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Old 04-30-2017, 02:07 PM   #17
Erick Mead
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 28 (Part One)

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
The study of Barfield and Williams in literature needs to be complemented by the study of J L Austin, for example, who was teaching philosophy at Oxford when Wittgenstein was teaching philosophy at Cambridge.

Japan does not have a similar intellectual tradition and so the study of kotodama, for example, has to be approached through literature, mythology, and especially Japanese religion, including Shingon Budhism and Shinto, with offshoots of both in a 'new' religion like Omoto.
Japanese native sensibility drove their sense of experiential perception and expression to a high pitch. So high in fact, that overt expressions are often so highly minced as to be incomprehensible for anyone not having the same touch with context. Their organizational arts reflect this, no less than their other arts.

In both poetry, and in psychological fiction (Tale of Genji) they have shown this sensibility classically, but also in ways difficult to translate into modern terms. Much of Japanese recent excellence (and less excellent) have devoted themselves to this effort at reconciliation. Mishima and Kawabata, no less than Ueshiba, did this -- though each in their own and very different ways -- and with differently problematic results.

It strikes me that Levinas and other notables (including Pope St. John Paul II) who developed phenomenology strove toward some of the same ground from a Western perspective but in a lately developed and in a (perhaps) unduly intellectualized framework. Glimmerings lie in Nicholas of Cusa whose efforts toward a suprarational mode of understanding divine wisdom has elements of this. John Paul himself emphasized that in his works on Cusanus. His Theology of the Body may be read in this way, bridging the concrete and the ideal -- the is and the ought -- body and spirit.

In their century and a half struggle with modernity Japanese have tried communicate more fully their profound cultural work into a modern mode without loss of its essentials. I ascribe the fervent and fertile soil for various "new religion" movements in Japan to this basic intuitive drive to make the crossing of that gulf. They have succeeded beyond all bounds in the tatemae/soto/omote elements of modernity, and yet still seem to struggle at many levels with bringing forth the honne/uchi/ura aspects that inform the real meaning and depth of their own experience.

Westerners (FWIW) seem to have a somewhat inverse problem. We far too easily assume that what you see is what you get. We often deny hidden context that is no less real for our (often willfully blind) denials of it. It is often controlling of so many plans and outcomes that we feel ought to be predictive and predictable, but yet somehow mysteriously go wrong when the plan does not go as "everyone" assumed.


Erick Mead
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