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Old 03-15-2009, 09:33 PM   #276
Buck
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Re: Truth

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I'm not sure what you mean by "real stuff." Would you be willing to elaborate? It sounds like you're suggesting we parse myths into fact or fiction and I'm not sure how possible that is. It doesn't seem too far off from saying you want to take a koan and find the "real" answer.

For me myth is brain candy (Kids in the Hall refrence: it's not made from Monkeys!). I sit and think about the various stories I've heard and I process possible reasons for this and that. They're like all hypotheticals to me: fodder for my mind's "what if" function.
As Shinto relates to O Sensei's vision the only thing that comes to mind is that divinity is manifest through the material world and that a positive attitude and whole-system consideration is the ultimate goal. Taking that in conjunction with some remarks I heard translated as "put yourself in order; then your house; then your neighborhood; then your country; etc." to me means meta-cognitive efforts are the first step toward wisdom.
Take care,
Matt
Real stuff refers to facts. No parsing. Instead, its not throwing myth and facts into a bowl and mixing them together where the are indistinguishable, or getting your own personal recipe.

Instead of guessing or stopping at a point of how Shinto relates to O'Sensei it best to see how Shinto really relates- and influences. Just like how pistons relate to a car's engine that relates to the drive train and so on.

Thinking about how we are thinking is the start to wisdom, yes I agree. For me that leads to seeing O'Sensei truly, accurately, factual etc, by a scientific means, warts and all. Not through some cosmetic or any other type of myth that filters or distorts. In that way I am confident it will lead to a better understand of what O'Sensei is saying.

Then when I get an accurate, clean, un-distorted picture of O'Sensei and what influenced him, his background, etc. then, I can determine if he is wise or not. I am not afraid that I will discover something that will disappoint me, or not fit in to my own personal perspective of O'Sensei, that will show me he isn't all what he is cracked up to be. I want to blow away the myths like sand and see O'Sensei as he was. Not what others have personally sculpted him in to being. I want to know his breath and depth of wisdom. I want to know where it all comes from. And only then would I feel my Aikido practice is truely pure.

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Old 03-15-2009, 10:26 PM   #277
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Re: Truth

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Real stuff refers to facts. No parsing. Instead, its not throwing myth and facts into a bowl and mixing them together where the are indistinguishable, or getting your own personal recipe.
Parsing isn't mixing things together, it's analyzing them into constituent categories...I think.

Quote:
I want to...see O'Sensei as he was. Not what others have personally sculpted him in to being. I want to know his breath and depth of wisdom.
Good luck! I'm not sure one person can know the depth of another person's wisdom, particularly a historical figure. I do agree that understanding the context helps understand the person better than simply looking at the stories/messages alone.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 03-15-2009 at 10:29 PM.

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Old 03-16-2009, 04:03 AM   #278
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Agreed historical context will help, but ultimately you are going to view O'Sesnei through your own cultural filters. The O'Sensei that Gozo Shioda recalled will share certain points of reference with Terry Dobson's, but there will also be places where they probably wouldn't recognise them as the same person.
There are, I'm sure, people in America who would argue about whether or not George W. Bush was a good president and be unable to see the other point of view because of their cultural filters.
Ironically, I believe that O'Sensei's teachings were about trying to find the unity beyond duality.
However, good luck on trying to find the real O'Sensei - there have been two thousand years of relgious wars trying to find the real Jesus.
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Old 03-16-2009, 06:05 AM   #279
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Re: Truth

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Then when I get an accurate, clean, un-distorted picture of O'Sensei and what influenced him, his background, etc. then, I can determine if he is wise or not. I am not afraid that I will discover something that will disappoint me, or not fit in to my own personal perspective of O'Sensei, that will show me he isn't all what he is cracked up to be. I want to blow away the myths like sand and see O'Sensei as he was. Not what others have personally sculpted him in to being. I want to know his breath and depth of wisdom. I want to know where it all comes from.
Unless you have access to, and the ability to read and understand O Sensei's original writings, all that you can learn about him will necessarily be garnered via the second hand knowledge of others and therefore colored by their biases.

Quote:
And only then would I feel my Aikido practice is truely pure.
From the context of this discussion I assume that by pure you mean not influenced by myths that have grown up around O Sensei. It seems to me that you are trying to distill the essence of O Sensei's Aikido in order to better understand your own practice. This is a laudable goal and I wish you well on your quest. Perhaps the path to understanding O Sensei is the practice of Aikido itself.

