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Monday, October 19, 2009

Peace Philosophy Salon-Fall session commenced!

On October 17, Peace Philosophy Centre held the first salon for this fall!

In addition to usual members from this spring session, we were happy to welcome new faces too. We had 6 university students this time, out of 9 participants in total, and we had very stimulating and interesting discussion over this question, "What do you think how the world has been changed after A-bombing?".

As Hiroshima/Nagasaki follow-up session, this time we watched a film "Days that shook the world - Hiroshima". This film illustrates the minute by minute events leading up to the world's first ever atomic bombing. This film closely looks at American soldiers who were involved in dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and personally, I found it interesting to see the circumstances and experiences American soldiers went through to accomplish their mission- to drop the bomb.

If you are interested in and want to know more about Enola Gay crews, here is a suggested article to read written by Peter Kuznick: Defending the Indefensible: A Meditation on the Life of Hiroshima Pilot Paul Tibbets, Jr.

To an extend, Meg suggested us to think about making an action to encourage some cities that haven't joined yet, such as White Rock, to be a part of "Mayor of Peace". Satoko-san suggested that maybe we can work on to make every city in BC to be members of the organization by 2010 February, and if possible, this could be mentioned at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Olympics.

While discussing this, there was an opinion that grassroots movements might not be enough since the State has, after all, the most powerful and influential roles in both national and global politics.

Personally, it may sound too naive or idealistic to some people, but I do believe we actually don't need to discuss what "the State" is, what the "sovereignty" is, what the "human nature" is, and so forth to create a social change. How to make a social change is actually very simple(I know it's not "easy"), as I believe happiness should be very simple thing.

How simple?

Let's say, if you really care about your friends, you want them to be happy. If your friend is not happy, you are not happy. If your friend is happy, then you are happy too. I want to believe that happiness is as simple as that, and I want to believe social change should be start from our heart and soul.

Because you want your friend to be happy, if he/she is in trouble, you will do something. You just feel you must do something for them. If you care about him/her from bottom of your heart, and if you put your soul in it, you can't just ignore. We want to learn, think, share, and do something, because we care about it and put our heart/soul in the concern we have. It's not only individual-level, but I think we can apply this to any kinds of issues (politics, economics, and so on) if "people" mattered.

This is what I felt from this week's salon.





  1. Thank you Shoko. It's very thoughtful and you touch on some basic things people often forget.
    It's not naive at all. I would say it's a beautiful heart. I wish everyone could think so and everyone would use what you said--feeling happy by making other people happy--to guide their behavior. If they do so, the world will be much more peaceful and many problems will disappear.
    Too sad they won't do so. In international relation, people still talk about "zero-sum" game, which literately means he/she feels better at some else's suffering. I think we need find out why there is such a gap: why as individual we have a generous understanding of happiness while collectively nations have a different understanding.
    Sometimes I do feel politics and IR are really dirty business, and wonder why I choose to study these ugly things. But I also feel I’m going to face the challenge. If there is a problem, then I’m going to fix it, although this is a very idealistic goal. I might be more naïve and idealistic in this sense.

  2. Thanks Shoko and Arc.

    Arc, your remarks remind me of what Yves Tiberghien told me... I will tell you another time. IR and poli-sci by definition put states first because those disciplines would not survive without that framework. I commend you for taking that route, because I believe at school you can benefit from learning you would not learn otherwise. I did my MBA not necessarily because I believed in capitalism, but I wanted to gain skills to speak in their language and be able to tell when those other MBAs are just BSing. Kato Shuichi 加藤周一先生 often wrote about when he was involved with anti-Vietnam teach-ins. In his observation the most active people were those in math and natural sciences, and the "experts" like those in IR and poli-scis were just analyzing, criticizing and doing nothing. When Shinzo Abe 安倍晋三 was trying to change the Fundamenal Law of Education in Japan, again those in education departments at universities in Japan were silent and inactive. What is the meaning of knowledge if you cannot use it for positive social change? What is the meaning of peace activism if it can't save a single life? I am always challenging myself with these questions.



  3. By the way, Walter Matsuda and Tomo were with us on that evening as well! So the total number was 10.