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

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Thu Apr 26 00:13:54 UTC 2007

On 4/25/07, The Avantguardian <avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> --- 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, I don't see any substantial difference in our views here.  I
generally agree with you on the value of these values to anyone who
adopts them, and in a more limited sense, the derivative value to

My points were more focused on (1) the inherent tendency of this value
set to select for an elite group, and (2) the issue of social
stability discussed earlier.

I don't have a sword either, but that's not to say I'm never armed.

- Jef

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list