Pu04a_Native American Civilizations
Pu04a_Native American Civilizations
I grew up as a Twilight Zone viewer in the 1960s. Born in 1960, this and other shows, like Star Trek, hold a special place in my heart. They surely influenced me and contributed, partially and ultimately, to the person I am today. Therefore, anyone attempting to do a show-by-show analysis runs a huge risk of alienating a significant portion of their target audience if the effort is done poorly and for the wrong reason.
Mr. Tom Elliot (Tom) is the force behind this podcast. From the first, ostensibly experimental, exposure to his podcast I was convinced that this person was not only knowledgeable and reverential, but is squarely pursuing this effort for the RIGHT reason: love for the stories, admiration for the genius of Rod Serling, and a desire to introduce others to the series.
I discovered the podcast in January of 2017 and have been bingeing and tweeting the episodes as I methodically go through them, starting with episode #1. Additionally, the fascinating commentary offered by Tom convinced me to revisit the series. I now watch an episode on Netflix then listen to the podcast. I also convinced my 17 year old daughter to watch the episodes with me. After the episode, we discuss the plot, twist, and meaning as we understood it. Then I anxiously await Tom’s commentary in his corresponding podcast.
I’m 56 years old and the memories of the series has been flooding back. No longer do I have to wait for the New Years Eve marathons to satisfy my addiction. Tom’s podcast has convinced me to analyze on a level that I previously never considered. But, he’s also opened a way to share my childhood with my teenage daughter- which is the greatest gift.
The only caution that “I submit for your approval” is this; if you enter the Twilight Zone and allow yourself to be guided by Tom, you will not want to come back.
-Robert F. Kennedy
Timeline: 16th – 18th C.
FS: How did philosophy support Absolutism?
During a time of religious and economic instability, monarchs ruled with a strong hand. The developing world view of Renaissance Europe impacted much more than art and science. Creative expression transcended the new scientific theories and artistic masterpieces and entered into the world of governance. Monarchs and philosophers questioned the role of government and ruler. Sometimes, both arrived at conclusions that were mutually supportive. Others generated ideas that were revolutionary and confrontational. All sought clues to the answers in nature, but supported by faith whenever possible.
Ponder: “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely”
I. Origins of Absolutism
A. Absolutism: A term used by historians to describe a form of monarchical power that is not restrained by other institutions, such as churches, legislatures, or aristocracy.
B. Characteristics of Absolutist Monarchies
C. Historical Precedent
There are numerous examples throughout world history that monarchs justified their exercise of power using religion. Among these we can include:
– Ancient Egypt
– Roman Empire
– China’s Dynastic Period
– Medieval Europe: The Church exercised its influence when it crowned kings of the Franks (eg. Charlemagne) and the Holy Roman Emperors.
From the time of the Pax Mongolica, and with increased vigor during the commercial revolution of the High Middle Ages and Renaissance, Europe was on the receiving end of a philosophical exchange with the Asians. During this period European thinkers were able to express their understanding of the human experience through an understanding of the natural world.
The Enlightenment is a period of philosophical expansion. It is nurtured within the Renaissance and is, in essence, Europe’s version of the nature-based philosophies of the Far East. A few of the great Enlightenment thinkers were Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Voltaire. These men looked to nature to find answers that will allow them to explain how nature shapes the relationship between ruler and ruled.
1. Thomas Hobbes (wrote The Leviathan, a philosophical response to the English Civil War).
a. Nature, originally, made everyone mentally and physically equal and with freedom to choose. Nature has also elevated in Man his own self-interests.
b. The goal of “Absolutism” is to control the natural evil (base nature) of people. It exists to benefit the people and the state which are bound together by the national identity.
2. Niccolo Machiavelli (The Prince)
II. Absolutist Monarchs of Renaissance Europe
A. France: Louis XIV (Sun King)
B. England: Henry VIII (16th C.), Elizabeth I (Virgin Queen, 16th C.), James I (James VI of Scotland, 17th C.)
As daughter of Henry VIII, Elizabeth recognizes the importance of securing power and wielding it when necessary to entrench her position. Elizabeth never married (“The Virgin Queen”) and she reinforced the bond between her and the fortunes of the nation-state. Whether her decision to not marry was one based on love or unwillingness to share power, she did expend effort in making it appear publicly that she was “married to the state” (As priests of the Catholic Church are forbidden to marry a woman, they are expected to conduct themselves as if “married” to the The Church.
The Arthurian Legends proclaim Arthur as “The once and future king” because “He and the land are one.” In reality as in legend, the unity of the state depends a great deal on the ability of the monarch to make the destiny of the people, land, and monarch => One! Her efforts in the defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588) opened avenues to the wealth of the Americas that before were limited to raids of Spanish galleons by privateers (you might say “hired pirates”). As great as American specie wealth was, the monarchy’s financial needs were in keeping with other absolute monarchs and it often brought her in conflict with the nobility upon whom she depended for funds. The monarch’s need for funding and the aristocracy’s increasing resentment would take England’s succeeding monarchs on a path toward civil war.
C. Russia: Peter the Great (Czar)
In keeping with other Renaissance monarchs, Peter the Great organized the Russian nation-state by clarifying the Russian national identity. As the state formed, he was able to amass the power that came with it. As monarchs, popes, and businessmen of the period exhibited, Peter the Great used art to reflect the values of the nation-state while glorifying his reign (St. Petersburg).
D. Holy Roman Empire, Spain, Netherlands: Emperor Charles V
III. Summary: Why It Matters Now.
When faced with crises, many heads of government take on additional economic or political powers.
