The Deluge of Manga: Is this my hallucination, or a conspiracy by bad guys?

Sunday, December 02 2012 @ 01:14 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.
- Henri Bergson (1859-1941)




Simply, neither is the case here.

"Deluge" is the only word I can think of to describe the overwhelming flood of Manga in this country. In 2011, 968 million copies of comic books and magazines were read by the Japanese, from prime ministers to corporate executives, to yakuza gangsters, to the homeless. But this is only part of it. On TV and the Internet, and in movie theaters, they saw another myriad of animated Manga called Anime.

Besides, they often read supposedly serious books as a high-end alternative to Manga. George Orwell's Ninety Eighty-Four, for one, has deeply resonated with Japanese Manga lovers, although it hasn't been published in the Manga format thus far.

You may not believe, but remember Manga is a visual, or audiovisual aid that allows its readers to escape from reality. To these defeatist-minded, change-phobic people, it doesn't matter whether the story is about a utopia or a dystopia. How sweet it must be to imagine we are all doomed. For sure, it's as irresistible as fantasizing about yourself surrounded by cuties all in the nude.

This makes comic books and magazines the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

And if you think some cabal is hatching a plot to lull the Japanese people into a fantasy world, you are caught in a delusion, too. No matter how far the process of degeneration has progressed in this country, the Japanese still remain human beings, though they've come very close to apes now. They could have thwarted the "conspiracy" if they hadn't chosen on their own to go for Manga as a harmless substitute for the object of their innate imagination.

In other words, it's none other than themselves who wanted to escape from reality. Jean-Paul Sartre called this behavior Mauvaise foi (self-deception.)

This makes you think that although it's too late for the Japanese to stem the torrent, the American people can still reverse the process of their Japanization if they somehow find a way to overcome their deep-seated change-phobia.

In this respect, well-educated Americans may not necessarily lead the way. They tend to distance themselves from the influence of the Manga-immersed Japanese culture so as not to look vulgar. But it's a futile attempt. These people can convert to Manga addicts on the slightest cue because they are unaware that the problem lies with people, not in Manga itself.

French philosopher Henri Bergson observed that intuition and imagination play the pivotal role in our developmental process. For a certain period of time in my childhood, I was also hooked on Manga. And I think Manga helped nurture my creativity. But if you become addicted to it, as the Japanese all did, it's inevitable that delusion takes the place of an unstunted imagination.

Traditionally, in the U.S., and the U.K. to a lesser degree, there are lots of criticisms against Bergson's theory. An unnamed person on this website argues: "Bergson seldom offers proof or logical procedure to substantiate his statements. He asserts; he does not deduce his ideas from verifiable facts. .... Such intellectual pursuits appeal to metaphysical 'concepts' that by their very nature lie beyond the possibility of verification. .... Consequently, as is the case with so much philosophical jargon, such claims as Bergson's are epistemic nonsense." This is a typical argument based on the simplistic positivism and empiricism particular to Anglo-Saxons.

These guys are all mistaken simply because they forget that Bergson single-mindedly sought an answer to Zeno's proposition about a motionless, frozen world.

I will never accept the American version of Zeno's paradoxes, which I'm inclined to call "Imperial Determinism," because it is solely meant to preserve the status quo of Pax Americana. It provides a plausible alibi for the American people who keep playing dumb about their inability to stop their colonialist government from pursuing its "morally obscene and financially unsustainable" (Chalmers Johnson) interventionist policy.

Actually, there are more level-headed people who have been challenging the paradoxes from the mathematics or physics point of view. But we Asians don't want to become mathematicians or physicians so we could come up with an actionable plan to overcome all these difficulties brought in this region by the worst rogue country in history named America.

After all, the answer given by Diogenes the Cynic (412-323 BC) is the most straightforward and convincing. When asked about his take on Zeno's arguments, Diogenes just stood up without saying a word, and walked, in order to demonstrate the falsity of Zeno's conclusions.

Zoren Kierkegaard expressed a similar thought when he wrote in his diary: "It is quite true what philosophy says: that life must be understood backwards. But that makes one forget the other saying: that it must be lived forwards."

It's always we people that choose between the two options: step out of Zeno's prison, which we have fenced ourselves in, by fully unleashing our imagination and creative thinking, or untiringly cite dozens of theories or assorted historical facts as the reason for our inaction.

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