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Old 04-25-2006, 11:22 AM   #76
Erick Mead
 
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Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
I don't feel physical training is irrational; it merely defies rational description. That's different.
See, despite my love of rationality, I have never thought irrational was a bad word -- any more than rational is a supremely good word. There are some very ill, crazy people whose reasoning cannot be faulted in the least syllogism, but the asssumptions from which that flawless logic proceeds are really screwed up. The Unabomber is one of those.

"Self"-defense focuses on the subjective element of one side of a physical confrontation. Reason focuses on the abstracted modelling of any situation. Intuition forms instantaneous conclusions from precognitive sensory impressions in ways that reasoned abstraction cannot possibly match in efficiency. But it is like a dog or monkey, it eagerly enjoys training, and needs training to be very effective, but is not inherently driven to be refined on its own.
Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
Has anyone else been doing training and had moments where you couldn't tell where attack and attacker ended, and you began?
The temptation I feel in "Self"-defense, and see in much of its teaching to others is to become, on a very small scale, all-powerful ("Your Kung-Fu is weak, little man!) and in a sense immune to the participatory reality of conflict, to dictate the outcome myself. It is, at that small scale, the wish "to be like God."

A physical confrontation is not merely subjective, -- there is a another participant, whose activity -- cannot really be ignored. A physical confrontation is not rational, but not in that there is no "reason" for it or that it senseless, or pointless. Physical confrontation is not rational because it is not an abstract, it is exceedingly concrete.

Reason can expand the bounds of truth from a foundation in concrete truth, but reason works from assumptions about the basic truth -- it doesn't provide a foundation for it. Reasoning from erroneuous assumptions just gets highly accurate, erroneous results. Reason is objective.

Irrational and intuitive are closely allied words. Just like reason can be founded on, and support, either truth or error, so can irrational intuition leap into unanticipated concrete truth or into a whacko bottomless abyss. Non-reason is subjective.

Truth is thus apart from reason or non-reason. Truth is neither objective nor subjective. Truth is apart from self and apart from not-self.

Because physical confrontation is irreducibly concrete, we experience it as inherently true. I participate and have effect on its reality, but I do not unilaterally control it. Surfing is similar, and provokes some related wisdom. " I am not the wave. I do not control the wave. I only control my relationship to the wave."

This, I think, explains the strange fascination human beings have for war and fighting. They find truth there that is often hard to find elsewhere.

As truth becomes harder to find elsewhere, and life becomes ever more abstract in its day-to-day incidents I would expect more people to resort to physicality, and even violence, as their fall-back, not so much because they are so morally weak, but because they are starved for truth.

There is a Stan Rogers song along these lines "The Mary Ellen Carter," about a crew raising their sunken ship against all odds, simply because they loved her. I wish I could give sense of the rousing tune. It's really great.
Quote:
Stan Rogers wrote:
And you, to whom adversity has dealt a final blow,
With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go
Turn to and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again!

Rise again, rise again,
Tho' your heart, it be broken, your life about to end,
No matter what you've lost -- be it a home, a love, a friend,
Like the Mary Ellen Carter: rise again.
For this reason, I think that aikido holds a special place and purpose in the times to come.

As O-Sensei, I believe, intended, we make a place for that truth, to bring healing with and through its very capacity to hurt, as the medicine that cures can also poison, without diminishing its native power.

The expansion of aikido around the world, is a matter, to me, of some special grace. I can and have traveled half-way around the planet and found groups of people who will accept me truly, though we share no common tongue, no common culture and no common faith, in ways that are not true in many, if any, other settings.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:08 PM   #77
Mark Freeman
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Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Another good post Erick,

Quote:
Truth is thus apart from reason or non-reason. Truth is neither objective nor subjective. Truth is apart from self and apart from not-self.
Is this really True?? (sorry I couldn't help myself )

Quote:
Because physical confrontation is irreducibly concrete, we experience it as inherently true. I participate and have effect on its reality, but I do not unilaterally control it. Surfing is similar, and provokes some related wisdom. " I am not the wave. I do not control the wave. I only control my relationship to the wave."

