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Painless Civilization: A Philosophical Critique of Desire: Comments

The following are comments on "Painless Civilization: A Philosophical Critique of Desire" and other papers on "painless civilization" in a former blog thread. Please feel free to post your comments.

  • Please translate soon - I would love to read your book! I am a zen student in Japan and my master's wife recommended your book!

    By Jill Morrison, at 8:43 PM, May 27, 2005  

  • Thank you, Jill. I will try to start translating "Painless Civilization" again this summer. Please visit here again.

    By Masahiro_Morioka, at 8:27 PM, May 28, 2005  

  • Hah! I wish my Japanese were better so that I could finish the book!

    This is an absolutely frightening scenario! Who benefits from the painless civilization - the people who make money from the drugs and massive hypnosis machine and slow poison purveyors that keep modern civilization in a psychically comatose state, bathing them with adequate anti-intellectual propaganda to make sure they are well insulated against any siege of reality that may threaten their towers?

    I read an article back in the early 80's by Issac Asimov (in the LA Times of all places) about the anti-intellectual bias in the US, and it has only gotten worse since then. It is rare to hear the voice of reason anymore, much less the voice of wisdom.

    But here we are, just like the characters in the Sci-Fi movie Matrix - looking at the millions of 'Batteries' whose dreams of illusory loves, conflicts, power and the future power the movement of energy throughout the world, while I had to be one of the ones who took the 'red pill'.

    Really - where is the room for integrity - does just the indivial moral meter matter, or is ther a point of compromise or intersection between the individual meaning of things and the laws of man which were designed to serve the powerful by keeping society in order?

    Do we act with Inochi in mind, or go for the painlessness that is far more attractive than the path of a truthseeker? How do we judge ethics in an essentially unethical context? Is it possible to muster the fearlessness to live in a way that is uncompromising, or for that matter, is it desirable?

    I do not speak from an acedemic perspective, but only from an experiential one. My daily delimmas are usually about keeping quiet while everyone around me is only maintaining the painless state - should I wake the kids up to Sponge Bob and Inu Yasha, or let them dream the dreams of power fun and dread that kids dream - and above all - should I 'give them the red pill' and spoil ther conditioning before it takes root - and consign them to lonliness througout their teenage years?

    By Roy Kirkland, at 11:54 AM, June 16, 2005  

  • Dear Roy
    Thank you for your comment. I feel I will have to start translation as soon as possible.... Readers of the Japanese version of "Painless Civilization" often say this worldview somehow resembles that of "Matrix", but I don't think so, because in Matrix the world is devided between "us" and "them," and we fight against them, a popular idea among Hollywood movies, but in "Painless Civilization," "they" are the other side of "us," so we fight against oueselves in a very strict sense. A philosophical analysis of this situation constitues the main part of the book "Painless Civilization." Please wait for translation....

    By Masahiro_Morioka, at 12:35 AM, June 17, 2005  
  • hi, i'm a korean reader of this book, "Painless Civilization".
    this book is so impressive to me.
    now, i'm reading the part of death, chapter 7.
    i see the first time that explanation of feeling about death in childhood 'memory' in this kind of book.
    and may i ask some Q?
    the cover of this book(this korean translation) looks like something classic or stubbornness.
    is this your intention?
    i think mostly korean not raise this book by this cover.
    but i think this cover is so contents.

    By Anonymous, at 10:16 AM, June 17, 2005  

  • Hi! Thank you for posting your comment. Chapter 7 is the core part of this book. I would like to know how you think about this part. As to the cover of the Korean translation, that design was made by the Korean publisher. I had nothing to do with the cover as well as the translated contents. I don't know whether this is a good translation or not, eithrer.

    By the way, I didn't know almost nothing about the readers' responses to this book, reputations, or criticisms in Korea. (I have read two book reviews in newspapers via web translation). How have this book accepted in Korea? If you know something please let us know.

    By Masahiro_Morioka, at 12:26 PM, June 17, 2005  

  • Masahiro,
    I notice your site mentions that an English translation of "Painless Civilization" is in progress. Do you have any idea when this will be published ? The other day I saw a documentary called "surplus", centred around the controversial anti-globalisation guru, John Zerzan. Are you familiar with his ideas ? What are your thoughts?

    By maemuki, at 2:27 PM, June 23, 2005  

  • maemuki,
    The translation of my "Painless Civilization" will be restarted this summer. This is a very thick book, so it takes a lot of time to finish, I am afraid. But I think I have to do it myself....

    I didn't know about John Zerzan. I have just read about him on the web, but I feel his idea is different from my "painless civilization." His philosophy is too simplistic to analyze contemporary civilizaion.

    By Masahiro_Morioka, at 10:30 PM, June 23, 2005  

  • Roy,
    have you read, "Taking the Red Pill: Science, Philosophy, and Religion in the Matrix", after reading your comments I think you may enjoy it.

  •  By maemuki, at 6:54 PM, July 07, 2005  

  • Hello - I am very much looking forward to your translation into English. On the topic of self-domestication, you may enjoy the following:

    Rogue Primate: An Exploration of Human Domestication - won a governor's general award in Canada in 1995.

    Why We Lie: By David Livingstone Smith - 2004. It talks about self-deception.

    Also a DVD documentary Frontline Persuaders.

    watch it free here:

    By Wayne, at 2:14 AM, November 26, 2005  

  • Thank you for your comment, Wayne. I am going to resume the translation of Painless Civilization soon. Please visit here again in the near future.

    And thank you for your information. I will read them.

    Human self-domestication is a really interesting topic.

    By Masahiro_Morioka, at 10:15 AM, November 26, 2005  

  • Hello Masahiro,

    I’m very interested in the pervasive indifference to life that seems to be so rife today and which is played out in the analogy you draw in Painless Civilisation.

    I am an Australian student and I see this enveloping quality of society and the dulling effect it seems to have on people in frightening clearness amongst my peers. The commoditisation of desire and sexuality is having the effect of embedding deep-seated numbness in young people: a disinterest in both themselves and others characterised by an obsessive relationship with passion and physicality.

    I would like to write a book on desire and delusion and how this fog of apathy has wrought new meanings for these states. I hope that I will be able to read more of your book in the future; there is much to be said about this state you describe as being wrapped in a translucent film that we all appear to be living in.

    Philosophy and the narrative toil side by side on the road towards a more reasonable world.

    Matt K

    By Matt K., at 8:53 AM, December 05, 2005  

  • Thank you, Matt K.

    I appreciate your comment. I will try to put more translation of my works on this website in the near future, so please visit from time to time. I think "painless civilization" is now growing bigger in every part of the world. I hope your future book will be successful.

    By Masahiro_Morioka, at 1:09 PM, December 06, 2005  

  • hy Masahiro, I first saw this thought in Wittgenstein in his mixed comments, but I don´t think that you have read it there. The painless society! Have we not first to define what pain is? People always start working on stuff without clearing the ground. This society I am living in , the German , tends to make veverything easy, that´s their definition of beeing plainless, but not easy for everyone, some who do not apt to the system has to suffer badly.
    At all can we really control pain? We try to, by drugs, by even spiritual activities, by everything that seems to be represented by a intellegent person. We can hardly bare anymore stress. We are not even educated to bear pain. Life has become nervous, i do not why, maybe due to all our effort to reduce pain! People work for the sake that they live more comfortable, but more ever pain is not anymore defined personally , but by society!
    dear masahiro, your thoughts inspired me, also inspired me to take up some pain, thanks for that. harry

    By harrys blog, at 5:03 AM, January 28, 2006  

  • The book name is Chinese. I can transfer for you "Painless Civilization无痛文明"

    By Anonymous, at 1:45 PM, March 02, 2006

  • Comments

    thanks for sharing

    I really like your book and wait for the next part... and deeper comments ;-)



    I find it extremely knowledge increasing and more or less each individuals happenings and experience in life. Want to know and understand more deeply.



    For five years I thought (studding possibilities) about starting own business and some time ago made my very own conclusion that any (meaning absolutely all possible on planet earth) business must be related to anesthetic for the customers. Well, since for now I do not like anesthetic flavored stuff, I suspended my pursue for it. This book (first chapter) is just the truth and nothing but the truth in the best styled accessible form. By the way I am not so negative about "body desires", most (perhaps all) humans are going after them as it was said "The urges and desires that arise from the body cannot be helped". It is moving ground we must build ON and not IN (some challenge).

    Dear Morioka Sensei,

    Thank you for sharing your inspirational thoughts and works with us. I like your idea about not clinging on "painlessness" or "happiness". However, I don't believe that the "preventive reduction of pain"..."makes us lose sight of the possibility of transforming the basic structure of our ways of thinking and being," as you said.

    I think that our ways of thinking or being are constantly changing in order to fit into the multicultural society, no matter what we are--healthy or not healthy. We experience life and transform ourselves all the time.

    After I have learned bioethics, I can't stop asking what is ethical, normal or healthy, or who decide. I remember there was a case that a deaf parent asked for a deficient egg while looking for fertalization. They wanted to have a deaf child. To this couple, a "healthy" baby is considered disabled because s/he will be different from "the others" in their deaf society. Thus, the prenatal scanning is important to them, isn't it? I think when we, normal healthy people, try to speak for the disabled, we should always listen to them first or let them speak for themselves; otherwise, we may risk depriving their rights.

    Sincerely yours,
    Julianna Lipschutz
    from Philadelphia, USA


    no doubt book is very good but i think you need to describe more about the problems & solution? beacuse in modern life everybody wants to low the stress.

    i am waiting to read whole book in enlish version

    All the best.

    what a lovely book, am completely appalled by the knowledge of philosophy the whole book possess, it has really applieid to my thinking in a very interesting and wonderful dimenstion

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