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…Guy Debord / La Société du Spectacle(64)…

158

  • These performances and images, as a structural element in our culture, offer us only the paralysis of history and the paralysis of memory. And because they embody the abandonment of any history erected on the basis of historical time, they are the   f a l s e   c o n s c i o u s n e s s   o f   t i m e .

* – * – *

So, the thing about the constant re-write of history, and the changing of dialogue and words… is that, pretty soon, everything has become a vicarious fiction. And people say that’s what their life is.

So they’re relating to this vicarious fiction… this, that and the other… “our boys in Afghanistan”… and all this stuff: none of which they’ve participated in in any meaningful manner. Other than having seen it. Or heard a version of it.

And the thing we’re so used to, by now, is the change of language. So I remember, right after this whole 9/11 thing got out of hand, being in Central Park with the Dalai Lama discussing this: how cultures change the words to make the unacceptable normal. And he was talking about “friendly fire.”

The whole idea of “friendly fire.”

We’ve heard it so often that it sounds possible, somehow… “Well, she was killed in friendly fire…” So it doesn’t count.

“The baby was slain by a stray bullet…” So it’s way different from if some soldier had shot her intentionally.

But.

The murder of the child and the woman is unacceptable. Great grief. People suffer. She dies. Her family… it’s real.

And then you put words on it that change it to unreal.

And there is so much of this today, that it’s become very hard to keep track of it. We are immersed and swallowed up by it. We have taken the real-ness out of everything.

Which does not change consequences.

That’s the thing people don’t understand. Until, maybe they caught in a false IBM-alert.  And as soon as they take action in the physical world, they understand.  Kekkou

But until they do, as long as it’s just a flickering screen, then the dopamine creates a false sense of security. But it’s a false security in suicide. Truly. Which I see in a lot of people. They imagine this world where we all die. And “it’s okay in the great galactic order of things…”  But have you ever been really hurt, or maimed???

If you ever have been incapacitated by something, and you realize it could take months for this to play out – and it’s not the simple movie version where the person smiles and grasps the hand of the loved one and passes peacefully,  or is killed instantly by  o n e  single bullet… but rather this other biological, chaotic, not-so-pleasant thing – it hurts!

And I hear all these people, now, excusing themselves from any participation in doing something about the mess. by taking some giant cosmic view based on the idea that it won’t hurt. And they’ve lost all compassion because, let’s say: it doesn’t hurt you… Well, is that all that matters? What if it hurts your children? What about your dog? Or what about your neighbor? Maybe they don’t go “gentle” into “That Good Night,” the same way that you’re planning to. It’s an incredible level of selfishness, based on just an extraordinarily hard to imagine level of arrogance where it’s all about you.

And yet not you – not your spirit or your soul, or what you really feel, or other stuff which I think is being exterminated… oddly, I think people are losing track of it. When you monetize ethics to the point that we have – and you monetize everything – it’s hard to keep track of that other stuff. But it’s unrealistic, too.

When you look at the Great Depression, and you look at how the wealthy, the unaffected were… then, the people who did suffer horribly: there wasn’t a lot of real compassion for them for a long time. You blamed them for being dirt poor. You blamed them for being ignorant. You blamed them for everything.

And today I’m seeing this switch-over: we’ve gone from militarized talking, where a school-teacher says “boots on the ground,” “robust targets”… to this monetization and corporate talk. So… people’s relationships with each other: “well, it really wasn’t worth it…” Wait! it’s your brother! “Yeah, but, you know, I couldn’t see how I was going to profit from being around him…”

What the hell happened? I’m assuming this has always existed, to some degree, but as an acceptable cultural norm? This is messed up.

Prosperity on that level can only be experienced by people on that level – meaning that certain kind of one-percenter who’s gloating, and saying “look what I got…” And when they say things, it’s shocking… just shocking, the inhumanity of it. And yet it is now becoming the language of success.

That the person who couldn’t figure out that you were screwing them deserves to be screwed. As if we need to spend all of our life protecting ourselves against… you know…

But it’s really a Cargo Cult – speak like them, and you’ll become one of them and you’ll be protected… No you won’t. Not at all.

And when you own all the news stations, you can fake the news and make people invest in the wrong thing and screw them blind.

They changed the rules so that news outlets are now owned by people who have a vested interest in screwing you.

This is wrong.

Because eventually there’s no sense of community. We’re not participating in even local-sized community. We’re not talking. There’s no social contract…

And then…

I’m thinking about a generation of children who think that it’s all about winning through any means. And that the people who win – also – get to gloat over the bones of the poor.

