Of Rectitude and Benevolence.

     Date Masamune. The name itself is the echelon of power. He is one of my most favourite historic figure and I absolutely adore this valiant being. He is the One Eyed Dragon of Oshu and a single eye is enough to instill fear in the hearts of not only humans, but demons as well.

     Well keeping my admiration aside (I could talk about it the whole day), I would like to talk about the quote in the above image. 

Rectitude carried to excess hardens into stiffness; 

benevolence indulged beyond measure sinks into weakness


First, let us decode the meaning of a few words:


Rectitude –


1. Straightness; the state or quality of having a constant direction and not being crooked or bent. [from 15th c.]


2. (now) The fact or quality of being right or correct; correctness of opinion or judgement. [from 15th c.]


3. Conformity to the rules prescribed for moral conduct; (moral) uprightness, virtue [from 16th c.]


(via wikitionary)

 


From the above meanings, we can interpret the following,


1 talks about the physical aspect of rectitude. 


2 talks about the idealistic aspect. 


Whereas 3 is the amalgamation of both.


     If rectitude implies ‘straightness’, it suggests a constant state of mind in a human context. The inability to accept change and move on. The firmness of the mind in its self indulgence.


     If rectitude is ‘the quality of being correct’, then rectitude is a self perceived virtue. What is right for one man, is evil to another. It is subjective.


     If rectitude is ‘conformity to the rules of morals’, then it is obedience to norms. Self prescribed or socially prescribed.


     If we look closely, rectitude is almost the same as stiffness. But Date sama has used both these words. Maybe he is trying to tell us something different. Let us try to interpret.


 When he says,  

“Rectitude carried to excess hardens into stiffness”,

he seems to imply rectitude in an idealistic sense and stiffness in a physical sense, like face value, something tangible


***

Let us take an example appropriate to Date Masamune samas time to understand this better:


There are two warring states. One is equipped with western styled rifles and cannons and the other chooses to fight with katana (swords). The state using traditional weapons justifies its morals by the usage of non-western goods and thereby retaining the cultural pride. 

On the contrary, the state using western weapons justifies its morals of triumph by using any means possible. The virtues for culture lie within the heart, no matter what means used.


In most of the cases, it is obvious that the state with advanced weapons will emerge victorious. They’ll reign over all. If the state using traditional weapons had changed their strategy to suit the changing times and not fallen victim to the stiffness of their rectitude, they would have a fair chance of winning too.


     So this stiffness of the reluctance to use new weapons was a tangible quality. We could visually gauge the rectitude of this state; carried to excess in the time of war. 

***

So now let us interpret the following :

Rectitude carried to excess hardens into stiffness,

The constancy of morals is an appropriate thing, but don’t carry it to more than what’s desired. The quality of being excessively virtuous will make you resistant and reluctant to change. This will hinder your growth as an individual. You will no longer be able to adapt to change. And that will be your end in this game of survival of the fittest. 

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Benevolence

1. (uncountable) Disposition to do good

2. (uncountable) Charitable kindness

3. (countable) An altruistic gift or act


(via wikitionary)



     It is very clear that benevolence is the epitome of humanity. Compassion is one of the seven virtues of a samurai. Benevolence is the instinctual desire to do well for the society. 

じん-Jin (One of the virtues of the ‘Bushidō’)


    Benevolence is not only kindness in terms of service or financial or physical help; you can even be benevolent with your trust. Giving people the benefit of your trust is a kindness of your heart. But benevolence should be confined to certain limits.

    That’s what Date sama is trying to explain. Anything in excess is lethal. Be it rectitude or benevolence.

     Benevolence is like sand. You can hold a few of the grains in your palm but a fistful would just repel away. 


Benevolence indulged beyond measure sinks into weakness.”


     Excessive benevolence is deceptive like quicksand. If you try too hard, you will sink faster. But this quicksand is your inevitable downfall. Be kind, but be shrewd.

     In Date samas time, one had to be sly to protect the fiefdom. Armies were massacred ruthlessly and people went to war at a very young age. There were betrayals. So I can understand where his words come from.

     Turning a blind eye to reality under the pretext of ‘trust’ is the greatest mistake. Many civilizations have thus fallen down. 



     Benevolence is a virtue. Being kind and helping people physically, emotionally and financially is totally alright. But we must keep this habit in check. 


Are you providing your shoulder for others to cry on to such an extent that it hurts?


Are you being so emotionally kind that you are incapable of defending yourself by protecting your own sanity?


Are you being so financially kind at the expense of not being able to feed your own self?


If any of the above is true, then it’s time to change. So in this regard, we can interpret the next two lines,

Benevolence indulged beyond measure sinks into weakness,


Be kind. But not so kind that you bet your self identity over it. Judge people. Analyse their motives. Everyone doesn’t require an equal amount of kindness. If you cross the limits of benevolence, you will be taken advantage of your foolish behaviour. You will become gullible. You will become vulnerable beyond help. Do good to those who need it aka do good to yourself and be just towards yourself.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date Masamune

(Image source – Wikipedia)


Rectitude carried to excess hardens into stiffness; 

benevolence indulged beyond measure sinks into weakness.




