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Insensitive man and painless civilization


The following is the second part of the draft I sent to a newsletter. (First part is here)

Well, then, what is life studies? I wrote the following text a couple of years ago, which can be found on the website of International Network for Life Studies at www.lifestudies.org.

"Life studies" is an interdisciplinary approach to life, death, and nature. We have gender studies, disability studies, and peace studies. I would like to propose one more interdisciplinary oriented approach, "life studies."

Our life in this world is limited. We are all going to die sooner or later. I want to live this life without regret. We need a variety of knowledge, intellect, and wisdom to support it. Life studies is an attempt to acquire an interdisciplinary, organized knowledge, intellect, and wisdom that help us live our limited lives without regret.

In order to attain it, we have to explore a new field in philosophy, humanities, and social sciences. We seek to promote research on the meaning of life, the essence of contemporary industrialized society that makes us lose sight of the fulfillment of life, and the fate of scientific technology that results in the exploitation of human life and the environment. Life studies is an open research program any person concerned can join.

The ultimate end of life studies is to support people to actually live their own lives without regret. We connect philosophical wisdom, academic research, and researcher's own life.

In 2005, a group of researchers who were strongly interested in life studies got together, and had a meeting in Kanazawa, Japan. The members included philosophers, sociologists, theologians, a Buddhist, a doctor, feminists, an artist, and others. We are now in the process of creating the basic framework of life studies, and trying to figure out the potential possibility of this approach in various fields. I think we will be able to have a joint research or an exchange with you over the topic of life studies and its impact on health related fields.

I have published books on life studies in Japanese. The most influential book is “Painless Civilization” (2003). In this book I analyzed the dark side of contemporary civilization with scientific technology and capitalism. This is the beginning sentences of the book: “A civilization without pain and suffering seems to be the ideal of the human race. However, I wonder if people might end up with losing sight of joy, and forgetting the meaning of life, in a society pervaded by pain reduction mechanisms and filled with pleasure.” A typical characteristic of painless civilization could also be found in contemporary medicine. The second influential one is “The Insensitive Man” (2005). I discussed the pathology of male sexuality, particularly, that arises from fetishism, men’s insensitivity, and rorikon (lolikon) phenomena. This book has been welcomed not only by young men but also by feminists. You can read the translation of part of the above two books on the website, www.lifestudies.org.

Photo: Stonehenge?

  -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

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HY Masahiro, great that you got attention through a british newpaper! Hope the best for you and your life studies, Arash.

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