This Saturday my team was driving back from Williams College to Tufts.
Rolling snow hills
Scattered bare trees
Mark Winter’s Touch
Though we were unable to have class on Wednesday, on Monday I was quite struck by the Japanese perspective of failure. Growing up in a Westernized society, we are often taught to strive for greatness. However, though similar to the Japanese notion of success versus failure, the Western model seems to stress the negative aspect of failure while the Japanese tends to embrace it. “In this floating world of illusion, misguided attachments, our moments of victory and accomplishment are like a dream.” (Inouye 46) Now that I understand the concepts of evanescence and form, I embrace that success is unattainable as it is only a temporary stage. Our inability to define what success means is due to the temporary valued attachments or things that in that moment oppose failure. In class Professor Inouye prompted the class to respond to whether we were afraid of failure. The majority of the class responded with yes. Even after Professor Inouye reminded us of the reassuring fact that “Success always follows failure” (Lec 2/2) I have to admit, I am still afraid of it. Recently I’ve been considering my future, and how I will be able to achieve the best life I can. The American model of success instructs us “to go to school, get a good job, buy a nice house, have a family” now seems questionable to me. In reference to the mass destruction of the houses in Hojoki: Visions of a Torn World, the author reminds us that “All of man’s doings are senseless but spending his wealth and tormenting himself to build a house in this city is especially foolish” (38). Why should we strive to build a successful life, if it will end, and that end may be the worst end possible? In The Tale of the Heike, we witness the metaphoric “fiery” (by fever) downfall of Taira no Kiyomori during the samurai period, as a warning to those who seek success by any means. His arrogance and ignorance of the knowledge of evanescence and rules of form contribute to the warning nature of this tale. Though we are all not all like Kiyomori, the story helps to remind me of the importance of acknowledging change. Now that I somewhat understand the Japanese perspective I will view my future full of both equal success and failure, as they are both are inevitable.