What is Human Happiness?

Sometimes I consider vaguely what is human happiness. It doesn't imply that I'm an unfortunate man, because I have a healthy family consisting of a tender wife and a vigorous daughter. Moreover, I also have a job which I'm used to for many years, so that fortunately I have been able to avoid suffering from poverty. Furthermore, I haven't succumbed to any serious illnesses even once so far, probably everyone who knows such a fact would tell me how highly I'm blessed. Certainly, Arthur Schopenhauer who is known as one of most prominent German philosophers said that our health is the integral condition to live well for a long time, because both physical health and mental one belongs to ourselves and it can't be taken away unlike external wealth including material properties or else various fame. Of course, considering that we need to have enough money to receive medical treatments, perhaps even health should be regarded as a kind of external wealth. However, what Schopenhauer emphasized isn't such a matter. He concluded that we have to cherish our own belongings being innate and ingrained, because if we find out happiness in external circumstances, we would be unable to get away from a frequent risk of losing the basis for a better life. Therefore, he recommends that people don't look forward to external satisfaction instead of paying attention to internal contentment. Probably, what Epicurus who was an Ancient Greek philosopher said is the same as him. He thought that the most refined human happiness should consist of both physical comfort and mental stability through the way of moral philosophy. In other words, he claimed that our desire for more pleasure and excitement is considered neither important nor essential. If anything, approving of desire can't help making us thirsty permanently because the nature of desire is the discovery of deficiency. Accordingly, it's an inevitable behavior for greedy people to complain about all kinds of shortage. Contented desire always produces some further complaints until the moment of death, so that it gets more significant to control our desire which doesn't know any continuing satisfaction. Those ancient people who espouse stoicism made such a thought more intense, they insisted not only that our desire ought to be restricted firmly, but also that we should regard all ordeals as proof of our splendid virtue. Of course, although I know that I'm not as the righteous as Seneca.

A Note on Not Notable Days

Recently, I still read a series of Harry Potter for a private pleasure and learning English. Probably, I will have finished reading it within a few months. It means that my aim which I planned at the beginning of this year will have been completed. I have already been feeling my growth of ability to handle foreign language, although the progress seems slow to me. However, it doesn't matter the growth looks sluggish because at least I have kept going forwards gradually. Of course, a study of language is the way sober and subdued, its process appears to be monotonous, or else tedious. Therefore, those who are not interested in learning unknown words and sentences can't recognize a value of time which I spend in turning a lot of pages covered with unfamiliar letters. Certainly, it should be considered as a strange behavior that I have been reading an English novel everyday, although there around me are a large number of Japanese books the meaning of which I'm able to understand easily. In fact, our circumstances have a blessed condition because there's an enormous population in Japan, so that we can read a lot of various publications which are translated from numerous language of overseas countries. If I don't read foreign letters on purpose, I shouldn't be disturbed. Nevertheless, I'm determined to learn English, though no one forces me, because it satisfies my individual curiosity about a verbal knowledge. In addition, I believe that the larger my vocabulary gets, the more interesting my world becomes. Children is what grow up naturally, but it can't be said that adults do likewise. Opportunities of feeling growth for adults seem decreasing compared with children, unless they strive for a further development in earnest. In this context, learning language is a suitable habit for withered adults who want to improve boring days. Their tiredness is resulted from a constant confinement into the same old environment. There's nothing new, fresh, innovative, stirring, but a plain life which is repeated infinitely until the death. If we wish some transformation of the current situation, we have to add something alternative consciously to our world, it's the only way which we can choose right now. Even though you suspect that the world won't change after all no matter what we try, there's no need to accept our persistent despair. We should take a better way rather than a splendid figure of the ideal, because we are usually unable to endure an excessive gap between a perfect dream and a miserable reality, so that probably such a gap will bring us a serious damage like a mental decease.

Remarks for the 6th Anniversary of Saladboze Diary

About a dozen days ago, to be more precise, on 25th August 2021, my blog "Saladboze Diary" marked the 6th anniversary of its opening. In fact, I forgot such an important date because my job had been busy lately. Of course, the meaning of this anniversary belongs to very private things, so that my oblivion doesn't matter at all. However, I think that milestones in a lifetime must be precious, and it's not pointless to write down faint fragments of fleeting memories.




