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Miyadera-Sensei

So, after the teachers' meeting today (which was blissfully short), Miyadera-sensei (宮寺先生)--who I think is really cool (he's the one who lent me Of Human Bondage)--came up to me and handed me a book of haiku.

It was a present for me. He got me a present.

The really (suspicious, great, flattering) thing about it is that it's by a poet who Miyadera-sensei told me would have been considered great except for the fact that his haiku poems had too much emotion (especially love) in them to be considered masterful haiku (haiku is more "in-the-moment" than "how-I'm-FEELING-in-the-moment").

So bascially, he bought me a book of love haiku. ::grins:: He's actually kinda cute, except for the fact that he's about my dad's age, which is kinda wrong. But definitely cute.

So, since I'm on the topic of Miyadera-sensei, I'm going to (finally) include another quote from "Of Human Bondage":

From pages 359-361:

Hayward discovered the tavern at which this priceless beverage [note: punch, probably with absinthe] was to be obtained by meeting in the street a man called Macalister who had been at Cambridge with him. He was a stockbroker and a philosopher. He was accustomed to go to the tavern once a week; and soon Philip, Lawson, and Hayward got into the habit of meeting there every Tuesday evening: change of manners made it now little frequented, which was an advantage to persons who took pleasure in conversation. Macalister was a big-boned fellow, much too short for his width, with a large, fleshy face and a soft voice. He was a student of Kant and judged everything from the standpoint of pure reason. He was fond of expounding his doctrines. Philip listened with excited interest. He had long come to the conclusion that nothing amused him more than metaphysics, but he was not so sure of their efficacy in the affairs of life. The neat little system [note: always acting as though there is a cop around the corner] which he had formed as the result of his meditations at Blackstable had not been of conspicuous use during his infatuation for Mildred [note: a really horrible character Philip despises himself for falling in love with]. He could not be positive that reason was much help in the conduct of life. It seemed to him that life lived itself. He remembered very vividly the violence of the emotion which had possessed him and his inability, as if he were tied down to the ground with ropes, to react against it. He read many wise things in books, but he could only judge from his own experience; (he did not know whether he was different from other people;) he did not calculate the pros and cons of an action, the benefits which must befall him if he did it, the harm which might result from the omission; but his whole being was urged on irresistibly. He did not act with a part of himself but altogether. The power that possessed him seemed to have nothing to do with reason: all that reason did was to point out the methods of obtaining what his whole soul was striving for.

Macalister reminded him of the Categorical Imperative.

"Act so that every action of yours should be capable of becoming a universal rule of action for all men."

"That seems to me perfect nonsense," said Philip.

"You're a bold man to say that of anything stated by Emmanuel Kant," retorted Macalister.

"Why? Reverence for what somebody said is a stultifying quality: there's a damned sight too much reverence in the world. Kant thought things not because they were true, but because he was Kant."

"Well, what is your objection to the Categorical Imperative?"

(They talked as though the fate of empires were in the balance.)

"It suggests that one can choose one's course by an effort of will. And it suggests that reason is the surest guide. Why should its dictates be any better than those of passion? They're different. That's all."

"You seem to be a contented slave of your passions."

"A slave because I can't help myself, but not a contented one," laughed Philip.

While he spoke he thought of that hot madness which had driven him in pursuit of Mildred. He remembered how he had chafed against it and how he had felt the degradation of it.

"Thank God, I'm free from all that now," he thought.

And yet even as he said it he was not quite sure whether he spoke sincerely. When he was under the influence of passion he had felt a singular vigour, and his mind had worked with unwonted force. He was more alive, there was an excitement in sheer being, an eager vehemence of soul, which made life now a trifle dull. For all the misery he had endured there was a compensation in that sense of rushing, overwhelming existence.

But Philip's unlucky words engaged him in a discussion on the freedom of the will, and Macalister, with his well-stored memory, brought out argument after argument. He had a mind that delighted in dialectics, and he forced Philip to contradict himself; he pushed him into corners from which he could only escape by damaging concessions; he tripped him up with logic and battered him with authorities.

At last Philip said:

"Well, I can't say anything about other people. I can only speak for myself. The illusion of free will is so strong in my mind that I can't get away from it, but I believe it is only an illusion. But it is an illusion which is one of the strongest motives of my actions. Before I do anything I feel that I have a choice, and that influences what I do; but afterwards, when the thing is done, I believe that it was inevitable from all eternity."

"What do you deduce from that?" asked Hayward.

"Why, merely the futility of regret. IT'S NO USE CRYING OVER SPILT MILK, BECAUSE ALL THE FORCES OF THE UNIVERSE WERE BENT ON SPILLING IT [my capitalization]."


I absolutely love this book. It's so brilliant. I mean, the entire book is one giant stretch of brilliance. Now, it's not as cleverly or complexly drawn out as, say, "Atlas Shrugged" (brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, everybody and their dog should read it), but it's brilliant and stunning in its own right. Altas Shrugged is more "THE COSMIC SCHEME OF THINGS" [God voice], where as Of Human Bondage is more "The Day-to-Day Scheme of Things" [my voice].

Anywho, more brilliance to come at a later date.

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