Thank you for checking out this blog! 

Do comment and let me know your suggestions if you want me to interpret other quotes from anime / manga or by Japanese warlords.

Click here for the previous post. (Connected.)

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Connected.

(Image Source : Google)



The silhouette of my angel is a pristine white,

She flies overhead in an invisibly nimble reality,

Flailing her arms, in the gusts of wind which only I can feel.



Her voice is my impersonation,

Sometimes a soft vibration, 

Sometimes a howl of defiance.



She gazes into the chasm of my unaware eyes,

As I daydream a daily fantasy.



She speaks of authentic naivety,

But then basks in her own limelight of pride and wisdom,

Making a muddle of my grey cells.



Her shadow trails mine into a canvas of silhouettes,

Watching my back in times of peril.



Her motives are indecipherable,

A mere snap of whimsical giggles.



Yet we are connected,

My angel and me;

The voices manifesting in my head.


Thank you for checking out this blog! 
The above free verse poem is in response to the Daily Post prompt ‘Silhouette’.


Click here for the previous post. (An Amateur Philosophy.)

An Amateur Philosophy.


In the labyrinth of life, I separate from myself, body and soul,

A journey to seek my potential, trying to comprehend existence alone.

Life is a malicious maze which compels one to wear a poker face. A strenuous layer of a fake smile is plastered above the jaw. The soul seeks salvation and happiness but the body and mind seek competition. Hence, they don’t comply.

According to Jean Paul Sartre, in the human realm, existence is the primary entity. As we exist, we discover the essence of our existence. I believe existence and essence go hand in hand. As we find our essence, we start existing for the world i.e. people will acknowledge us.

The inferiority of the complex I feel is baffling,

The world around me, in self-loathe, is wilting.

Everyday, I confront someone who is better than me. If in this world of 7 billion people and more, everyone is better than me, then what is the purpose of my existence? What is my essence? 

But then I realised that everyone thinks the same. The ones at the base of intellectual pyramid envy the ones at the pinnacle. The ones at the pinnacle envy the knowledge of the Gods. In other words, wherever you look, all are writhing in self-hate.

I keep walking, my soles tattered,

But I throw back pieces of my heart like bread crumbs; if  I ever need to go back home, spirit shattered.

I have lost my way so many times that my feet have given up. I scrape my way through the desert of life. 

I gave a miniscule piece of my figurative heart to everyone. But they buried it in the deep recesses of their vengeance. I set up a wall around me to test what Socrates said,

(Sometimes, you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.)

but no one came.

I looked at the mirror in revelation,

I was the only one who could save myself from this retribution.

After experimenting with my trust several times, I lost my emancipation. Defeated, I looked at my reflection. 

I was the only one who could save myself. Liberate myself from my thoughts. Then comes the concept of self-love. Love yourself. Think about yourself first. But not in a narcissistic manner. Live for yourself. That within itself is existence and essence.

I lifted my weary eyelids and set out again,

A winding path of life, abound with a little upliftment and a galore of disdain.

So after I discovered the incantation of self-love, I set out again. With new shoes and a new companion called ‘hope’. 

But still, it doesn’t change the fact that life IS difficult. There are very few people who will encourage you. The rest will wish despair for everyone. But I’ll keep walking. Maybe the beacon isn’t as far as it seems.
Hello! So in this post I have used a different approach by writing my short poem and explaining it to make my thoughts clear.

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Click here for the previous post. (The Wrath of the Moon.)

The Wrath of the Moon.

Walking down a deserted path alone on a winter morning sure is intimidating for me. There are hardly any people. The sky has not awakened from slumber yet. There is a lone half moon, that shines over me.

(Image Source : Pinterest)

When the moon pulls the sea, memories wash over me. The moon has instigated the tide of reminisce. There is something occult about the moon before the twilight of dawn.

As I walk on the footpath, I crane my neck to look at it. The moon follows me like a regret in the deep recesses of my heart. Even though I blink my eyes, the regret never wanes. 

I give up on my fate and keep walking. I steal a look at the sky again. The moon still stares. 

Then I think that maybe its not a manifestation of my regret. Maybe the moon is always watching over me when I don’t know. Maybe it cares.

What if the entire dawning sky is actually an eye, and the moon, its pupil? The pupil contracts and dilates everday. Finally, it gets tired. And the eye closes. The moon disappears. It’s a black night.

So I smile and look at the moon again. I thank it for following me like a shadow above. Yet the moon doesn’t respond. It calmly looks at me in the eye. 

I’m flabbergasted. I can’t discern the gaze of the moon. The lack of knowledge scares me. I try to hide under the canopy of my building. 

