Jottings related to Japanese culture

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Mirroring Related

Moriji Mochida I spent 50 years mastering the basics of kendo. Once I turned 50 my real traning started. I began practicing kendo with my spirit. When I turned 60 my legs started to get weaker. So I focused on making my spirit more active. After I turned 70 I began training my spirit to remain still. Once the spirit is calm it becomes a mirror that reflects your opponents' spirit.

  • 人の道に照らして*、これらの問題は解決しなければならないと考える者は、そう主張するに相応しい「人の道」の手本を示すべきであるとも考える。

道歌 The first of these was the one that I heard at Kuruzumi-kyou, along with their teaching that hito means "with the sun" (人・ひと・日と) or that we have a mirror of the sungoddess in our hearts. 立ち向かう 人の心は 鏡なり おのが心を 写しても見ん わが心 かがみにうつる ものならば さこそ醜き 姿なるらめ 私を 離れてみれば 心ほど 明るき鏡 世になかりけり

Never to be written book titles『日と人言』,『日とと人言』:-)

Zeami Had a lot to say.

With regard to mirrors in the head...

Julian Jaynes mentions that Nijinsky, like Zeami, claimed to be able to see himself from the point of view of his audience. Alas Nijinsky went mad. He wrote "The earth is the head of God. God is the fire in the head. I am alive as long as there is fire in my head. My pulse is like an earthquake." is this fire in the head, the sun/mirror, or the ravings of a lunatic?

Maurice Blanchot "agonizing contact with the day" and Borges' Disk Ernst Mach's Visual field.

Shame and Vision p.80 The self in shame feels defective, degraded, and diminished: not in good shape. Shame seems not only to form but also to deform the self or at least the self-image. Feeling shame involves a visual element. One feels eyes upon oneself and ends up observing oneself as if one could see oneself from outside, shifting viewpoints and comparing oneself with others. Yet, despite the strong and devastating self-reflexivity, the ashamed self seeks to hide before itself and to avoid the reflection that mirrors itself. While the content of the feeling refers back to oneself—even when one is ashamed on behalf of someone else—this self-centered content appears in centrifugal forms like lowering one’s eyes, trying to turn away, and trying to withdraw from the stage that oneself provides, being simultaneously the judge and the accused. (Welz uses June Price Tangey's very dim view of shame as on self as oposed to upon action, and sees guilt as being beneficial)

Bernard Williams "Shame and Necessity", p89 "The most primitive experiences of shame are connected with sight and being seen, but it has been interestingly suggested that guilt is rooted in hearing, the sound in oneself of the voice of judgment; it is the moral sentiment of the word.”

Bernard Williams again Shame and Necessity “In my experience of shame, the other sees all of me and all through me, even if the occasion of shame is on my surface -- for instance, in my appearance; and the expression of shame, in general, as well as in the particular form of it that is embarrassment, is not just the desire to hide, or to hide my face, but the desire to disappear, not to be there. It is not even the wish, as people say, to sink through the floor, but rather the wish that the space occupied by me should be instantaneously empty. With guilt it is not like this. I am more dominated by the thought that even if I disappeared, it would come with me.” one’s eyes, trying to turn away, and trying to withdraw from the stage that oneself provides, being simultaneously the judge and the accused.

Bernard Williams quotes, Herbert Morris (1976) "On guilt and innocence: essays in legal philosophy and moral psychology" p 62 "In guilt the "voice of conscience" speaks and we forumulate in words what is do be done and not to be done, words that are spoken and heard. With shame, the disposition is to hide, to vanish; with shame we want to sink into the ground, we cannot stand the site of ourselves. With guilt the urge is to communicate, to be listened to, to confess."

Shame and Guilt

Works related to Ruth Benedict's Theory of Shame (vs. Guilt) in Japanese culture in Japanese. I used to have this on the net. Perhaps I still do.

Japanese Culture and Seminology

A few years ago, at the Asian Association of Social Psychology, Steven Cousins was talking to Steven Heine (both of whom are famous social psychologists, by my reconing). The former was saying how he was not infavour of the computational model of the mind and that in order to capture Japanese cultural psychology it would be necessary to use a seminological approach.

At the time I was still into my occular-centristic interpretation of Japanese culture which had or has it that Japanese people are more likely to use imaginative reflection to represent themselves and understand situations, as opposed to using linguistic reflection and self-narrative. So when Dr. Cousins said that one needed to use seminology to describe Japanese culture, I thought "Oh boy, another logocentrist." After all Rolan Barthes came to Japan, holding the belief that is only through phonetic language that things that can have meaning, and so concluded that Japanese was Empire of the Signs *with empty centres,* signs that appear to mean nothing at all. But lately, after reading Bachnik - who uses the Piercian categorisation of the "index" - it seems to me that seminology is the way to go.

It seems to me now that the Japanese are using a different kind of sign, or using signs, in different ways. That does not say a lot but I think that it can say more, more precisely, than suggesting that the Japanese are into using imagination and vision. That is not it. As Kitayama and Ishii have demonstrated the Japanese are also paying a lot of attention to tone of voice. There are all sorts of sirens that go off around the countryside calling the Japanese back to their homes. There are all those announcements that Nakashima Yoshimichi talks about, and the shoutings of baseball players. There are of course Haiku and some of the oldest, most prolific literature in the world. There is lots of language, lots of sounds and no particular concentration on vision.

All the same I have not been barking completely up the wrong tree. There is something visual going on. There is a way in which Japan destroys language, makes theory fall appart, turns it all into so much sand, or the bark of dogs. In the past I have said that Japan, with its name cards, and New Year's cards and calligraphy attempts to turn words into pictures. But that is not it either. Picture is not the right word. Barthe's emperial signs, Levi Strauss' totems, Boy De Menthe's Kata, Bachnik's Indexes...what is going down is something on these lines.

So I have been looking at Culler Barthes and I may look at Peirce. I think that Maruyama Masao's diagram looks really cool.

How do you connect the world to the sign? Does it float over the abyss? Are there points of caption? What sort of socius is involved in keeping the signs attached to...whatever it is that they are attached to? And are they part of the world? Are there one to one relations?

I have no idea, and I will probably never know but at the moment, I am interested in typologies of signs.


According to the Rabbinical tradition, the serpent represents sexual desire.[3][4] wikipedia ^ The American journal of urology and sexology p 72 ^ Barton, SO "Midrash Rabba to Genesis", sec 20, p.93

"Primitive symbolism, as illustrated in phallic worship or the reproductive principle" " Hevia," writes General Forlong,t " is equivalent to Zoe life, from the Greek to live ; thus what is called ' the fall,' ascribed to Eva, or Hevia the female, and Adam the male, becomes in reality the acts connected with generation, conception, and production, and the de- struction of virginity. — Adam ' fell ' from listening to Eve, and she , — details which merely assure us that we have procreative acts in all stories regarding Hawa (in Hindustani Lust, Wind, Air-Juno) and Chavah or Eve, or as the Arabs call it, Hayyat, life or creation. Eating forbidden fruit was simply a figurative mode of expressing the performance of the act necessary for the perpetuation of the human race." Original


Diary of Richard Cocks William Adams (of Shogun Fame)

And then it might be nice to be able to operationalise them.

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