory. Not defeat. Something else.

No. No myth there. Nothing relating to aikido at all....

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
So, in what respects are the Kojiki myths themselves 'true' and, consequently, in what sense are O Sensei's statements based on the Kojiki myths 'true'?

Note that I have put 'true' in quotes, because I doubt that it is the appropriate word to use here, for I do not really think that myths are 'true' or 'false'.
They are true if his meaning can be put into practice, and if it can't, then they are not true. On balance -- mostly true, by my estimation.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-11-2009 at 08:37 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:06 PM   #132
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Thanks Peter,

George talking about myth really is part needed in the discussion, since I blame him for it, am too glad he did.

You take a more intimate view of myth than I did. I thought about it, and played around with it, i.e. I talked about the moon being made of cheese as a long held belief /myth and O'Sensei thinking himself as a god translating to us as a sports god (more commonly used in Rock and Roll, where people are aspiring to or deemed as being guitar gods). In all of that I was alluding to Takamagahara (Plain of High Heaven), whole package. But I thought naw, I am too chicken, I will just keep it light. Because, then like you said there are no dualities, no black and white. Which really doesn't work well in science. Science at is core is intellectualism. Being lazy and not wanting to that deep into it, and I simply said science figuring everyone understood what I meant was intellectualism and stuff. I really sometimes regret not learning the German and French languages so I could think more profoundly in terms of intellectualism, rather than reading a translation. May be in my next after life.

Anyway, I felt I had to start with myths being true or false in the relation to this, that myths don't allow for, or by their their, or are unable to lead to the act of questioning. We see that in how the Shinto cult shaped and influenced Japan and Japanese everything, especially martial ways, and O'Sensei. Questioning then leads to intellectualism. Without questioning intellectualism doesn't develop and we see that again in Japan up to the introduction of Budhism. There was no schools of philosophy etc. and all the other things Buddhism create and bring into being. I think that is what separates people living in tribal cultures who are heavily into myth vs. advanced cultures who did question their myths, developed intellectualism. Intellectualism is evolution of a society. Opps there is Darwin's finger print of evolution- got to rethink by position on Darwin and Aikido evolving, hate when that happens. Japan again is a good example. Again I alluded to this when I was talking about O'Sensei wanting change that was in relation and stuff of going against the previous feudal culture of Japan. Like O'Sensei stressing love, harmony, etc. All of which was absent feudal Japan, like intellectualism. I think O'Sensei was in that change, umm...like he had a foot in each world. That is why I said he mixes both the old and the new way in his Aikido. Might explain why his writings and thoughts seemed so abstract and all over the place, maybe. Which relates to your thought's on the "Kojiki myths [being]'true'."

Yes, I did think about that, I agree. I agree with George but in a different time and splace (space and place = splace not a spelling error), like in pre-Buddhist Japan. Myths on a deeper level may neither be true or false. I agree because myths for me don't allow for intellectualism, and that is really the big picture in a sense.

Again with the advancement of intellecualism cultures and societies flourished, they evolved, the develop possibilities and technologies and feats that societies clinging to myth haven't even started or capable of realizing.

I am being lazy here- it all relates to O'Sensei and questioning O'Sensei, seeing him not as a myth, a myth that gets redesigned with each generation, but seeing him throw the facts that keeps his image and life's work constant. That he was of a man in a true light. And not in a colored light that we want to see him in, reflecting ourselves. There is our so to speak evolutionary jump, to develop an intellectual factual understanding of Aikido and not one that is subject to exaggeration, and personal coloring, i.e. he was perfect in everyway, he could dodge bullets, and leap tall buildings in a single bound. Rather a man in a time of transition and renaissance in time, splace and culture.

