Taken back on April 23
If you look for a post more focused on the issue with the stateless, you will find a new version HERE.
POSTSCRIPT 2, April 7:
If you are really concerned about these people who are allegedly persecuted in many ways for their statelessness, you should know the 54-year-old dream of UNHCR - or is it a nightmare? - would come true the moment part of a nation-state seceded from it.
Just take Catalonia for example. If its bid for secession from Spain had succeeded last October, the entire 7.5 million Catalan population would have become stateless overnight on the premise that the newly-born nation wouldn't have sought a membership in the dead international body named the United Nations, or the failing one named the European Union. Statelessness would have meant absolutely nothing anymore because now everybody was stateless on his/her own will.
Another example is an independent Okinawa.
With the newly installed Governor starting to sing to the same, old tune of anti-U.S. bases his predecessor kept singing during his tenure, now it looks as though the movements for the independence of these subtropical islands are further on the wane. But still there are people like this person named Takashi Hiyane (photo.)
I know very little about the "Lexues" company he founded 17 years ago. But in his recent TV appearance, Hiyane said to this effect: "Only by leveraging the creative minds of the native Okinawans, we would be able to return the annual appropriation of 200 billion yen to the Japanese government."
The implication here is that it's still too soon to call an independent Okinawa a pipe dream.
POSTSCRIPT 1, April 3:
Still there is a long way to go until we find the answer to the question about the viability of a nation without a state. It might be little more than a micro nation-state, such as an independent Okinawa, an independent Catalonia, or even some of the secession-seeking counties in the U.S.
The only thing I can tell for sure is that it doesn't make any more sense than to think of the restoration of the Ryukyu Kingdom to create small, closed, cult-like communities similar to those of the Amish in North America.
At any rate I want you to understand I'm not talking about the archaic idea of anarchism. I suspect the closest thing to a stateless nation would be the new sociopolitical model I've suggested a couple of times in the past, though in a little too sketchy way.
Either way I hope this piece will give some important clues to those of you who have creative attitude toward life.
The same attitude about indebtedness is expressed even more strongly from the Japanese standpoint by another word for thank-you, katajikenai, which is written with the [Chinese] character "insult," "loss of face." It means both "I am insulted" and "I am grateful." The all-Japanese dictionary says that by this term you say that by the extraordinary benefit you have received you are shamed and insulted because you are not worthy of the benefaction.
From The Chrysanthemum and the Sword authored by
U.S. government-retained "anthropologist" Ruth Benedict
A parade to mark the end of the
Luna New Year festivity went by
when we were in the middle of a
skull session at Chens' place
I've been using Google Analytics in the last 7 years. At the beginning I found it somewhat usable in analyzing the incoming traffic of this website. But it didn't take long until I became aware both its usefulness and usability had kept declining from one version to the next.
Someone knowingly told me it can't be helped because system developers at Google were more attuned to profit-oriented users than non-profit guys like me. As a retired businessman, I knew what this Google cultist said to me was bullshit. Anyone in his right mind can tell Google Analytics is rubbish even as a marketing tool. Hopefully I'll elaborate on this when discussing the devastating toll the protracted drought of "disruptive technologies" has taken on the value-creating chain.
Then it flashed on me that I could still benefit from the crap if I used it in a way to get some clues to the censorship methods and criteria the Google crawlers used to un-optimize the traffic of creative websites like mine.
I know you "think" their criteria are so simple and straightforward that you needn't examine them so closely; the Internet bots are just taught to tamper the traffic of anti-establishment domains and URLs. But in fact these crawlers are a little smarter than thinking-disabled guys like you. Otherwise these "truth-seeking" websites wouldn't flourish in the cyberspace like they do today.
As I recently pointed out, now it's too evident that a reciprocal deal was tacitly struck between the establishment and anti-establishment to protect the common vested interests they have in the status quo.
However, this is not to say I am desperately struggling to remove or circumvent the barrier put up by the likes of Google. I know the impregnable wall I've hit is actually two-layered. The outer wall could only be torn down from within. It should be an easy task because the surface of the fortress of your ignorance and arrogance is practically nothing without the inner layer of the barrier.
Time and again I've said:
"No one but yourself can manipulate you."
Every time I repeated this, you pretended that you hadn't heard me. But actually my goal has always been to destroy the self-censorship mechanism on the part of actual and potential visitors to my website.
To that end I have single-mindedly attempted, in the last 7 years, to solicit my predominantly-American audience to take part in an exercise which I call "collaborative thinking." To me to think means to interact dialectically - no more, no less.
