[extropy-chat] Anarchy + Transparent Society + Bushido = Survival

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 25 23:58:23 UTC 2007

--- Jef Allbright <jef at jefallbright.net> wrote:
> I have a great admiration for the code of honor and
> discipline at the
> heart of bushido.  In particular, bushido demands
> that one treat those
> below oneself (in the class system) with the same
> strict respect for
> honor  (appropriate to their class) as those in the
> higher classes.

Yes. Much of Bushido evolved to prevent unnecessary
fighting. Over-eager warriors had very short military
careers in feudal Japan.
> This system worked very well in terms of enforcing
> social order,
> especially during the two and a half centuries of
> the Tokugawa era,
> but this stability was due to the severely enforced
> hierarchical power
> structure, ranked from emperor, shogun, daimyou,
> *four* classes of
> samurai, followed by peasants, artisans, and
> merchants at the bottom.
> Even within the samurai classes, totaling some 7-10%
> of the
> population, stratification was such that only the
> "high samurai" were
> allowed to ride horses, but all samurai were allowed
> to wear two
> swords.

I think you are too fixated on Bushido in its
historical context rather than as an abstractable
ethical code applicable in any time and place. Bushido
as an ethic can be summed up by approximately 8
virtues: wisdom, rectitude, courage, benevolence,
respect, truth, honor, and loyalty.

None of these are dependent on time, place,
government, or cultural background. They are
applicable anywhere from ancient Japan to the modern
American office to an Internet mailing list.

In a most general sense Bushido is the "way of the
warrior" and war has changed a lot over the years. I
for example don't even own a sword. They are
practically useless in either modern combat or modern
business. But the principles certainly still apply and
they have tremendous survival value both on the
battlefield and in the boardroom.

> As I've said, I admire the honor at the core of
> bushido and I think it
> had great strengths compared to other feudal
> systems, but by its very
> nature, extremely demanding and rigid, it is
> impractical for any but
> an elite, and unsustainable without rigid
> stratification of power.

I agree that it is impractical to expect everybody to
adhere to such demanding code. But I can't think of
any other social software that confers as much
survival advantage on the persons and societies
espousing it as Bushido.

And while its rigor as a practice may indeed make its
practitioners a self-selected elite, I think that if
at least 10% of the world's population made an earnest
attempt to practice it, then humanity and civilization
could survive Armageddon, the Singularity, and any
other existential risk with flying colors.

Furthermore the virtue of "loyalty" need not apply to
any hiearchy. It can simply apply to your family, your
friends, your company, your country, etc.

Stuart LaForge
alt email: stuart"AT"ucla.edu

"In Emptiness exists Good but no Evil.
Wisdom is Existence.
Principle is Existence.
The Way is Existence.
The Mind is Emptiness."

- Miyamoto Musashi, Kyoto period Samurai.

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around 

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list