5 Brooks Nicole

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This week in class we discussed Hedonism, as a response to the Japanese hakanasa embrace of the ever-changing cicada shell world. This response acknowledges the brevity of life, however hedonism chooses to pursue things that would bring the most pleasure (Inouye, 70). We all are living in Chomei’s burning house in a cicada shell world, however hedonism provides a “sense of urgency to the pursuit of pleasure,” which is reflected in the Buddhist term for mortality over time, ukiyo (Inouye, 70).  This response to evanescence is more relatable to me, having grown up in an American culture. Often Americans more than any other culture, are familiar with the idea of buying “pleasures” for the moment, as an illusion or distraction to the reality of the miniscule value of that pleasure in our ever so short lives.  Why should we even enjoy the moment, if it’s all going to end? Is buying that big house on the beach even worth it, if we know we can’t live in it forever? Though evanescence did seem cynical to me at first, I find the alternative contributed by the Japanese in hedonism is very engaging. I think of myself as a very “Carpe Diem” type of person, in any situation. However the cards are dealt, I always try to make light of the situation. Like hedonism, I think I prefer the “illusive world of fleeting pleasures that one ought to pursue with abandon” (Inouye, 70). In Saikaku’s work, The Woman Who Loved, we are offered an example of evanescence in the cherry blossom essence of a woman at her peak of beauty, in comparison to the diminishing of her looks after aging. As a person providing pleasure for others, she was the first to develop her self-conscious identity, as well as achieving a loving nature though her looks were diminished (Inouye, 73). In Tokugawa Japan, the increased prospects of death due to foreigners and the rise of the weak political merchant class’ wealth also urged the Japanese towards Hedonism, to enjoy the pleasures of life in the now (Lec 2/19).The developing of the self, due to the increased divisions of those different from the Japanese caused for the modern development of self-awareness and changed the Japanese perspective on the world. In Western culture we are taught to be proud of our differences, and to embrace them as they make us, us. However, for the Japanese, this modern notion took time to be accepted as kami made all people, and everything as one. Norinaga provided mono no aware, as a response to the new modern Japanese individualism, which is defined as the shared sorrow of all things (Inouye, 81). I found this very moving, as it is a uniting truth of everyone and everything. We need temporary pleasures in order to understand the sorrow of this evanescence world.  The pursuit of pleasures is needed, as they not only provide a distraction, but also help us value the feeling of joy. This value allows us to understand our shared world of sorrow when the pleasure ends (86).

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One Response to 5 Brooks Nicole

  1. Nicole,

    I love that you hand-drew your poem. It presents the image very intimately. That being said, I don’t think that you really need the personal pronoun (“my”) in there. Casts “a” shadow allows the poem to remain impersonal in content and personal in feeling, which is an important part of what these poems are meant to accomplish.

    The detail in your drawing is really impressive. I think that with this image it was very easy to get lost in the folds of clothing and in the intertwining of limbs and such. You did a really good job of presenting the two forms as being both independent and connected at the same time. Well done.

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