Most of us are prone to forget various events even though it was very significant then. In particular, momentary thoughts are too unstable to recall in detail afterward. Sometimes, myself in the past seems like an unknown person whose behavior is quite different from the present me in many ways. Therefore, it's an important habit to record what we looked, felt, thought, or else believed at that time. We always need some milestones to remember past experiences, otherwise we would get lost in total darkness. If we don't know who we were in the past, we can't imagine a proper vision of the future. No matter whether we follow the old way which used to be done, or we create some new ways which no one takes yet, our decision should be based upon a sufficient knowledge of past events. In addition, the current incidents usually seem to be confused, so that we tend to fail grasping a crucial meaning of the thing. As fragmentary impressions floods over us, it's very difficult to comprehend the whole structure of matters. Reflections on momentary phenomena can be realized only after enough times having passed away. Looking back upon the past case, examining the fact in detail, interpreting complicated relations as organized diagrams, we're getting more informed of the hidden truth gradually. Given the circumstance, it can be said that a custom of recording on something, no matter what happened actually, is an essential work for us. Records are the basis of consideration which would build up our perspective on better life and the world. In particular, I have emphasized and believed in a value of literature because I have been taught by a lot of books how to think, express, comprehend, live and survive. Moreover, from the beginning of this year, I have tried learning English to make my view of the world broadened and developed, although the way has yet to arrive at the ideal goal. This choice attempts to take me into novel horizons, because a foreign language is due to show us another scenery. I would be glad of some encouragement even though my English seems to be poor.

My Reading Record of “HARRY POTTER and the Half-Blood Prince”

At last, I have finished reading "HARRY POTTER and the Half-Blood Prince". I spent a much longer time in completing than I expected at first. However, it doesn't mean that this work is boring or tiring. On the contrary, a scene of ending is so impressive, particularly a funeral of Professor Dumbledore made my soul stirred firmly. His surprising death has a remarkable significance, because he has behaved as a holy canopy of both Harry's strange life and the world of magic. He used to be the only wizard who can resist Lord Voldemort and his prominent talent of Dark Arts. Therefore, permanent absence of him forced Harry to get alone without absolute protection from infinite series of murderous intents. 



This series of tales about a life of the marked boy, who has been so famous because he's the only one who succeeded surviving the killing curse of Voldemort, describes the process of human growth precisely. From the time that he didn't have any knowledge about his own fate as a wizard, to the time that he faces a lot of the harsh truth finally, for instance, an ominous content of the prophecy, the tragic death of his godfather Sirius Black, or else the filthy betrayal of Severus Snape, the author depicts various experiences of the boy carefully. Beyond the intervening years between admission to Hogwarts and the sorrowful funeral of Dumbledore, Harry seems to become like another. Most remarkable change is an unfortunate loss of paternal protection for him. At the same time, it means that he is forced to get independent as a man not having remained a child to be guarded by adults. In short, such appearances should be called Maturity. Without either protection or instructions, he has to choose his own way to go forwards by himself.



However, as everyone knows well, the way of human growth isn't simply straightforward. The purpose of living isn't one thing or one kind, moreover, it will be changing repeatedly according as each circumstance. The author didn't narrate only serious events, but also important matters particularly when people were younger, for example, an exciting game of sports like Quidditch or fresh love like an instance of Harry and Ginny. In other words, this story of continuing adventures contains plenty of colorful aspects, so that we can avoid to be drowned in a monotonous narrative. Even someone involved in hard duties needs ordinary customs like eating, sleeping, laughing, loving, or else vomiting due to an excessive drinking. Nobody can stand tense or earnest all along even though he was already ordered to fight against Dark Lord.



