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2022年10月30日 (日)

The future as an imitation of the Paradise

 Liang Shuming(梁漱溟), a 20th-century neo-Confucianist who spent his youth as a Buddhist and then, as an adult, became a Confucianist under the Shi Dao, said that the biggest difference between the two is that "Buddhists say that life is painful and hard, while Confucians say that life is fun and enjoyable.

 The real world before petroleum civilization was a material level where the average person could barely survive, and people were constantly faced with the danger of starvation at any moment due to bad weather and other factors. But the reality was too unbearable. In order for sentient beings to barely accept this harsh reality, traditional universal religions had to assume a second "true and happy life" in "Jenseits/afterlife". Or, the "teachings" that provided such rationalization must have been globalized as universal religion. In this sense, universal religions, whether in the East or the West, are "Jenseits-oriented" or "reject the world".

 However, in early modern Western Europe, in addition to Roman Catholicism, which had been continuously disillusioned by the plague, the Great Sisma (Magnum schisma occidentale), and the conversion of monasteries into large corporations, the Thirty Years' War reminded Protestantism of the reality that it was not so different from other religions. As a result, a group of "Futurism/Progressivism" prophets emerged who proposed the ultra-C strategy of betting happiness (the Paradise) on the "future," which is neither the "Jenseits/afterlife" nor the "present world. Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes, and others.

 Naturally, most of the common people must have felt the same way. Because if there is a miserable "this world" in front of you and you cannot see the "Jenseits/afterlife" as a vision, there is no way you can stand. Thus, the marching trumpet of the unprecedented project was sounded. The Westerners are creating the "Jenseits/afterlife" in the midst of "the present world". However, it was named the "future". What is the "future"? In reality, it is the degraded "mīmēsis" of the "Jenseits/afterlife". This is what Max Weber calls "Weltablehnung/rejection of the world". And this is probably the driving force behind Westerners' orientation toward "modernity."

 Half a century has passed since the 1972 Club of Rome report, "The Limits to Growth," was issued, and yet the "growth" orientation has not stopped at all because "future growth" in Western modernity is for them a substitute ("yatsushi") for "the paradise of the happy the "Jenseits/afterlife" in the "Godless age".

  On the other hand, the same thing happened in the Japanese archipelago in the early modern period: the 17th century was the first "Great Reformation of the Japanese Archipelago". At this time, large tracts of land were cultivated to the limit, and at the same time, there was a rapid increase in population, which was also a period of so-called "rapid economic growth. The term "ukiyo 憂き世" (dismal world) was used until the Middle Ages, but in this period, the term "ukiyo 浮き世" (excited world). One of the "results" of this change is the Odaizin Kibun(お大尽紀文) and the Genroku culture of Basho(芭蕉), Saikaku(西鶴), and Chikamatsu(近松).

 Something similar happened at the same time on the other side of the globe and on this side. In Western Europe, it was the Thirty Years' War (World War Zero), but in the archipelago, it was the Hundred Years' War (civil war) of the Warring States period. The long cold spell in the northern hemisphere in the 16th century and the warming in the 17th century were probably the basis for this. On the other side, it was an ideological battle between Roman Catholics (⇒ accepting of the world) vs. anti-Roman (Protestant/progressive/enlightenment ideology ⇒ rejecting of the world). On this side, the new "Buddhism," which reformed itself during the period of civil wars and guaranteed "Jenseits/afterlife" to all sentient beings, became the actual state religion (total national danka system ⇒ accepting of the present world). This differences in orientation toward the "Jenseits" is thought to have created the difference between Western "modernity" and Tokugawa Japan's "early modernity". (Of course, this is different from right and wrong, good and bad.

The above is an article in Japanese,
「進歩教」の「楽園」、すなわち「未来」/The future as an imitation of the Paradise: 本に溺れたい(2020/04)
translated into English with the support of DeepL.


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