Blackout by Kaveh Veyssi

This past Thursday I was on the t in the morning going to my internship when the train stopped and the lights went out.


Silence –

The black walls

Of the tunnel.

One idea that captured my interest this week is something Professor Inouye said in class; he said that during the modern period, animism gave rise to or became nationalism (Lecture, 3/6).  I believe that this change occurred because “the world beyond Japan mattered in a way that required the Japanese to change their conception of space itself…Japan would become part of (world) space rather than the definition of space itself” (Inouye, 106).  This statement might help explain the shift from animism to nationalism; since Japan was now opened up to the world, it needed a way to maintain it’s principles of oneness that stem from animism.  As a result, this nationalist movement began.  Another example of animism-become-nationalism is the familial structure in Japan; Inazo Nitobe writes in his instructional book, Bushido, “The individualism of the West…necessarily brings into strong relief the duties owed by one to the other; but Bushido held that the interest of the family and of the members thereof is intact—one and inseparable” (Nitobe, 88).  It’s this very idea of “one and inseparable” that the Japanese shared with nature and their environment before the modern period, which transformed into nationalism.  That same oneness is present in the concept of revenge: “He must perish by my hand; because he shed my father’s blood, I, who am his flesh and blood, must shed the murderer’s” (Nitobe, 114).  In the same vein as my previous comments, I think that the idea of revenge through oneness is another example of animism on a different level.  These ideas when blown up to the national scale are what made Japan into a nationalistic country during the modern period.


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