Comments on the August 2003 MythLetter

Who was Joseph Campbell? What is a myth? What does "Follow Your Bliss" mean? If you are new to the work of Joseph Campbell, this forum is a good place to start.

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Calaf
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Post by Calaf » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

If all readers of this are associates, they will surely have read the August MythLetter. I'd like to point out one of my interesting early observations (just to see if anyone agrees with me). It discusses the "life of play" as "making artwork." I just thought this was an interesting parallell to Nietszche, who told us all to make our lives into works of art. Are the Japanese living up (or were they, pre-electronic revolution) to the Nietzschea standard? It seems that they do, although there highly adherent society seems to be opposite of Nietszche's radical ideas. What, exactly, distinguishes their "life as play" from Nietzche's "life as sculpture?"
"Dharma is the best thing for people, both in this life and in the next."<br>-The Buddha, from the Agganna Sutra
S.N.Other
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Post by S.N.Other » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am



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Lizpete
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Post by Lizpete » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I believe it was MacArthur who said the Japanese were like children... Perhaps now this can be seen as outdated. (Perhaps even the pot calling the kettle black.)

The Japanese people have a strong mythical and legendary tradition. It might be better to look at that/those thing(s) than what they have copied from the west.

As a post script: Godzilla, I believe, supposedly rose from the ashes of the American atomic bombs... Just a thought...

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Lizpete on 2004-08-26 11:28 ]</font>
S.N.Other
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Post by S.N.Other » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am



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aecleo
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Post by aecleo » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I've lived in Japan for the past two years, and I know that I can only see the surface of the culture. This is what I know:

1. Japanese do not express MUCH of what they think or feel.

2. When you ask a Japanese woman what she likes to do, you often get answers such as "watch Disney movies."

3. If you discuss deeper topics, such as Campbell, you might be told that thinking too much is bad for you.

4. There is a vast difference between traditional Japanese culture (wabi sabi, bushido, etc.) and modern culture.

5. Japanese work culture is based on hours, not work. For example, it is proper for an employee to arrive before and leave after his/her boss. So, young people work very long hours (without overtime pay, usually) and have no time to have a life.

6. Trains at night are full of drunk men still wearing their suits.

7. Physical and emotional abuse are prevalent here. (See #1)

8. Appearance is VERY important.

9. Not conforming leads to stares, rude comments that people think you can't understand, discrimination, and belief that you must be mentally ill or something. Quote from Metropolis November 5, 2004 issue (page 58): "Japan remains the only country without any form of law against racial discrimination."

Wow...a lot of this sounds negative. The truth is that living in Japan has so much mythological symbolism. And I think that The Last Samurai has hit the nail on the head, surprisingly! There is tension between the old and the new, and the Japanese are waging a war between them. Because of the traditional emphasis on perfectionism, which is exquisite, people have to be everything to everyone. Today, I tried to find any Campbell book in Japanese for a refreshingly non-conformist friend, but they are all out of print. But, with the emphasis on conformity, is it surprising?

I don't want to sound negative about Japan. The truth is that every country I have experienced has about the same ratio of irritating factors (yes, America, too!). And, the traditional culture of Japan speaks to my soul. But, I can't live in this cement jungle any more, because the modern aspects of Japan are eroding my spirit.

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