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A Darwinian Nightmare about Intellectual Degeneration

Philosopher Yoshiro Takeuchi
and his wife

In response to my request for an interview, Mr. Takeuchi said in effect, "Let's have a preliminary talk to size each other up before possibly discussing the specific questions you have raised."

That is why I took a long trip yesterday to the place he lives. Some of his students were there.

By the end of a long skull session over Emperor Hirohito, his son Akihito, President Obama, A-bombs and democracy, I found out the following two things:

■ his students are pretty intelligent, at least potentially, but most of them, if not all, have difficulty really internalizing these issues, and
■ the philosopher, born in 1924, took part in the war, mainly on the Chinese Continent.

His thoughts about his own experience as a soldier are ambivalent, to say the least. With his admirable candor, he admitted to having had a part in an inexcusable crime. And yet, he believes he did the right thing when he chose not to refuse military service, or simply to desert from the army.

Put it bluntly, this is nothing but a self-deception. But, at the same time, I thought it would go counter to my principle to throw stones at anyone who has had more than enough on the cross, let alone this particular person who has climbed up there on his own. More importantly, I might have done the same thing if I were ten years older.

You cannot rewrite history, or "reset" it as Obama claims to be doing. All that matters, therefore, is how to avoid the same mistakes in the future. To this end we should work on a concrete plan to hunt down the war criminals who are still on the loose as of today until we can nail them to the cross.

This brings me to this question: "Can Takeuchi expect his posterity, including the small number of his students, to undertake this task?" In fact, though, that seems quite unlikely.

Great thinkers in the past, from Plato to Soren Kierkegaard, have said, in one way or the other, that learning is the process of internalizing the known facts. You can break this down into two sentences like this:
■ You can't internalize anything if you know nothing.
■ You learn nothing if you can't internalize what you know.

This is why most Japanese are learning-disabled.

I'll show you some examples below here.

Among other topics I took up with Mr. Takeuchi and his disciples, I asked about their take on the psycho by the name of Kenzo Okuzaki and the swindler by the name of Barack Hussein Obama.

Okuzaki was one of the few soldiers who narrowly survived the bloody battle in New Guinea for an absurd cause of preserving the imperial institution. In 1969 he symbolically "assaulted" the Emperor of the time with a kiddie's slingshot. Although two small "pachinko" balls fell short of hitting the Emperor, he had to serve a 13-year prison term. He could have used a firearm if he had really wanted to kill Hirohito but it was only in 1983 that he used one. He assaulted a son of his former boss with a gun and seriously injured him. At that time he served a shorter (not a typo) prison term. In 2005 Okuzaki died a natural death in a Kobe hospital at the age of 85.

Although most information about Okuzaki's life and death was suppressed here, I learned from a wire report distributed by a Western news agency that Okuzaki kept shouting, "Fuck you!" until he breathed his last breath. This really struck me - much more than if he had kept saying, "Go to hell, Emperor." He was not only cursing at the Emperor but also at the Japanese people at large including himself, who could not think of anything more than using a slingshot at his moment of truth. That's where I feel I have something in common with the psycho.

Knowingly nodding, the students of the Takeuchi School were saying they understood why I always add a qualifier "inner" to what they term "tenno-kyo" (the Emperor Cult.) But I am afraid they didn't. The moment I said that I would claim the life of the Emperor before the Grim Reaper claims mine, they became furious and said in concert that the act of terror won't solve the problem with the Emperor Cult. I don't know myself whether I was just playing devil's advocate as I often do or I really meant it. But at least I do know that we better stop talking about tenno-kyo if we cannot think of a more powerful weapon than a slingshot.

It was evident that they learned nothing from Kenzo Okuzaki because they are unable to internalize the issue.

We also talked about whether we can expect Obama to deliver on his promise to change America. I said, "Not a chance. How can we expect a swindler to do what he has promised to do?" Once again they became furious, saying, "How can you be so sure that he is a swindler and that he can't change things for the better?" At that point I produced from my briefcase Jerome R. Corsi's The Obama Nation - the book my Montana friend Jack Wiegman sent me several months ago. I asked them, "Anyone here read this, or any other book scrutinizing what Obama really is?" All of them shook their heads. Intellectually they are that lazy - so lazy that they take it for granted the media are by and large telling them the truth.

It looks as though they think it makes some sense to fight the Emperor Cult without fighting the media when the latter is an integral part of the former institution.

One that looked like the president of the class said, "No matter what that book says, you shouldn't prejudge his ability. Let's see the outcome." I said, "Are you going to play Monday Morning Quarterbacks once again in 2012 as you did with respect to Harry S. Truman's crime of 1945 and George W. Bush's mistake of 2003? Can't you see that our future all hinges on our learning ability?"

