Unity is an empty vessel to be filled with whatever form of good or evil we choose.
We often throw around word like unity, community, or tribe as if they are inherently positive concepts. The truth, however, is that they are neutral. It is as possible to be united around evil causes, ideas, and behaviors as it is to be united around good ones.
In order for our unity to be noble and righteous, its purpose and resultant manifestations must also be noble and righteous as well. If we start with false ideals or values around which to unify, or perhaps with no ideals or values at all, our unity will be nothing more than a powerful force for dissonance, chaos, and destruction. Before we unite, we must establish that around which we are uniting and we must ensure that our actions constantly align with this purpose.
In order for unity to result in positive change in the world, it must be based on positive values with positive goals. Garbage in, garbage out, as the saying goes. Before we get together, unifying around some idea, belief, or cause, we should ensure that what we are unifying around is not only true, but also good.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.
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