When I speak of an “Americanist” culture, I am not referencing the great foundation and roadmap laid out by the Founding Fathers of the United States. That, I would call American culture. Americanist culture in many ways is the result of a kind of human excess whose dangers to a society and to the individual the Founders were trying to address when they developed their system of equal law, a representative government of checks and balances, an a priori premise of inalienable human rights, and their placing of all of this on a foundation of a universal sense of the Divine. In many ways, Americanist culture is but the breakdown of American culture.
The Founding Fathers did not name this enemy of their desired-for society “Americanist,” as I have. This is because this enemy pre-existed the country they were intent on developing. They rightly saw this enemy as a human problem, a human problem that has always plagued humanity, both at the level of the individual and at the level of humanity’s social constructs. This enemy, for them, was an enemy of Man, a foe to a species. Of course, the direct experience of the Founding Father’s supported the position of this foe’s existence, and so too did the humanistic philosophies in which they gained an expertise, but without the theology of the God-Man, Christianity, this foe would have remained merely theoretical and ultimately invisible, intangible, and ultimately ignored by them. Americanist culture is the victory of this foe over us and over our societies.
What does this have to do with Aikido? Before answering this question, it is perhaps important for the reader to note that Senshin Center, through all its videos, articles, blog entries, Facebook posts, podcasts, etc., is not for shallow topics or for shallow people. Senshin Center is about the deep dive. Whereas other dojo might quickly tell you where to place your foot in a given technique, Senshin Center will delve into why you cannot or will not place your foot where it goes; Whereas other dojo will make entertaining videos, akin to Hollywood productions, Senshin Center videos will look to address your addiction to entertainment and guide your through practices designed to address this addiction: The deep dive. What does Americanist culture have to do with Aikido? The foe of the Founding Fathers of the United States, the foe of a species, the foe of the God-Man, is the Foe of Osensei: The Americanist taking over of the United States is structurally the same taking over of the Founder’s Art: Contemporary Aikido is an Americanist Aikido.
Americanist culture is a culture antithetical to truth, beauty, and goodness, and to any sense of a unifying or centering life: It is a kind of nihilism, one through which by default is secular-materialist, decentering, disunifying, and that leads our species ultimately to mental illness, unwellness, addiction to intoxicants, a life of desecration, distraction and of consumerism, a life of dissatisfying relationships, despair, loneliness, meaninglessness, and, if Nature does not take us soon enough, eventually to suicide; and, the greatest victory of the foe is that all of this comes to be experienced as normal. That is to say, it is all normalized – it becomes what is considered the right way of doing things, as it is in the Americanist dojo.
The Americanist Aikido dojo normalizes its radical departure from the religiosity and mysticism of Osensei. It normalizes the equally radical position that the art should not and does not have any mystery to it. Likewise, it radically departs from seeing the achieving of communion with the Divine, the psycho-physiological spontaneous application of the art, and the skill of the art’s internal aspects, themselves all mysteries, as the art’s highest ideals. Instead, Americanist Aikido holds that these things do not exist and/or should not exist within the dojo. There is no ascetic nature to Americanist Aikido, and so in the dojo where it is practiced the skills of faith, reverence, and humility, ancient technologies of the self, are villainized as “dangerous” and made taboo. Instead, what is held up is the practice of tangible techniques, worldly things, and the consumerism of capital, symbolic, cultural, and material – rank, title, and federation fees. The art has no other end than these ultimately meaningless things, and like that it is conjoined in the foe’s quest toward nihilism. Today, ask, “Why do it you do Aikido?,” and no longer do you echo Osensei’s call to be an instrument of the Divine, instead, you are forced to say, “Just because I like it.”
A reader may want to say, “My dojo is not in the United States, and so this does not apply to me,” but this is ignoring the might and presence of Americanist culture, its wealth and its drive toward participation in its economies, its control of the world’s information highways, the influence of its entertainment industries, and the need to speak its language and to think its thoughts in order “to evolve” and become Modern. This is why, even in Japan, in the birthplace of the art and of the Founder, one is more likely to be in an Americanist dojo than in a true place of The Way.