Sunday, December 4, 2016

Nothing is Absolute?

Warning! If you are burdened with darkness and looking for a way out PLEASE talk to someone! You are worthy of all the love and respect life has to give you and the good times will come back.

      Suicide is in the darker grey area of topics for discussion. Many religions consider it an abuse of free will and an insult to life and as a result suicides are considered to be outside the 'blessed places', if you will. Like everything, suicide is a decision that sows karma - in this case, of the negative version - that may very well likely send one down a few notches in the next life. No matter where you look, suicide for any reason is a bad decision. For a long time I considered this to be 100% truth, absolutely. Then I met Sydney Carton and my steel wall took a hit.
     Sydney Carton was a burned-out lawyer in Charles Dickens' England and France in the seminal 'A tale of two cities'. One of his few redeeming qualities, by his own evaluation, was that he was friends with Charles Darnay, whom he respected immensely. When Darnay fell afoul of the French Revolution and was ordered to spend time with Madame Guillotine, Carton saw his chance to save his friend's life and future and give himself a chance at karmic brownie points. With his final words, "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known." Sydney Carton goes to his destiny with a clear conscience and a contented heart.
     But this is a fictional character, one might insist. What else have I? It wasn't until recently that I started reading up on seppuku - the act wherein the samurai disembowels himself in a final act of sacrifice to honour his lord. This year I read Andrew Rankin's incredible book 'Seppuku: a history of samurai suicide'. The act of seppuku is ancient and far more elaborate than I expected. A very detailed account of a most gruesome way to die. When the samurai commits himself to dying he does it with all his mind, heart, and skill. There can be no doubts or second-guessing.
     Pretty similar to Mr. Carton's decision, isn't it? Of course I can't stop at just one book on even this very dark topic. Of late I've been reading about the kamikaze - Japan's desperate 'divine wind' that was to eradicate the U.S. aircraft carriers during WWII. I recommend Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney's 'Kamikaze diaries' and Maxwell Taylor Kennedy's 'Danger's hour' if you would like to read up on it a bit. The latter inspired me to write this post. Not the same situation as the samurais were in. Unlike them, the kamikaze were young men ordered to destroy themselves and their planes as a way to take some of the U.S. soldiers with them. Based on the recovered diaries from some of these pilots not all of them went to their deaths with a completely clear conscience. Nevertheless, they carried out their missions and the emperor was obeyed. All for nothing.
     These books I recently read slammed against my steel wall of absolutes even harder. Suicide is still a bad decision but if one goes to it with a completely clear mind and conscience, are the consequences lessened? Like most things involving the afterlife, we cannot really know. And what of soldiers who die in battle? They know they may have to make the ultimate sacrifice - just like the samurai and the kamikaze did years ago. It's a matter of perspective, I guess. Meanwhile, my journey of exploration will most likely continue. This is an unfinished and completely unpolished conversation.

    I hope to have some more Sims stuff for you but not for a bit. If I don't post anything else until the new year, have a wonderful Xmas.

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