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Old 07-10-2016, 10:09 AM   #1
rugwithlegs
Dojo: Open Sky Aikikai
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Reconcile the world

http://john-hillson.blogspot.com/201...econciled.html

We're supposed to offer a better path for the world. We are a spiritual path, a spiritually minded martial art. Ueshiba is frequently quoted calling for peace.

So after a particularly grotesque week in the USA news, I have to ask. What is our role? Do we actually have one?
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Old 07-11-2016, 09:12 AM   #2
lbb
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Re: Reconcile the world

Do WE have a role? No, I think not, not as such, because there is no "we". "We" are not a unified body; we don't share a consensus. Those who share consensus can act as a group, as a body. Otherwise. it dissolves into platitudes and misunderstandings.

Should we create this kind of consensus? Maybe, but I'd argue that the past week's events are not the reason why. The consensus is the long way round, and won't work in any event without individuals doing their own individual work. I've been struck at the response of many white people to this week's events, which can be summed up as, "This is awful, I feel awful, I'm overwhelmed, make it better." I have nothing but compassion for this emotional response -- I share it -- but I think that a big part of how we got into this sad state, seemingly with so few tools to "fix" it, is through a long-established habit of seeking comfort when things get bad. It's an instinctive human response -- but is it always healthy?

A character in Toni Cade Bambara's "The Salt Eaters" pointed out that when terrible things happen, we should expect to feel awful, and to keep on feeling awful for a while. Healing takes time, and there aren't any shortcuts (although there sure as hell are ways to set your healing back). But there are also always ways to feel better. Got a broken leg? Take morphine. Keep taking it, and after a while, you realize, "Hey, this stuff works for headaches too!" This will end well...

And there are other ways of seeking comfort when the ill is social, and some are healthy, and many are not. Many are born of privilege. Privilege allows me to get away from the uncomfortable feelings caused by this week's events, distract myself with a drink or dinner or a trip to the beach or a lovely day at the spa or some mindless entertainment, to blow all that bad feeling out of my head and come back to my normal life with some assurance that I won't open my email and read about my son, my brother, my cousin, my neighbor dying because of this insanity. I can go on with my life, and not feel uncomfortable, and that's a problem.

See, here's the thing about discomfort. Humans don't like it. That's natural and never changes. But discomfort is part of doing the worthwhile and necessary work. We all know that from our time on the mat. We've all seen newbies come into the dojo and leave, for various reasons, but many for the reason that they just could not break the habit of avoiding discomfort -- of all kinds, physical, mental, emotional, social. They didn't like the discomfort of new stresses on their body, or the embarrassment of looking silly, or the fear/anger/feeling of threat when someone grabbed them or threw them or tried to hit them. They could not learn to stay with the discomfort for long enough to learn what it was trying to teach them.

And we are the same in our response to these disastrous times. "This is awful, I feel awful, I'm overwhelmed, make it better." Some of us have the option to do that -- for now. We're still stuck on this spaceship called earth, and seeking comfort is just a way of kicking the can down the road, as we avoid the hard and necessary work of reconciling the world. Seeking comfort prevents us from doing so much that we might do in this moment.

If we can stay with our discomfort, we can listen to others tell their story -- without the need to interrupt, interpret, shut it down.

If we can stay with our discomfort, we can learn compassion for others who do not have the privilege or resources to opt out of this uncomfortable moment. We can learn what their lives are like all the time.

If we can stay with our discomfort, we can see our weaknesses and our failings in a compassionate light. We can see them in others in the same way.

If we can stay with our discomfort, and lose the habit of needing to make things better for ourselves right now, we can learn patience.

If we can stay with our discomfort, we can free ourselves of the need for an instant response, rejoinder, comeback, snark, reaction. We can free ourselves from being used by others who count on that instant response to manipulate us.

If we can stay, just stay, we can learn what is the truth. We can learn that there are many truths, and that they aren’t mutually exclusive.

