by Robert E. Haynes (1988)

For the first thirty to forty years of my study of Japanese sword fittings I trusted in the factual information derived from the sage authorities who were past masters in this field. This information served me well in my early studies. Then came a day that I could not find any past authority, or his printed word, that could answer my questions. At that time I realized that my studies had shifted from fact to my own theory. This is why the facts from the past do not help me solve the theories I struggle with today. It is also why I do not need to store information from the past in a mechanized form. What I am most interested in is the theories and ideas that can not be put into a computer. It is very hard to put what you don't know into a machine. This makes me an exception in this day and age, it would seem. I am very fortunate that I have many friends who have spent a great deal of time and energy putting facts in storage. For should I need one I can rely on there supplying it. Thus I can spend my time with those ideas that I have wrestled with for the last fifteen years or more. I can not say that I have a solution to any of these ideas but it should not be too long before I put forward some of them to see what my fellow scholars have to say. Maybe their facts will support or deny my theories. Let us hope that it might work that way. I also find that I learn more today from my conversations with my colleagues than I do from stored information. Nothing sparks or enhances ideas better than a full and ready exchange of ideas. There were two masters of the past who I think had these same feelings as I do now. One was Akiyama Kyusaku (1843-1936) and the other was Sasano Masayuki (1920-1993). Both seemed to spend as much time doubting what they knew from the past as in pursuing new ideas for the future. And to the end of both their lives these doubts and visions where the center of their lives and of their studies. Thus the past and the unknown future of ideas seems to both stimulate and aggravate the late years of my life.


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