Odd thought, I wonder if O'Sensei didn't go to the new emerging Omoto religion for the spiritual pillar of Aikido, and say he choose another new religion instead without all the criticism of one of it's founders and the other founder being found of trances etc., than how different would Aikido be?
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:42 PM   #133
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

question: to lead men doing difficulty tasks, like charging into the line of enemy fires or change an uncompromising mind, do we use myth or fact?
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:43 PM   #134
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Because, then like you said there are no dualities, no black and white. Which really doesn't work well in science. Science at is core is intellectualism. ... myths don't allow for, or by their their, or are unable to lead to the act of questioning. ... Questioning then leads to intellectualism. Without questioning intellectualism doesn't develop and we see that again in Japan up to the introduction of Budhism. There was no schools of philosophy etc. and all the other things Buddhism create and bring into being.

Intellectualism is evolution of a society. Opps there is Darwin's finger print of evolution- got to rethink by position on Darwin and Aikido evolving, hate when that happens.
Buddhism is really kind of anti-intellectual --or more nearly, turns the intellect back on itself . Eliminating the mind of discrimination and contention (questioning) is the point of Buddhism.

Neo-Confucianism, though (Shushigaku and Oyomeigaku, mainly) captured elements of both Buddhist and Taoist thought (esp. Oyomei) and deeply affected Japanese thinking from the beginning of the Tokugawa era -- and answers to the kind of intellectualism you are speaking to (Shushigaku more so than Oyomeigaku).

Buddhism as it most profoundly interacted with Shinto in Japan was chiefly the tantric, esoteric kind -- the Womb Realm, Diamond Realm, Dharma Kings, etc., A-UN guardian deities of consequence to martial mythology, etc. That is why it was able to nearly subsume Shinto intact into its own highly mythic system during the period of Ryobu Shinto.

As for adherents of nembutsu -- it is many things, but intellectual is not chief among them.

Don't get me wrong I have a foot firmly placed in both camps rational and non-rational. But an intellectual approach reasons out a response to a problem. There is nothing -- NOTHING -- intellectual about stepping unarmed into the path of a live blade -- but ultimately that is what we train to do. It is an utterly visceral act. To be comfortable in acting that way without thinking without anxiety takes practice and imagery that makes it a conceivable intentional act.

Myth does not really speak to the intellect -- it speaks to the will.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-11-2009, 06:24 PM   #135
Shannon Frye
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Umm..what DID O'Sensei say to Terry Dobson? (as related to this topic).

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FWIW. I know what O'Sensei said to Terry Dobson but that was to Terry Dobson. .

"In the end there can be only one"

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Old 02-11-2009, 06:52 PM   #136
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
question: to lead men doing difficulty tasks, like charging into the line of enemy fires or change an uncompromising mind, do we use myth or fact?
Well death is a fact, the myth is what comes after death or about death i.e. it's glorious to horrifying. The samurai vow to die a samurai's death which I talked about shows that the samurai understood what they faced, death, wasn't a myth, but a fact.

Last edited by Buck : 02-11-2009 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:12 PM   #137
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Buddhism is really kind of anti-intellectual --or more nearly, turns the intellect back on itself . Eliminating the mind of discrimination and contention (questioning) is the point of Buddhism.

Neo-Confucianism, though (Shushigaku and Oyomeigaku, mainly) captured elements of both Buddhist and Taoist thought (esp. Oyomei) and deeply affected Japanese thinking from the beginning of the Tokugawa era -- and answers to the kind of intellectualism you are speaking to (Shushigaku more so than Oyomeigaku).

Buddhism as it most profoundly interacted with Shinto in Japan was chiefly the tantric, esoteric kind -- the Womb Realm, Diamond Realm, Dharma Kings, etc., A-UN guardian deities of consequence to martial mythology, etc. That is why it was able to nearly subsume Shinto intact into its own highly mythic system during the period of Ryobu Shinto.

As for adherents of nembutsu -- it is many things, but intellectual is not chief among them.

Don't get me wrong I have a foot firmly placed in both camps rational and non-rational. But an intellectual approach reasons out a response to a problem. There is nothing -- NOTHING -- intellectual about stepping unarmed into the path of a live blade -- but ultimately that is what we train to do. It is an utterly visceral act. To be comfortable in acting that way without thinking without anxiety takes practice and imagery that makes it a conceivable intentional act.