I've also said many times:
"A psychopath, almost by the definition of the word, doesn't doubt his sanity for a split second."
To put it the other way around, you are insane if you don't suspect at times you may be out of your mind. Although you can hallucinate all by yourself as you always do, if you try to "think" alone, all you'll get is a mere illusion.
I have begged you, almost on my knees, to participate in our exercise. Thus far I've failed, because my argument has always been met with guerrilla tactics such as feigned deafness, feigned muteness and temporary hiding behind the bushes. As I've observed, the generation of Vietnam veterans and draft-dodgers are especially skillful at these maneuvers.
For one thing, how could I have expected unprincipled guys like you to take a fresh think at the fundamental question as to America's Founding Principles which have once brought the nation and the state together but are now proving fake?
It's no accident that when I brought up John Locke's "philosophical" crap about the natural rights to life, liberty and property, you showed a firm resolve to refuse to specifically question what you have been irreversibly indoctrinated to believe in as an indisputable axiom. It was the last bastion of your illusion but now it's turned into your underbelly.
Once again almost by the definition of the word, no unprincipled individual can think like man.
Most recently I uploaded a post dealing with the basics of communication to find out how quickly the word "basics" would induce an allergic response in those who are passing around borrowed words and borrowed ideas all the time. As was expected, American individuals instantly resorted to guerrilla tactics while several locals gave me offline thoughtful comments, though in a little too muddled words, about media's abnormal obsession with 3/11.
The most fundamental thing about communication in human society is that it's pointless to try to weed out false pieces of information from truthful and reliable ones. Usefulness is the only criterion to use when evaluating a given information.
Previously I had written that a failed nation-state is nothing but a vast illusion shared among its entire population. Most of you found my deliberate statement not only ridiculous but also outrageous. Although I always prefer right inconsistency to wrong consistency, I was impressed when I found a certain consistency in their counterargument.
On the contrary a small number of anti-establishment elements in my audience said they agreed with me in that respect, presumably on the wrong assumption that I was just analogizing. I am a man of straight talk. Basically I mean what I say and I say what I mean except when it's absolutely necessary to flatter an ape.
As a matter of fact they always claim that they and their close friends are chosen people who are immunized against the pervasive illusion. It's the worst type of egocentrism, which in fact is deep-rooted in the America-centric delusion. Deep inside they still believe the world is revolving around the United States.
To be that incoherent, you've got to be caught up in the worst type of delusion that history is redoable or even undo-able, while we Asians who have been victimized by American rogues for more than a century know that what they did to us is irredeemable.
It's these self-appointed judges who claim to be keeping a watchful eye on all venues of mass communication to thoroughly decontaminate the world of all these fallacies. The fact of the matter remains, however, that these truth-seeking liars are the primary contaminants.
Quite naturally they had a more compelling reason to show the strong response to this allergen by adamantly refusing to discuss the basics of communication than those who furiously disagreed to my idea that any failed nation-state has been reduced to a mere optical phenomenon.
The primary criterion they use when they sift out fallacy from truth, or illusion from reality, all comes down to this:
An illusion is something that isn't real while reality is something that isn't an illusion.
When talking about the digital altar of the Google Cult one year or so ago, I wrote:
"A fact is truthful only when you know the question while a truth is factual only when you know the answer."
If you have difficulty decoding my tricky statement, let me put it this way: If I am Mr. D sitting at the end of the line of communication, he has no interest in knowing Mr. C's opinion on Mr. B's take on "the fact" which Mr. A claims to have found firsthand. Don't take me wrong, however. I have nothing against what Mr. C is doing because anyone who is idling away his purposeless life has the right to kill time any way he likes.
Quite predictably one of these self-righteous guys said in response to my way of describing the difference between fact and truth:
"A fact is truthful only when the evidence proves it beyond a reasonable doubt."
At first I was taken aback because the only way to paraphrase his statement is:
"A fact is truthful only when another fact proves true."
The absurd statement would just send us back to the same question of how we can tell the fact is truthful.
But on second thought I realized he was just pulling my leg. Otherwise I would have to admit that I mistakenly used my syllabus for a logic class at a university when talking to kindergarten kids.
The other day I had a casual conversation with a guy of my sons' age at the nearby convenience store FamilyMart. There he works the midnight shift every second day. If I remember it correctly, it went like this.
Clerk: You used to buy The Japan News (the English daily published by the Yomiuri Shimbun) everyday, but not anymore. What is the reason?
Me: Simply because I can't afford to spend 150 yen only to read headlines. I would never read the articles at all even if I had a portable magnifier.
