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Pursuit of sadness

 
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"The most influential of the kokugakushu was Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801), a literary and linguistic scholar. He invented the crucial concept of mono no aware to define the essential of Japanese and Japanese culture. The phrase, derived from aware , which, in Heian Japan meant something like "sensitivity" or "sadness", means "a sensitivity to things." Motoori wanted to show that the unique character of Japanese culture (and he considered Japanese culture to be the "head" of the world; other nations were the "body") was the capacity to experience the objective world in a direct and unmediated fashion, to understand sympathetically the objects and the natural world around one without resorting to language or other mediators. The Japanese could understand the world directly in identifying themselves with that world; in addition, the Japanese could use language to directly express that connection to the world. This, for Motoori, is the aesthetic which lies behind the poetry of the Manyoshu. The poetic and historical texts present the "whole of life," which has meaning because all of nature and life is animated by the "intentions" of the gods. People experienced this wholeness of life by encountering things (mono); these encounters "moved" or "touched" them ("aware")—hence the unique Japanese character: "sensitivity to things" (mono no aware). This concept became the central aesthetic concept in Japan even into the modern period."
Link.

"Perhaps the most crucial piece of cultural vocabulary to come out of this period is aware, which was originally an expression of surprise, somewhat like "Oh my!" in English. When it is used in the Heian, it means "sensitivity," and in particular, sensitivity to the sadness of impermanence. The Manyoshu poets use the term whenever they talk about the songs of birds or the falling of leaves, which evokes in the poet an abiding sense of the sadness of the world. It is this sadness at impermanence that pervades the battle scenes in the Battle at Mikusa from the Heike monogatari. In a wider sense, aware is used to describe any deep emotion evoked by some external object."
Link.
"In his popular novel, Musashi, the story of Japan’s best-known swordsman, Yoshikawa Eiji writes describes mono no aware from the warrior’s perspective:
"In the case of the samurai there is such a thing as an appreciation of the poignancy of things… a real samurai, a genuine swordsman has a compassionate heart, he understands the poignancy of life."
One of the reasons for my strong interest in Japanese literature and aesthetics is this acceptance of sadness as an essential ingredient of life. And (perhaps mistakenly) I’ve always regarded Jefferson’s assertion that the pursuit of Happiness is an unalienable Right as a kind of denial of the rightful place of sadness in human experience—that in pursuing happiness we are simultaneously fleeing sadness."
Link.
This is the most anti-American post I've ever made!
[ September 19, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
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Nah. Just another misguided web log, Map. Of course, given your basic attitude, I guess the pursuit of sadness has some intrinsic appeal. But I'm not too worried about it. I don't think you're going to get a lot of adherents to your "sadness is good" cult. The Republic is safe.
But hey, if it works, maybe we can start a "Pluck Out Your Eyes And Celebrate Blindness" festival sometime soon!
Joe
 
Mapraputa Is
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What is my "basic attitude", Joe? Perhaps "This is the most anti-American post" line confused you. I was being ironical. Just liked "sensitivity to things" expression. Ok, I'll be more careful in the future... You still do not like the expression?
 
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I think sometimes (or oftentimes) it is ok to just disagree. The reasoning behind the disagreement is almost trivial.
Feel free to disagree with that
 
Joe Pluta
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What is my "basic attitude", Joe?
Morose. Sad. Given to complaining. Never happy with things. Always looking for something bad. "Waiting for the other shoe to drop". "The glass is half-empty".
Joe
 
Mapraputa Is
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You are kidding, right?
You need to live in Russia to realize how insanely optimistic I am.
[ September 20, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Joe Pluta
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Map, you're not in Russia.
Joe
 
Mapraputa Is
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Joe!
After you once watched Things That Never Been Supposed To Happen, you do not believe in Fair Tales any more. Their cozy magic just doesn't work.
Whatever place you choose for your temporary residence.
And I really hate to remind you, but we all are temporary residents on this Planet
 