This, I think, explains the strange fascination human beings have for war and fighting. They find truth there that is often hard to find elsewhere.

As truth becomes harder to find elsewhere, and life becomes ever more abstract in its day-to-day incidents I would expect more people to resort to physicality, and even violence, as their fall-back, not so much because they are so morally weak, but because they are starved for truth.
Agreed, also another reason possibly is that war and fighting involve fear, and fear is an intense emotion that when felt certainly makes one feel more 'alive'. Perhaps when death is close life tastes sweet? is this true?

Modern living attempts in many ways to make us safe, we try and protect ourselves, and in doing so remove ourselves from reality, which in turn deadens our senses. We'd rather watch celebrities living out their pitiful little dramas on the tube, than go out and experience life in all its good and bad glory.
Whoops, started to step on a soap box.. get down quick mark before you put your foot in it!

Quote:
For this reason, I think that aikido holds a special place and purpose in the times to come.
If I were not a 'committed secularist' I would 'pray' for this to be so In place of that I will do what I can to spread the word.

Cheers
Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:32 PM   #78
Erick Mead
 
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Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

An apropos item as to the change caused by dwelling upon self in matters of violence:

http://www.livescience.com/othernews...me_action.html

Quote:
LiveScience wrote:
Thoughts of Mortality Turn Pacifists into Killers
By LiveScience Staff
posted: 24 April 2006
...Young adults in Iran tend to support martyrdom more when they are thinking about their own mortality.
Likewise, Americans are more in favor of extreme military intervention when they are contemplating their own deaths.

In a new study, 40 Iranian college students ... A similar survey was done on 127 students at Rutgers University in New Jersey ...

[Iranian students] heard statements supporting and opposing suicide bombing attacks on U.S. targets. .. [Rutgers students] were asked whether they support extreme military actions such as the use of nuclear and chemical weapons and pre-emptive strikes ...

A portion of the test subjects who were also asked to ponder their own deaths were more likely to favor the bombings and extreme measures ...

"Despite their differences, Americans and Iranians have something in common—thoughts of death increase the willingness of people from both nations to inflict harm on citizens of the other nation," the authors write.
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:42 PM   #79
Erick Mead
 
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Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Truth is thus apart from reason or non-reason. Truth is neither objective nor subjective. Truth is apart from self and apart from not-self.
Is this really True?? (sorry I couldn't help myself )
Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
For this reason, I think that aikido holds a special place and purpose in the times to come.
If I were not a 'committed secularist' I would 'pray' for this to be so In place of that I will do what I can to spread the word.
Atheists ... foxholes ... Sorry, couldn't help myself either.

Who knows? Someone may be listening.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:56 PM   #80
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Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Erick, you said:
"A physical confrontation is not merely subjective, -- there is a another participant, whose activity -- cannot really be ignored. A physical confrontation is not rational, but not in that there is no "reason" for it or that it senseless, or pointless. Physical confrontation is not rational because it is not an abstract, it is exceedingly concrete.
Reason can expand the bounds of truth from a foundation in concrete truth, but reason works from assumptions about the basic truth -- it doesn't provide a foundation for it. Reasoning from erroneuous assumptions just gets highly accurate, erroneous results. Reason is objective.
Irrational and intuitive are closely allied words. Just like reason can be founded on, and support, either truth or error, so can irrational intuition leap into unanticipated concrete truth or into a whacko bottomless abyss. Non-reason is subjective.
Truth is thus apart from reason or non-reason. Truth is neither objective nor subjective. Truth is apart from self and apart from not-self."

I can not agree with your conclusions, and I submit that your mode of thought, though rational, is causing you to miss a broad point.

The concept of truth is an abstraction. To conclude that 'concrete' equals 'true' is to fail to account for point of view, frame of reference, bias, sampling error, ad nauseum. Further, to state that intuition and irrationality are related is to give primacy to our rational minds over our sensate selves. Grave mistake if you are looking for 'something else' in aikido. Unless I am wrong again and you seek to exclude both reason and nonreason, so you can have Satori?

