The author, holding a bokken (wooden sword).

The Weapon as Mere Object

  This is an edited version of an article that I wrote for the Aikido World Alliance newsletter in the Fall of 2013. As far as I know, Malala Yousafzai has never studied Aikido. Ms. Yousafzai is the Pakistani teenager who, while advocating for the education of girls in the Swat valley, was shot in an attempted assassination. After being shot in the head and recovering, she has gone on to become a global advocate for the rights of women and girls. In doing so, she is directly challenging the …

Life in Harmony

Life in Harmony

I thought I’d throw out some thoughts on the idea of harmony. This is something I may develop more in the next few weeks. At the 10th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10), the theme for the event is “Life in Harmony, Into the Future.” Harmony is everywhere in the discussions: objectives are harmonized, initiatives work in harmony, biodiversity conservation and development work together in harmony. Sounds great. “Harmony” is something I’m going to call a “yielding word.” Social scientists and lawyers have …

On religious tolerance and anti-violence

On religious tolerance and anti-violence

One reason that I maintain a blog is that it helps me to clarify my own thoughts on various issues. Actually putting something into writing helps my head to process information–particularly on more complicated issues. One of those issues is what I’ll call pacifism and anti-violence. This topic has been drifting through my head for a bit now, but was brought to mind most recently by the violent forced eviction of Zen monks and nuns in Vietnam. I’ll be delivering some thoughts on violence and religious tolerance at an event …