Myth does not really speak to the intellect -- it speaks to the will.
I think you mis-read me, and I think then other people have too. I do get lazy and just touch on something without detailed explanation. Now I am not an expert, and I don't want to get into a long detailed thingy. Because of that I am just going to skim over it and keep it general so you can see where I am coming from.

In Japan prior to Buddhism, Shinto was it. This means there was no intellectualism in Japan. The intellectual stuff that those thinkers of the western world enjoyed, and fancied didn't exist, like bodies of literature, schools of philosophy etc. Shinto Japan had almost nada on the metaphysical speculation side of things, or simulate to go into. The Japanese where hurting in that department because of Shintoism sticking with the physical surroundings. A cult that didn't have such a concern, if it wasn’t aware of it, to question the invisible things of the universe. Things the west questioned and contemplated upon with great curious inquisitiveness and excitement. Like that little popular song of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star that Mozart composed 12 version of at 4 years old or something- both myth and fact. You know, “twinkle, twinkle little star how I wonder what you are?” or things like the “thinking reed.” With the introduction of Buddhism that all changed. Before, Buddhism, questioning was not the thing. After Buddhism questioning was the thing that lead to seeing the universe and the physical environment differently then how Shinto viewed those things. You can see that in the historical development of Japan.

We are are not talking religion or cult specifics rather the impact of each upon the Japanese and specifically O'Sensei.

Last edited by Buck : 02-11-2009 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:06 AM   #138
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Here is an opportunity to tweak. The following continues to address Erick saying, "Buddhism is really kind of anti-intellectual --or more nearly, turns the intellect back on itself. Eliminating the mind of discrimination and contention (questioning) is the point of Buddhism." And I have the opportunity to tweak my whole thing about Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise! and myth.

Shinto of being Nature mysticism was not concerned with rational interpretation of Nature mysticism. Shinto doesn't have scriptures for that like Buddhism does with its Sutras. And there was no rationalization for the existence of the kama, and like stuff (points out the issue I have with myths). Buddhism does deal with the rational. Like in the for the cause of suffering, because of the mind. You have to be introspective physiologically to explain such things as humans being miserable. You question and figure out why rather than accepting it as is- simply put.

Wow, now I feel way too much over intellectually stimulated.

Last edited by Buck : 02-12-2009 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:34 AM   #139
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Being overly intellectually simulated and needing a smoke, we have to also look to the Omoto religion and its purpose and function when looking at O'Sensei as being wise. And all the influences upon O'Sensei thought.

O'Sensei's wisdom had feudal martial, Shinto, Chinese thought, and Indian religious and Omoto influences, on top of, like all Japanese, the dualism of religion and ethics, purposely or not. He knowingly or not drew from all of that. So to really say Omoto was the only influence or spiritual pillar for O'Sensei, is not looking at O'Sensei completely. Or understanding his "wisdom" amoung other things. More later, after the smoke.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:37 AM   #140
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Shinto Japan had almost nada on the metaphysical speculation side of things, or simulate to go into.
The Japanese where hurting in that department because of Shintoism sticking with the physical surroundings.
A cult that didn't have such a concern, if it wasn't aware of it, to question the invisible things of the universe.
I would not disagree with this so far as it goes, in that the Japanese did not "question" invisible things -- they freely accepted them and indeed were highly sensitive to them. But it is true they did not natively do much in the way of deconstructing them, but that is an artifact of an official policy of the Tokugawa, to cut Japan off from exposure to or development of anything similar to "Dutch learning" -- not necessarily anything innate in the Japanese people or their culture, or Shinto per se.
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Things the west questioned and contemplated upon with great curious inquisitiveness and excitement.
This is because the celebration of God's immanence in the universe underlay the zeal of physical inquiry. "The heavens declare the glory of the Lord." Only later did the effort become self-justifying on utilitarian or other grounds.