Staying with discomfort is not some act of martyrdom, it isn’t an act of penance. Our suffering doesn’t pay for the suffering of others; that’s not the point. The ability to stay with discomfort is a superpower that makes you into that warrior, the one who can do the hard and necessary work. And yes, comfort does come. It comes sooner than you’d imagine, just as a wound heals faster if you endure the discomfort of a good thorough cleaning rather than slap a bandaid on it dirty and take a painkiller. But we need the comfort of things made right, not the comfort of anesthesia.
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Old 07-13-2016, 12:44 PM   #3
Carl Rylander
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Re: Reconcile the world

The solution in Dallas was to sack a load of troublesome police. That should be part of progressive policing everywhere.

Last edited by Carl Rylander : 07-13-2016 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 07-15-2016, 04:36 PM   #4
rugwithlegs
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Re: Reconcile the world

Great comment Mary, lots to unpack there. And you're right about discomfort - in budo we forge our minds and bodies in the fires of our will. There will be pain. Balance and reconciliation should not be the same as anesthesia or apathy, nor tolerance for the intolerable.

More blood spilt by terrorists this week in Nice, and the KKK are handing out fliers in Florida.

In my experience, online discussions about martial effectiveness and aikido will have at least one someone say they are more interested in the art of peace, or making peace, or avoiding conflict, or self-improvement.

Aikido is indeed fractured and there is little consensus on how to do virtually anything technical or tangible. Morihei Ueshiba was a spiritual man advocating peace, and so was his son. That part of aikido legacy is usually agreed upon.

I've had students equate O Sensei and Ghandi, for all I told them not to. I have fellow students say their veganism/vegetarianism/organic gardening, etc is related to their understanding of aikido philosophy and ethics; their understanding of the Art of Peace. I have fellow students in my dojo who have joined protestors but relatively few.
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:34 PM   #5
donhebert
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Re: Reconcile the world

Hi Mary,

Your post was very insightful and true.

Many thanks,

Don Hebert
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Old 07-20-2016, 05:13 PM   #6
Cromwell
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Re: Reconcile the world

In this crazy political times. I hope us Aikidoka can be the instruments of harmony around the world.

Always Good Aikido
Technique, Psychology and Strategy

http://goodaikido.com
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:03 PM   #7
nikyu62
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Re: Reconcile the world

A challenging task to reconcile the world, when there is so much dissension among aikido practitioners and associations, to the point of historical revisionism.
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Old 07-27-2016, 08:57 AM   #8
Dan Richards
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Re: Reconcile the world

The world has never been in a more peaceful and prosperous time than right now.

Watch this Ted Talk by Hans Rosling. The data absolutely backs it up.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVimVzgtD6w

Every day we take in impressions in the things we read, the people who talk around us, the media we watch, etc.. It's just like a diet, but on an emotional, mental, and spiritual level.

Every day we have the opportunity to take in good "nutrition" to feed our physical, emotional, and mental bodies.

Every day we can make decisions on what we allow into our bodies and minds. How many of those decisions are conscious? Can we increase the amount of conscious decisions we make?

How are you nourishing yourself容very day? What are you reading? What are you watching? What are you experiencing?

If you want to see the peace in the world様ook for it. It's there in an infinite abundance.

If you want peace in the world傭ecome peaceful.

If you want to bring the practice of aikido into the mix, the main principle of aikido is non-resistance.

Look for areas of resistance in your body and life, and you'll become aware (conscious) of where you're not allowing the life energy to flow. It's just like turning a light on. See it. And be at peace with it.

Mary mentioned discomfort. That's one of the best examples. Many of us remember the discomfort of some of the locks applied to us in our early training days. After a while, we found that it was actually our own resistance that was causing the pain, and not any outside force.

Let that sink it.

Then you'll find the answer to where peace in the world lies.

Dan Richards
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Old 07-27-2016, 12:30 PM   #9
JW
 
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Re: Reconcile the world

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
Mary mentioned discomfort. That's one of the best examples. Many of us remember the discomfort of some of the locks applied to us in our early training days. After a while, we found that it was actually our own resistance that was causing the pain, and not any outside force.

