"Markets Collapse, World Comes To An End Next Tuesday, film at 11!".
People who don't understand the difference between the sheep and the wolves having a difference of opinion about becoming a vegan instead of a carnivore also fail to understand the apocalyptic headline above.
Unless you've been living under a rock then you're well aware of the current financial crisis that has all of Washington running around with their fundoichi's on fire. The fact is that we'll survive, the idiots in Washington will put down their martini's and lobbyist' money long enough to fix the crisis, and other than a little heartburn and some inflationary trends in the economy life will resume after the the presidential elections until the next headline, foretelling another more definitive form of doom and gloom.
One of the major differences between a classic conservative and a classic liberal (although sometimes the difference isn't all that vast) is that a conservative believes in the innate "evil-ness" of man requiring rules that have a penalty attached; follow the rules, everyone benefits and the bad guys go to jail (or as the ancient skip from SNL said, "Bailiff, whack his pee-pee"). We can view this as the "School of it's all evil".
A liberal on the other hand views mankind (yeah, yeah, woman kind too although I use proper English and view "mankind" as the generic term for all of humanity, man, woman, child, animal lover, non-specific sexual preference,etc.) as being only "good"; we just need a nudge to convince us to run in the correct direction, that direction being decided by the liberal of course. We can refer to this as the "School of it's all good" or as the Buddhists say," Right Thoughts", or "Right Actions". (Now define what "right" is and I'll tell you about the definition of the word "is", is.
Before you think you know how I vote, I'll just stop you there and tell you that I personally view both as being part correct but completely incorrect. There's a good reason as to why I define myself as a Zen-Objectivist.
My only point here that I'll do my best to belabor and confuse you with over the next couple of days in between client issues, is that martial arts is supposed to crack open our windows of perception so that we can operate by some general ideas that best enable us to be aware that; (1) the other guy may not always be looking out for our best interest, but (2) neither is he always looking out to screw us either. It can be a little of both; part of one but not all of the other. It's up to us to define which, when, how and the why.
In business, this is called "negotiations" by which we sit down and talk and arrive at a contractual agreement that serves to encourage the honest to stay honest and the partially dis-honest to not go overboard and, contains penalties by which the totally dis-honest gets his "pee-pee whacked". (Man, sometimes I really miss Chevy Chase and Jane Curtin).
In martial arts, this idea of acknowledging that good and evil do co-exist side-by-side and that each person has the ability of choice enables us to best identify risk, whether that risk be directed at us as a Sensei, at our students, friends or family. The identification of that risk, the correct assessment of how to address it takes on a whole new meaning for us since we're not just dealing with your mortgage rates or a new federal tax to pay for someone else's greed. As a player, you're dealing with busted joints and heads, physical assault kind-of-stuff; you know, mayhem.
The current financial crisis is a direct result of a failure to understand this. Glass-Steagal, a depression-era law that firewalled the activities between commercial banking and investment banking was repealed many years ago under the assumption that rules weren't needed and that by removing that firewall, people would make the best free-market decisions and that everything would be hunky-dory.
Well, surprise. Without the firewall rules everyone's greed set in and now we have this crisis. OK, Sensei; so how in the world does this apply to Aikido?
Glad you asked, "Free Market Grasshopper".
Read Part III
L.F. Wilkinson Sensei
Aikibudokan, Houston, TX