Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The Archduke of Badassary

Two days ago I decided it was time to reread a book I read just about every year. In fact it's pretty close to accurate to say that I don't really read books anymore, I reread approximately two books a year, with exceptions for very few authors. (pretty much NNT and George RR Martin).

The book I'm reading, is The Book of Five Rings. I only seem to have a fairly poor translation of it, or perhaps too literal translation of it, but the fact is - I don't understand it. But each time I do reread it, I feel inexplicably closer by virtue of accumulated life experience to see past errors of how, precisely how, I didn't get it the last time I read.

What does speak to me intuitively, is that Musashi, its author, got it. He is speaking about something he knows.

Part of the reason I go back to this book and this book alone is because I am yet to find another author with his confidence. And I suspect there's a reason for that.

Musashi's business was mortal combat. And as such, he lights a fire in me that no other author has ever managed to transmit verbally.

He is at once so very very human, almost plain and nondescript and yet he is massive, like you just never want to come up against Musashi. If he's teachings are all cult-ish fantastical delusions, he believes them with such conviction that if you are not playing into his delusions, you do not stand a chance.

Musashi is the biggest bad ass history has ever produced.

And yet...

Anger doesn't come into it, nor any other particularly personal emotional motivation. It is just a way of living, he picks up a sword with full realisation that it is a tool for killing men. And everything he does with a sword is for the purpose of cutting down your opponent. And it's as simple and detached as that. He is just undertaking a task with a clear purpose in mind.

The closest thing to any personal motive Musashi reveals, is that by understanding the way you can discover many wonders.

I believe him.

No comments: