Posts Tagged ‘passion


Can I not have both?

His heart began aching. It dawned on him that he had never loved a woman wholeheartedly and that he had always been the loved one. This must have been the reason why he knew so little about love and women. In other words, emotionally he hadn’t grown up. His instinct and ability to love passionately had withered away before they had had an opportunity to blossom. If only he had fallen in love soulfully just once in his life, even though it might have broken his heart, paralyzed his mind, made him live in a daze, bathed his face in tears, and drowned him in despair!

His mind shifted from holidays to love, which perplexed him more because he had never spent a day with a woman he loved wholeheartedly—no, there had not been such a woman in his life and that emotion had been alien to him. Yet one thing he was certain about now: between love and peace of mind he would choose the latter. He would prefer a peaceful home. What was better than a place where you could sit down comfortably, read a book, and have a good meal and an unbroken sleep?

Ha Jin, “Waiting”


The law as an obstruction to poetry…

The law is an accumulation of tireless attempts to block a man’s desire to change life into an instant of poetry. Certainly it would not be right to let everybody exchange his life for a line of poetry written in a splash of blood. But the mass of men, lacking valor, pass away their lives without ever feeling the least touch of such a desire. The law, therefore, of its very nature is aimed at a tiny minority of mankind. The extraordinary purity of a handful of men, the passionate devotion that knows nothing of the world’s standards… the law is a system that tries to degrade them to ‘evil’, on the same level as robbery and crimes of passion.

– Yukio Mishima, “Runaway Horses” (Chapter 33)


Love, Passion, and Transformation

Things did not proceed as I had thought, however. Even as I watched, I saw this naive, heedless passion changing my friend. Love was feverishly at work, transforming him into a person suited for love. His passion, altogether foolish, altogether blind, made him into one altogether suitable. Just at the moment of his death, I saw his face become the very face of one who had been born to die for love. All incongruity was wiped away at that moment.

I, whose eyes had witnessed so miraculous a transformation, could myself hardly remain unchanged. My callow faith in my own indomitable nature became a prey to misgivings, and I had to work to maintain it. What had been an act of faith now became an act of will. What had been something natural now became something to be sought after. This was an alteration that brought with it a certain profit valuable to me in my role as a judge. When I deal with a criminal I am able to believe, unswayed by theories of retribution or re-education, or by optimism or pessimism toward human nature, that any man, regardless of his situation, is capable of being transformed…

…Having reached my present age, I find myself no longer adverting to the incongruity between men and their passions. When I was young, concern for my own welfare certainly made such fault-finding a necessity, but now not only is this necessity gone but the disharmony in others resulting from their passion, which in the past I would have considered a weakness worthy of scornful laughter, has become but an allowable imperfection. And with that perhaps I have lost the last vestige of my youth, whose vulnerability made it fearful of the wounds incurred by reacting emotionally to the erratic conduct of others. Now, indeed, it is the beauty of danger rather than the danger of beauty that affects me with the utmost vividness, and there is nothing comical to me about youth. Probably this is because youth no longer has any claim on my self-awareness. When I consider all this for a moment, there is something frightening about it. My own enthusiasm, innocuous as it is for me, may well have the result of further stimulating your dangerous enthusiasm.

– Yukio Mishima, “Runaway Horses” (Chapter 10)


Youth, passion, and dreams and aspirations…

When that first cry tore the silence it was as though the burning soul of youth had flared out through the rent. The sharp pain that Honda had felt in the days when there were wild flames in his own breast now gripped him once again, as intensely as ever, though at his age he should have been immune to it.

So it is that time reenacts the most curious yet earnest spectacles within the human heart. The past makes its appearance again, with all its mingled dreams and aspirations, the delicate tarnish of falsehood left undisturbed upon its silver. And a man may thus come to a much deeper understanding of himself, a realization that was beyond him in his youth.

Yukio Mishima, “Runaway Horses” (Chapter 4)

November 2017
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