I woke up Saturday morning after two feet of snow had just fallen and took a few minutes to lie silently in bed.
A clock ticks
I found the coupling of success and failure, or “what goes up, must come down” an interesting concept that we explored in this week’s lecture (Lecture 2/6). Inouye’s quote “We may be doing well today, but misfortune will strike tomorrow” speaks to the fleeting nature of not only successes, but failures as well (Inouye 50). It’s understandable that the Japanese would embrace such an idea, as it reflects the evanescence and uncontrollable unpredictability of life. This theme is especially prevalent in our assigned excerpts from the Tale of the Heike. The fall from the top is particularly noticeable in the opening paragraph that says, “the prosperous must decline,” and “the proud do not endure,” equating their temporary success to a “dream” (Heike 1). The message resonates strongly and this is likely why Japanese children memorize this poem from a young age. While I find it easy to discuss the concepts of success with failure, it gets distressing when I try to understand my own life in these terms. I consider myself very ambitious, and this trait comes hand-in-hand with an innate fear of failure, a feature I notice to some extent in many of my peer’s personalities. As a result, I often find myself avoiding failure, trying to evade what many Japanese people would consider a fact of life. Success with failure is a topic that has caught my eye and one I hope to continue to ponder and visit as this class goes on. I already have a lot to learn from the few concepts we have covered in this first three weeks of class.