Clerk: Why is that?
Me: I know its news stories are 100% lies. I do read headlines, though, in order to update myself on what fallacies they are disseminating these days.
Clerk: I think now I see what you mean. But 100% may be an overstatement, isn't it?
Me: No. I'm not exaggerating. Do you know there are 4 types of lies? Type 1 is to tell an invented story; Type 2 is to hold back an essential fact; Type 3 is to place a trivial story on the top page; Type 4 is to bury an important topic deep into the small space of page 10. So believe me everything they tell is a fallacy.
The midnight clerk doesn't seem to have attended any higher-learning class. Presumably he is as ignorant as these well-educated Americans. But nevertheless he showed a certain amount of intellectual curiosity and willingness to learn. It's not the matter of intelligence that so many Americans are gullible enough to seek truth from the "non-mainstream" media, or other sources of information they favor.
As to music, literature and all other forms of communication, I think I have already covered them in detail. And as to TV commercials and all other advertisements on different mediums, I hope I'll discuss in a separate post in which I'll address the devastating consequences of the protracted drought of what IBM consultant Grant Norris termed "disruptive technologies."
Once upon a time I was frantically learning how to make my life creative from American businessmen, business administration professors, computer scientists, and even jazz musicians, sometimes in person.
But now I have been irrevocably labeled first-degree persona non grata by these prisoners of America-centric delusion on illusion for touting the necessity of creative thinking so persistently.
Those who are still on my list of Americans to watch are a handful of cognitive scientists, e.g. Douglas Hofstadter, who have been intensively trying to identify the neuronal root, instead of the anatomical map, on which a human individual lives, loves, creates, communicates, and dies, with inerasable self-consciousness.
When it comes to the inability of principled thinking, I see no distinctive difference between unprincipled Americans and principle-less Japanese. But there's a fundamental difference in their noesis, i.e. mental attitude.
On the surface it seems either people remain caught in a similar illusion which stems from their respective founding principle(s). But the consequences are quite different.
In the U.S. the illusion has been aggravated over time by an equally malign delusion that the illusionary natural rights should remain enshrined at any cost until the end of time.
On the contrary Japan is not a country founded by human beings. Hence it has no founding principles. Empty-headed Japan experts in the U.S. may "think" Article 1 of the 17-Article Constitution allegedly promulgated by Shotoku Taishi in the 7th century serves as a de facto founding principle or at least its substitute. But apart from the fact that Prince Shotoku is most probably a fictitious figure, his words "Harmony should be put before anything else and quarrels must be avoided by all means" should be understood to mean that we Japanese individuals should not have any principle because it would do them harm more than it would do them good.
In fact, the country invented by the court-retained historians 13 centuries ago was reinvented in 1946 by Washington-retained "anthropologist" Ruth Benedict to help Douglas MacArthur reshape it to Americans' liking. The task must have been a piece of cake even for the unprincipled author because of the super-plasticity of her subjects. Thanks to the complete absence of a principle on which to conduct themselves, the Japanese instantly transformed themselves into something that fully matched Benedict's description.
In his foreword to the Mariner Books Edition of Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, Ian Buruma wrote: "Without the moral absolutes of a monotheistic religion, everything from ethics to life goals is situational, hence the ease with which a warlike people could transform itself into a nation of pacifists."
This is why unlike warm-headed fanatics and cold-hearted egomaniacs in the U.S., my fellow countrymen never really assert their "inviolable rights." They instinctively know there are no such things as human rights in the real world. Should their mantra about harmony be supplanted by any chance by one of the principles randomly imported from the West, they would also have their 1,300-year-old relatively benign illusion quickly aggravated by a delusion.
The average Japanese is flexible, modest and compassionate just like the midnight-shift clerk at FamilyMart. And needless to say I prefer a thinking-disabled and modest person to thinking-disabled and self-important one. Who wouldn't?
My good neighbor Lara Chen Tien-shi is a little different from the ordinary Japanese. The associate professor of anthropology at a graduate school of Waseda University is a warm-hearted, compassionate woman. But at the same time she is an exceptionally cool-headed and down-to-earth person who always keeps a life-size view of the world.
Late last month Lara gave me a mail to invite me to an extraordinary meeting where the key members of her "Stateless Network" were going to have a skull session over the future direction of the nonprofit, multi-ethnic organization.
I was very honored by the invitation from the youngest daughter of one of the wealthiest families of this Chinatown because I am one of the poorest and oldest residents of the same community. (ララさん Katajikenai.)
