Myth For Good or Ill
The use of myth can entertain or inspire a heroic journey, yet it is no way to make policy for a free society. Only reason and fundamental truths can reveal the path to justice. Explore the link from Mars, Thor, Hachiman, and the American Revolution. Learn the only two valid laws needed to live in peace.
If you’re the kind of person that trains in Japanese budo or bujutsu as a hobby, a mere exercise for health and fitness, a moving meditation as its sometimes called, or because you enjoy Asian esthetics, or for socializing with friends afterwards, there’s little need to look further at the deeper ramifications of things martial.
However, if you understand that the term “martial” derives from Mars, the Roman god of War, the study of martial arts is embedded in the clash of human wills and involves killing people and widespread destruction.
While normally associated with thunder, and the roles have evolved over time according to various tellings of the legend, Thor is the Norse deity of war. Interestingly Thor is also associated with justice and the protection of humanity.
The Japanese god of war is Hachiman, or Yahata no Kami (The Eight Bannered deity) who was also incorporated into the Buddhist pantheon and deemed a Bodhisattva called Hachiman Bosatsu. Hachiman, aside from being the god of war and revered by warriors is also the divine protector of the Japanese people and is, somewhat ironically, symbolized by a dove.
I go into these myths to open a discussion of paradox in our understanding of martial arts. On the one hand war involves breaking things and killing people, “one, big, raging atrocity” as Col. David Hackworth phrased it in his seminal book About Face.
Yet war is also waged for the protection of people and the fulfillment of justice, to secure a homeland for people that share an affinity with one another that are in opposition to an external group. Western traditions use the dove to symbolize peace, yet this also signifies the Japanese god of war.
The casual practitioner or observer of martial arts might simply shrug this paradox off and give it no further thought, what about you?
Is there a way to resolve these seeming contradictions?
Culture counts. Even a culture that honors its myth traditions must face the reality, that respect for private property and honoring one's agreements is necessary for human flourishing.
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Geopolitical & investment author Richard J. Maybury: http://www.earlywarningreport.com