The Cost of an Individual Conscience
(A comment I left, which produced a lot of interesting links from my archives)
The Sword of the Stranger movie as well as Akira’s biography http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akira_Kurosawa taught me several things.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_the_Rain_(film) and Sword of the Stranger were interesting modern Japanese lookbacks at the warrior culture of their nation.
After the Rain, for the sword that gives life, at the highest level of excellence.
Miyamoto Musashi’s life during the decisive battle of the civil West vs East war gave me interesting questions. How Ronins appeared differently than samurai to businessmen and aristocratic zaibatsu clans in modern Japan was another piece of the puzzle.
A knight errant would be much closer to a ronin, a mercenary, or one of Akira’s Seven Samurai. It depends on if a person obeys Authority for the sake of loyalty and obedience, or whether that person obeys his own integral code and beliefs.
I did not truly understand the core message in Sword of the Stranger until later, when I learned lethal force level outputs. The moral message I didn’t even comprehend much of, until I read and reflected on the novel On Killing. The payment exacted on a person’s conscience for Obeying Authority merely because of fear of Authority.
“Cause pain before you injure. Injure before you maim. Maim before you kill. And if you must kill, make it a clean kill. Squeeze every drop of life from the opponent. Because life is so precious, it cannot be wasted, even in death.”
“Let him cut your skin, and you cut his flesh. Let him cut your flesh, and you cut his bones. Let him cut your bones, and you cut off his life.”
Exerting enough will and self discipline to take a mutual cut or death scenario, was an obvious first goal but not the last. Modern civilians complain of being hungry for 30 minutes. Interesting contrast, is it not.
Recently, the youth of Japan are receiving a slightly different message.
“Achieve your mission with all your might.
Despair not until your last breath.
Make your death count!” – Motto of
“To be honest I do not think whether they live or die is the matter at hand. Life is not always better than death. It is not that simple. Living and being made to live are very different things. What matters is what the person chooses of their own free will: whether or not it can be achieved nor how difficult it is.
I want you to consider this: imagine if what matters most to you was taken away against your will. If that is indeed worth less than your life”-
I cannot help but wonder if Japan knows that rearming is the only secure way into the future, given current strategic global affairs.
What you of the CHOAM directorate seem unable to understand is that you seldom find real loyalties in commerce. When did you last hear of a clerk giving his life for the company? Perhaps your deficiency rests in the false assumption that you can order men to think and cooperate. This has been a failure of everything from religions to general staffs throughout history. General staffs have a long record of destroying their own nations. As to religions, I recommend a rereading of Thomas Aquinas. As to you of CHOAM, what nonsense you believe! Men must want to do things out of their own innermost drives. People, not commercial organizations or chains of command, are what make great civilizations work. Every civilization depends upon the quality of the individuals it produces. If you over-organize humans, over-legalize them, suppress their urge to greatness — they cannot work and their civilization collapses.
-A letter to CHOAM, Attributed to The Preacher
I would rather die having spoken in my manner, than speak in your manner and live. For neither in war nor yet in law ought any man use every way of escaping death. For often in battle there is no doubt that if a man will throw away his arms, and fall on his knees before his pursuers, he may escape death, if a man is willing to say or do anything. The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; for that runs deeper than death.-Socrates before the Athenian death panel
Authorities, that is what they do when they have the power, but what gives them the right except for people’s willingness to kneel down and obey? For they fear Death above all else.
” Y’all got on this boat for different reasons, but y’all come to the same place. So now I’m asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything, I know this – they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people… better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin’. I aim to misbehave.
Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) Serenity”