Tuesday :: Jun 1, 2004

The Way of the Storier

by pessimist

I love good satire, especially when the object of the satirical portrayal so richly deserves lampooning!

Over at The New Yorker, Evan Eisenberg was inspired to adapt the Samurai Bushido, literally translated as the "Way of the Warrior," into:


I give you a sampling, [followed by counterpoints from the real Bushido].

Knowledge is not important. The armchair warrior strives to attain a state beyond knowledge, a state of deep, non-knowing connection to the universe: in particular, to that portion of the universe which is rich, powerful, or related to him by blood.

[These things cannot be explained in detail. From one thing, know ten thousand things. When you attain the Way of strategy there will not be one thing you cannot see. You must study hard. If you do not look at things on a large scale it will be difficult for you to master strategy.
- From The Ground Book of Manimoto Mushi]

The armchair warrior feels in his hara, or gut, what ought to be done. He is like a warhorse that races into battle, pulling behind him the chariot of logic and evidence. When the people see the magnificent heedlessness of his charge, they cannot help but be carried along.

[Yamaga Soko (1622-85) equated the samurai with the Confucian "superior man" and taught that his essential function was to exemplify virtue to the lower classes.
- From What is Bushido?]

[Bushido holds justice, benevolence, love, sincerity, honesty, and self-control in utmost respect. Justice is one of the main factors in the code of the samurai. Crooked ways and unjust actions are thought to be lowly and inhumane. Love and benevolence were supreme virtues and princely acts. Samurai followed a specific etiquette in every day life as well as in war. Sincerity and honesty were as valued as their lives. Bushi no ichi-gon, or "the word of a samurai," transcends a pact of complete faithfulness and trust.
- from Bushido]

The armchair warrior does not fear death, especially not the death of other people.

[A samurai would rather kill himself than bring shame and disgrace to his family name and his lord. This was considered an act of true honor.

[The samurai do not fear death because they believe as Buddhism teaches, after death one will be reincarnated and may live another life here on earth. The samurai are warriors from the time they become samurai until their death; they have no fear of danger. - From Bushido]

Luxury is the enemy of Bushido. It saps the strength of the people and makes them weak and complacent. Therefore, the armchair warrior strives to take wealth away from the poor and the middle classes and give it to the wealthy, who are already so weakened that they are beyond help.

[There are two things that will blemish a retainer, and these are riches
and honor [status]. If one but remains in strained circumstances, he will not be marred.

- From Hagkure - A Samurai Manual, Chapter 1]

The unenlightened believe it to be the height of felicity to have no enemies. The armchair warrior knows, however, that only a steady supply of enemies can assure him the loyalty of his friends. When so-called wise men warn him that in rashly slaughtering his enemies he is merely manufacturing more of them, he smiles.

[Meeting with people should be a matter of quickly grasping their temperament and reacting appropriately to this person and that. Especially with an extremely argumentative person, after yielding considerably one should argue him down with superior logic, but without sounding harsh, and in a fashion that will allow no resentment to be left afterwards.
- From Hagkure A Samurai Manual, Chapter 2]

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pessimist :: 5:19 PM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!