Irrational connotes erratic, insane, antisocial. Nonrational is a better word. Intuition is who we are as human animals. Psychological studies, with good scientific controls, have shown that people
derive highly complex rule driven patterns in nature - long before they are consciously aware of what they 'know'. They can act and predict based on this intuition as well - can you define in precise terms how electricity works? - better answer 'no', the finest minds in science can not, but we know how to Use electricity.

http://www.greatspeculations.com/bre...g_to_trade.htm
(search down to 'implicit learning: a new perspective)

I really didn't like failing math tests because I didn't show the work. Intuition and irrational are not closely related at all. The 'something else' in aikido may come where reason fails - because - "To love your enemy" is a stupid thing to say, unless that love is leading me to embrace him under his sword cut and guide him gently to earth for a stern talk about 'doing unto others as you would have them do unto you'

dave

PS - I'm feeling the training key up - I irritate so many people, especially my Senseis!, but I hope you will continue to interact with me. dk
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Old 04-25-2006, 05:18 PM   #81
Erick Mead
 
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Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
The concept of truth is an abstraction.
On this we must radically, although, respectfully, disagree. Sartre took this position. "Truth is subjective." he held that turht is the "progressive disclosure of Being." "Freedom is existence, and in it existence precedes essence."
He contended that man has no "nature," no underlying truth in his being, which is, in any meaningful way, independent of his choices in living. That man is what he chooses to be and nothing more.
Of course, this radical idea of existence in freedom then is emptied of all meaning. Choices have no standard or ground of value. Freedom -- my choice -- is the only value, and subject only to other competing choices. My choice to save a baby drowning in a pool or to chuck the baby into the pool in the first place, are equally free choices, and hence equally valued. Babies, of course, being very limited in their ability to effect competing choices.
Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
To conclude that 'concrete' equals 'true' is to fail to account for point of view, frame of reference, bias, sampling error, ad nauseum.
To state that there is truth is a different thing than saying the we know it, or how we know it.
Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
Further, to state that intuition and irrationality are related is to give primacy to our rational minds over our sensate selves.
Only if I devalue irrationality, which I don't. I am too big a Monty Python fan for that. (Please don't get me started -- nudge, nudge.)
Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
Grave mistake if you are looking for 'something else' in aikido. Unless I am wrong again and you seek to exclude both reason and nonreason, so you can have Satori?
That would be Buddhism, which negates both. A'm Catholic -- we embrace both. Maybe its the same thing. Hard to tell.
Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
Intuition is who we are as human animals. Psychological studies, with good scientific controls, have shown that people derive highly complex rule driven patterns in nature - long before they are consciously aware of what they 'know'.
Okay -- highly precise intuitives, these psychologists.
Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
They can act and predict based on this intuition as well - can you define in precise terms how electricity works?
It's magic -- just like aikido. Realy, intuiton, irratinality and rationality go hand in hand. You need the engine and you need the fuel. Light a pool of gasoline and it is very impressive but does little work. Feed it in drabs through the clunky boring motor and you get to Cleveland. Why you want to be there is any body's guess. To be human we must not only understand it to be right it must feel right as well.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 04-26-2006, 05:40 AM   #82
Mark Freeman
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Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Atheists ... foxholes ... Sorry, couldn't help myself either.
Erick, if I knew what you meant, I'm sure I'd laugh

Good to note from one of your previous posts that you are a Python fan, life cannot be taken too seriously... can it?

Cheers,

Mark

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Old 04-26-2006, 09:33 AM   #83
Erick Mead
 
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Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Erick, if I knew what you meant, I'm sure I'd laugh
"There are no atheists in foxholes."

Attributed to an U.S. Army broadcaster in WWII. Essentially, in times of trial sufficiently tough, everyone will take Pascal's wager.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 04-26-2006, 09:59 AM   #84
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Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Erick,

I don't have any more pokes and prods. Pity!

I will say that Sartre appealled to me greatly until I heard how he answered the following question from his long time partner - "Jean Paul, how is it that you bed so many young women?" His reply was "I lie." Doesn't seem quite fair does it?

I've read some pivotal books, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" by Thomas Kuhn is a must for all seekers. Recently I read "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. Easy to read, written by a journalist, this book deals with recent discoveries in how our brains work. Intuition is not magic. It is an heuristic process guided primarily by our limbic, or midbrain, and while not precise in the linear sense, it is quite powerful in a way akin to that of calculus over addition and subtraction.

Since I read Kuhn I try to believe nothing. If I know what is true already - how can I learn anything new? I have experiences, and I put them in various paradigms, but I try to keep my thinking 'unhardened' so I can learn new things. I do find that I do have one belief at least - healing is stronger than fear. I have to have this one because I want to get over my physical and emotional injuries, and I have to feel it is possible or I can't bear the pain.

I am pleased that during this discussion I have not grown frustrated with you, but have gained more and more respect. That seems like good training to me.

Your thoughts welcome as always.

dave
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Old 04-26-2006, 10:09 AM   #85
Erick Mead
 
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Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

A brief aside as to Pascal's wager:

For those who don't know what that is: If there is no God, praying doesn't hurt, and if there is a God, then prayer may help, so the short odds are to bet on praying.

I actually got to thinking about this more in light of the Self-defense theme. I find this particularly interesting in light of the recent study cited above about people's reaction (while in the safety of their normal lives) considering an abstract image of their own death, as opposed to people faced with its concrete reality.

Aikidoka, I thought, would probably not replicate the the results of the study if asked the same questions. Then I asked myself, "Why do I think that?"

Pascal's wager is basically invoked when the concrete reality, a likely unavoidable death, requires acknowledgement that your own resources will not carry the day. Alone, in the twilight of material hope, when you realize you can no longer prevail alone, people instinctively cry out for help beyond Self, even when their abstract mind may hold dearly to the contrary. This is about as far from "self-defense" as I think it is possible to come.

It is odd, that we should most cherish the tales of those who have come through improbable peril. Plenty of people die anyway, so the focus on the hope rather than the horror is worth noting. It is not that people who survive (even those who pray) in these circumstance give up and become passive pleaders for aid, but they draw upon resources in fact beyond them, in order to do so.

If you told me twenty years ago that I could step into a full-on attack with hulking guy swinging a baseball bat at my head and have him hit the ground with me barely touching him, I'd have laughed, thinking, "I'm bookworm geek and there's no way I'll ever be that strong." Now I know it is far less the physical training than it is the will and the grace to simply do it.

To overcome the fearful retreat from aggression and simply enter deeply in -- let him come where he wants to go, and then no farther. I think we train, far less in technique, than in finding those resources beyond Self to just go in and do what must be done. Good aikido is so effortless because it reaches places where there is no effort -- we know in some place what needs doing, we just ordinarily cower from doing it. Technique and training overcomes this check to our native instincts to actually do it.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 04-26-2006, 11:26 AM   #86
Mark Freeman
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Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
"There are no atheists in foxholes."

Attributed to an U.S. Army broadcaster in WWII. Essentially, in times of trial sufficiently tough, everyone will take Pascal's wager.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
Now I can When I was much younger, sometimes when I was in church I would get an overwhealming attack of the giggles, and I often thought if god is god he must have a sense of humour, and if he doesn't have a sense of humour then he's not much of a god ( I was quite young ). I guess if he does exist he will probably look kindly on all the feverishly praying non believers in mortal danger.

Quote:
It is odd, that we should most cherish the tales of those who have come through improbable peril. Plenty of people die anyway, so the focus on the hope rather than the horror is worth noting. It is not that people who survive (even those who pray) in these circumstance give up and become passive pleaders for aid, but they draw upon resources in fact beyond them, in order to do so.
Are the resources not beyond them but within them?

