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Old 02-14-2005, 08:28 PM   #26
Beholder
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Re: Has all the love gone?

Quote:
However, I am more inclined to say that Aikido is not unique in the way that most are led to believe. This means that I do hold that there are some unique elements to Aikido and that indeed these unique elements do pertain to Aikido's relation to the concept of Love.
Your point is well made and the linked article clarifies it; thanks for that. In fact I think you were being more sophisticated than I was, because as you show the founder's stated intention for the art probably was unique, and I wasn't thinking about that. The rub, perhaps, is how relevant that is to the majority of aikido practitioners today; but that's more to do with how aikido through time, dilution, and evolution may have already wandered away from that (and there I go straying off-topic). But you're right, aikido (specifically aikido's stated mission of universal love) as it was intended is unique.

Quote:
Still, I am not sure why uniqueness or commonality (depending on your take) addresses the merit of the original post.
Ah, because we'd like to think (and I understood that Simon meant, at the start of the thread) that of all arts, aikido with its (unique or not-so-unique) (explicit or implicit) love would generate less sniping, less unconstructive criticism, less nastiness between fellow practitioners than seems to be the case. "Art of harmony" and all that. But alas, it's miserable human nature... at risk of being flamed, I will make the unoriginal comparison with another system based on a stated mission of love, whose founder pretty much said "X is love" (meaning a universal love to bring all people together); see under Church... not the finest example of one happy family there either.

Or to summarise -- to the question "why do loving aikido people bitch about each other all the time?", I bleakly suggest it's because, alas, there's nothing unique about us, so it's to be expected.

Disclaimers:
(a) actually by comparison to other systems we usually are pretty nice to each other
and
(b) obviously I would never dream of criticising somebody else's aikido, oh no, but I have heard rumours that sometimes other people do.
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:18 PM   #27
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Has all the love gone?

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Don J. Modesto wrote:
(Thank you pag for directing me to this wonderful book and, of course, for your ongoing efforts to enlighten us terminal monolinguals. YOROSHIKU.)
Hello Don,

As a background to Dower, you might like to read Shunsuke Tsurumi's "An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan 1931-1945", which analyses the concept of tenkou. Another interesting book, with a preface by Dower, is Eiji Takemae's "The Alied Occupation of Japan".

More directly related to this thread is Douglas R Howland's "Translating the West: Language and Political Reason in Nineteenth-Century Japan". The book deals with the dynamcs of translation: how the Japanese invented terminology for certain key western political concepts. I think a similar dynamic operated with the translation of western religious concepts, though perhaps the process took longer and was the adaptation of western concepts to sonething previously existing, rather than the creation of something entirely new. I am hoping that David V, deals with this question in his doctoral research. It is something I cannot pursue deeply at the monent for lack of time.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:44 PM   #28
Don_Modesto
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Re: Has all the love gone?

Hi, Peter,

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
As a background to Dower, you might like to read Shunsuke Tsurumi, Eiji Takemae, Douglas R Howland
They'll be on ILL tomorrow. Much obliged.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 02-14-2005, 10:02 PM   #29
senshincenter
 
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Re: Has all the love gone?

Hi Peter,

Thanks for replying -- I know you are busy.

First, let me say, this is very good stuff in my opinion. I also think it ties in nicely with our other thread -- the one on Osensei and the phrase, "I am the universe." Wouldn't you agree?

Here is what I got then:

The original post is being approached from two angles. One angle I would call the "contemplative" angle, and the other angle I would call the "historical" angle. Of course, there is overlap between the two. Both angles, are seeing the "Love" as discussed in the original post as somehow deficient in its assumed understanding (according to each angle). However, let us say that we may be reading a lot into the original post, and at this point, I think it is wise to disassociate the possible understanding of Love that we are contrasting within this discussion from the original poster's understanding of Love. We may be reading the original poster correctly -- we may not. Either way, it is a good post. It raises many issues.