It is a mistake to read the vagaries of a political policy as defining the nature of a people or their religion. Shinto is at least as keen on understanding and relating to the immanent spirit of the Universe, however that may be understood. There is nothing at all inconsistent in that and their subsequent development of an, obviously, highly technically capable and sophisticated culture of scientific inquiry of their own.

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With the introduction of Buddhism that all changed. Before, Buddhism, questioning was not the thing. After Buddhism questioning was the thing that lead to seeing the universe and the physical environment differently then how Shinto viewed those things. You can see that in the historical development of Japan.
Not so much. Japan swallowed Buddhism -- not the other way around. Shinbutsu shugo was Tokugawa era policy and was the heyday of Buddhist influence over Shinto. The steady revival of a more nativist Shinto among academic and religious circles proceeded throughout the Edo period in reaction to that policy and culminated in the Meiji formal separation of the two in the shinbutsu bunri.

That coincided with the rapid technical development leading to the defeat of Imperial Russia at Tsushima in 1904. The technical development of Japan proceeded apace, with the ever-centralizing State Shinto growing happily along with it until the end of WWII. Unit 731 was certainly an horrific moral failing at the end of this process -- but it was not the result of any lack of material inquisitiveness, nor was that in any way hampered by Shinto teaching.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-12-2009 at 07:39 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:50 AM   #141
C. David Henderson
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

1. Buddhism in Japan did generate philosophical as well as religious thought.

The Shobogenzo, by Dogen, and in particular his essay on "being-time," while ultimately in pursuit of Zen's "anti-intellectualism" nonetheless can be and often has been read -- for better and/or worse --as a philosophical tract about the nature of being, time, and consciousness.

2. Back to myth -- I think for someone who actively embraces a myth "as-true," it creates an emotional and conceptual space in which the "moral of the story" affects the person's understanding of their place in the world. That's one of the main jobs of stories.

3. Whatever underlying symbolism, archetypes, reversals, oppositions, or juxtapositions we might tease out of the "text" in rational discourse, the process of analysis doesn't do the same thing; we may understand a lot of details, but the story hasn't flowed into our veins.

4. In that last paragraph are a lot of problematic terms for any analysis of text for its "encoded" meaning -- Oedipus Rex, Frodo, or Gilligan's Island (in which, I am told each of the characters represents one of the Seven Deadly Sins).

5. For example, Jung tried to find universal archetypes that described the grammar of the unconscious; but culturally specific meanings necessarily crept in the back door to fill in content. The result -- an interesting but ethnocentric body of analysis.

Claude Levi-Strauss developed structuralism as an Anthropologist to study myth in other cultures. For him, the meaning of the story arises from the internal oppositions and parallels contained in the text (maybe with some ethnographic cue cards to provide the necessary cast of characters); which leaves the appearance sometimes that the content is arbitrary, a code for the sake of coding, not an encoding of some essential meaning about life in that society that people (in theory) tell stories in order to convey in a direct, emotionally relevant sense to the audience.

6. To the analyst, the "truth" of the story is not the same as to the audience. This duality makes it problematic to throw about the Veblenesque construct like "mythological truth:" It is a term that only makes sense if one doesn't believe the story. If you do, it's true, but its hardly a myth.

7. As for Oedipus, I would venture that breadth of his good works, the fated-ness of his sin, and thus the unfairness of the consequences -- all are absolutely essential to the story as a Greek myth (er, story); probably as much as the incest angle. But the cleft foot, the mistaken identit(ies), the role reversals, the blinding; there's the grist for the exegesis of something "more" (which I still haven't done, I'm afraid).

Regards,

David
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:05 AM   #142
JimCooper
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
A lack of understanding.
There certainly is. And that was the crux of my objection to that section (and it was only one section) of George's post. People should not really pontificate on subjects they clearly do not understand. You and George obviously do not understand how science works. I know you think you do, but unfortunately you're wrong.

