Saturday, February 03, 2007

Global warming

So there is this craze about global warming. The former U.S. presidential candidate Al Gore is enlightening the public ("An Inconvenient Truth), and the level of awareness among laypeople is justifiably rising.

Given the robustness and diversity of phenotypes, I personally think life as a whole will cope, no matter what happens to the earth's environment, within the range of what is predicted in the phenomenology of climate change.

Global warming has been created by human civilization, and is a menace to human civilization as we know it. It serves our self-interest to tend to this problem seriously.

The disappearing species due to an environmental change will be replaced by newly emerging ones in the long term, as is evidenced by, for example, the "Cambrian explosion" after the end of the "snowball earth" period. The argument that global warming will destroy the existing species is thus based on our sentimental attachment to the present world in which we find ourselves in.

The makers of the film "An Inconvenient Truth" was hitting the right spot when a beautiful river scene was inserted to depict the loveliness of the earth. Sentimentality is an expression of the instinct of self-perpetuation, the foundation for all that is life.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Pro-life crazy

There are crazy things in life. If there are two kinds, pro-life crazy and anti-life crazy, I firmly believe that the former will eventually win, as we are living organisms and cannot do otherwise. There are people who advocate discrimination, hatred, destruction, doomsday scenarios. But since these are anti-life crazy sentiments, they will always be remain a second violin, if not a awful noise (which they are likely to be, actually!), in the great orchestra of life.
I would always like to be pro-life crazy, when I look up to the moon, dance in the spring air, dash through the streets in Tokyo.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Linguistic Turmoil

I was reading a recent book by Genichiro Takahashi ("The Novels of Japan--A hundred years of solitude", written in Japanese, translation of the title mine). I am going to write a review for the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, the largest circulation daily here.
During the perusal, I found resonance in Mr. Takahashi's appraisal of the origins of the modern literature in this country.

In the Meiji period, Japan was playing a game of catch up in the wake of an encounter with the Western civilization, which started with the end of the Edo period when the country had been closed to outside world for more than 200 years. Takahashi's thesis is that the basic format of Japanese literature was coined in the crush of different cultures in that era.

The other day I was having conversation with the novelist Masahiko Shimada. We agreed that great works of literature are nurtured when a linguistic system is in turmoil through the interaction with other culture. The impressive lineup of authors of prose from Ireland (James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw) must surely due to the difficult linguistic situations in that country.

Thus, some good can come from a linguistic turmoil, although politically it is often traumatic. It pays to open one's heart and
absorb exotic cultures. Conservative people always talk about "a proper usage" of language and hate influences from outside. That kind of protective attitude is a paranoia. More importantly, linguistic purity is not sustainable, from the viewpoint of the physiology of the living organism which is language.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Interaction Simultaneity

Interaction Simultaneity

The Origin of Consciousness blog

31st January 2007 

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I met with one of Japan's most popular "idol" of the time, Eriko Sato who have starred in some films e.g., "Cutie Honey" (2004). The session was for a magazine article in which Ms. Sato tries to learn a series of stuff from people in various fields.

It was interesting to hear how Ms. Sato went into the business of being an idol. When she entered the junior high school, she started to become very popular among boys. People began to take notice of her figures, and that's how she got into considering a career in the show business.

People often talk about the "inferiority complex". A "superiority complex" (here used in a literal sense and not necessarily in the sense as defined by Alfred Adler) must be at least as traumatic sometimes, judging from the talks of people under pressure.

If god is almighty, he (or she) should suffer occasionally from a superiority complex.

Monday, January 29, 2007


When I was a kid, the first snow of the year would always fall sometime in December in the Tokyo suburb where I lived with my parents. Looking back, it was strange how a small soul such as myself got to learn the regularities of the world. No adult ever told me when I should expect the white blessing from the sky above. In the child's psychology, I would always look up expectantly, when in the December sky some clouds gathered to darken the earth below.

With the first snow, I was psychologically "ready" to welcome the new year.

Recently, possibly due to the effects of global warning, we have less and less snow around Tokyo. It is not unusual now that no snow ever falls on ground in December, or throughout winter. Thus, my childhood's annual ritual of the heart is now moot.

Climate change affects many things. My precious memory is one.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

My own life as a classic.

I don't claim to know what a "classic" really entails, but it appears to me that it is something that provides one with new findings of significance and meaning every time one returns to it.

Right now I am reading "The Problems of Philosophy" by Bertrand Russell, and this classic provides us with many fresh insights and directions for further thoughts. The discussion on the ambiguity of "what is real" taking the example of the "sense-data" of a desk, for example, is quite interesting from the modern cognitive scientific point of view.

I suppose everyone who is intelligent enough to visit this blog :-) would have his or her favorite list of classics. I would suggest here that memories of one's own life can be added to the time-honored list.

A modern rational man has this idea that the past is gone once and for all and fixed. The fixed past concept is certainly true from the physical point of view, but one's own past can be a rich source for self-reflection, uncovering hidden secrets every time one returns to it. In this sense, the past is still living and evolving.

Recently I have been reflecting on my own life a lot, as I walk though the streets of Tokyo and in moments of silence in the bar. I have uncovered some hidden secrets. The realization of those buried agenda in my past has helped me understand the person that is me better and gain a better focus as I face the challenges in years to come.

I will give an example below.

After I graduated from the Physics department of University of Tokyo, I went on to study in the Law department of the same university. This change of subject was superficially induced by my girl friend at that time, who was studying law. But as I look back, I think I was secretly affected by the "zeitgeist" in the era of the "bubble economy", in which people had a tendency to worship money and what would be called today "celebrity culture".

At that time, Japan was at the height of illusory sense of extravagance, when it was rumored that the total value of land in Japan exceeded that of the United States. It seems ridiculous, with the benefit of hindsight, but people truly believed in the modern version of fairy tale for a few years.

In that superficial culture, striving to do something in the basic sciences seemed to be odd and out of date. My girl friend left me for another law school student. I was in a state of spiritual emergency. I needed a way out for my soul badly.
As I look back, I understand how I was affected by the memes of bubble economy, dumped by my girl friend. I think I recovered from the fall in a long, gradual and painful process.

Sadly, the country itself is probably yet to recover from the spirit of contempt and ridicule towards anything intellectual, judging from the "variety" shows being broadcast on Japanese television. However, it is not a time for finger pointing. It is a time for actions of good will.