5 Sacks Adrienne

5 Sacks Adrienne

I took a walk early this morning and saw a gaggle of geese walking down the hill.

Early morning

Geese walk down the hill


photo copy 2

While discussing Japanese hedonism this week, I found myself particularly interested in the idea of anonymity and how it contributes to a hedonistic, or pleasure seeking, attitude. The modern age in Japan started when people spent less time in small areas with close family and friends and spent more time traveling and spending time with strangers in bathhouses, barber shops, and brothels (Inouye, Lecture 2/19/14). Interestingly, these activities (washing, cutting one’s hair, and sex) are all things one could have done privately and perhaps even more ritualistically, but the Japanese abandoned these practices in search of modernity. The theme of seeking connectedness among strangers with technology as a means to said end has repeated itself throughout the course of history. I have grown up in an age when people post pictures of their wives in labor for a thousand distant “friends” to see, give live stream-of-consciousness updates on Twitter, and seek out love in anonymous chat rooms. In short, the internet is the new brothel. The “connectedness” the internet provides is a mere allusion. If most people fear the feeling of getting lost and vast anonymity makes people feel that way, why have generations of people in Eastern and Western culture continued to act the same way? Perhaps when people are anonymous, for example, in a brothel or online, they find themselves recognizing that they are more or less among strangers, and feel comfortable sharing intimate thoughts, feelings, and behaviors because there is little risk of backfire. While being open, giving, and sharing, are key to a feeling of intimacy, the reactions of people who are uninvested in the long-term effects of your life are not rewarding. But, it appears this paradoxical behavior is a trap of human nature. Perhaps the more “modern” a society becomes, the less a part of society the people feel.

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2 Responses to 5 Sacks Adrienne

  1. Profile photo of Hoang  Le Hoang Le says:

    Hi Adrienne,

    I find your comparison between the anonymity through technology in the modern era and through hedonism during Genroku period in Japan very interesting and unusual. As more people become connected to society, no matter in what time frame they live in, the more they start to lose in holding on to their identities. However, we’ve observed that one of the ways the Japanese might view a movement towards modernism is to preserve a sense of self as they never had one to start with according to Buddhist beliefs. Thus, there’s this sort of paradoxical notion about modernism where it could lead to the loss of self through freely spending time with strangers and acting like a stranger. But we’ve learned that during this time Japanese people actually desired to gain a self when they think about a modern future as seen in their envy towards prostitutes who were dubbed as modern women. Why is there this clash of ideas do you think?

  2. Sam Miller says:

    Hi Adrienne,
    First off, I think it’s pretty impressive that you drew the image in pen. I drew mine in pencil and I still think it came out looking pretty weird.
    On another note, your description of the internet as “the new brothel” is a very strong statement that is pretty interesting and only a little bit disturbing.

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