Joe Pluta
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It's this attitude that I find distasteful. You seem to think that because of your experience, that makes you more perceptive than I am. You think that I believe in "fairy tales". Since you have no idea what I've experienced in my life, that's a very arrogant assumption.
You actually think you're a better judge of the world than I am, while I simply think you're a meaner one. I'm sad for you.
Joe
 
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Originally posted by Joe Pluta:

You actually think you're a better judge of the world than I am, while I simply think you're a meaner one. I'm sad for you.
Joe


As a matter of fact she thinks she is always right with the help of her side kick eugene (no disrespect eugene)
 
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As a matter of fact she thinks she is always right with the help of her side kick eugene (no disrespect eugene)
Map and I actually disagree on many issues (social, political, and economical). I doesn't stop the mutual respect, though, -- after all, we both are in America now, where plurality of opinions is a virtue.
 
Mapraputa Is
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I'm sad for you.
What? You can be sad, Joe? Then why do you refuse me this right?
But anyway, I was pissed off by your "Map, you're not in Russia". What it means -- that I cannot be myself? When does one stop to be a Russian -- when he cross the board? When he gets citizenship?
Sorry for "fairy tales" remark, you're right, it was in bad taste.
EK: after all, we both are in America now, where plurality of opinions is a virtue.
Thanks for reassuring, Eugene.
By the way, Joe, you don't think that your "Just another misguided web log" remark was kinda arrogant too?
[ September 20, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Joe Pluta
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You can be sad? Then why do you refuse me this right?
Map, there wasn't a word in my post saying that you couldn't do anything. I was quite clear, and so were you. You insist on a right to be sad, so be my guest. I even said, "Have a nice day unless you have other plans."
MI: You need to live in Russia to realize how insanely optimistic I am.
JP: Map, you're not in Russia anymore.
MI: I was pissed off by your "Map, you're not in Russia". What it means -- that I cannot be myself?
No, just that your Russian experiences are no more or less valuable here than anybody else's experiences. To me, it seems that you think your experiences in Russia are so much more painful than ours here in the US, and that because of them your perception is so much clearer. That's just not the case, Map.
I won't bore you with the details of my life, but I guarantee that there is mayhem and misery and murder and madness. And that's just my immediate family . I lost the person I was closest to in an act of senseless violence, and I probably never fully recovered. So I don't believe in fairy tales. But I do believe in miracles, because if I can make it through relatively unscathed (and that of course is a matter of opinion ), then so can anyone.
Map, you have your experiences, and they qualify you to be the person that you are today. But they are your past, and that is the only place they own. The past has no control over who you are going to be in the future. The future is what you make of it, and a large part of that is based on your attitude. And yours, to me, is a sad one. I am not judging, just saying that your outlook helps determine your destiny.
And anybody who wishes to argue predeterminism and an unfeeling clockwork universe can stick that argument in their own personal black hole for all the response they'll get from me .
Joe
 
Joe Pluta
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"Just another misguided web log" remark was kinda arrogant too?
Nope. I wasn't saying anything about you, was I? We've had this conversation before: anytime you bring in something third party, it's outside the normal rules of conversation because there's no way to back it up, verify it, or know what the writer was thinking. So any opinions are simply on that piece of writing, not even on the writer, and in my opinion, it's misguided to think that there is any need for a "pursuit of sadness".
Go to a pediatric oncology unit and try to tell those parents that sadness is something we need to pursue. It's tripe to fill another page of a web log, is all.
In my opinion.
Joe
 
Mapraputa Is
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No, just that your Russian experiences are no more or less valuable here than anybody else's experiences. To me, it seems that you think your experiences in Russia are so much more painful than ours here in the US, and that because of them your perception is so much clearer. That's just not the case, Map.
My experiences in Russia weren't too painful, or if they were, it's nothing but personal, just like yours. What I was talking about is a collective experience. I was perplexed by the phrase "America will never be the same" after 9/11 atrocity. There was a collective illusion that "this can never happen", no? A part of shock was a pain of broken illusion.
I probably understand your reaction better now. Pessimism is a luxury, I agree with you on this. I still disagree with your "misguided web log" sentence, "pursuit of sadness" is just a catch phrase, I think. "Acceptance of sadness as an essential ingredient of life" isn't an apology of pessimism, and it doesn't preclude an optimistic life view.
 