Let that sink it.

Then you'll find the answer to where peace in the world lies.
I can't watch the TED talk right now (but will later, thanks for link).

Dan, can you tell me if I misunderstand you? Sounds like you are saying that if people in this world (few or many, near or far) are being abused by others, whether physically, politically, or economically, I should just try harder to not worry about it, and thus ease my discomfort about it.
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:10 AM   #10
lbb
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Re: Reconcile the world

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
Dan, can you tell me if I misunderstand you? Sounds like you are saying that if people in this world (few or many, near or far) are being abused by others, whether physically, politically, or economically, I should just try harder to not worry about it, and thus ease my discomfort about it.
I don't think that's the message, but I agree that it's important to be careful about what we mean, here. We need to say explicitly that the path to peace is not to blame the victim, or to turn from the victim's plight, or to deny that it's happening. At a guess, Dan's talking about the fact that when bad things happen to us (or around us), our response to them can either help or hinder us. If someone has you in a joint lock, the joint lock is real, the discomfort it causes is real -- but you can respond to the joint lock in such a way as to minimize the discomfort and keep yourself as safe as possible. Or, suppose someone has an abusive boss. That's a power-over relationship, and as long as you stay in that relationship (stay at that job), that's a reality. You don't control your boss, but by your response to the situation, you can minimize your discomfort. Or, you can internalize what your boss does, go home in a towering rage every day, go over and over what was done to you and build up a really good head of steam. Your boss sleeps like a baby while you're up all night, stressed and miserable.

It's really important not to tell yourself that bad things aren't happening, and I think equally important not to seek comfort in denial. There's a movement that seeks to plaster so-called "positive" images on Facebook and other social media, supposedly in an effort to "counter the negativity". Words cannot express how fatuous I find this. To turn to cute images of puppies to cheer yourself up from drowning migrants in the Mediterranean, that's just wrong. But there's a difference between this behavior, what Pema Chodron calls "numbing out" -- denying the reality that's going on -- and what my sister calls "awfulizing", which is also a denial of reality, only in the other direction. And, to be honest, I see a behavior when people get into a good bout of awfulizing and get to feeling good and miserable about their situation or the state of the world...and then, to make themselves feel better, they "numb out" with puppy pictures or alcohol or chocolate or any number of things that aren't bad in and of themselves, but are a problem when they're used as anesthesia. Yoyo behavior, the awful world justifies treating yourself sweet and denying the reality of the awful world.

When I was a kid, if I'd get a scrape or a cut, I was unable to look at it. It hurt, and it was awful, and I just didn't want to look at it. Over the years I learned to make myself look, and I discovered an interesting thing: whenever I looked at the injury, it was never as bad as my imagination had made it. Or, on the few occasions when the injury itself was actually worse than I'd imagined (more severe), the experience of looking at it was somehow not as bad as the experience of imagining it. And, looking at it, seeing it for what it is, freed me to deal with the reality of it -- which meant dealing with it effectively -- and in a calm way. And every time I did this, it got easier to do it, and I got better at noticing when the "pain" -- the discomfort of the situation -- was coming from the actual injury (the reality) and when it was coming from my own imagination feeding the fire. I think what Dan's talking about is trying to look at the thing for what it IS, neither making it worse than it is nor making it better than it is, and how the practice of doing this consistently teaches us the skill to deal the reality of things, good and bad, without being overwhelmed by either.
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Old 07-28-2016, 08:13 AM   #11
rugwithlegs
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Re: Reconcile the world

Don't merely look for anesthesia - I completely agree.

We are statistically safer than we have ever been; there is some defense for that statement. It is cold comfort to those outliers who find themselves the anomaly.

Also, yes I am unlikely to have someone pull a knife on me and steal my wallet than I would have been years ago - but I have had my credit card company catch fraudulent use of my account twice in the past year alone - for more cash than I ever carry.