The dreadful death of Dumbledore, who used to behave for Harry like a substitute father, represents an end of childhood. Of course, it's a matter of time after all. Everyone will face the fact that we should get an independent person eventually, no one can remain a fragile baby permanently. Depending on what he has learned, he ought to decide which way to go and take full responsibility for his determination. He's no longer a child, he doesn't need an excessive help from others, at least he should be so. There's no right answer prepared beforehand, so that he ought to consider all matters by himself. Therefore, this book can be said to be an educational one. Only praising children for their innocence isn't enough to instruct them. On the contrary, children have also to study a dark side of the world, otherwise they will collapse in front of difficult situations sooner or later. In the end of our childhood, we're not in a cage like an owl. If anything, we should want to soar up in the air like Hedwig longing for liberty. There would be a great deal of dangers overwhelming us, but it can't deserve the reason to hesitate flying. People must be basically pioneers of human being since moments of each birth, for those who are going to be born later will have regarded us as such things. Considering we don't have a single Time-Turner, it seems undeniable fate for us to behave as prominent ancestors. In the future day, perhaps we might also be buried like Dumbledore, though the possibility appears to be slight seeing as we are neither great nor clever like him. However, our efforts shouldn't be pointless despite of the desperate quality. We must die someday, but it's not the reason to be frightened. We must walk on into our coffins, but it's not the mortal tragedy. What is more important is whether to obtain the more favorable one, and it's worst not to leave home for the unknown future.

Consideration of What Humanity Should Be

Sakaguchi Ango, who has been known as one of prominent authors of japanese modern literatures, wrote a novel named "The Idiot" in a confused age after a miserable defeat of Second World War. In fact, this work seems to reflect a blighted aspect of the society in those days. Maybe, experiences in wartime had an enormous shock to people no matter who they were, because the defeat had brought them a radical change of life and opinion.



I think that the most significant theme of "The Idiot" was Nihilism. In this instance, the word "Nihilism" indicates a disappearance of meanings concerning all the things. An endless destruction induced by the war which had no chance of winning took away human traits from the people, for instance, independence, individuality, belief, thought, emotion, desire, hope for the future. Such an appearance made them a mere body without mind. In particular, they forgot an ability to think, observe, consider, so that they seemed to behave like a beast ruled by instinct. In other words, a definition of Nihilism should be said absence of a human purpose. People who are exposed to extremely miserable catastrophes can merely satisfy their physical needs like appetite. They only want to keep alive as long as possible, such a trait is the same as an inhuman existence. However, a distinctive importance of human being is hoping to get something more precious and sublime rather than an animal life to be instinctive. If we could cease to have serious consideration of something abstract, we would be forced to fall into an inhuman contentment. If we could only perceive concrete things to exist, we would be allowed to drown in practical problems for survival. Actually, a harsh fate in wartime brought an animal state to the people. I think that the female idiot who was portrayed by Sakaguchi is a symbol of an animal person who has no human traits. In other words, she embodied an idea of Nihilism. Nihilism is a denial of human traits, particularly intellect. It's our dignity to have a rational spirit, so that the idiot who was regarded as a mere body looks ugly. A man named Izawa, who is a protagonist of "The Idiot", disdained the female idiot who stayed anonymous all along. His fleeting love for her didn't last long, because she had appeared to represent animal contentment. Her solitude which didn't have a clear intellect seemed to be absolutely inhuman. His strange favor, or else false affection for her was abandoned eventually, but it didn't mean his positive intent. What he hoped might have been overall ruin, but he was bound to survive with the female idiot. This structure of a tale reminds me of the novel "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion" written by Yukio Mishima. In the work, a protagonist named Mizoguchi wished to be killed in an air raid with Kinkaku. In short, destined death was regarded as the only way of salvation from existential emptiness. However, both of them failed to die so that they were forced to keep alive. Mishima emphasized a desperate side of reluctant survival repeatedly, but in contrast, Sakaguchi accepted his own fate which he thought he couldn't avoid. Moreover, he took positively the way of relinquishing resistance to a tedious life which didn't have any future looking splendid. We have to survive, to take the way for the future even though its figure seems ugly and hideous. A glorious death is merely a vain illusion which appears to be noble, but we should view the truth so harsh and corrupt that we can't but look away from it. The core of humanity is a strong will to keep alive absolutely although it seems very filthy. A solution based upon death doesn't bring us an essential settlement with the real world. On the contrary, a fantasy as the luscious death is only a dangerous kind of intoxication. Death is a venomous dream which makes our souls drowned in a convenient paralysis.

