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Excerpts from Hagakure, Chapter 1

I started reading "Hagakure," which was written by the samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo from 1709 to 1716. I don't agree with everything in the book - some of the things Yamamoto-sama says sound crazy to my modern sensibilities, but there's some powerful quotes in here about bushido. Here's some I liked, with some thoughts of my own -

We all want to live. And in large part we make our logic according to what we like. But not having attained our aim and continuing to live is cowardice. This is a thin dangerous line. To die without gaming one's aim is a dog's death and fanaticism. But there is no shame in this. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai. If by setting one's heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he pains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.

The first book of philosophy on bushido I read was the Budoshoshinshu. It had a significant impact on my thinking. One of the largest tenets of bushido is keeping awareness of your death in mind when you live. I try to do this, because it gives you a sense of urgency and importance.

A lot of times the principle is misunderstood - the principle is actually make preparations as if you'll live forever, but live this day that you'd be proud if it was your last. Bushido is not about being reckless. It's about keeping awareness of the end with you, and in doing so, living much more.

It's almost paradoxical - the man who is aware of his death, who relinquishes his claim on life, he lives much more fully. The man who is ignorant of his death does not live as much. Death is not something to be afraid of - it's something to be aware of. Being aware of it makes you more alive, and more effective, and more purposeful.

Beyond Pickup - Have Your Cake and Eat it Too?

On The Tiny Octopus

What started out as my exploration of an age-old question: whether total nerds have a chance at snagging highly desired women ripples into a topic that permeates into a thorough exploration of everything regarding the enigma we call 'love' and how it may not be as magical as we first deem it to be.

Reupdate: 3/14/13 Didn't really mean to update on Valentine's Day but there we go. I rescind my 51/49 soul/body split I mentioned in the 3/13 update after responding to Zach's post on Sebastian Marshall's blog http://sebastianmarshall.com/dont-underestimate-biochemistry. I now believe it is a dynamic split that changes based on situation.

Update: 3/13/13 In yet another update of this post's evolution the original question has been staked in the heart by Tynan's latest post Not that kind of person. I am now more convinced than ever that there are no 'pre-sets' in life and the only barriers we put up are the ones of our own making. Not everyone starts on even-footing and some have advantages over others but in the long run for most things we are self-defined. For the longest time I've tackled a deeper philosophical question - is the body a victim of biological processes or are biological processes controlled by the body? (ie can we use willpower alone to induce biological change) Are human personalities just a sum of biochemical reactions or is the human persona a product of the 'soul'? I now believe that we have a lot more power than we give ourselves credit for and even though our bodies and higher aspects (mind/soul) may often conflict with one another ultimately the higher aspects are in control.

Admittedly hormones and such play a big role in our day to day feel/function and have enough weight to throw us off course . Starting out I think we may be a 51/49 split of mind over matter but with self discipline and proper care of the human vessel in my experience that ratio only goes up to pass more control to the higher self.

Update: 9/6/12 Figure I'd clean this up and add in a shortcut to help anyone trapped in the loop of pining for women - most of what is considered "love" doesn't exist just sex. Read the end of this post for the explanation why. Otherwise original post below...

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