Category Archives: Books

For the Emperor

Is there anything that can be depended upon other than the emperor’s way? Is there a secret key to the salvation of humanity other than this? Is there a place of refuge other than this? The emperor should be revered for all eternity. Leading the masses, dash straight ahead on the emperor’s way! Even if inundated by raging waves, or seared by a red-hot iron, or beset by all the nations of the world, go straight ahead on the emperor’s way without the slightest hesitation! This is the best and shortest route to the manifestation of the divine land.

…Believe in the emperor, the embodiment of Supreme Truth, the one God of the universe! Imperial subjects of Japan should not seek their own personal salvation. Rather, their goal should be the expansion of imperial power. Needless to say, they will find personal salvation within imperial power.

Until you read the word “Japan,” the above quotes could easily be mistaken for flavour text lifted straight from Warhammer 40,000. They are in fact from the writings of Sugimoto Goro, at the time a (posthumous) national hero in Japan for his ultra-nationalist warrior ethos.  He was killed in battle during the Japanese invasion of China just before the second world war.  I found these quotes in the fascinating book Zen at War by Brian Daizen Victoria.

A reminder that the grim darkness of the far future may not be as silly as it seems.

Some Philosophy

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, and I haven’t done any gaming besides D&D, which is still going well.

What I have been doing is reading a lot.  One of the things I’m reading right now is the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: the mighty Roman emperor who was also a philosopher of the stoic school.  There’s a lot to admire in there.  This passage in particular made me think of the last post I made, and the problem I was having with wanting praise for my creations and measuring myself against others:

Beautiful things of any kind are beautiful in themselves and sufficient to themselves. Praise is extraneous. The object of praise remains what it was – no better and no worse. This applies, I think, even to “beautiful” things in ordinary life – physical objects, artworks. Does anything genuinely beautiful need supplementing? No more than justice does – or truth, or kindness, or humility. Are any of those improved by being praised? Or damaged by contempt? Is an emerald suddenly flawed if no one admires it? Or gold, or ivory, or purple? Lyres? Knives? Flowers? Bushes?

And speaking of beauty and stoic philosophy, here’s Lana Del Rey singing a song about mortality and seizing the moment:

Till next time,

James