Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 05-27-2004, 03:19 AM   #1
drDalek
 
drDalek's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 155
Offline
Open Mindedness and Critical thinking

Many people seem to think that being "Open Minded" is somehow a virtue. Being open minded seems to mean that you accept as a matter of course anything mystical that people give you. Open mindedness is a very, very seductive prospect and the human need to believe in a universe that is more "layered" and mystical than what is immediatly apparent is very strong.

However as soon as someone starts playing devils advocate to himself and exploring things a little deeper, all the mysticality seems to fall away and what was previously thought to be mystical is now just some trick or illusion.

I think that its especially important in the martial arts to be critical of what you are learning and from whom you are learning it. I am prepared to listen to what my instructor tells me about ki and spirituality but I myself am of the opinion that ki is an outdated concept that can now be explained through physics and body mechanics and that spirituality is best left to the individual to discover for themselves. So I will listen unquestioningly but if it does not suit me I will discard it. I feel I am only there to practice with willing partners and acquire techniques.

I do feel that people have unlimited potential and that you can unlock some of it through diligent, hard practice but if you dont have to work or suffer for it, you wont get it.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2004, 04:31 AM   #2
happysod
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
Location: London
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 899
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Open Mindedness and Critical thinking

Quote:
Many people seem to think that being "Open Minded" is somehow a virtue.
Guilty as charged, I do consider it a virtue
Quote:
Being open minded seems to mean that you accept as a matter of course anything mystical that people give you
Don't agree with your interpretation at all. For me it's the ability to assess an idea/concept without bias (or at least without as much bias as I can manage) prior to accepting or rejecting it
Quote:
you can unlock some of it through diligent, hard practice but if you don't have to work or suffer for it, you wont get it.
I'll agree up to a point in that a lesson learned the "hard way" seems to stick much better than anything just handed to you on a plate, but perhaps that's just a personal fault in that I can't learn well enough from other's experiences?
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2004, 05:08 AM   #3
drDalek
 
drDalek's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 155
Offline
Re: Open Mindedness and Critical thinking

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
Don't agree with your interpretation at all. For me it's the ability to assess an idea/concept without bias (or at least without as much bias as I can manage) prior to accepting or rejecting it
I have to agree with you on that, my brother's girlfriend is very deeply into new-age mysticality, astrology and crystals type nonsense and sometimes to rib her a bit I would go on a self-righteous tirade on how astrology is bull or something. Her standard reply is that I should be more open-minded but she does not understand that I have read books on astrology, researched it to my satisfaction and then came to the conclusion that its all superstitious nonsense.

My first response when faced with something that seems at the time amazing or supernatural is not just to dismiss it offhand, I research, I find things out about it and when I am satisfied that I have enough unbiased information from parties that not only try and debunk the phenomena but also from parties that believe in it I will come to a conclusion.

The problem I have is mostly due to people misunderstanding or misusing the term open-mindedness to explain why their cockamamy beliefs are justified because they are afraid of shedding them and experiencing some real personal growth. To be "open minded" in this way is not a sign of enlightenment or maturity but of masked immaturity and insecurity.

The comment I made about having to work for self improvement refers directly to those Aikidoka who believe that by imitating the movements and posture of the founder at 80+ means that they somehow are more effective and better Aikidoka than someone who works hard to ingrain the basics and then try and soften the resulting technique. I dont think that the super soft and still effective Aikido of the founder at 80+ is attainable by anyone who has not gone through the tough, painfull spiritual and physical forging that O'Sensei has.

Last edited by drDalek : 05-27-2004 at 05:15 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2004, 08:29 AM   #4
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
Offline
Re: Open Mindedness and Critical thinking

Quote:
Wynand van Dyk wrote:
The problem I have is mostly due to people misunderstanding or misusing the term open-mindedness to explain why their cockamamy beliefs are justified because they are afraid of shedding them and experiencing some real personal growth. To be "open minded" in this way is not a sign of enlightenment or maturity but of masked immaturity and insecurity.
It's awfully difficult to assess the state of someone else's spiritual development this way, especially from casual contact. I can point at one time in my own past where factually false beliefs were the spur to growth, not an impediment to it (they got me to engage emotionally in a way I otherwise wouldn't have done).