At this point, I do not feel that original poster's understanding of Love is relevant (i.e. what it was or what it may be). Truth be told, regardless of what the original poster might have meant by "Love," we do know for a fact that there is indeed a common view of Love in Aikido circles where that term is understood quite differently from how we are suggesting it might better be understood via our two angles. Generally, this common understanding of Love conflicts with the notion of Love as presented in these two angles by being thought of as "all accepting," and/or "innately present." As such, its means of cultivation and practice also differs. In particular, the common understanding of Love is thought to be available via analogy and metaphor (and other types of language games -- see the other thread on changing the word "nage" to the word "release"), and/or first efforts. Alternately, the other type of Love held in our two angles is considered to be the result of experience and insight that comes via the carrying forth of practices that can rightly be considered ascetic.

In the contemplative angle, the position that "Aikido is Love" does not warrant that critical thought should be exempt from our practice. In fact, the statement "Aikido is Love" actually warrants that we maintain a firm grasp on our capacity to reflect critically. This is because of the intimate relationship that must exist between Truth and Love. (That is the heart of this response) For my money, Thomas Merton is the best thinker on this kind of stuff -- because he is so accessible. I am borrowing his usage of the word "contemplative" here. However, I imagine that one can go to any religious personality, throughout history, and see the same thing since I cannot here think of any religious person that did not in some way issue a similar position. Even the Christ's teaching on tolerance and The Buddha's "Middle Way" have great room and need for the intellect, critical thinking, and even rejection.

In the historical angle, Osensei's "love" is understood firmly as a kind of cultivation, perhaps even an achievement, or a realization, or awakening. Whatever the case, it is natural to Man, but he/she has no access to it without ascetic and/or ritual practices, etc. Moreover, its notion of being beyond conflict is not so much one of welcoming all points of view as equal. Rather it is because Love is thought to be omnipotent -- for lack of a better word. Love is beyond conflict because it is beyond contestation -- in other words. Being beyond contestation does not mean that one does not contest and thus is in possession of Love. Rather, it suggests, being in possession of Love, one is beyond being contested. (That is the heart of this response.) The cultivation of this Love takes place through Aikido training -- according to Osensei. In the radio interview he makes it clear the he sees the dojo as the place for his "ascetic training" ("shugyo") -- it is that place through which he carries out his practices thought to be working toward the Divine Plan. Not by coincidence, we see a lot of critical thought and rejection in Osensei's Aikido. As you said Peter, not just any ol' techniques will do.

On a side note: Yes, I would say there is a tie between Osensei's "Love" and Christian "Love." I would suggest that Osensei's love is a derivative of Christian "Love" -- particular Christian mystic "Love." Omoto-kyo had strong connections with the Christian mystic groups of Europe and the States during that part of the 20th century. All of these groups were into forming a world religious movement. The center of this movement was a universal philosophy and doctrine. At the center of that were two things: A universal deity and Love -- which was considered His nature. This is why one might get a closer understanding of Osensei's thinking if one reads St. John of the Cross (who was read by those Christian groups Omoto-kyo had contact with) as opposed to reading Kisshomaru (who did his best to retool and/or reformulate "Aikido" according to the secular-spiritual discourse that modern Japan was adopting for itself following WWII). If I remember correctly, but I may be wrong, Onisaburo considered himself a reincarnation of Jesus -- which was also a relatively common trend for New Religions and/or other types of millenarian groups that were being put out by the radical social changes that were happening at or around Meiji.

Again, thanks for the reply, very interesting,
david

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-14-2005, 10:08 PM   #30
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Re: Has all the love gone?

Dave Whiteland wrote:

"The rub, perhaps, is how relevant that is to the majority of aikido practitioners today; but that's more to do with how aikido through time, dilution, and evolution may have already wandered away from that"

"Ah, because we'd like to think (and I understood that Simon meant, at the start of the thread) that of all arts, aikido with its (unique or not-so-unique) (explicit or implicit) love would generate less sniping, less unconstructive criticism, less nastiness between fellow practitioners than seems to be the case. "Art of harmony" and all that. But alas, it's miserable human nature..."

Very nice points Dave. Thanks for replying.

dmv

David M. Valadez
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