FWIW

Ron
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:12 AM   #280
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Re: Truth

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Real stuff refers to facts. No parsing. Instead, its not throwing myth and facts into a bowl and mixing them together where the are indistinguishable, or getting your own personal recipe.
Facts. We regularly get twelve people in a room to decide the question on well-vetted evidence -- We are often left still wondering at the end of that effort what the facts ultimately are. There are too many cases that seem tried to that conclusion not on the preponderance of the evidence, but the preponderance of the perjury. Facts have to be decided -- for a purpose, like most of human knowledge, their truth value can be slippery out of context.

The fact is that we are required to act, and to know that we should act, and to do both at the right time BEFORE we have appreciated all the potentially relevant facts in any chronological sequence. We are not after the facts as such, but something larger -- the pattern the facts fit into -- which let's you feel how the next fact, which you don't yet know, must fit the pattern. It is not linearly predictive but it is -- applicable. Myth is this type of factual knowledge -- intuitive but universal patterns, writ large.

Quote:
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Thinking about how we are thinking is the start to wisdom, yes I agree.
What if it is not the thinking kind of wisdom? No amount of thinking will drive your body under a falling sword -- or toward an oncoming knife thrust -- or allow you to dominate with conflicting -- but that's where the aiki lives ...

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Then when I get an accurate, clean, un-distorted picture of O'Sensei and what influenced him, his background, etc. then, I can determine if he is wise or not. ... I want to know his breath and depth of wisdom. I want to know where it all comes from. And only then would I feel my Aikido practice is truely pure.
You won't get one -- you won't be able to -- and it never will be. And it is still worthwhile.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:59 AM   #281
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

The notion that "facts" exist without "parsing" seems to imply we can have access to knowledge about the world without mediation through language, symbols, or mathematics. Alternatively, that our "factual" language has concrete referents ("data") that we can hold up and examine independent of the way we have represented those facts in language and mathematics.

Leave aside digressions into the philosophy of science: When the subject matter or our examination (a) concerns an historical figure, and (b) poses the question of whether that person was "wise," I'd agree with Mark.

I also would suggest that choosing to engage with the question posed in this thread sheds light on the examiner at least as much as the subject of the examination.

From a number of accounts, for example, it appears O'Sensei considered himself an avatar of divine forces at work in the world.

Was that wise, or foolish?

O'Sensei's evolution of the philosophy of Aikido emphasized budo as love.

Was that wise or foolish?

Say we conclude the first was foolish (as we don't believe in that kind of thing), but the second was wise (as we value peace, love, and understanding, especially if we get to toss people about in the name of those values).

Was O'Sensei then wise; foolish; both?

And how much does our answer reflect the nuances of the historical record; how much our own beliefs, especially in weighing the record?

In "mythological" terms, this thread thus is as much about the skeptic and free-thinker -- our archetype of the scholar and scientist -- as about Ueshiba.

Turned outward, the skeptic deconstructs received notions looking for the unparsed truth, which, having been arrived at through reason, is in the skeptic's lights both more genuine and more reliable.

Wise, foolish, both?

Turned inward, the fee thinker sees her own perspective woven through the results of all her inquiries, and looks to unravel this weave.

Wise, foolish, both?

Gotta parse.
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:33 AM   #282
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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From a number of accounts, for example, it appears O'Sensei considered himself an avatar of divine forces at work in the world. ... O'Sensei's evolution of the philosophy of Aikido emphasized budo as love. ... Say we conclude the first was foolish (as we don't believe in that kind of thing), but the second was wise (as we value peace, love, and understanding, especially if we get to toss people about in the name of those values).

Was O'Sensei then wise; foolish; both?
That dichotomy is not adequate. He was in the classification of The Holy Fool -- willing to be or appear foolish to seek sacred wisdom. To romanticize him ignores his true foolishness; to analyze him ignores his sacred orientation. We must do both, and then neither...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:25 AM   #283
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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That dichotomy is not adequate. He was in the classification of The Holy Fool -- willing to be or appear foolish to seek sacred wisdom. To romanticize him ignores his true foolishness; to analyze him ignores his sacred orientation. We must do both, and then neither...
Point taken; however, I would say the dichotomy is "adequate," but that an operation remains to be performed -- reconciling thesis and antithesis, which you do, and do quite well by my lights, through invoking the archetype of the "holy fool."