Concerning Empty Maturity

Generally, Platonism was considered approving of the existence of something transcending our physical senses. Traditionally, it's called "Idea" or "Form". In other words, Platonism has usually accepted that the essence of things dominates over material objects. According to this theory, Form is both invisible and untouchable because of the transcendental quality. Therefore, platonic people have often scorned worth of a sensory recognition. What they respect most is intellectual consideration, because it's regarded as the only way to reach correct answers of our problems various and difficult. They have thought that all of judgement based on our sensory experience tended to mistake a fleeting delusion as the permanent truth. Such a thought which platonic person hold essentially implies disdain for our mortal body, because they consider the truth to be immutable. The genuine verities should not be fragile, so that they refuse to accept recognition brought by our sensory organs which are bound to die away eventually. Substance of all the things will neither change nor break up, yet the surface of them have been unstable. Platonism declares only substantial recognition to be true, therefore knowledge based on our perception was regarded as false. In addition, they claims that substance of things can't be sensed. They think that reason is only the way to understand the essence of being, and our sensory organs merely perceive illusions which reflect substance of things wrongly. In short, they emphasize worth of rational spirit. Moreover, they have contempt for physical perception.



In "Wind, Light, and the Twenty-Year-Old-Me" which Ango Sakaguchi wrote based upon his experiences in younger days, he mentioned a matter of the relation between spirit and body. When he was a substitute teacher, he used to behave like an ascetic saint. Generally, both emotion and desire are derived from a mortal body. Accordingly, asceticism aims at controlling physical activities in order to keep our mind calm and steady. Sakaguchi called such an attempt to be tranquil "Empty Maturity" after a long time. When we were younger, we could be so innocent, pure, and idealistic, since we had no idea of actual suffering. Therefore, our brief morality can't be treated as eternally genuine virtue. Ascetic virtues hope to be self-sufficient because having desire for something external implies a probable danger that we could suffer from a constant thirst. It's the secret for successful asceticism to diminish our lusts for everything. People released from desire want nothing except to exist like a part of nature. They need merely to fuse into nature, it means to erase their individuality. They don't seem to feel, think, desire, but to keep alive without any pain. However, Sakaguchi considered such a way of being to be inhuman, because sometimes he heard another self say that it's not only a human but a beast to want some sort of satisfaction. A saint strives for abandoning all desire to escape from torment, but what if it's just a hypocrisy? In other words, there could be no human dignity when we are involved with satisfaction like a beast. Probably, blind contentment doesn't bring us any suspicion, reflections, moral conflicts so that we will never improve in a way of being. People who have known no pain, no agony, no suffering doesn't have a qualification to be human. His alternative self appears to tell him a distinctive virtue which was not equal to traditional asceticism because it doesn't mean an elimination of desire for pleasure from our lives. What a human should be is the core of his ethical consideration. Generally, an unselfish saint is praised for the ascetic behavior, but Sakaguchi suspected such a reputation to be misunderstanding. Perhaps, there's a crucial difference between morals and ethics for him. He often accused social morals of pretending to be right and innocent even though they had merely avoided suffering from actual misfortunes. I think that he might have assumed ideal ethics to be the same as distress. In other words, he considered that a moral custom was too platonic and idealistic to comprehend precisely what must be human. They believe that we can get rid of physical existence including desire, sense, emotion, mortality. However, Sakaguchi declared such abstract morals to be just an arbitrary illusion. In addition, he concluded that abstract morals should be abandoned, and proposed falling into corruption to know the truth of humanity. Virtual ethics ought to be based upon reality, but it doesn't mean that reality is the same as the platonic idea. On the contrary, what he regarded as reality contrasts with both Idea and Form evidently. He was determined to resist an ascetic opinion that physical existence deserves contempt, despite a stoic life in his younger days. However, according to his experience, a slight on our physical existence is just an attempt to conceal our corrupt figures, or else a distorted desire which is regarded as an impossible dream. In summary, platonic asceticism is merely a way to escape from our real states. The word "Empty Maturity" indicates that abstract morals can't let us satisfied truly, because it only takes away our courage to face the truth from us. Platonic people disdain to be physical, but we have always consisted of mortal things. It's not our dreadful misfortunes, but an integral condition of being human.