When we got into the issue with Hatoyama's "change," I had to repeat the same thing I had said minutes earlier because their take on the newly-born Hatoyama administration was no different. They kept saying, "Let's see, let's hope." It's almost as though I was attending a special training course for weather forecasters who are left behind by their colleagues.

It now seems to me that their lack of ability to "internalize the known facts" has been taking a prohibitively heavy toll on our future.

This leads to a crucially important questions:

"What is the real cause behind their intellectual laziness, and how can we remove the impediment?"

The answers are as simple as that all it takes to cure the mental disease symptomized by their learning disability which is, in turn, a result of their lack of ability to internalize things is to give them a sense of purpose.

But can we realistically expect the Japanese to acquire a sense of purpose before it is too late?

They have long been complacent with their purposeless lives in the endless chain of the means. Everything has been relativized in this country. They can't tell the purpose of their lives from the means with which to attain it. How can they know to what end they are "using" these technologies of the 21st century, such as the computer and the Internet? Small wonder they don't have the foggiest idea about E-democracy.

The only thing they know for sure is the rule that the less they are concerned about the purpose of life, the more effectively they can swim down the stream of the means. They believe in the Darwinian theory about survival of the fittest and act accordingly.

Apparently we are in an era where the dumbest are becoming the fittest.

Now that I became aware of the nightmarish situation where Mr. Takeuchi is unduly crucified by the serious dilemma and his posterity including these students don't look poised to solve it for him anytime soon, I don't know for sure as of writing this whether I go ahead with the plan to interview the respectable philosopher. If I do, and if he is still willing to comply, we will be focusing solely on this aspect of the questions I have already submitted to him.

Thanks to Mr. Takeuchi's valid suggestion that we should size each other up in advance, we are better prepared now, at least in that respect, for the possible one-on-one meeting.

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[FEATURE] A Darwinian Nightmare about Intellectual Degeneration
Authored by: samwidge on Monday, September 21 2009 @ 05:09 PM JST

As always, you make me think in directions I had not been ready to follow.

And, as always, those new directions diverge from the basic path.

You, like American Liberals, frequently look at politics and history in terms of loosely defined guilt or, occasionally, the lack of guilt. I am not so sure. History seems to be a rock solid thing for which we have no periscope to examine honestly. History seems a thing of hidden causes and hidden purposes. No historian seem capable of knowing all, telling all.

Now I feel guilty for claiming that you do anything like a Liberal yet I would like your views on the value of morality versus the gear-on-gear motion of time and how little we control it.

You and I have similar goals in our discussions. Now I would like you to define for both of us (and anyone else who respects us) what our goals really are. Can we change the world with our urging? Can we predict the world with our complaint? Can we benefit anyone any more than Joe Stalin benefited anyone?
[FEATURE] A Darwinian Nightmare about Intellectual Degeneration
Authored by: Y.Yamamoto on Tuesday, September 22 2009 @ 11:43 AM JST

Dear samwidge,

There are too many questions to answer in one go. Moreover most of them look like answers than questions, whereas some of your answers look like questions. I can't tell which is which. But I'll try,

No, I don't think I look like an American liberal because I'm neither an American nor a liberal. I define myself this way: I am far more liberal than liberals and far more conservative than conservatives.

No, I am not a political pundit. Neither am I a historian or an evangelist. I am a humble blogger always talking about myself, my friends and my foes. I am not interested in faceless people.

Yes, I believe you and I basically share the same goal, as far as the long-term one is concerned. Frankly, I don't know what our short-term goal is. It's something like a moving target. As of today, my goal is to make ends meet this month. I hope that is not the case with you.

No, it's quite unlikely we can change the world. But don't be worried, Obama will change the world for us.

No, currently my crystal ball is broken. But this doesn't constitute any problem because I don't make my living on prediction business. I pity those professional prophets because they always fret about whether their prophecies will really come true, if in no event they will refund the royalty income.

Yes, I think some of my friends and kin are benefiting from me in one way or the other, if not through my blog. I know you are by far outperforming me in this respect, but it can't be helped.

Did I answer all the questions?

Yu Yamamoto
[FEATURE] A Darwinian Nightmare about Intellectual Degeneration
Authored by: samwidge on Tuesday, September 22 2009 @ 01:21 PM JST
In a sense you have answered the questions and, in a sense, you have failed to answer them but replaced them with more interesting questions.

Either way, it is the right thing to do.

Either way, you and I will continue to attack these questions, hoping to be of benefit to others.