That is messed up: but to make it a cultural norm… that is a very special, messed up kind of messed up.

That is a bit concerning.

And the whole idea that it’s going to trickle down and help others… It doesn’t happen. Because their dialogue can only be validated by someone like them.

Just like us, and all the other closed circuits on FB and suchlike. When you scream “this is fucked up,” the people who are listening already know it’s fucked up. And so nothing changes. And so it becomes a social pressure valve, to let the water get hotter and hotter and hotter…

The idea of a catastrophic change…

I don’t know – quite possibly I think the prospect is worse: it is the implosion of ethical life. The implosion of basic human-ness. The good stuff where you stop and help somebody.

And I see people who have no future economically under this system, buying trinkets from the rich, in order to feel like they are something.

Which is tragic. Super-tragic.

But when you’ve monetized the poor to that level, then you have 456 A.D. Rome.

“The barbarians are here!”

Well, no, you made the barbarians. You created your own barbarians.

What does that mean to just regular people who aren’t like that. Who don’t want to be like that?

It means you’re going to watch a circus that you don’t want to be part of.

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O’Sensei no kuden: Keiko (33)

Progress comes to those who train according to internal and external principles.

– – – recorded by André Nocquet Shihan,  reported by J.-D Cauhépé and A. Kuang,  Shobu aïki. La victoire selon l’art chevaleresque de Morihei Ueshiba, p. 197

O’Sensei on ‘nen’ (2)…

Your nen… if you have quieted your nen inside your physical body, then there will be no re-incarnation… Once you start in on this purification process, this misogi, then you are on the way back to your original beginnings. And it follows naturally from this that, in respect of this, your budo shugyou: if your nen is in musubi with any kind of selfishness, then you will not be able to focus, and you will not make any progress. This would be bu that has gotten onto the wrong path.  And if your nen is linked to your mind – but there is no connection to the body, then nenpi-kannon-riki will not arise.  But if you can break a tachi or a katana, using the divine spirit of true emptiness – centered in the ki of emptiness – then it is with nen-power that it has been broken.

 

– – – O’Sensei,  Aiki-Shinzui, p.80-81

…Guy Debord / La Société du Spectacle(63)…

165

  • Capitalist production has unified and integrated the dimension of space on this planet: space which is no longer marked out and delineated by border-societies outside of the system.  This unification is at the same time a wide-spread and intensive process of banalisation.  The piling up of consumer goods produced one after another for that abstract place: ‘the market’,  just as it was always going to break down every regional and legal barrier, and all those guild/corporative restrictions, dating from the middle ages, which maintained and upheld the quality of artisanal production, so it was also destined to dissolve every specificity of place:  to break down the autonomy and the distinctiveness of absolutely every  p l a c e   . This power of homogenization is the heavy artillery that has made fall all the walls of China.

* – * – *

…which is why a resolute NON-standardization – learned, maybe, from Jorge Luis Borges’ catalogs and cartography 1) –  goes hand in hand with leet-speak, encryption and hacking of all kinds. Because, online, it is actually now so easy to recreate those havens – those “border-societies outside of the system” – that disappeared from the physical world in this last half-century of modern roads, electronics and globalizing culture.  Because with a little hacking and a leave-of-absence from the database, you can have the modern, computerized enforcer – who relies on the virtual world to do his work in the physical world – sounding just like the cartographer, colonialist or missionary quoted in The Art of Not Being Governed:

