Aikido, Spin and the Political Game
“When pride and memory argue; pride always wins.” Gothe
When we tell our stories, even and especially to ourselves, consciously or not, we’re always putting some spin on it. None of us, are really even close to what Heinlein in ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ called, a ‘fair witness’, an absolutely fair, unbiased and impartial person. Inevitably, everyone with a position, meaning everyone, will spin things to favor their position. Wherever you sit on the spectrum of impartiality, you should understand this human propensity.
Often, we add spin to our stories consciously. Go far enough and at some point, it is an outright lie. Being able to sense the spin, tell how much, and what kind of spin is being put on the ball, makes a big difference in your return, i.e. your response, your actions in the world, including the world of political discourse.
In advertising as in politics, the game is the manipulation of perception. And: ‘Let the buyer beware’. Ca·ve·at emp·tor:the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made.
So where does Aikido fit in?
Anyone trying to sell you anything, whether a commodity, service or idea, could be seen as applying a force, to potentially change your life. Aikido’s fundamentals of centering while responding harmoniously to the pressure of change, generates innovative and increasingly elegant solutions. The art is to do both ‘at the same time’, (1) staying centered and grounded, while (2) moving harmoniously in response to any force of change, ‘neither resisting nor giving in’.
O sensei, the founder of Aikido spoke of ‘stillness in motion. He said, “True budo (lit. the way of the warrior), is to be one with the universe; that is, to be united with the Center of the universe.”
The principles apply equally to any spin, physical, emotional, social, economic or political. In the world of thoughts, ideas and beliefs, it is challenging, to re-evaluate previously held positions, and at the same time, hold fast to some functional understanding. Yet, doing both, ‘at the same time’, is critical, to evolving precision strategies for each situation.
While perceiving and considering new information, especially with everyone else trying to put their spin on you, never lose the connection to your life force, divine spark, inner truth. In the face of the universal pressure of change, ‘centering’, returning to one’s truly intended self, connects you with power, courage and confidence needed to challenge the thinking, opinions, and assumptions, upon which, all actions are based. Balancing the known with the unknown, and recognizing your own spin, increases perception, improves strategy, as well as making you ever more difficult to manipulate.
The founder also said, “Aikido does not call relative affairs good or evil. Aikido keeps all beings in constant growth and development and serves for the completion of the universe.”
‘Blending’, harmonizing with, the forces of any situation puts you more at choice and less at effect, to those forces. ‘Understanding’, any situation, enhances the possibility of guiding the energies or aspects of any challenge, conflict or situation, to a satisfying conclusion. Aikido seeks this harmony, to the greatest degree possible, for all. The founder describes Aikido’s power as peaceful reconciliation.
“Aikido is medicine for a sick world.” O sensei
In a spirit of harmony, differences can fuel creativity. Imagine guiding our politicians to move beyond ‘fear and aggression’, to see their job more as working together to create a symphony of our society, while protecting the freedoms we all value. Learning together to harmonize with the complex forces at play, while excelling playing our part in the symphony, could transform the national dialogue. I know, I know, but remember, ‘the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’.
“Rely on harmony,
to activate your manifold powers,
pacify your environment,
and ‘Create a Beautiful World’.”
by R. Moon e / edited Laurin Herr