I am rather careful. The perpetrator maybe couldn't bring themselves to pull a trigger over a few dollars, and with no personal attachment they might even consider it a victimless crime. White collar is typically not violent; not the same thing as not harmful. Similarly, cyber bullying is not considered violent compared to an actual fight, and abusive behaviors can be classified as just fine.

I'm not sure that the legal definition of safer is quite the same as the harmony and universal reconciliation that O Sensei was referring to. HB2 was passed in North Carolina with the full gentile force of law and with a pen, but that does not make our state government a paragon of harmony just because a trigger wasn't pulled and no punches were thrown.

Peace can start in my heart and mind, and if we all have peace in our hearts maybe we can have a better world. Sometimes the world calls for more than that. We had Vietnamese people stay with us in the 80s, and my parents are now working with Syrian families.

I am on the opposite side of the world from France and Syria, and in different states than the latest shootings. So, I can sleep undisturned. Social media does mean I have friends who are directly touched. I have a house and enough food and I am in no pain; many of my patients are not so lucky. I do regard my charity work as an extension of my Aikido practice, as do I treat my facility's active shooter drills.
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Old 07-29-2016, 08:10 AM   #12
Dan Richards
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Re: Reconcile the world

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I think what Dan's talking about is trying to look at the thing for what it IS, neither making it worse than it is nor making it better than it is, and how the practice of doing this consistently teaches us the skill to deal the reality of things, good and bad, without being overwhelmed by either.
Let's go with this. Thanks, Mary.

The "reality of things" is not found on 24-hour news channels. John, it's interesting how you start out your blog entry, and where you're deriving your information to come to the conclusion, "We're all losing."

I think if you really look into the "reality of things," the information you're receiving, it's source, and your conclusions預re grossly distorted.

Here's a comment I made recently on the problems with media.
Quote:
I stopped watching local news when I was in NYC in the late 80s. Every newscast begin with, "This is blah blah with today's top stories. Two black men were shot..."

What nonsense. In NYC of all places with a million things going on, and that's all they could come up with容very day.
My earlier post in this thread asked people to question and decide where and how they're receiving information from which they create their worldview. And that information and impressions we take in are akin to nutrition.

What are you feeding yourself with?

JW, did you get a chance to watch Hans Rosling's Ted Talk? If and when you do, you may take my comments in a different light. John, did you watch it? We're not losing. Not by a long shot.

Peace and prosperity, and longer and healthier lives are increasing on this planet and have been exploding exponentially for years.

Dan Richards
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Old 07-29-2016, 05:26 PM   #13
rugwithlegs
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Re: Reconcile the world

Thank you for your comments Mr Richards.

Respectfully, the TED talk that came up was a European anthropologist (?) Hans Rosling who was advocating for statistical data from the UN and other sources being publicly available and easier to combine in what I assume was a meta analysis. He was talking a lot about infant mortality and developing nations and the talk was interesting, but from your comments I had the impression you wanted us to see something else? I have a second blog on health care technologies which did explore several similar TED talks related to the public sharing of individual health data in the context of EHRs that work to hide an individual's data due to HIPPA, compared to the increase in STDs that is attributed to social media. I enjoyed the link you provided, but maybe you meant another link?

I did have some memories come up with your comments. Having been working in corrections and health care while training in a dojo with police officers, penitentiary guards, doctors, and nurses I had an environment where a bad day was something I could work through on the mat. Today I know of a few dojo where I would not have been welcome - my day to day back then would be an unwelcome counter point to the other student's lives. I do have a happy life for the most part, and my practice helped me to move forward anyway - there was always the next incident, and the next patient.

Statistics for the majority do not mean we have a perfect world, or that all reconciliation is now done. When I ask about O Sensei's Medicine For A Sick World, your comments seem to be the world is all better now? I am not advocating ignoring where we are or how far we've come when I say I feel that we are all impoverished by events that leave my friends in law enforcement feeling threatened, and my black coworkers afraid. Talking about the reality of gender inequality now, does not mean I have forgotten that a woman now represents a major political party, or that they have been able to vote for decades. That is not the same thing as saying all inequality has been resolved.