You may be absolutely brilliant at other things, and as such, you should feel free, or even be encouraged, to express your opinions on those topics freely.

But I believe people in positions of respect and/or authority have a responsibility to not spread misinformation. Politicians are called on it by journalists. And I'm doing it here.

Standing up for truth is something we should all be aiming for as aikidoka (or even just good people), isn't it?
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:04 AM   #143
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

For me O'Sensei was wise and not in the mystical or divine sense. But instead, in the sense that he was shifting to the new, in both the spiritual and cultural sense. There is no doubt that O'Sensei was still influenced by Shinto and the myths due to being Japanese. But he realized the importance of moving forward, and not sticking to the views dictated by Shinto and it's myths, so much so, it restricted his intellectual grow and progressive thinking.
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:12 AM   #144
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
Jim Cooper wrote: View Post
There certainly is. And that was the crux of my objection to that section (and it was only one section) of George's post. People should not really pontificate on subjects they clearly do not understand. You and George obviously do not understand how science works. I know you think you do, but unfortunately you're wrong.

You may be absolutely brilliant at other things, and as such, you should feel free, or even be encouraged, to express your opinions on those topics freely.

But I believe people in positions of respect and/or authority have a responsibility to not spread misinformation. Politicians are called on it by journalists. And I'm doing it here.

Standing up for truth is something we should all be aiming for as aikidoka (or even just good people), isn't it?
Hi Jim,
You obviously don't understand how things not scientific work. I know you think you do but you are wrong. Which leaves us at an impasse that will not be resolved at any point in this lifetime.
- George

George S. Ledyard
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AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:23 AM   #145
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
Jim Cooper wrote: View Post
There certainly is. And that was the crux of my objection to that section (and it was only one section) of George's post. People should not really pontificate on subjects they clearly do not understand. You and George obviously do not understand how science works. I know you think you do, but unfortunately you're wrong.

But I believe people in positions of respect and/or authority have a responsibility to not spread misinformation. Politicians are called on it by journalists. And I'm doing it here.
In praise of logic, let me point out that the argument you have ventured is, as a rhetorical matter, founded on pathos (emotion) -- vice logos ( reason), although it has a touch of ethos (morals) toward the end. This is the fallacy of ad verecundiam -- appeal to authority, with an ad hominem attached (asserting lack of needed authority in the proponent, as well as an attack on the moral credibility of the proponent in the making of the statement.)

Fortunately, science is not authoritative. Science is reasoned argument from hypothesis and evidence testing the falsification of that hypothesis. The "politician" is, I must admit, a very nice touch of subconscious associational attack on credibility. Molto bene. Argument is also budo -- and creative attacks should be praised for their technical merit.

To make the logical argument you must identify the allegedly erroneous statement and then show it to be wrong from admissible evidence. Merely asserting it to be so from presumptive authority is not an argument to reason -- it is an appeal to emotion -- namely a form of social approval - mixed with an ethical presumption of a socially defined standard of morality on those "in authority." For the record, I claim none but what fact, reason and good sense might confer. George has a fair amount, but then I have no authority to establish that -- so what do I know?

Authority does not make a statement right -- that is the "good German" defense to an objective moral accusation. Lack of authority does not make a statement wrong -- that was Galileo's muttered "E il muove," as he formally recanted at the end of his trial for heresy. Science is, above all, reasonable -- not authoritative.

Given that you seem to claim the imprimatur to do so, please explain how science works -- and moreover, how it developed. Since ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, I seem to recall, we must understand the developmental origin of the thing to understand the thing completely.

Please, be specific, in what thing have I misinformed? Don't be shy or ambiguous. I volunteer for people to swing heavy wood at my head. So, please, tell me, how am I wrong?