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this pursuing sadness appears to me like a somewhat aristocratic thing.
Was it allowed to anybody to connect to higher cosmic truth through inner experience of sadness of world?
I think not.
If a rice farmer adopted this style of attitude he would end up in serious trouble, I guess.

Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
[b]Pessimism is a luxury, I agree with you on this.


Map agrees on this, I saw later. Sometimes its a real pleassure to read MD. Joe's a natural MD talent. Second behind Map.
You don't have to go through internal translation process like me, but how the hell do you find time for so much posting.
[ September 20, 2003: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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Axel: but how the hell do you find time for so much posting.
I do not watch TV
 
John Smith
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Map to Joe: You can be sad? Then why do you refuse me this right?
It's unconstitutional to pursue sadness. You are endowed by your Creator with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This makes euthanasia, slavery, and persuit of sadness illegal in this country.
--------------------------------------
"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun" -- Ecclesiastes 1:9.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Speaking about cultural differences, here is something you might be interested in, Joe.
"Both grust' and pecal' are common, everyday words in Russian (unlike, for example, melancholy in English). In fact, they are both much more common in Russian speech than sadness is in English. Toska, glossed sometimes as "sadness", also has an extremely high frequency in Russian speech (cf. Wierzbicka 1992a)."
"Although figures that can be found in frequency dictionaries are only broadly indicative (if only because they differ from one frequency dictionary to another) the differences between the Russian and the English data are, nonetheless, too marked to be ignored. At the very least they show that neither petal' nor grust' is marginal in Russian speech, the way melancholy is marginal in English. They also show that Russian has three common everyday words (or families of words) in the domain in which English has only one."
"... grust' differs from sadness in implying (prototypically at least) a short term feeling and not necessarily a "bad one" (boldness mine - Map).
http://radio.weblogs.com/0124722/stories/2003/06/21/fromWierzbicka.html
---------------
"After reading this I feel the disgust to stick just my head in the sand, the outrage to stand up and do something, and the dispair that neither are likely to do any good."
Someone on K5 site.
 
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Map,
are you accidentally talking about your feelings with autumn rising?
I know some sort of "sweet melancholy" in this season myself. It's not depressive, rather a sense for nature, a light fever, sort of targetless amorousness... i think it's an archaic signal from deep in the genes to get
house, darling and supply assured to make it over the winter.
This is for climatic reason surely more distinctive in russia and may start earlier than elsewehre.
Btw. "russian soul" is a phrase in Germany for russian mentality. I understand it as companionable melancholy
cb
[ September 20, 2003: Message edited by: Chris Baron ]
 
Chris Baron
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unable to edit posts
[ September 20, 2003: Message edited by: Chris Baron ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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Chris: Map,
are you accidentally talking about your feelings with autumn rising?

If you are asking about my first post, then not really. I found it interesting how different nations perceive the world. Besides other differences, they have a different "spectrum" of emotions, some emotions are more frequent and "typical", some less. That's what attracted me in these posts about Japanese culture.
But autumn is my favorite season, or should I say it used to be. Seasons are so vague and almost non-existent here, that I do not feel time moving at all, it's like time stopped. Did I like autumn because of it's "sadness"? Not sure... Just felt being most "myself" if this expression is allowed in this venerable forum. After all summer's craziness and laxity, before winter's stupor and depression, followed by spring's aimless hopes, autumn is the most mature and balanced season, when you are neither too optimistic in your dreams, nor too depressed, well, can I leave a sentence unfinished once in a while, can I, can I, can I?
 