A contradiction is a terrible thing to waste....
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:08 PM   #284
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Re: Truth

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Parsing isn't mixing things together, it's analyzing them into constituent categories...I think.

Good luck! I'm not sure one person can know the depth of another person's wisdom, particularly a historical figure. I do agree that understanding the context helps understand the person better than simply looking at the stories/messages alone.
Thank you for bring that to light. About parsing, what I meant is I agree with you on what you said about suggesting the parsing of myth and fact. Then I wanted to add, we also shouldn't mix up myth with fact. Therefore, because there is some fact in the myth then the myth must be true. That stuff.


But....Now with Dave's post its got me rethinking things. But over all, for me to understand O'Sensei's views I have to look at myth and fact as materials that went into a composition.

Last edited by Buck : 03-16-2009 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:26 PM   #285
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Re: Truth

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Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
... Then I wanted to add, we also shouldn't mix up myth with fact. Therefore, because there is some fact in the myth then the myth must be true. ... over all, for me to understand O'Sensei's views I have to look at myth and fact as materials that went into a composition.
Myth has been defined as true stories about things that may never have happened ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:32 PM   #286
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Re: Truth

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Facts. We regularly get twelve people in a room to decide the question on well-vetted evidence -- We are often left still wondering at the end of that effort what the facts ultimately are. There are too many cases that seem tried to that conclusion not on the preponderance of the evidence, but the preponderance of the perjury. Facts have to be decided -- for a purpose, like most of human knowledge, their truth value can be slippery out of context.

The fact is that we are required to act, and to know that we should act, and to do both at the right time BEFORE we have appreciated all the potentially relevant facts in any chronological sequence. We are not after the facts as such, but something larger -- the pattern the facts fit into -- which let's you feel how the next fact, which you don't yet know, must fit the pattern. It is not linearly predictive but it is -- applicable. Myth is this type of factual knowledge -- intuitive but universal patterns, writ large.

What if it is not the thinking kind of wisdom? No amount of thinking will drive your body under a falling sword -- or toward an oncoming knife thrust -- or allow you to dominate with conflicting -- but that's where the aiki lives ...

You won't get one -- you won't be able to -- and it never will be. And it is still worthwhile.
OK, Erick, good points.

Just for the chit chat, it is like this, simple in a way. Fact, O'Sensei was Japanese. He composed a martial art from various sources. He didn't create it from a divine muse. What are those sources? For one, he used Japanese myth. And not Greek or Roman. He believed in Japanese myth the way Japanese do. Not as the English do. He took from Omoto and Shinto, and Japanese Budo culture. Not from Christianity, Catholicism, or Medieval Knights in shining armor. His society was in a change, it was not the same change as say the social changes in the USA at the same time. O'Sensei thought of himself as a (Shinto) god, not the type of God or gods in the west. O'Sensei had a temper, like the Japanese men of his time. He was Jesus Christ, or Zeus.

If I understand Shinto, the Japanese, Japanese Budo, I have a better understanding of O'Sensei. That way I am not making stuff up in place of that, or adding stuff that is outside of that. Like Tarten Hakamas and Pleather gis.
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:39 PM   #287
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Re: Truth

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Thank you for bring that to light. About parsing, what I meant is I agree with you on what you said about suggesting the parsing of myth and fact. Then I wanted to add, we also shouldn't mix up myth with fact. Therefore, because there is some fact in the myth then the myth must be true.
Oops...sorry, my mistake

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:40 PM   #288
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Re: Truth

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Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
O'Sensei was Japanese. He composed a martial art from various sources. He didn't create it from a divine muse.
On the latter point, Ueshiba says he did. On three distinct occasions, actually.
And those aren't mutually exclusive. Michelangelo learned stone cutting from various sources -- and also had that divine muse.
Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
What are those sources? For one, he used Japanese myth. And not Greek or Roman. He believed in Japanese myth the way Japanese do. Not as the English do. He took from Omoto and Shinto, and Japanese Budo culture. Not from Christianity, Catholicism, or Medieval Knights in shining armor. ... O'Sensei thought of himself as a (Shinto) god, not the type of God or gods in the west. O'Sensei had a temper, like the Japanese men of his time. He was Jesus Christ, or Zeus.
Actually, kami are not "gods" in the pagan Greek sense. Kami is both under-inclusive and over-inclusive of the meaning of "god" in Greek. More like saints and angels where personified, and more like genus loci or elemental spirits (naiads, dryads, other nymphs) where they are not. There is a special category of kami you would do well to study -- the Zoka Sanshin, Shinto's creator trinity -- but they do not fit the Greek "god" category either -- well, the pagan one, anyway.