I think she had two things in mind when inviting me to the important meeting despite the fact that I have fallen almost 2 years behind in my payment of the annual due, and equally important, I don't fully agree to the principle on which she is steering the Network.
Firstly Lara must have wanted to acknowledge that she still owed me a response to the homework I'd given her about the viability of a "stateless nation." She must have thought I would better understand her answer to my challenge by participating the steering committee, because the issue at hand is too complex, multi-faceted and subtle, and has too far-reaching implication to address just by quick exchanges of words.
The other reason she thought I should attend the meeting may have been that she just wanted this old loner to have fun mixing with these youngish people with diverse backgrounds.
It looks as though Lara made a good decision for me if these were her objectives.
As I have often stressed in this website, the way these principle-less people communicate in a meeting is very unique. More often than not, reaching a specific agreement isn't the objective of the meeting. There's no articulated proposition put on the table; neither is there any substantive argument. When there is one, it's presented and discussed before or after the meeting, most typically at a bar. In short a meeting, or any other form of communication, is little more than a ceremonial event to build consensus about a predetermined answer.
Although the time during which I was exposed to communication in the international setting is still twice as long as her international career, Lara seems to be much better skilled in that respect. And yet, she still remembers that in a local meeting she has to seal off those skills and play the role of a Shintoist priest, or priestess, so to speak.
Lara's opening address, delivered in an unusually casual manner, had just a few substances in it. At first she insinuated that although this Stateless Network will still remain closely affiliated with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, she isn't really convinced that stereotypical UNHCR's definition of a stateless person is clear enough and that the ambitious goal proclaimed in its 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness is attainable in the foreseeable future. Then she added that some other factors have made it even more unrealistic to achieve the goal. For one thing, she confided, she fell ill last year. She didn't say how serious it was.
The meeting was constantly disturbed by her 6-year-old son clinging to the chairwoman with his arms around her neck. Lara didn't seem to be annoyed at all. She certainly knew the Sunday meeting was a serious loss of opportunity for the kid to have intimate contact with his mom. Another source of disturbance was the paraders incessantly making deafening noises of drums and firecrackers on the street. She didn't care too much either. Neither did other attendees including myself.
The way Lara presided over the meeting indicated she and I still have a similar wavelength in that both of us are inclined to have diverse people loosely networked rather than build a monolith with a fixed principle.
Following the semi-formal session, Lara treated us to a gorgeous dinner. I enjoyed talking with people sitting in the hearing distance as we were supposed to. They included an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo and Thai woman and her daughter.
In the last 45-60 minutes I concentrated on a conversation with a young, brilliant lady named Rina Ikebe who had moved over to the seat next to mine. Miss Ikebe introduced herself as a student studying "community psychology" at a postgraduate school of Tokyo's International Christian University. I enjoyed our conversation all the more because she was very good at active listening.
I asked her: "What do you think connects you to this country, or how do you really relate yourself to Japan?" After thinking it over for a while, she said: "Maybe it's my nationality, isn't it?" I said, "I don't think so. Your nationality is nothing more than a certificate of the ties you have already established with this country."
I might have added it's a principle that brings or fails to bring together the nation, i.e. the people, and the state, i.e. the system, and that this is exactly where the media find their essential role. Although this was the most relevant topic for the community psychology major, I left it unsaid in part because I thought I had to refrain from spoiling her appetite and my own. More importantly, I knew an exceptionally bright woman as she is would have found it superfluous if I had given her any more lead to my theory about the modern nation-statehood.
Then encouraged by her story about her late-father who was a scholar of French literature and European history, I tried a simple quiz with Miss Ikebe: "Do you know how the life of Marie Antoinette came to an end?" She answered delightedly: "Beheading by the Guillotine." The next question was: "How many French people, roughly, were killed in the same way?" She didn't know that the correct answer was 16,594.
I produced from my backpack the printout of my most recent post, saying, "If you are interested in these subjects as a student of community psychology, why don't you keep it."
From time to time, Lara was giving a glance-over at us across the huge Chinese roundtable as if she was worrying I might be instilling in the young student poisonous ideas about the failed nation-state. But I hope she knows very well that I am a person who never bites the hand that fed him.
After the party was over, I stayed on there to be alone with Lara, her parents and one of her elder sisters. I said to her, "I didn't know you fell ill. Are you getting better now?" She smiled and said, "Yes, now I'm OK." Her sister quickly cut in to say, "No, she isn't."
I said: "Remember you aren't Mother Teresa. You should always prioritize your own personal life and your son's. Nothing is more important than that."
These are the people I want to have around until the second-to-last day of my life.