Mapraputa Is
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And speaking about unfinished sentences! Here is yet another third-party quote to drive Joe crazy:
"Wabi-sabi is the quintessential Japanese aesthetic. It is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional...
Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers ISBN 1880656124
XP has the following wabi sabi properties:
  • intuitive worldview (i.e. no BigDesignUpFront)
  • imperfection (i.e. most releases will not implement every UserStory. As far as I can tell, XP doesn't even have the notion of a "perfect" release, just one of many iterations.)
  • artifacts are one-of-a kind (i.e. TheSourceCodeIsTheDesign, not UML roundtrip code gen)
  • present-oriented rather than future-oriented (i.e. DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork)
  • organic (refactoring, IterationPlan)

  • http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WabiSabi
     
    Mapraputa Is
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    Which brings us to the next important question. Why does Map post third-party-quotes all the time?
    Here is why, expressed in third-party-quotes, naturally.
    "My conception of java.net was influenced by the book The Rise of the Creative Class, by Richard Florida. In it, he talks about what makes a city a center of innovation and creativity. In essence, it's a place diverse with people engaged in creative activities and imbued with tolerance for that diversity:
    "Creative people ... cluster in places that are centers of creativity and also where they like to live. From classical Athens and Rome, to the Florence of the Medici and Elizabethan London, to Greenwich Village and the San Francisco Bay Area, creativity has always gravitated to specific locations. As the great urbanist Jane Jacobs pointed out a long time ago, successful places are multidimensional and diverse -- they don't just cater to a single industry or a single demographic group; they are full of stimulation and creative interplay. -- The Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida
    The poet Richard Hugo, talking about how poets go about writing poems, suggests that the key to poetic creativity is a thing he calls a trigger, a stimulus from the outside that, when combined with other triggers and a person's own knowledge and background, produces new material. Another way to look at it is that a person surrounded by a diversity of triggers will be highly creative."
    Richard Gabriel
    http://today.java.net/lpt/a/3
    That's what I am trying to do. To provide a diversity of triggers that will hopefully spur good discussions between a wonderful community of deep thinkers of various backgrounds this forum is blessed to attract.
    And Joe, you are being just a little too defensive.
     
    Joe Pluta
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    And Joe, you are being just a little too defensive.
    Hey! Stop picking on me! I haven't said anything defensive (or offensive) for nearly 24 hours!

    Joe
     
    Axel Janssen
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    Originally posted by Chris Baron:

    [...]autumn rising?


    Chris, you live under earth
    Its 30 celsius outside this weekend.
    [ September 21, 2003: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
     
    Axel Janssen
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    Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
    [b]
    I do not watch TV


    When I was younger I was like you, but in meantime I had become wiser.
    There is no greater pleasure but to skim through book or magazine while having some decent football match like that North Korea vs. Nigeria of women world cup yesterday.
    And... TV probably had saved the souls of countless external consultants/programmers being in hotel room for 4 straight nights.
    [ September 21, 2003: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
     
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    Can sadness be considered as entertainment? I think so. We cry when we see tragic scenes on screen , certain books leaves us teary-eyed and we listen to sad songs. Old Indian movies contained many sad songs, we actually call them melodious music. Unable to sleep or plain tiredness, just listening to these songs puts one in a relaxed state of mind. Relaxation in melancholy? We don't stop reading the book even if it makes us cry. Sometimes the pain that we feel in theatre can be so intense and it lingers for quite some time. Even though we know its only a book or a film, a work of fiction, the pain and sadness felt feels so real. Is this pursuit of sadness?
     
    Mapraputa Is
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    Joe: "Waiting for the other shoe to drop".
    Here is my virtual Temple of Sorrow!
     
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    "I used to think that life was unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse, if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."
    - Marcus to Franklin, "A Late Delivery From Avalon" (J. Michael Straczynski, writer)

     
    Mapraputa Is
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    Thanks for joining my Temple of Sorrow, Jim. Recently I had to expel the Russian nation as a collective member. I was reading memoirs of a Russian officer during Chechen war, and he said that according to the folk wisdom, one can squeeze 33 drops of vodka from every bottle. Now, the nation so optimistic has no place in my Temple.
     
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