Jesus is ..well, just Jesus. And Zeus, well, ...anyway. ... Ueshiba was neither and did not identify himself with either. He distinguished AND related his task to Jesus, in that his work was also based on love, but as an art, not a religion (his own words). In fact, Ueshiba specifically identified his mission with that of the return of St. Michael the Archangel... in the passage from the Book of Daniel, Chapter 12..

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:12 PM   #289
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Re: Truth

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
On the latter point, Ueshiba says he did. On three distinct occasions, actually.
And those aren't mutually exclusive. Michelangelo learned stone cutting from various sources -- and also had that divine muse.
Actually, kami are not "gods" in the pagan Greek sense. Kami is both under-inclusive and over-inclusive of the meaning of "god" in Greek. More like saints and angels where personified, and more like genus loci or elemental spirits (naiads, dryads, other nymphs) where they are not. There is a special category of kami you would do well to study -- the Zoka Sanshin, Shinto's creator trinity -- but they do not fit the Greek "god" category either -- well, the pagan one, anyway.

Jesus is ..well, just Jesus. And Zeus, well, ...anyway. ... Ueshiba was neither and did not identify himself with either. He distinguished AND related his task to Jesus, in that his work was also based on love, but as an art, not a religion (his own words). In fact, Ueshiba specifically identified his mission with that of the return of St. Michael the Archangel... in the passage from the Book of Daniel, Chapter 12..
Exactly what I am saying. Except for the love and Jesus, that is the mixing. The meaning of love O'Sensei style is that of Jesus's, is one type of external myths that shouldn't surround O'Sensei. Like you you can't turn lead into gold. That is what we need to question is O'Sensei isn't Jesus, and any such myths. It is where the facts play a huge role in being clear.

Last edited by Buck : 03-16-2009 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:20 PM   #290
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

It would be more responsible to look at love as being mercy within the context of O'Sensei's times. O'Sensei may have not really understood the western word of love. Sure it has layers of meanings like the Japanese language, but we don't treat it the same. I am surprised some people didn't take the word love to mean the physical type and really make mess of things.

Point being there are double meaning and layers to words and the way the poems of O'Sensei are constructed since he composed in Japanese, which as influenced very deeply by Shintoism. add to that, it is all in the model of Budo. Nothing else. Sake may look like volka but it isn't. I really don't want to think sake is volka. I need to be clear between the two, or I will look really foolish saying that sake is volka to those who know better.

Last edited by Buck : 03-16-2009 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:44 PM   #291
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Re: Truth

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Unless you have access to, and the ability to read and understand O Sensei's original writings, all that you can learn about him will necessarily be garnered via the second hand knowledge of others and therefore colored by their biases.

From the context of this discussion I assume that by pure you mean not influenced by myths that have grown up around O Sensei. It seems to me that you are trying to distill the essence of O Sensei's Aikido in order to better understand your own practice. This is a laudable goal and I wish you well on your quest. Perhaps the path to understanding O Sensei is the practice of Aikido itself.

FWIW

Ron
Ron,

I think again it is worth saying that I don't want to mistake sake of vodka. I don't want to go around believing sake and vodka are same. I sure don't want to think O'Sensei intended Hakamas, for an example, to be in tartan patterns or look like kilts. Or made in checker or polka-dots fabrics.
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Old 03-17-2009, 09:19 AM   #292
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Hi Buck,

Take another look at one of Erick's points, if you would. The thesis that Ueshiba created Aikido by combining elements of other martial arts and the idea that Aikido was revealed to O'Sensei in one or several spiritual and/or divine epiphanies aren't mutually exclusive, especially in the case of O'Sensei himself.

In fact, that "mode" of discovery is consistent in a lot of ways with the "old (Japanese) wine in a new bottle" theory as well as your interest in understanding the creation of Aikido as well as possible from a perspective like that we imagine O'Sensei had.

Do we know that these moments of revelation really occurred (as opposed to being a culturally expected form used to validate something that was in fact incrementally and rationally designed over a period of years)?