I meekly peek again. It looks at me coldly. I run inside and wait until the sun comes out.

But I know, the moon is still looking, hiding within the shadow of the sun.


(Image Source : Pinterest)

This post is dedicated to Uchiha Obito from the anime Naruto, the story for which is written by Masashi Kishimoto sensei.


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Click here for the previous post (My Baywatch Chronicles.)

My Baywatch Chronicles.


The bay is a beauty unexplored. Yes, there are people swarming about. People jogging along the footpath near the bay and couples having a sweet time at the sitting area overlooking the sea. 

Yet it is like an untouched paradise. How many people even listen to what is the sea trying to tell us? The sky has a story to whisper. 

The stones notoriously scatter themselves in the big puddle joining the ocean. The buildings go along with the whims of the sun. White during the day, onyx at night.

The sky and the sea feel like a single entity.

I’m a casual photo enthusiast and my phone camera is just a mere shard of glass against the lighting nature plays. 

The sea is shaded. Amidst the sky-blue hue lies a darker shade. They make incomprehensible patterns. But maybe they have a meaning.

Maybe the sea is the nature’s sand. With her nimble fingers of the wind, she writes the name of her unrequited lover on the sand of the sea. Though the syllables are out of our reach, maybe the hawk can see a hawk eyed view of it. 

And when the setting sun washes away her patterns, she cries.

Geographically, the bay looks like an abnormal robotic hand trying to unsuccessfully hold the water in its palms.

Like silent mermaids the rocks lounge about lavishly.  

The love story of the bay is forever incomplete. Like two lovers who are physically close but impossibly far away. As one end of the bay reaches out to connect the string of fate with the other, the horizon acts as a malicious witch. The two lovers never meet. They just gaze at each other from afar. Day in and night out.

As I walk along the sea, the winds calm down. The sunlight burns my head with Vitamin D. My panoramic eyes scan the entire expanse of the bay in one go. 

I listen to their stories over and over again. 

Yet I incessantly go along with the tide every single time.


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Click here for the previous post (Restart.)


Restart.

(Image source : Google)

It’s finally the end of 2017. Everyone has different anticipations. Personally, I’m feeling a sense of nostalgia wash over me. 2017 had not been entirely a good year. There were trying times too. Several beautiful memories as well.

But I feel defeated.

It’s like reaching the end of a snakes and ladders game and being placed again on START at 99. 

I’ll grow one year older. Growing older means more responsibilities. It means that people will start looking up to you. Make an example out of you. It is really a lot of pressure.

It’ll be the same routine. The dice will be thrown again and the game will begin. People will compete again in the rat race.

I have been pondering all day over this deplorable feeling. I feel more tired than excited. As there is less than half an hour left for 2018 to arrive, I try to write down my emotions in words. To freeze this moment of time.

But as they say, time doesn’t wait. It’s notorious. We all have to grow up. I try to be positive. Age is just a number.

Yes, expectations will increase. But we cannot close our eyes and sit with our hands clasped. It won’t change reality. People will keep on walking and the waves will crush the rocks.

Honestly, don’t change yourself just because it’s a new year. One year from today, we are going to be in the same position again. Make new resolutions everyday, change a little every moment. 

As hearts await the new year 2018, I clench hope in my palm. Or rather, I’m preparing myself to cast the number SIX on my dice to begin my game.


It might be a restart but it’s not game over yet.


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Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous new year 2018!

Click here for the previous post (The Paralysis of Coziness.)


The Paralysis of Coziness.

(Image source : Pinterest)

As an anti social being, the most coziest place is undoubtedly the bed I sit on all day, reclining in a position which sickens my spine and bloats my stomach. 

But it’s cozy. Not for my family but for me it is. As I type this out, I’m in the exact position spoken about. This is like sitting under the waterfall of knowledge. The ideas flow. At the cost of cholesterol.

Having this new anime opening on loop helps a lot. Being at peace with your external environment and yourself is the most comforting thing ever. And that is only possible if you are at home. Stepping outside is another reality, another dimension, a labyrinth. 

There are people who will judge you, try to bring you down. But on your cozy bed, you can have your guard down all the time. If it gets a little colder, I just take a blanket and coffee and let the combination warm me. 

Put on the laptop/tablet/phone and run an anime marathon. In fact, if you are within the garb of the blanket, you can perform an impromptu jig with the anime opening and no one would know.

And when I’m in a more serious mode, whilst I decide that I HAVE to complete a certain amount of episodes, I tie my hair up in a bun. 

I’m ready for all the subtitles you throw at me.

The coziest place is abound with the most beautiful and traumatizing memories. Because if it is a place where you shared a belly laugh with your favourite characters, then it is also a place where you broke your heart over them.

All I want to say is that when I step out of my house, the yearning for that comfort makes me want to survive no matter how hard life is. And I’ll return for it.

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This was for the Daily Post promt, ‘Cozy’.

Click here to see my previous post (Learning from the Sky.)