  • “Making maps is hard, but mapping Guizhou province especially so….The land in southern Guizhou has fragmented and confused boundaries….A department or a county may be split into several subsections, in many instances separated by other departments or counties….There are also regions of no man’s land where the Miao live intermixed with the Chinese….  Southern Guizhou has a multitude of mountain peaks. They are jumbled together, without any plains or marshes to space them out, or rivers or water courses to put limits on them. They are vexingly numerous and ill-disciplined….Very few people dwell among them, and generally the peaks do not have names. Their configurations are difficult to discern clearly, ridges and summits seeming to be the same. Those who give an account of the arterial pattern of the mountains are thus obliged to speak at length. In some cases, to describe a few kilometers of ramifications needs a pile of documentation, and dealing with the main line of a day’s march takes a sequence of chapters. As to the confusion of the local patois, in the space of fifty kilometers a  river may have fifty names and an encampment covering a kilometer and a half may have three designations. Such is the  unreliability of the nomenclature.”
  • “The hilly and jungly tracts were those in which the dacoits held out longest. Such were the country between Minbu and Thayetmyo and the [swampy] terai at the foot of the Shan Hills and the Arakan and Chin Hills. Here pursuit was impossible. The tracts are narrow and tortuous and admirably suited for ambuscades. Except by the regular paths there were hardly any means of approach; the jungle malaria was fatal to our troops; a column could only penetrate the jungle and move on. The villages are small and far between; they are generally compact and surrounded by dense, impenetrable jungle. The paths were either just broad enough for a cart, or very narrow, and, where they led through the jungle were overhung with brambles and thorny creepers. A good deal of the dry grass is burned in March, but as soon as the rains recommence the whole once more becomes impassible.”
  • “The surface has been minutely trenched by winding streams. So numerous are the creeks that the topographical map of a single representative county of 373 square miles indicated 339 named streams, that is, nine streams for each ten square miles. The valleys are for the most part “V”-shaped, with rarely more level space along the banks of a stream for a cabin and perhaps a garden patch….The isolation occasioned by methods of travel so slow and difficult is intensified by several circumstances. For one thing, the routes are round-about. Travel is either down one branch along a creek and up another branch, or up a stream to a divide and down another stream on the further side of the ridge. This being the case, married women living within ten miles of their parents have passed a dozen years without going back to see them.”

…and what happens if society’s generalized ability to stay organized – in the virtual or the physical world – becomes so degraded that the above is the norm… ???

1) from  On Exactitude in Science: “… In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.” or in The Library of Babel and others…
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Michio Hikitsuchi Shihan remembers…

He also told us to have a sense of gratitude. Be thankful for others and to nature. Without gratitude we cannot become true human beings. The power of nature, the sun, gives us everyhing. When rain falls, the field produces rice. Fruit and grain grow. This is the gift of the earth. Therefore the keiko is very important.

– – – in Remembering O-Sensei, ed. Susan Perry, p.101

O’Sensei no kuden: peace in the world (5)

It is absolutely not through a struggle against cosmic conditions that an  organism grows and preserves itself, but on the contrary, by adaptation  and harmony with them.

– – – recorded by André Nocquet Shihan,  reported in Aikido: Heart and Sword tr. Stanley Pranin,  p. 11

Hirokazu Kobayashi Shihan and André Nocquet Shihan…

HKobayashiANDNocquetCROP

– – –  Bu-Iku: Ritterlichkeits-Erziehung,  Yasuhiko Kunimoto,  tr. Kiyoko Furumoto ,  p.42

Shinken Shobu…

…once you have gotten to a certain degree of relaxation and ki-flow, then you become aware that, when you pick up a live blade, the attention that you give that blade is a very particular  ki-flow, and imagining that live blade as your spine or central channel creates that same ki-flow and is actually an aid to relaxing the other two center channels.  Te-gatana is this same ki. And always practising as if you had a live blade is about this same ki-energy in this same place.  Aiki-myo-kenAme-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi…the sword that

SUSANO-NO-MIKOTO

found in the tail of the eight-headed dragon…the purifying jo of the esoteric Kuki priests of the Kumano shrines… Samadhi… the Dragon King….

…jo as axis of the universe!!!…

A change of optic:

Aikido is a gem of many facets – sometimes it seems that every one of O’Sensei’s students remembered a different teacher, and of course, many, many different styles have been preserved and developed – but here is one facet that clicked into focus for me recently:

what if O’Sensei spent his time away from Iwama and Tokyo coherently pursuing what he felt to be his “mission in life”?…

what if he spent his time away from Iwama and Tokyo creating and nurturing a network of dojos run by Omoto-Kyo, ex-Omoto-Kyo and Ko-Shinto believers ( hand-picked deshi,  some of them raised, almost, as members of his family) – – – and ex-Kamikaze pilots, too (!) – often with his own name on the sign –  in places – and close to shrines – that had been important to the  Omoto-kyo,  and to his own life, and that were a continuation of his activities in the late twenties and early thirties (which is to say:  the projects of his first enlightenment experiences) ?…

what if he made several of these dojo-cho tenth dan, and told them “there is no iemoto system in aikido“?…

asked one of them to write a book on kokyu?… and asked said dojo-cho‘s brother to write his (O’Sensei’s) biography?…

and told one of them “you are a [/the ?] true successor to me”…

and to another – who studied with him from age 14 to age 45 – gave transmission scrolls…

what if O’Sensei was more relaxed with, and spoke more deeply and openly to these dojo-cho than to other aikido-ka, and was such a powerful influence on them that frequently their thoughts echo his own?…