It might be more compassionate with yourself, as well as others, to just shrug off the beliefs you disbelieve in and not invest in judgements of the person who has them. Without quite a lot of study of the person in question, those judgements are not going to have a solid foundation.

Clarence Chinn sensei said at a seminar that two of the hardest things, in aikido and in life, are to make your own mistakes gracefully and to accept the mistakes of others. This teaching is certainly too hard for me at the moment, but I'm trying.

Mary Kaye
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2004, 08:46 AM   #5
SeiserL
 
SeiserL's Avatar
Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan Dojo, Aikido World Alliance
Location: Roswell, GA USA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,703
United_States
Offline
Re: Open Mindedness and Critical thinking

IMHO, being open minded only means open to entertain new ideas. It is a virtue. It does not mean that I have to agree or accept the ideas. Now, if all I apply is my own critical thinking, then I am limited by my own criteria of logic and will reject anything that I don't already know and have a way of making sense of. Therefore, critical thinking is not necessarily being open minded if we use the limits of our own already existing mind set.

Shoshin, beginner's mind, keeps us open to learn new ideas and ways of thinking. Sometimes we need to take a leap of faith and allow the validation to follow.

Just because you personally do not understand or believe something does not make it less true.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2004, 05:25 PM   #6
stuartjvnorton
 
stuartjvnorton's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Shudokan
Location: Melbourne
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 225
Offline
Re: Open Mindedness and Critical thinking

There is a difference between open-minded (willing to examine new things before rejecting them) & gullible (believing every new thing you hear without examining them).
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2004, 02:28 PM   #7
fotomaniak
Dojo: Systema @ Fighthouse (www.fighthouse.com)
Location: New Jersey
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 8
United_States
Offline
Re: Open Mindedness and Critical thinking

Quote:
Wynand van Dyk wrote:
I have to agree with you on that, my brother's girlfriend is very deeply into new-age mysticality, astrology and crystals type nonsense and sometimes to rib her a bit I would go on a self-righteous tirade on how astrology is bull or something. Her standard reply is that I should be more open-minded but she does not understand that I have read books on astrology, researched it to my satisfaction and then came to the conclusion that its all superstitious nonsense.
even if trhough research you found that astrology is nonsense, an openminded attitude would be to accept the possibility that you may change your mind in the future and to accept the fact that other people may still be interested in it.

Based on your research astrology is useless, but that does not mean that you should try to convince others that it is so.

Why?
1) It's not your job to "fix" other people.
/*
by complaining that your brother gf is in to astrology, you basically trying to force the conclusions of your research on another person.
*/
2) you may change your mind later (based on more theoretical research and/or on some personal experiences)
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2004, 04:42 PM   #8
DaveO
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 543
Canada
Offline
Re: Open Mindedness and Critical thinking