Quote:
To overcome the fearful retreat from aggression and simply enter deeply in -- let him come where he wants to go, and then no farther. I think we train, far less in technique, than in finding those resources beyond Self to just go in and do what must be done. Good aikido is so effortless because it reaches places where there is no effort -- we know in some place what needs doing, we just ordinarily cower from doing it. Technique and training overcomes this check to our native instincts to actually do it.
I really like what you say here, it is the aikido I am practicing.

Good thought provoking stuff as usual Erick, thanks.

Cheers,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 04-26-2006, 11:43 AM   #87
Erick Mead
 
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Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
I've read some pivotal books, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" by Thomas Kuhn is a must for all seekers.
Since I read Kuhn I try to believe nothing. If I know what is true already - how can I learn anything new? I have experiences, and I put them in various paradigms, but I try to keep my thinking 'unhardened' so I can learn new things. I do find that I do have one belief at least - healing is stronger than fear.
Kuhn is in the school of phenomenology, and the concept itself is one of those paradigm shifts. Edmund Husserl was the primary developer of this line of thought, which departs from the anaytical tradition, which asked, "How do we experience something?" Husserl asked, "What do we experience?"

Phenomenology is a method of investigation, but also a set of tenets, with some serious underlying assertions. It proceeds from ordinary, not abstract experience, and thus is accesible to both intellectual and common persons alike. This body of thought is antithetical to Sartre's disembodied, antiseptic notion of freedom, In examining experience, it seems we find that some ethics or significance is embodied in our experience or our actions, whether we choose them for these reasons or not.

Some time ago I published in one thread my own (feeble) exercise in this kind of examination regarding surfing. It is the source of the points made earlier in the context of our examination of "self-defense" about self v. wave.

It is more epigrammatic than analytical. (I have an epigrammatic mind. It only comprehends small grammar). The point comes in the process of describing the actual experience related.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...7&postcount=54

One can do this for almost any activity that you understand fairly well. It is sometimes surprising to see the lessons implicit in the simplest of observations about what we do and what is going on as we do it. It is both immediate in the sense that the reader can in some sense "experience" that activity imaginatively, and reflective, in that every action, event or circumstance takes on significance beyond its mere appearance.

The late Pope John Paul II was a preeminent exponent of this school of thought, both in secular and religious philosophy, before and during his papacy. He rigorously demonstrated the use of this methodology for theological purposes in his "Theology of the Body" a series of quite short Wednesday audience addresses. They concern the experience of spirituality and ethics in personal and physical intimacy. This continually surprising Pope embraced both ancient and modern ways with simultaneous facility -- they read not too differently from an extended blog. The theological points aside, it is worth reading to see how he uses the method to look at ordinary experiences.

http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2TBIND.HTM

Much of what he discussed has relevance by analogy for the ethics of conflict, because of the physicality of embodied intent (if not its purpose) which is likewise so physical and so profound in its personal and social consequences. The analogy is particularly relevant in the extended examination of the implications of selfish desires in intimacy, when considered in light of our present discussion of self-defense.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 04-27-2006, 07:43 AM   #88
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Just read Erick's Surfing is life list in the above link, as someone who likes to ride the waves ( I body/boogie board - 'floating shark biscuits' as the stand up boys like to call us ), I really enjoyed the list, internally smiling at many of them.

Thanks for that moment Erick,

Mark

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Old 04-27-2006, 10:37 AM   #89
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Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
( I body/boogie board - 'floating shark biscuits' as the stand up boys like to call us ), I really enjoyed the list, internally smiling at many of them.
Ditto on the boogie boards -- I did the stand-up bit while in Hawaii and the waves made it more tempting, but I was a competitive swimmer at an earlier age, and being IN the water is so much better. You can't really launch off the top of the double peak reflected wave shorebreak at Makaha on a long-board.

Plus -- they are just too scared to surf like real men.



Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 04-27-2006, 11:32 AM   #90
Mark Freeman
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Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Plus -- they are just too scared to surf like real men.

Spoken like a true sponger!!

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