6. A social, political, & economic system based on land ownership.
7. Japan’s 1st shogunate. Repelled Mongols that reached Japan.
11. ‘Human-like’ or ‘Man-like’, but not necessarily in form or physical appearance.
13. Marks the gateway to a Shinto Shrine. Often found near or in a body of water.
14. ~80% of Japan is covered by this.
17. A literary (poetic) form marked by a 5-7-5 syllabic structure. Reached it’s height during the Heian Period (8th-12th C.).
18. The title of one who is entrusted with the responsibility of acting as a ‘conduit’ between the natural and supernatural worlds.
20. “Divine Wind”. Protector of Japan and mortal enemy of the Mongols.
22. One expression of Japan’s geologically active nature.
23. Families related to one another via a common ancestor.
24. A clan that has historically and traditionally been dedicated to a particular Kami. One responsibility for this type of clan is to maintain a shrine dedicated to that Kami. This tradition dates back to the prehistoric period in Japan (before 7th C).
25. The ethical code of the Samurai warrior.
26. In times of peace, the Samurai warrior becomes this for his Daimyo. It is an administrative role.
27. Capital city of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
1. Having originated, or occurring naturally, in a region or environment.
2. The watery result of an oceanic earthquake.
3. Japanese feudal warrior.
4. Capital city of modern Japan.
5. A Samurai (land-owning) lord.
8. A category of faiths that view the natural world as having a spiritual element.
Objects in nature are generally infused with a spiritual force.
9. Overall military commander of feudal Japan. Traditionally, appointed by the Emperor, but is the ‘actual’ day-to-day ruler of the state.
10. Images and/ or objects of religious reverence. Hint: Revisit the differences between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church during the Early Middle Ages.
12. A Samurai without a lord.
15. The “Divine Sun”. The top entity within Shinto’s pantheon of divine forces.
16. Japan’s indigenous religion.
17. Japan’s cultural golden age.
19. This form of Buddhism was imported from China ~6th C. It became central to the Samurai ethic for its dependence on meditation (focused thought) and self-discipline.
20. Japanese word literally translated as “divine” or “spirit”. They’re anthropomorphic forces within nature.
21. A group of islands.
Bushido is the unwritten code of conduct of the Samurai. Literally, Bushido means “warrior – samurai – ways”. Bushi is a term for warrior, but directly infers a more prestigious or higher class warrior. The “ways” or “way” is a term used by most “do-martial arts” (such as: Judo, Kendo, Aikido, and Iaido), which means “the way to … “
Bushido is comprised of a system or standards of moral principles that became the soul of the Samurai, during the feudal periods of Japan. It developed over the centuries from the influences of Zen Buddhism, Confucianism, Shintoism, and the expression of these affectations, had their medium in the visual and literary arts such as painting, poetry, and living the way of life (Bushido) they chose to take. Each of these gifts molded and shaped Bushido, as a moral standard of conduct to follow.
Influencing Bushido, Zen Buddhism lent to the Samurai a very Stoic disposition. This Stoicism was realized out of a genuine respect for life and also for death. Death, an inevitable eventuality of our own lives, is as much a part of nature as is life. It gives us an added level of thought and meaning to our existence. With the advent of death, there is the introduction of life. There are strong human emotions of anger, remorse, and detachment, etc., that are associated with death that complicate its understanding. However we are gifted by these very same feelings, that allow us to appreciate life and the things we enjoy and love. We most notably appreciate the things we take for granted once they are gone forever. The Samurai trust and faith in nature was because of the great admiration and respect for both life and death.
In tune with this level of consciousness, Shintoism also influenced the Bushido of the Samurai. To seek honor by first looking inside the soul and confront the intimate fears that we hide from ourselves, and that plague our psyche in everyday life. This is the purification of one’s soul — “… to know thyself “. In addition, Shintoism brought a sense of filial piety and loyalty to the family and homeland. When you “… know yourself, you know your weaknesses and strengths, and most of all – you know where you belong.” This sense of belonging has been attributed to the patriotic and nationalistic culture of Japaneven to this day.
Another factor in the backbone of the code of Bushido was Confucianism. It bonded community and family relationships. These relationships had several different moral priorities or qualities to them. In feudal Japan, the samurai served various different lords and their loyalty was given to them. This association was that of servant and master. The samurai himself was the head of his family. The safety and well-being depended upon him. His role was that of head of the house, husband, father, brother, or son.
The Bushido of the samurai had very deep roots in the philosophies of Zen Buddhism, Confucianism and Shintoism. With such historical origins, it is understandable why Bushido was not just a mere belief, but a culture that became the hallmark of the samurai for centuries. And this lifestyle was not forced on the samurai, but was chosen of free will. It was a serious choice to be sure, and one that they were very proud to follow.
© 1999, C. A. Matrasko. All rights reserved.
Cheryl Matrasko started Aikido in 1965, studying under Isao Takahashi as her first instructor. She enjoyed working out under many well known Aikido instructors during her tenure with Takahashi Sensei and thereafter following his death in 1971. Cheryl has dedicated time with instructors in Northern Shaolin Long-Fist, Seven Stars Praying Mantis, and Daito-Ryu Aikijujitsu. Currently, she is instructing Aikido at NorthwesternUniversity’s Chicago Campus, Associate Instructor at NorthShore Aikido in Skokie, and supporting Aikido World Journal.
1. What has contributed to the development of the Bushido Code?
2. Which principle or value did each contribute to this code?
3. Why would “knowing oneself” be an important part of a warrior’s training?