Thursday, May 28, 2009

The (partial) rejection of nihilism, a selection from "Sun and Steel" by Yukio Mishima

"One might object that thought belongs, essentially, to the night, that creation with words is of necessity carried out in the fevered darkness of night. Indeed, I had still not lost my old habit of working through the small hours, and I was surrounded by people whose skins unmistakably bore witness to nocturnal thinking.

Yet why must it be that men always seek out the depths, the abyss? Why must thought, like a plumb line, concern itself exclusively with vertical descent? Why was it not feasible for thought to change direction and climb vertically up, ever up, towards the surface? Why should the area of the skin, which guarantees a human being's existence in space, be most despised and left to the tender mercies of the senses? I could not understand the laws governing the motion of thought -- the way it was liable to get stuck in unseen chasms whenever it set out to go deep; or, whenever it aimed at the heights, to soar away into boundless and equally invisible heavens, leaving the corporeal form undeservedly neglected.

If the law of thought is that it should search out profundity, whether it extends upwards or downwards, then it seemed excessively illogical to me that men should no discover the depths of a kind in the "surface", that vital borderline that endorses our separateness and our form, dividing our exterior from our interior. Why should they not be attracted by the profundity of the surface itself?"

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