I'M IMMORTAL - for better or for worse
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
OUR GOAL IS TO MAKE YOU STOP TO THINK, AS WE ALWAYS PRACTICE HERE, RATHER THAN STOP THINKING. BEWARE NO ONE CAN DO THE THINKING ON YOUR BEHALF.
[People would ask me,] "Haven't you ever felt that you had to be quick, quick, quick, that time was short? Do you think you're immortal?" I would answer ..... "That's it, I think I'm immortal." .... I had killed myself in advance because only the deceased enjoy immortality. I had taken precautions against accidental death, that was all.
- From Les Mots (The Words) by Jean-Paul Sartre (English translation by Bernard Frechtman)
You always say there's no point in discussing the life-and-death issue. Some of you even think it's tasteless to touch on it, especially in public, because it's purely a personal matter like urination. But why then can't you just shut up, or stop thinking aloud, in the face of the demise of your friend or relative, or when your doctor diagnosed you with a life-threatening illness as if your thought or experience isn't worth sharing?
In my humble opinion, as long as you show vital signs, however weak they might be, you can't avoid talking about it because life can be looked at only in the light of death, just like death can be dealt with only from the perspective of life.
The un-PC part of the IQ scale
Seven years ago I bought the permanent
leasehold for a secular burial site on a
hilltop in Gunma Prefecture
When I was young, I took many achievement tests and some aptitude tests. But I've never had my intelligence quotient measured in my lifetime. So I can't tell exactly, but it's quite evident from the results of the tests I've taken, my IQ was below 100. That means now I am a moron, at best, with my intelligence further deteriorating as I grew old.
For most of my lifetime I've had to study perhaps 10-times harder than you smart guys to overcome my intellectual impairment. To that end I've read 10-times as many books as you've read, including literature on specific areas of expertise such as business administration and the computer.
Not that I've loved reading. I was, and still remain, an extremely lazy person, Even worse, I've been afflicted with serious attention deficit disorder. This has made it impossible for me to become a real bookworm in my lifetime.
As a result, my way of reading books had to be very different from yours, and still remains so today,
I often skipped a paragraph or two every time I turned a page, or sometimes skipped a page or two every time I moved on to the next chapter. Whenever I did so, I filled in the gap with my own imagination, and claimed at the end that I read it.
I'm almost inclined to say this is the most creative way of reading books. Now as a blogger, I normally assume very few people read my post word for word. And perhaps this is why I boldify, italicize, and underline so many words.
In schools I seldom resorted to cheating simply because I was still a chickenhearted boy. But after starting to work, I grew bold. Cheating was sometimes inevitable for the survival of a dull-witted youth like me.
For a six-month period from October 1963, I was attending "IBM Sales School" as a trainee. There were five phases in our course and at the end of each phase we had to take a test on computer programming by COBOL, FORTRAN and Assembler. And we were told if we failed in a test, that's it, we would be fired right away,
I still remember sneaking, with some fellow trainees, into the training center located in downtown Tokyo to steal the question sheet for the test scheduled for the next morning, after killing time until midnight at a nearby coffee shop. In those days, security wasn't as tight as it is today even in a technology company. Not a single surveillance camera was in place. The only thing thieves like us had to do was to show the old night guard the ID cards, whether or not they were counterfeit. And the drawers of the instructor's desk remained unlocked.
In short I was the worst type of student who had great difficulty swallowing, let alone digesting, any idea taught second-hand by the teacher. As a matter of fact I failed in practically all entrance exams I took at the ages of 6, 12, 15, 18, 19 and 23.
The test I took when applying for a position at Japan's subsidiary of IBM at the age of 27 was the first one I passed on my own. I think it was just a fluke that I was one of the 2-dozen guys who passed the screening exam and the subsequent interview from among the capacity crowd of applicants packing the huge auditorium of Tokyo's Sophia University.
But when it came to learning through real-life experience, the intellectually-impaired man, that I was, looked like a caught fish returned to the water. After serving out a sentence of 16-years in classroom which was torturing to say the least. or boring at best, I was far better motivated because now I could set my own goal and decide how to pursue it all by myself. This way I got everything given to me and some things prohibited to me.
This is not to say, however, that I seldom made mistakes. On the contrary, I made a lot of them, though they were mostly "smart mistakes," because it's as hard as forecasting the course and velocity of a typhoon to predict what action or reaction to expect from an unprincipled pseudo-Christian, pseudo-Buddhist or fake atheist. The behavior of those who can't think using their own brains is always predictably unpredictable.
Seven years ago I purchased the "inalienable permanent leasehold" on a secular burial site for my deceased parents at the top of a hill in Gunma Prefecture. If I include the transportation cost for the urns containing ashes of my parents from a "Buddhist" temple in Tokyo, and other related expenses, it cost me more than a fortune.
From the beginning I'd had no intention to have my ashes buried there alongside my parents'. But I simply assumed my sons, together with their wives and children, would join their paternal grandparents according to the Japanese tradition. But now it seems they don't know, themselves, where to have their ashes buried. That would be OK with me unless their plan was to vegetate for an indefinite period of time. Actually there are signs that they assume they are immortal.
