the great wave of kanagawa

March 16, 2011 § Leave a comment


Sullivan points to this post on the painting above, the “Great Wave of Kanagawa”

“In Shintoism, nature is recognised as infinitely more powerful than humankind – as in the wave – and that humankind is in nature with the permission of the gods but with no particular concern from the gods. Shinto rituals show respect for the gods of nature, befriending the enormity of the forces, if you like. But, apparently, there won’t be much of the moral affront at what’s happened – the problem of evil – from the Japanese perspective.”

There is neither good nor evil in the event and the Japanese people, to their credit, seem to be taking this with resolve and equanimity.  Earthquakes do not care who we pray to and tsunamis drown us all the same. There are only infinite tons of water and earth moving beyond our scale, and more human stories in motion than grains of salt dissolving into the sea.

Following up:

To stop earthquakes, we need to follow the commandments, says one fool. God is mad at japan because of all the atheists, says another idiot.

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