…such as the thought, expressed by Seiseki Abe, that the doka are O’Sensei’s writings that most reliably survive transmission – because you cannot edit a very strict poetic structure (waka) without that being immediately obvious?…

and, of course,  what if he felt the CENTER of this network – old school – to be his spiritual practice in Iwama, where he build a dojo that looked very much like a Temple or a Shrine…

and what if Omoto-kyo was in many ways not what we would call “a new religion” (that’s a government label) – but rather preserved a body of traditional (pre-Meiji) Japanese thinking (harmoniously blended Shinto, Esoteric Buddhism, Taoism, and Idealist Neo-Confucianism) and practices in a transformation that was both competitive with and influenced by Christianity, and adequate to the wider world – and wider religious perspective –  beyond Japan, opened up by the Meiji restoration?…

and what if O’Sensei’s very personal blend of Omoto-kyo and Ko-Shinto thinking preserves a body of traditional Japanese thought (harmoniously blended Shinto, Esoteric Buddhism, Taoism, and Idealist Neo-Confucianism) and practices in a certain rapprochement with Christianity that is – just as he believed –  entirely adequate to the global culture and the realities and challenges we now all face?…

and what if O’Sensei’s synthesis of Omoto-kyo and traditional thinking  was integral to his understanding and work with ki and kokyu?  – –  –  a continuation and development,  in fact,  of  traditional higher-level budo thinking – or rather: practice, just as Jigoro Kano noted 1)…

and what if O’Sensei remained loyal his entire life to his family’s Ujigami – the gods of the three Kumano mountain shrines, in both their kami and buddha aspects – their shrine still visible in the garden of O’Sensei’s birthplace when Nidai Doshu went to gather biographical material – and what if O’Sensei returned to those three mountains for guidance in times of crisis, was friends with the Guji of the head shrine, privy to that family’s esoteric, Ko-Shinto philosophy, and attempted to bring said Guji into the network that he considered his “life mission”?…

indeed, what if O’Sensei created the shrine(s), farm, and dojo at Iwama as an improved version of what he had had at Ayabe – and later at the Budo-Senyo-Kai’s Hombu Dojo at Takeda?… and if, post-war, for real, and for more than half a decade, that  farm and dojo – his Aiki-En –  up in the hills above the site of Tachibana Kozaburo’s Aikyojuku – were operating largely outside the money economy,  feeding and housing his dojo “family” – and were, in fact, at that time, the “hombudojo  –  and sending rice to feed the dojo in Tokyo? …

and what if his opinion of Tokyo – and all things Tokyo – was colored by, for instance, the interrogations that attended his attempts to move there in 1925 and 1926 2) – not to mention subsequent events affecting the Omoto-kyo?…

…so that, after the war, rather than promote an “Ueshiba” dojo in Tokyo, he encouraged a long-time deshi with family ties to the army and the wartime cabinet to open a dojo there?

and what if O’Sensei saw – just as Deguchi did – cultural affinities between, out of all the western nations,  France and Japan, and worked on having the Hombu – and other – deshi with most affinity to his “life mission” sent to France?…

and what if he chose out foreign uchideshi and deshi for their perceived affinity to his “life mission”?…

and what if his “life mission”,  given to him in a vision in 1940, was not so different, after all,  from the one bestowed on him by  Onisaburo  Deguchi?…

…and so what if we stay aware, at the least, when we hear the stories about O’Sensei – and read the writings and quotes that have come down to us – of which dojo, which city or town (and look at the map!), which deshi 3), which shrine and what year? …

…the eccentric, inexplicable old man in one place; the serious, sometimes severe, farmer and budo master with a rigorous spiritual routine in another; and elsewhere the relaxed and wise old sage, talking religion, philosophy, and old times with his favorite long-time students, and practising calligraphy….

– – – – FastSlow   (August 2013)

1) “We have to leave techniques like those of Mr. Ueshiba to future generations. The old traditional jujutsu was the same as his style, but it is difficult to find out how to practice them systematically” Jigoro Kano to Kenji Tomiki Shihan in March 1936, cited in Aikido Tradition and the Competetive Edge, by Fumiaki Shishida and Tetsuro Nariyama, p.29
2) Remembering, too, that this was a man whose family had spirited him off to Tokyo after he agitated against the Fishery Acts of 1901, and to Hokkaido after he joined Minakata Kumagusa’s movement to oppose the 1906 Shrine Consolidation regulations.
3) …and pay attention, too, to which deshi got to eat their meals with the Ueshiba family…