You say turn off the news, compare the news to maybe junk food? I agree with only hearing about violence and bloodshed, one's viewpoint can become skewed. I love a good triumph of the human spirit moment. I do come home on particularly rough days and chose to watch cartoons instead of the news. The good guys always win in 20 minutes and no one gets hurt. I think this is much closer to what Mary is referring to as anesthesia than what O Sensei meant by reconciling the world.
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Old 08-01-2016, 11:08 AM   #14
Dan Richards
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Re: Reconcile the world

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
Statistics for the majority do not mean we have a perfect world, or that all reconciliation is now done. When I ask about O Sensei's Medicine For A Sick World, your comments seem to be the world is all better now?
What Ueshiba taught has everything to do with not interpreting "external events" on a lower fear-based level. That is at the very heart of effective aikido. Even Jesus said, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy." Einstein said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."

The world does not have to be someone's version of "perfect" for peace and harmony to be the dominant desire and focus.

Quote:
I am not advocating ignoring where we are or how far we've come when I say I feel that we are all impoverished by events that leave my friends in law enforcement feeling threatened, and my black coworkers afraid.
You "feel" we are all "impoverished" by events...

Why are you impoverishing yourself due to events, and then further impoverishing others? It is your thoughts and feelings that have become impoverished.

Rather than go the route of either staring at the news and becoming paralyzed, or watching cartoons and zoning out, there are other more edifying paths. Deeper reflection, thoughts, and a change in the state of being are not only possible, but vital to the very topic here.

Some suggested reading on the matter:

http://spiritlibrary.com/alan-cohen/...terrorism-ends

https://dontmakemeangrymrmcgee.wordp...world-in-2015/

Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning?"
https://www.sonoma.edu/users/s/shawth/mans%20Search

Dan Richards
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:28 AM   #15
JW
 
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Re: Reconcile the world

OK I watched the TED talk and I understand. Basically, don't form your impression of reality based on a cherry-picked, small sample of the worst things that happen, when the big picture (visible if you have a more "balanced" informatic diet) is actually much better than that.

Agreed, but I guess I'm a pessimist at heart. Positive change happens when we focus on the bad and fix it.. I agree it's important to keep an accurate picture of reality; but once you have that, if you are interested in doing something to manifest change (for the better I hope) then the relevant information is "what things are bad about the world" rather than "how is the world in general right now?"

Also agree that your "inner terrorist" needs to be addressed, but once you have that under control there needs to be good action, rather than just good temperament. John, it sounds like things like what your parents do is one good course of action. Your blog post seems so beaten down. I don't know, I guess I'm saying that looking at the bad stuff should show us what good works to perform in the world, but not drive us crazy.
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Old 08-08-2016, 11:08 AM   #16
rugwithlegs
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Re: Reconcile the world

Well and good, I had a bad week. I also am working on a series of articles on O Sensei's guidelines for practice, and this is the one talking about how we offer character development. Training the mind and body, and people of extreme sincerity.

There are some great things happening out there. One Iwama student in Florida was holding a benefit for a battered women's shelter, and he was active on social media encouraging locals to stay safe during protests. Another man made it public again that he will teach LEO for free (training is minimal for most agencies and departments) and he works with Boy Scouts regularly. This week, I found great articles on advising victims of abuse entering a dojo, and how meditation helps with depression. One recently departed Shihan taught a form of zen meditation. Another dojo opened up an organic vegetarian restaurant, and had several community charities that students would work in. Until this week's news, I had thought the use of Aikido to diffuse violence in schools was a good one. Some members of our dojo were very much part of protests for several issues.

Morihei Ueshiba, the spiritual man who offered a martial art as a spiritual path to peace is a beautiful vision - but often I am not clear on how. I have no formal meditation training from an Aikido dojo, no ethics training, no particularly spiritual training. If I talk with other Aikido students, or students of other martial arts this is what we are known for. What role we play, or could play is not something homogenous. So, interesting to ask myself, what did I do today?
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Old 08-10-2016, 06:38 AM   #17
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Re: Reconcile the world

I will venture two comments for this and a number of concurrent posts of similar content:
1. Comparative relativism is a dangerous metric by which to compare quality [of life]. We are all better off than before penicillin, right? Comparative relativism compared against a hypothetical is even more bad-er.
2. Narration is not fact, but a set of facts selected to present a perspective. As the current thread about the Kentucky school system illustrates, perspectives shift.