I think what Wynand's complaining about is the old tactic used by the woo-woos to justify their bizarre arguments: "If you don't believe exactly the same thing as me, however weird and full of Swiss Cheese logic, you've got a closed mind."
Basically they, or anyone else who demands you agree with them; are the ones guilty of the closed mind; often such folk conduct 'research' in such a way as to strictly support their own biases; ignoring onformation to the contrary. The person with the open mind is the one who keeps his options..er..open...who looks for answers accepting the fact they may go against what he already believes.
That said; when encountering such folk; it's vital to insure you don't do exactly the same thing on the opposite side of the argument: "Ki exists." "No it doesn't." "Does to!" "Does not!"
Of course; some arguments are just so damned silly they're easy enough to dismiss; but it's important to look at them all the same; even the most bassackward argument can have useful tidbits or at least valuable insights into the mind that created them. Also; for less extreme arguments; it is entirely possible that the two arguments could both be correct; just different aspects or points of view. Case in point: Wynand's statement:
Quote:
I am prepared to listen to what my instructor tells me about ki and spirituality but I myself am of the opinion that ki is an outdated concept that can now be explained through physics and body mechanics and that spirituality is best left to the individual to discover for themselves. So I will listen unquestioningly but if it does not suit me I will discard it. I feel I am only there to practice with willing partners and acquire techniques.
OK: in short; what you're saying is right from the beginning you're ready to discard something if it doesn't immediately suit you - is that not the definition of a closed mind? In the case of ki; I personally believe you've missed the mark a bit. It's not physics and body movement; that's just what the techniques teach. I personally believe ki is the outward manifestation of nage's intent or will. Are you right? Am I? Who knows - could be both in this case, depending on what turns your crank. We can use the analogy of the stuff that comes out of the tap - you can call it 'water'; I can call it 'dihydrogen monoxide'; the next guy can call it 'melted ice'; just different names for the same thing. Ideally; if one is to maintain an open mind; one should take in the information whether you believe it or not. If you do not agree with it; don't throw it out; keep it in the closet somewhere. As your opinions and attitudes change throughout your training; they may become useful.
I can elaborate by using the end of that quote: "I feel I am only there to practice with willing partners and acquire techniques."
So - you're not there to learn aikido?
That's how I thought; coming from the background as a veteran soldier; I wanted to learn technique; all that spiritualist crap was a pain in the ass. Untill I learned that the techniques are the least valuable part of aikido. They're useless in a real-life encounter; unless one learns the so-called spiritual side - the calming of the mind; the relaxation, the extreme smoothness. Then they become incredibly effective; because what people who collect techniques don't realize is that the techniques aren't the goal (if your intent is self defence) - the safe conclusion of an encounter is. The techniques become tools along the way to the goal; not the goal themselves.
I didn't learn that from someone telling me; I learned it by working it out for myself; it goes against what is taught in my neck of the woods. See; not to sound arrogant but I'm an extremely effective defender; far better than all but two aikido instructors I've trained with so far (someone trying to kill you with a machete is a very effective judge of your skill). Everything I was learning in aikido was going against what I'd learned in years of combat training, but I kept a 'maybe' tag on all of it; just in case. Until I learned through private study that the techniques aren't aikido; they're the 'alphabet' of aikido - the basic building blocks only. It's the 'spiritual' side that makes aikido aikido - the rest of the language IOW; grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, intent and the art of prose and poetry. Just as language uses the words to convey the message; so aikido uses the techniques to resolve the conflict.
When I learned that; I stopped doing techniques and started doing aikido.
Sorry, this is long - hope I made my point with something resembling clarity.
Cheers!

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2004, 05:19 PM   #9
drDalek
 
drDalek's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 155
Offline
Re: Open Mindedness and Critical thinking

Quote:
Dave Organ wrote:
OK: in short; what you're saying is right from the beginning you're ready to discard something if it doesn't immediately suit you - is that not the definition of a closed mind?
I'm not ready from the beginning to discard, but enough personal research, introspection and empirical experience has taught me that certain concepts that fall within a certain catagory can be thought to be questionable from the beginning and should be thoroughly investigated before integrating them into your personal belief system.

"immediately suit you" I never said immediatly, in general my attitude is to realy go and think long and hard about it and find some information on it and check if anybody else can relate to this information before making a decision.

As for arguing about ki, I would hate to have this thread turned into a ki-debate, I think everyone has had their fair share of this kind of thing. To me the physical manifestation of "ki", or how it has been demonstrated to me, I can define via physics and bio-mechanics, I am open to the idea that you have experienced something different that you call "ki", which is why I would not like to re-open this debate.

As for the spiritual stuff, dont worry that I'm missing out, I am figuring this stuff out for myself and integrating it into my understanding of Aikido as the revelations come through practice and introspection, I just dont think that my instructor can realy make a helpful contribution (at this point in my training)
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Aikido DVDs and Video Downloads - by George Ledyard Sensei & other great teachers from AikidoDVDS.Com



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:52 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate