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Huge mall and civilization

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The other day I went to Rinku-town, a vast suburban area near Osaka Bay, south to Sakai-city, to visit AEON Sennan shopping center. This is an American style huge mall, like Kahala Mall I visitied this June at Honolulu. I have never seen such a big shopping mall before in Japan. It is a brand-new building with a variety of equipments for disabled people and senior citizens.

It was a really hot day, but the inside was perfectly air-conditioned, so I was comfortable throughout the day. I thought this was another good example of "painless civilization" that is gradually spreading around Japan and other countries. The inside was very clean and neat; no dust on the floor, no graffiti on the wall. This is like a shopping mall in a huge hospital. I remember a passage from my book, Painless Civilization.

Aren’t the activities of contemporary civilization nothing but to create, on a social scale, this kind of human being sleeping peacefully in intensive care units? Isn’t contemporary civilization systematically trying to create humans, in the intensive care units named cities, the humans who look at first sight to be working cheerfully and playing merrily, but in fact just sleeping peacefully in the deep layer of their life? If that should be the case, then, who set the trap? Why has civilization progressed in this direction? (Painless Civilization, p.4.)

I got out of the mall and went to the beach. There I saw a beautiful sunset. A lot of jellyfish were on the sea, and I could see a big fish jumping from the water. People were jogging along the seashore. Everything was fine and peaceful. But if you take a close look at the seashore, it was clear that this area was artificially created by sand and stones brought in from the outside. I found traces of construction here and there.

What is nature? What is technology and civilization? And what is the relation between them? I think I have to translate Painless Civilization as soon as possible (I don't know how many times I repeated this at this blog.......). This book was published in Japan in 2003, and keeps on influencing Japanese philosophy and sociology. I would like you to read it, too.

Photo: Ryukoku University, Kyoto

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

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