Mar 16, 2011

Why I think the Japanese are going to come back stronger than before

Japan has just gone through one of the worst disasters in modern history. The earthquake was so big that it increased the rate of our planets spin and the tsunami that followed was watched all over the world Live as it swept away cars and buildings. On top of all of that we are watching again Live, a nuclear factory go through turmoil (fortunately, as of this posting, the safety devices are working enough for the safety of the population) and the earthquakes continue rattling the population.

The Japanese are used to earthquakes but so many one after another has to be unnerving especially with all the destruction around them. As Japan's Prime Minister stated, "This is the worst crises since World War Two".

I'm sure I'm not the only one amazed by the Japanese stableness (or 'stoic' posture as one BBC commentator put it) in dealing with this disaster. They have been calm, orderly and dealing with each situation as it comes. This is what happened after WW2. The Japanese got themselves together and rose above the disaster to become one of the largest economic powers in under fifty years which is amazing just in and of itself.

Joseph Campbell has this to say about the Japanese people:

Japan, like England, is an island world wherein a self-understood rapport exists by nature, from top to bottom of the social order; so that whereas on the mainland clashes of race, cultures, and mutually inconsiderate classes represent practically the norm of the social history, in Japan, even in day of the most brutal disorder, the empire functioned, in the main, as an organic unit. And with such effect that today, as nowhere else in the world, one has the sense there of a permeation of the social body by a spirit essentially heroic and aristocratic, endowed with the quality of honor, which has penetrated downward from the top, while, in counter-play, the sense of wonder and delight in the numinous just mentioned [i.e. of the world around you], which is generally lost in the sophistications of a developed civilization, remains significant in the structure of life, supported from beneath by the sensibilities of the folk, yet pervading the culture spectrum to the top.

Oriental Mythylogy by Joseph Campbell page 461 - words inside the brackets [ ] are mine

The attitude described can be seen on the news. We all know a disaster of this magnitude is not something that can be handled easily by just any culture and the Japanese calmness - through continuing 6.0 aftershocks and dozens of minor quakes - is a testimony to their spirit. And a confirmation of what Joseph Campbell  writes above.

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