When I found out my investment in the hilltop grave turned out to be a total waste of time and money, I virtually disowned them. I wasn't a parent who was particularly demanding of his children. At any point in their formative years I didn't try to mold them in any way as my father had tried on me. I just wanted to prevent them from being molded by Soka Gakkai or any other cult because I knew they wouldn't grow into a mature men if their spontaneity, which is the only enabler of creative attitude toward life, was nipped in the bud.
My way of letting them know they were now disowned was to tell them they should never look for my corpse, and they should refuse to comply if and when the police bring it along and order them to incinerate it and bury the ashes in a designated place. It's not really likely these law-abiding guys will adhere to my wish, but I don't really care how they will act when I vanish. That won't make a bit of difference to the dead one.
For better or for worse, this is how I became what I am. For all these years of ups and downs with two divorces and disownment of two prematurely grown-up sons in between, I've learned and relearned from my real-life experience how to find the stream of the Styx on my map.
Despite all these mistakes, now I know creativity is everything that really counts either in business or personal life. It's your creative mind that keeps you on this side of the stream. The moment you lose it, you'll be on the other shore.
However, it's an unfounded belief that the Styx is always a river of no return. You sometimes come back from there, if only to cross it again for good at a later point in time. This is why some of you sometimes feel death is at the very core of life. Death and life, therefore, are inclusive of each other, and the former doesn't give a meaning to the latter, or vice versa.
In short, life isn't the prelude to the glory of death and death isn't the grand finale of life filled with much ado about nothing.
To be more specific about creative mind, nothing creates it; it creates itself when innate spontaneity and acquired discipline meet in a person. Actually it actualizes itself in two steps. At first it dissociates itself from the established link, and then gets re-associated to create a new link.
This should also mean that like tango, it takes two or more to be creative. A potentially creative idea becomes actually creative only when it's shared with someone else. I know an uncreative person will never understand this, even when his IQ is on the high side. He is so much in love with himself that he constantly mistakes an absurd illusion in his head for something of real value.
In the same book from which I've quoted a passage at the top of this post, my philosophy teacher also wrote since his father died when he was 2-years-old, he "had no Superego" and that made it relatively easy for him to commit a symbolic, or simulated, suicide to "become completely posthumous."
He added: if his father had lived longer, "he would have lain on me at full length and would have crushed me." But actually, thanks to his father's short-lived life, "I, the dead one, did not love myself."
Fortunately or unfortunately, I didn't have to kill myself in advance. My father lived much longer, and taught his poorly gifted offspring to learn things in the most painstaking and ineffective way. But the result was no different: I ceased to love myself when I was still a child. This saved me from becoming one of those self-important narcissists or self-deprecating eunuchs I see everywhere these days.
When I retired at the age of 70, I took another big decision of life: I decided to opt out of Japan's medical cartel, which is formed by doctors, medical schools, pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment manufacturers, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the media and the 127-million gullible people. I opted out of it, totally and for good, because essentially it's an integral part of what the late Chalmers Johnson called Japan-particular "cartels of the mind."
Now I know death is always a solo business. I'm getting more or less prepared for an unaccompanied, undisturbed, solitary death.
In the last paragraphs of my favorite whodunit Playback written by Raymond Chandler, the private dick receives a long-distance call from Paris. In the middle of the conversation with the lady calling from France, the line suddenly goes dead. And soon afterward the lawyer who has hired him for a criminal case calls him.
"His voice rose to a sharp crackle. 'I demand a full report from you at once. Otherwise I'll see that you get bounced off your license.' 'I have a suggestion for you, Mr. Umney. Why don't you go kiss a duck?' There were sounds of strangled fury as I hung up on him. Almost immediately the telephone started to ring again. I hardly heard it. The air was full of music."
My final death will be just yet another moment I've experienced time and again in my 78-year life. Because I know very well there is absolutely nothing new in it, except it's final, I'm sure I won't find it worth sharing with anyone.
But until the day before the last, my telephone will keep ringing because these un-assimilated young Japanese ladies want me to re-experience the creative moments we shared amid this pandemic of premature senility and juvenile dementia.
Recently one of the regulars of my website warned me that I'd gone too far with this "hair-splitting" discussion, and I should get back to my "core competence of showing us how to avoid criminals in office and media."
I didn't suggest he go kiss a duck. But once again I was surprised to know Americans don't understand there's no such thing as a political issue, or a media issue. What's really at issue is always their own brains which can be seriously afflicted with the refractory mental illness.
It's none of my business. Yet I'm afraid your telephone will also be ringing every couple of weeks until I fall into my big sleep. There are some more things I want to share with you about this hair-splitting life-and-death topic - unless you explicitly unsubscribe from me in time, that is.
I have already talked a lot about Rupert Sheldrake's hypothesis. As I said in those posts, "the presence of the past" never vouches for the presence of the future. But nevertheless, I'm sure about my immortality because that ugly, inert thing which will have soon stopped looking to the future is NOT ME. ·