It is the very fabric of which we are a part - owners, contributors and shareholders.
We are co-creators, and its nature is interdependent.
The conference was curiously entitled “Japon face à la colère de la Terre” / Japan in the face of Earth’s fury*, inspired by a question I had earlier been asked about the (apparent) dichotomy of harmonious God/divine/universal* energy and the destructive “anger” of nature.
Why I spoke
Some of my happiest childhood memories are with my first-ever best friend Masaki and his sisters.
I grew up in Singapore with many Japanese expatriate families around me. It was late ‘70s/early ‘80s, and Japan was very present in Singaporean economy. My mother spoke Japanese, there are very dear Japanese friends and also family ties…
As a non-Japanese, I didn’t feel the right person to speak on this. I wasn’t there.
Contemplating interdependence – one of the 4 Noble Truths in the Buddha’s teachings – and the beauty of this country close to my heart, I was deeply saddened by the possibility that this beauty would be eradicated. I overcame the easier answer, and said yes.
My intention is to support this change, honouring universal intentionality to where we are going as humanity, part of our ecosystem.
The ultimate fatalism is indifference
“Is it fatalism that shows as silent strength and that explains the stoicism?” I paraphrase the essence of one of the questions. My mind grappled to understand the question asked. I didn’t associate fatalism with what I witnessed from afar.
For me, we are witnessing the expression of gaman. It’s like a forest of bamboo. Strong trunked trees in the wind may break. But the forest of bamboo, each so thin, sways precariously with the wind, together. Its allowing nature is its greatest strength and keeps it standing. Young bamboos strengthen their roots as if increasingly trained by the wind. For me, there is life in this. Brute strength has its place, but I truly revere the strength of life.
As for fatalism, I think the expression is apt when we recognise a conflict, and we choose to ignore it.
The conflict that filtered up our consciousness as a group during the conference, is our insatiable energy “needs” against a huge cost (nuclear consequences, environment – flora, fauna, eco and future generations…). What makes the memorable difference between Japan 11 March 2011, the other March earthquakes - Yunnan 10, Myanmar 24, Haiti 12 Jan 2010 and Sichuan 12 May 2008 is not Richter, but nuclear.
We could recognise our different reactions to this…between blame (on government and decision-makers) and resistance (meaning - don’t change, and hope for the best). Search inside yourself if you truly believe we can change. As one little me, of course I feel frustrated that I want something that seems so hard to be done: For everyone in the developed world to be responsible resource-energy consumers; for each one to recognise our true needs. In that global frustration, do we convince ourselves that it can’t be done? Could this be the root of passive indifference?
Contemplation on resource-energy consumption behaviour
The thing is: if we can’t even conceive of the possibility of changing, how could we motivate ourselves to take any one meaningful step in the direction of change? I invite you to dare to consider that you can change. Before we delve into the how, we need to be able to see that change is possible. The positive effort, discipline, initiative and ability to see what are our real needs – necessary for making any change – as individuals, communities and countries can then take momentum.
One person at a time, opening to the possibility, we are already the changing global consciousness.
May the unfolding experience of Japan, inspire us to be the forest of bamboo.
Saeko Konishi, Catherine Reffet, the group and you, thank you.
Voices From Japan
Japan Quake as Seen from Twitter (Jun Shiomitsu)
On Japanese Media
Supply-Chain impact (Podcast: Judge Business School, U of Cambridge)
(Perhaps unrepresentative) Chinese reactions/ chinaSMACK (search “Japan earthquake on site)
China nuclear for 2020 plans still go (World Nuclear Association on Nuclear Power)
*This conference in Lille, 5 April 2011. Ched Lee and Saeko Konishi shared, at the invitation of a federation of certain Parisian universities alumni.
**Choose your personal reference