Aikido is not religion. O Sensei was a religious man who created Aikido to express a vision he had for martial arts. I think we sometimes imbue aikido with super powers that give us permission to impose our perspective into a realm outside of martial arts. We are "known" for a philosophy of non-violence because of what some would argue was a PR stunt to get aikido on the map.

I am supportive of people who get involved in solutions to address real problems. The fact that a person may train aikido simply creates a correlation of training and morality - it does not create a causal relationship. A jerk that trains aikido is a jerk, that trains aikido. I think the idea behind things is that good people can be united around something like their training, and through that relationship get involved in issues. This is different than claiming aikido will teach people good values.

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Old 08-10-2016, 04:27 PM   #18
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Reconcile the world

I remember reading about a police officer who responded to a domestic disturbance call after attending a meditation retreat. In the retreat, if I recall correctly, she expressed a fear that her job might make her unsuitable to be there since her job required her to potentially shoot people. The reply was something to the effect that they would rather have compassionate people doing that job. There was an anecdote related to this wherein the officer described a domestic disturbance call she took right after the retreat. Her compassion allowed her to connect with the man on a personal level and really listen to him. I think they may have talked for a solid hour instead of forcing a quick authoritative resolution...again, if I recall correctly. She later ran into him at a store or something, and he came up and thanked her for saving his life that day.
I consider this kind of thing to be emblematic of how to reconcile the world. We simply must be prepared to get "martial" if we need to, but we should be just as prepared to begin from a position of compassion and maintain that compassion throughout...which can be hard because it's not always easy to sympathize; sometimes it's damned hard in fact. Sometimes it can be easy to assume we need to force the situation into compliance, but resistance tends to arise quickly when we feel forced, no matter the intent behind it, and that complicates things.
I would agree with the idea that we often absorb the "energy" we are surrounded by, and that sometimes we need to be careful to curtail those influences...or to otherwise shape that mindfully, whether by avoiding certain political pundits or what have you. I would also agree with the idea that we must face negativity in order to address it. Yes we can probably transcend it to some degree by focusing on the positive things, but, in my opinion, not by turning a blind eye on the negative. We should more or less maintain our sight on both, balancing the two, while maintaining that all-too-important compassion/love...unity of opposites and all that.
My two bits at any rate.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:31 PM   #19
Dan Richards
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Re: Reconcile the world

Timely article. "The Decline of War"

https://medium.com/@angushervey/the-...5ce#.r8cwalwof

Quote:
If you can tear your attention away from the 24 hour news cycle, you’ll be astonished to hear that we are experiencing one of the least discussed, yet most remarkable cultural shifts of all time: war, one of our species’ most abiding and defining social practices, is at its lowest ebb ever.

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Old 08-17-2016, 09:34 AM   #20
lbb
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Re: Reconcile the world

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
Timely article. "The Decline of War"
I looked at that map and didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I guess what's happening Yemen is just "low-intensity conflict".
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Old 08-17-2016, 02:42 PM   #21
nikyu62
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Re: Reconcile the world

It is nice to be optimistic, as the author of the piece above is, but not helpful to limit the definition of war so as to apparently minimize the number of conflicts, while millions of people still suffer, and governments are becoming increasingly more totalitarian. Perception management is highly developed and utilized by governments and their handlers through television "programming"; to me, reconciling the world begins with seeing all things clearly for what they really are.
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Old 08-17-2016, 05:50 PM   #22
rugwithlegs
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Re: Reconcile the world

The Vietnam War was technically not a war as the US never declared war. Apparently the US has not declared war since the 1940s. So, the US war of Vietnam is sometimes called a conflict and sometimes called a police action. There has been very few formal wars declared since the last world war. Even the Cold War was officially by rigid dictionary definition not a war.