No. We either choose to believe the sources suggesting they did, or we find reason to doubt that account.

Why, though do we doubt? Because the sources are suspect, or because we don't believe in that sort of thing?

Here a question for which I have no answer: If we choose, a priori, to see the "divine muse" explanation as the myth and "from existing martial arts" theory as the fact, what do possibilities do we miss about the nature of the creative process?

There's a story I heard in college about the guy who figured out the molecular shape of a benzene ring after dreaming of a snake swallowing its tail; his muse at work?

Regards,

David
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:08 AM   #293
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Re: Truth

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The meaning of love O'Sensei style is that of Jesus's, is one type of external myths that shouldn't surround O'Sensei. Like you you can't turn lead into gold.
Isaac Newton was also a devoted alchemist (really, you can't make this stuff up), so the "mixing" is not and was never so clear-cut. You are making non-contextual judgments that are not proper to the circumstance of the person you are trying to analyze.

You can argue with the Founder all you will, but he himself drew these and all sorts of other connections from his work and understanding to that of the West. And there happen to be good reasons within the history of his own traditions for him to have done that, which reasons informed some of the syncretic influence of Oomoto, which he followed. For slapdash list of some of the more useful areas to look into, I recently posted in another thread, see here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...5&postcount=15

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:34 AM   #294
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Re: Truth

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I think again it is worth saying that I don't want to mistake sake of vodka. I don't want to go around believing sake and vodka are same.
The only way to truely tell the difference is to taste them yourself.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote:
I sure don't want to think O'Sensei intended Hakamas, for an example, to be in tartan patterns or look like kilts. Or made in checker or polka-dots fabrics.
Kilts? Naw, too short. As to the rest... hmmm, tartan patterns, polka dots, checked fabric... Perhaps O Sensei would have bust a gut at the sight, sounds very cool to me.

Ron
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:14 PM   #295
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Re: Truth

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The only way to truely tell the difference is to taste them yourself.

Ron
That's right and when you do, you will never mix 'em up again. And that's the truth!
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:37 PM   #296
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

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Hi Buck,

[A]Take another look at one of Erick's points, if you would. The thesis that Ueshiba created Aikido by combining elements of other martial arts and the idea that Aikido was revealed to O'Sensei in one or several spiritual and/or divine epiphanies aren't mutually exclusive, especially in the case of O'Sensei himself.

[b]Here a question for which I have no answer: If we choose, a priori, to see the "divine muse" explanation as the myth and "from existing martial arts" theory as the fact, what do possibilities do we miss about the nature of the creative process?

There's a story I heard in college about the guy who figured out the molecular shape of a benzene ring after dreaming of a snake swallowing its tail; his muse at work?

Regards,

David
Thanks, Dave. I appreciate your participation and keen eye. Here are my responses in bytes.

[A] Some posts back I already discussed that by means of another Japanese religion.

[b] The point of the use of muse. To simply show that muses (Greek) are not Shinto(Japanese) deities. And I was showing they shouldn't be confused, mixed together. O'Sensei's inspiration wasn't a Greek muse, otherwise he would have said it. And this connects to what I said in A.

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Old 03-17-2009, 07:00 PM   #297
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

We have a choice to follow what we are told blindly in some form of faith what we are told. We can interpret Aikido and O'Sensei anyway we want, and justify it they way we want, and who will tell us differently. Or we can ask questions to get the truth- correct answers- and really understand what we are doing.
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Old 03-17-2009, 08:29 PM   #298
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Buck, I wonder if you should try to spend less energy worrying about doing the "True" aikido, and more trying to make aikido your own. The best aikidoka I have trained with are not those that are the most like their teachers, they are the one's whose aikido has become a powerful expression of themselves. I don't view aikido as some abstract thing you study in a history book, it is an internal and very personal form of training that permeates who you are.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 03-17-2009, 08:34 PM   #299
Buck
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
Almost everybody in aikido has a worldview that is very different than O-sensei's.
And isn't that the problem?
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Old 03-17-2009, 08:46 PM   #300
Erick Mead
 
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
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Re: Who Sez O'Sensei Was Wise!

Quote:
Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
Buck, I wonder if you should try to spend less energy worrying about doing the "True" aikido, and more trying to make aikido your own.
He can't have it. It's mine. All mine ...

Wait, hold on -- what the heck are YOU doing?!?!

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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