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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.

What I would give for an agreement

On The Scarlet Sheep

The debt ceiling is the talk all up and down american main street. As time has chewed its way through the safety net of the recent weeks it seems as if there is not an agreement to be struck until the whole of it falls through letting the american market fall to its knees with the rest of the world market descend alongside it. I cannot help but see the issue prejudice and personal belief has played in this crisis. When you look at the complaints of the affordable care act (mostly tea partiers or hard right conservatives) it all has to do with their definition of the bible or prejudice against people they haven't even met. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says with a bitter tone, the Obama administration is forcing Christian-owned businesses like Hobby Lobby to provide abortifacients and/or birth control, he is obviously upset it is okay to be upset that did not go how you had planned but it is also not okay to force a piece of religious propaganda down the throats of millions upon millions of people with a threat of major job losses, complete government shutdown, or financial collapse of economies if you do not get your way. I wish to say to many of our elected officials that tantrums are for toddlers, bargaining now that is for people of maturity.

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