So Syria is not a war as the world sits back and watches. Assassination is not a war. Without the legal declaration of war, everything done the same as in a war s not a war.

Technology has also changed. Instead of ships bringing thousands of soldiers to the conflict, someone can sit in a bunker in Nevada and carry out attacks on the other side of the world. If war is defined by number of boots in foreign soil, then drone strikes take on the appearance of peace.

Linguistic and legal minimization of violence and suffering because someone else is facing it. Medicine for a sick world?

I find this comment of Professor Goldsbury's in another thread perhaps more on point: "Any ethical superstructure that aikido might have (in western terms) is secondary to its structure as a Japanese martial 'way'."

Last edited by rugwithlegs : 08-17-2016 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 08-19-2016, 06:48 AM   #23
rugwithlegs
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Re: Reconcile the world

An important caveat here — the data does not suggest that war is over, nor does it suggest the end of low level conflicts within states. It also feels strange, almost perverse to be writing an article entitled “The Decline of War” when we know hundreds of thousands of people around the world are still suffering and when millions of displaced people are being shunned by countries that are turning their backs on the principles they agreed to in the UN’s Refugee Convention. Our work is only just beginning. As large scale war declines, we have an opportunity to turn our collective efforts to overcoming other forms of violence such as domestic abuse, slavery, and racial, political and religious persecution. We’ve got a long way to go: from ethnic violence in the Congo, state collapse in Venezuela and persecution in Tibet, to drug wars in Mexico and Brazil and the rise of far-right extremism in Europe.

The author does go on to make a call to arms of sorts Mr Richards. War is strictly the province and tool of politics; the relative stability of my own country gives me opportunities to try to reduce violence and suffering in my own backyard. Do you encourage your own students to embrace these opportunities? What work do you think the author says is just beginning?

Prof Rosling is clarifying his work in this article too - you have to keep two ideas in your head at once - the world is better than ever before, and it is not good enough yet.
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Old 08-20-2016, 04:45 PM   #24
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Re: Reconcile the world

Hi folks,

Please be sure to explicitly relate your posts to aikido here in the General forum.

If you wish to discuss topics without explicitly talking about aikido, please do so in the Open Discussions forum.

Thank you,

-- Jun

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Old 08-20-2016, 09:55 PM   #25
rugwithlegs
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Re: Reconcile the world

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
We're supposed to offer a better path for the world. We are a spiritual path, a spiritually minded martial art. Ueshiba is frequently quoted calling for peace.

So after a particularly grotesque week in the USA news, I have to ask. What is our role? Do we actually have one?
Jun, apologies, Aikido did not explicitly get mentioned in the past few posts here.

In the Guidelines for practice, O Sensei defines Aikido as a potentially lethal art. This is not what many Aikido people train in Aikido for, nor what many Aikido practitioners will say that's what Aikido is about. Yet I can recognize many things shown in a Daito Ryu demonstration and I can see the link. I can see the link between Aikijo and Juken in a demonstration.

Rather than a lethal martial art, Aikido is most commonly defined as a philosophical, ethical practice and influenced by his Shinto religion, Oomoto Kyo. I have to assume that most of O Sensei's spirituality, ethics training, and philosophy were heavily influenced by Oomoto Kyo.

Yet, if I read an Oomoto Kyo text or have a discussion with an Oomoto Kyo practitioner I do not get the same Ah! Moment; the same glimmer of recognition that I do watching a Daito Ryu demonstration. I think I am more divorced from the ethical and spiritual practice than I am the combat tradition.

This discussion has been useful. IME, most dojo pay at least lip service to the "Way of Harmony" or the "Art of Peace." Does Aikido genuinely have a ethical and philosophical tradition, do aikido people genuinely believe in or work toward an Art of Peace? Probably not. Jon labeled this as a marketing gimmick, and he may well be right. In the full scope of our collective art, we may have more physical movement in common that we do vision, ethics and philosophy.
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