Evolution and Progress


I’ve long pondered this phrases:

The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him… The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself… All progress depends on the unreasonable man.George Bernard Shaw

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.Charles Darwin

The quotes of these two great figures of history has left me wondering how my existence can be measured. Relative to my Aikido experience.

Certainly I am not the strongest, neither am I the fittest, but I’ve seen stronger ones came and went, fitter ones falter. The testament of my continuity in Aikido is the flexibility to compromise. Through the years, I’ve stopped Aikido intermittently to attend to other matters of my life, like setting up a family, studies and others, there were ‘down’ time and ‘out’ time, I’ve never persevered to be consistent, I simply persevered. Of course I wish I could religiously attend Aikido class 2 to 3 times a week, but reality is always a bitch. You can never be unreasonable with reality, reality is always unreasonable with you. So I have to adapt my Aikido training around my life, because life is unreasonable.  Adaptability to changes is the keystone to my life. I am never one, I am many. Adaptability encompasses unreasonableness, but not the other way around. To be adaptable, sometimes you have to be unreasonable. At times, during training, I am unreasonable, in fact, increasingly so because being ‘reasonable’ in training compromise the quality you get out of training. The same can’t be said about being unreasonable. To be unreasonable means to resist adaptation. So to be adaptable, be reasonably unreasonable.

Of course George Bernard Shaw is right to say that all progress depends on the unreasonable man. To survive, be adaptable, to progress, be unreasonable. In terms of my Aikido, my progress is not a matter of meta-programming, visualisation, intellectual reasoning and all those stuff. Nothing will happen, there is no learning if everyone is nicey dicey in the dojo. There is no learning if Harry sensei doesn’t bark at me, smack my head a little bit. There is no learning if your Uke is not being an ass. There is no reasonable-ness in training, making sense of the unreasonableness in training ensures that i learn to keep going against resistance until the path of least resistance is found. Without resistance, there is no non-resistance. My progress till now is having handled so much unreasonable partners, that I learned to be reasonable in the face of unreasonableness. I may seem reasonable by nature, that is in fact cultured by many years of being unreasonable. you cannot learn to be reasonable without first knowing what unreasonable is. Sure, the duality is being either reasonable or unreasonable. you have to walk both ways to find the balance path, the middle way. from there progress and survival cease, and being exists.

Published on: Jul 9, 2010 @ 16:00

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