November 08, 2009

No discipline, just problems


[Karl Popper] wrote there there are no disciplines, just problems. So I always knew what my problem was: chance and misunderstanding of knowledge - I've had it for as long as I can remember. But I am still looking for a discipline.
The quote about appeals for the obvious omnivorous idea, but also because you can extract the phrase no discipline, just problems, which works for me.


I stayed out drinking on Wednesday night until the sun came up. I was drinking with a guy in one bar and we ended up at another place sharing a table with two women, the hours between 3am and 6 passing in a blur. Whatever happened was of no significance, but it took a long time just the same.

When the sun came up I stumbled out and rode my bicycle home. The streets were full of people starting their days, and if they saw me go by and gave it any thought they probably imagined I was a healthy early riser too, on my way to tai chi in a park.

It was a normal night for Osamu Dazai.


The incomprehensibility of society is the incomprehensibility of the individual. The ocean is not society; it is individuals. This is how I managed to gain a modicum of freedom from my terror at the illusion of the ocean called the world. I learned to behave rather aggressively, without the endless anxious worrying I knew before, responding as it were to the needs of the moment.
Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human, p125
This is the kind of book that I'd have been crazy for as a teenager, Notes from the Underground with more sex and drink. It begins: Mine has been a life of much shame. I can't even guess myself what it must be to live the life of a human being. It reminds that I should've died, been badly injured, arrested, had a career or become a father several times over by now, but somehow I escaped each time and ought to be more grateful for what I half chose and half fell into, one year without a boss on December 1st.

I don't think dissipation's so romantic now, and don't aspire to getting wasted every night on a rockstar bohemian trip. I want to be as healthy as possible, so that sometimes I can do unhealthy things.
Men's nature's are alike, it is their habits that carry them far apart.
Mishima once met Dazai, and they had a confrontation. The gist of it was that Mishima (the younger man), although admiring Dazai's work, was disgusted by the weakness that he showed in throwing himself into drink, drugs and women, the general lack of masculine discipline. His friend and biographer suggests that he was really shocked by recognizing his own desire for death, quoting this passage from Mishima's account of their meeting:
Naturally I recognize Dazai's rare talent; and yet I know of no other writer who from my very first contract with him filled me with so violent a physiological revulsion. Possibly....this was due to my immediate sense that Dazai was a writer at pains to expose precisely that which I most wanted to conceal in myself.
Jonathan Nathan, Mishima, p93
Dazai killed himself at 38, while Mishima did so at 45, two paths to the same end.

Related posts:
Mishima's head on a plate [incl. picture]
All posts tagged Mishima Yukio

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