Kyudo Notebook: Elements

Also I just wanted to make a quick link to this interesting essay by Dean Torges. Excerpt:

      There are a peck of dangers in dividing the world into two camps. Liberal and conservative, hunter/gatherer and farmer, male and female, up and down, black and white, etcetera, and so on. Still, it serves a purpose, so I will risk it: Insofar as the world divides into optimists and pessimists, those with the dark view which focuses upon our inadequacies become mechanists. Their suspicions require them to seek out compensations for human shortcomings, inventing contrivances and devices that fill in where Man falls short physically or emotionally. Their solutions to the problems of human experience find technological expressions that smooth us out.
      Nowhere in my life is this war of attitudes more apparent than in archery, which diverges like a fork in the road into traditionalists and mechanists. Plucking the string and getting erratic arrow flight when you loose an arrow? Is practice, to achieve a smooth loose, the answer? Or is the invention of a mechanical string release the solution? Upon such simple choices attitudes are firmed up, and from such attitudes a webwork grows and a coherent cosmos gets built. You end up with a stick and a string and a firm resolve, or a titanium/graphite riser for lightness and strength to compensate for a 3 pound stabilizer which absorbs the shock of cam actuated cables which allow for heavier drawing weights with limbs which, in turn, require … because you didn’t believe that you contained satisfactory solutions to shooting problems within yourself.
      The purely mechanistic way must necessarily erode the spirit and the soul. No escaping it, is there? Its fundamental pessimism rests upon an assumption about inadequacy that corrodes the ethic of aspiration. It may place the risks for failure and the responsibilities that attach to them outside ourselves, but at the cost of depriving us of personal successes and the causes for celebrating triumphs, too. The mechanistic world becomes the construct of a resourceful brain that parts us off from our heart and muscle. We become divided and diminished in such a world, unlit puppeteers tugging at grandiose schemes which dance about in an increasingly complicated and rickety universe.

I’m still thinking about this. Of course in Kyudo we don’t have quite so much obvious technology (still a lot going on inside those bows, though) but people develop technical crutches nevertheless. Or at least I do. See the top page of his site for many other provocative thoughts.

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