15 October 2011

Samurai Ethic: A Political Science Of The Heart (Mishima)

"...the samurai ethic is a political science of the heart, designed to control such discouragement and fatigue in order to avoid showing them to others. It was thought more important to look healthy than to be healthy, and more important to seem bold and daring than to be so. This view of morality, since it is physiologically based on the special vanity peculiar to men, is perhaps the supreme male view of morality."

- Yukio Mishima

9 comments:

v. Braun. said...

This is very true. The moderns often call this take on life superficial but I do think that it actually is honourable and polite (not to 'push' your problems and deficiencies unto others and thereby discomfort them).

Michael said...

Seneca and Cicero and Epictitus and Marcus would agree.

Dutch Uncle said...

An ethic which values appearance over reality and hypocrisy over honesty.

La Sombra Sofisticada said...

Many could do with a dose of this.

Michael said...

More, Dutch Uncle, I think of valuing reality for being insusceptible to whining. Hypocrisy is the worst sin to those with no beliefs. Most people who hold high ethical standards and standards of personal discipline understand that they will often fall short of perfection, will often do what they do not preach. Hypocrisy is a crime only to whining leftists.

Stockton Andrews II said...

Michael, I like your definition.

Many in the West obsess on Mishimas death and his sexuality and dismiss the seriousness of his thoughts. Thanks to LBF for reminding us of the man's Bushido.

Chris said...

Mishima's comments on bushido and the samurai are pointless. His sexuality has less to do with it than the fact that he came of age in the pre-WWII system of Japanese imperialist propaganda.

If you go back to actual period literature on samurai, you find a variety of reflections on different aspects of bushido. Hagakure is just one man's thoughts, the ones Mishima liked.

Anonymous said...

Or, as the great sage, Fernando Lamas, once said: "It is better to look good than to feel good." As for Mishima, I don't take 100% of the advice of someone who commited suicide at 45 after a failed coup attempt during which he was laughed at by the very sodiers he was trying to inspire to rebel.

Morty

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Morty ~ You may laugh, along with those silly mind-fucked 1960s soldiers, but keep in mind it's the poets and artists who inspire men to action and change the world--not the politicians, bureaucrats, and policy wonks.