29 January 2007
Enter now this quote that I just love from Townhall.com's Mary Katherine Ham. It was printed in a recent issue of The Washington Post
Pondering the lineup for a panel discussion at National Review's "conservative summit" featuring Kate O'Beirne, Kathryn Lopez, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham and Mona Charen, TownHall.com blogger Mary Katharine Ham joked: "You know, sometimes when I'm standing around my kitchen in my RNC standard-issue apron baking cookies instead of working, it occurs to me for just one second how oppressed I am, as a conservative woman. I wonder to myself, 'Why didn't I join the party of "women's rights," where I could express myself and achieve something beyond the perfect pineapple upside-down cake and a couple young'ins?' ...
"If only there were somewhere in this movement for a young woman to find inspiration. Oh well. Back to my cookies."
18 January 2007
Re-reading some of my underlined passages from Hagakure, the Book of the Samurai by Yamamoto Tsunetomo (from the William Scott Wilson translation).
It is difficult for a fool's habits to change to selflessness. In confronting a matter, however, if at first you leave it alone, fix the four vows in your heart, exclude self interest, and make an effort, you will not go far from your mark.
B...y bringing shame to a person, how can one expect to make him a better man?
...Moreover, a woman should consider her husband first, just as he considers his master first.
...Recently, people who are called "clever" adorn themselves with superficial wisdom and only deceive others. For this reason they are inferior to dull-witted folk. ...
Once there was a certain man who was very clever, but such was his character to always see the negative points of his job. In such a way, one will be useless. ...
... This was an unbecoming thing to say ... It was rather low... Speaking of other people in this way is no different from an exchange between low class spearman. It is vulgar.
... It is a wretched thing that young men of today are so contriving so contriving and so proud of their material possessions. Men with contriving hearts are lacking in duty. Lacking in duty they will have no self-respect.
It is not good to settle into a set of opinions. It is a mistake to put forth effort and obtain some understanding and then stop at that. At first putting forth great effort to be sure that you have grasped the basics, then practicing so that they may come to fruition is something that will never stop for your whole lifetime. Do not rely on following the degree of understanding that you have discovered, but simply think, "This is not enough." One should search through his whole life how best to follow the Way. And he should study, setting his mind to work without putting things off. Within this is the Way.
The right and wrong of one' s way of doing things are found in trivial matters.
Those things that are easily understood are rather shallow.
There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment. A man's whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there will be nothing else to do, and nothing else to pursue. Live being true to the single purpose of the moment. Everyone lets the present moment slip by as though he thought it were somewhere else. No one seems to have noticed this fact. ... When one understands this settling into single-mindedness well, his affairs will thin out. Loyalty is also contained within this single mindedness.
Be true to the thought of the moment and avoid distraction. Other than continuing to exert yourself, enter into nothing else, but go into the extent of living single thought by single thought.
The brave men of old times were for the most part rowdies. As they were of the disposition to be out running amuck, their vitality was strong and they were brave. ... These days rowdiness is nonexistent because man's vitality has weakened. Vitality has fallen behind but man's character has improved.
As Yasuda Ukyo said about offering up the last wine cup, only the end of things is important. One's whole life should be like this. When guests are leaving, the mood of being reluctant to say farwell is essential. ... In all dealings with people it is essetnial to have a fresh approach. One should constantly give the impression that he is doing something exceptional.
At a glance, every individuals own measure of dignity is manifested just as it is. There is dignity in personal appearance. There is dignity in a calm aspect. There is dignity in a paucity of words. There is dignity in flawlessness of manners. There is dignity in solemn behavior. And there is dignity in deep insight and clear perspective. These are all reflected on the srugace. By the end, their foundation is simplicity of thought and tautness of spirit.
Covetousness, anger and foolishness are things to sort out well. When bad things happen in the world... they are not unrelated to these three things. Looking comparatively at the good things, you will see that htey are not excluded from wisdom, humanity, and bravery.
02 January 2007
Always in the presence of new features of life and divorced as he was obliged to be from the older traditions of a settled life, in speech, as in other activities, he broke through the restraint imposed by established usage and created a language of his own... There is always one thing that stamps a man for what he is and that is his speech. The basic reason for the difference between the cowboy and other men rests on an individual liberty, ... an accepting of his own standards alone.
... The cowboy was not a highly educated man as a rule, but he never lacked for expression. Perhaps there was pungency and directness about his speech that seemed novel and strange to conventional people, but no one could accuse him of being bore some. ... His peculiar directness of phrase meant freedom from restraint, either of society or convention. He respected neither the dictionary nor usage, but employed his words in the manner that best suited him and arranged them in a sequence that best expressed his idea. He was of a strong young race which laid firm hands on language and squeezed juice from it.
... With a keen sense of humor that took unexpected slants ... the cowboy seemed to express himself more freely with a slang which strengthened rather than weakened his speech. ... In dealing with the cowboy’s lingo, mention should be made of his profanity. His blasphemy, however appalling as it is, had it's foundation on arbitrarily created custom and not from any wish to be wicked. Many of his expressions, while sacrilegious on the tongues of others were but slang when used by him. The common use of the name of the Deity was with no intention of reviling God. ... Words could be an insult or term of affection, according to the tone which they were spoken. Therefore, men frequently were endearingly addressed with seeming curses and apparently scourging epithets.
His swearing was to no small extent a purely conventional exhibition of very human and boy like desire to blow off steam but it became so habitual that, though most cowboys endeavored to refrain it when in the presence of a decent women, few of them were able to keep the lid on the can of cuss words.
To observe a riot of imagination turned loose with the bridle off, on e must hear a burst of anger on the part of on e of these men. It would be mostly unprintable, but you would get an entirely new idea of what profanity means. The most obscure, remote, and unheard-of conceptions would be dragged forth from earth, heaven, and hell and linked together in a sequence so original, so gaudy, and so utterly blasphemous that you would gasp and be stricken with admiration. ...