Quote:
Jim Cooper wrote: View Post
Standing up for truth is something we should all be aiming for as aikidoka (or even just good people), isn't it?
Ah.. "What is truth?" -- someone once asked in passing sentence ... You might answer that one too, in this scientific context, while we are at it. And while we are on the scenic tour of the bestiary of logical fallacy, this is a lovely combination of "assuming the conclusion" or tautology with an argument by rhetorical question (in my profession we call this a "leading" question.)

I'll go first. Scientific truth is those hypothetical statements of concrete fact that can be objectively falsified, and as to which the falsification cannot be proven by physical evidence. In other words, science does not speak to the truth or falsity of ANY statement that cannot be:

1) hypothesized concretely
2) falsified objectively, AND
3) tested by physical evidence

In fact, science does not define ANY truth -- it only eliminates concrete and testable non-truth from reasoned discussion. It literally says nothing about truth that is either:

1) not concrete
2) not objective
3) not conceptually falsifiable
4) not physically testable, OR
5) for which evidence is lacking

Here East and West should properly meet. "To know that you do not know is the best." Lao-tzu

I'll leave the remainder of that quote for those who choose to Google it.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-13-2009 at 10:37 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:45 AM   #146
C. David Henderson
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

But was Sensei Wise?
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:48 PM   #147
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
David Henderson wrote: View Post
But was Sensei Wise?
He enjoined practice above all. The practice of O Sensei's art taught me to distinguish carefully between things I could perceive and resolve rationally, and things I could only perceive and resolve resolve non-rationally, and the importance of and the relationship between both of them.

So, wise, yes. And quirky. I like quirky. No particular reason.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-13-2009, 02:39 PM   #148
C. David Henderson
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Don't need one; it's just a quirk anyway, my friend.
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:35 PM   #149
Buck
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Erick,

To see the true things,
Harmonize the voice with shouts.
"Yah!"
Never be drawn into the rhythm of the enemy.

- Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:14 PM   #150
Buck
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

There is a very important and well known term in Japanese Buddhism, and among Japanese Buddhist, I believe it is Dori ( or yukti). I don't know why I get excited, but I do and this stuff gives me the goose bumps!

Yukti means unity or way of union. I always wondered if...well if that is where the core of O'Sensei's use of harmony comes from. It is more exciting to think about that being the origin. Not saying O'Sensei was Buddhist, but rather the influence it had on all Japanese. There is a likely possibility the origin of harmony was Chinese influence, ying and yang. Since the idea of polar opposites that ying and yang represent also say balance. And the Chinese on the whole, in general, and broadly speaking at a time supported the idea of non-conflict that had influenced the Chinese, and also in some of their martial arts.

I am saying that I think there is an element seen in O'Sensei and his writing that show rational thinking over mystical elements. I am not saying he was absent of the esoteric practices. If I did I would be flat wrong. But what it points to is a direct link between this rational thinking and his esoteric practices of Japan, namely in Shinto, and Omoto.

He was not a figure that we in the west can mold to our own dependencies, because we like the background to see him properly. And therefore, treat him as we like to support or fit our own stuff. In example, when we reject one divinity, for what ever reason, we put O'Sensei in place. We don't change the way we see and treat our mythology when do that. We pop O'Sensei into that box. The play is the same, it is simply that we changed the lead character.

His wisdom then is in his ability to take from the past Japan that he felt was important to keep and help move Japan forward into the new Japan with Aikido. And not providing us with religious wisdom, divine enlightenment for our live, salvation from our mental calamities, and that kind of stuff.

O'Sensei was not the stuff of Airport Hare Krishna's- the people that my older brother feared as a kid. For some kids it was clowns, but for my brother it was those guys. O'Sensei to me seems now to me to want reform and progression for Japan by using what he felt was useful of the old and supporting the new. If we see O'Sensei as a shaman, etc. whose mystical abstract words guide our spiritual (as in soul, divinity) beliefs to enlightenment. Someone that will lead mystically us to a uptopia, then we got O'Sensei pegged for the wrong kind of wise. Hey anyone for that matter.

Last edited by Buck : 02-13-2009 at 10:18 PM.
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