Difficult Matters on Our Morality and Humanity

Ango Sakaguchi, who is one of my favorite authors, used to discuss various matters of our morality. He was not only an ordinary storyteller but also a profound thinker, even though his discourse didn't appear to be logical enough. He was neither a strict academician nor a religious philosopher. Actually, he considered himself as a literary writer, particularly of novels. However, I think that his talent suited rather criticism than creation. Perhaps, his intelligence was too keen to make a genuine fiction. An excessive intelligence would prevent us from indulging in an absurd fantasy. In fact, his works were often based upon real experiences of himself, it means that his imagination was restricted. However, it doesn't mean that he has no importance for us. His unique insights deserve fervent consideration of our morality.



His most famous essay named "Daraku-Ron" mentions a matter of our corruption after a defeat of Second World War. However, we need to pay attention to the fact that he attempted to change a definition of corruption. In other words, his opinion about moral corruption aimed at inverting the definition of it. The defeat of Second World War brought us a significant watershed, it meant that a radical change had come to our militaristic society. Justice in wartime should be forced to be abandoned, it was his confident statement. However, his logic was neither clear nor evident. It was so complicated that we can't solve the mystery easily. Certainly, he insisted that our lives in wartime were inhuman, but he didn't matter whether we had been drowned in corruption. His definition of corruption seems to be quite peculiar, because he didn't regarded corruption as moral wrong. He used to accuse japanese militarism of its corruption, but it didn't mean that they had been particularly depraved. What is most wrong was a moral affectation like a false saint rather than drowning in mere corruption. He proposed people abandoning all of vain hypocrisies, although he recognized that we can't stay without any affectations. In other words, he considered beauty to be inhuman because of its emptiness. However, people can't but pursue beauty instinctively. It's very harsh for us to see the truth of our world. Accordingly, we need to conceal the truth from ourselves. Probably, beauty is the most useful way to cover dreadful facts.



His opinion about corruption is so complicated and profound. He claims that the hypocrisy is useless, on the other hand, he says that we can never avoid it. Surely these message appears to be inconsistent with each other. In my opinion, he might have used to consider what must be human. The term "Humanity" sounds merely beautiful to most of people, but it's not easy to decide the definition of it precisely. His sensitivity to falsehood was so sharp that he could not have endured the truth distorted unfairly. However, he also admitted the fact that falsehood belonged to humanity. People sometimes tells a lie, or else confesses the truth. Humanity seems to consist of both of them. Therefore, it's not enough for being human to remove falsehood. He thought whether beautiful things should remain the same permanently or not, even though he couldn't conclude. His suspicion that beauty is merely a delusion seems to contrast with belief of Yukio Mishima. What is most important for Mishima was absolute beauty. He thought that beauty would never change slightly. His decision was based upon a basic recognition that true beauty should be permanent and immutable. Surely, Ango Sakaguchi agreed with him that beauty is the supreme value too, but he didn't have a certain belief that beauty should be everlasting. If anything, I think that he ended up in a conclusion that beauty is inhuman and immoral, so that it has to be abandoned finally. Apparently, his word "Corruption" implied the same judgement that beauty is a poisonous illusion. Explaining with an example of Kamikaze, he would have rather justify corrupt life than sublime death. Such a opinion about what life and death should be seems to contrast clearly with Mishima who used to insist that there could be the worth more important and significant than each life. In conclusion, Sakaguchi thought that corruption of japanese society after the miserable defeat was neither shame nor sin. He regarded decadence as what we should choose positively. His logic can't be said that everyone can see easily, but it's not a proper behavior to avoid attempting to understand what he told. Maybe his essay can disinfect venomous aestheticism like literature of Mishima.