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April 20, 2007

Killing at Virginia Tech University and Taxi Driver


I have not posted for more than 10 days. This is because I have been heavily involved in new classes and administrative works in our college since the beginning of this month.

But I would like to say a word about the mass killing at Virginia Tech University. New York Times published an essay which insists that the killer, Cho Seung-Hui, might have been influenced by the Korean violence movie, "Oldboy." ("Virginia Tech killer's hammer photograph resembles the violent South Korean movie 'Oldboy'", New York Times, International Herald Tribune, April 19,2007)

I have never seen that Korean movie, but what came to my mind when I first saw the photos of the killer was the American movie, Taxi Driver, and its hero, Travis Bickle. It is hard to explain, but I cannot help thinking that Cho Seung-Hui and Travis Bickle share the same illness, the illness which many Americans might have at the deep layer of their consciousness, that is to say, a craving for bloodshed, violence, and mass killing. Everytime I saw American movies I wondered why American movies were filled with so many violent killing scenes with very realistic sounds. For instance, even the Hollywood enternainment film, Patriot Games, is filled with homicide scenes throughout the film, to say nothing of such indie films as Pulp Fiction and others.

What I want to emphasize here is that it is American movies' bloodthirstiness, not Korean ones deeply influenced by Hollywood, that should be pointed out and criticized. And we have to think deeply about why there are so many homicide scenes in Hollywood movies. I can smell their craving for bloodshed, and I doubt this subconscious might support their mighty American army. Remember Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. Cho Seung-Hui was born in Korea, but he spent his adolescence in the US, in this sense, he is a son of America, and his illness must have some connection with the pathology of American society.

Photo: Zushi Coast

  -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

April 09, 2007

Season for cherry blossoms


The Spring semester has started. I have been very busy preparing for my classes that begins this week. Now is the season for cherry blossoms here, but it was the day before yesterday that I came to our college campus and first saw cherry blossoms in full bloom.

I am going to write about war and the value of human life in the next post. Everyday we hear news about suicide attacks in Iraq and Israel and other areas. It makes me depressed, because it reminds me of what Japanese yourng soldiers did 60 years ago. Please give me time to write.

Photo: Zushi Coast

  -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

April 01, 2007

Is it wrong to eat humans?


Several years ago I had a debate, with anonymous net friends, over the question, "Is it wrong to eat humans?" My previous post made me rethink that question.

Of course, eating human beings has been considered a taboo practice in many regions, and it is crystal clear that killing human beings in order to eat them should be completely forbidden.

However, the question I am thinking about is this: "Is it wrong to eat dead humans?," precisely speaking, "Is it wrong to eat a human being that is already dead?" If it is wrong, what is the reason for that?

Do you think this is a devilish idea? Ok, then, let us think about organ transplants from brain dead children. In many countries, the heart, the liver and other organs can be removed from a brain dead child, whose body is warm because the blood is still circulating inside. Removed body parts are transplanted into other people's bodies. Some Japanese critics think that this is equivalent to eating human organs.

You may say that the motives are different. Organ transplants are for the purpose of saving people's lives, but eating human organs are for egoistic reasons such as gourmet cooking and delicacy.

Then, think about the following case. Imagine a man who loves his wife from the bottom of his heart. One day, his wife becomes seriously ill and dies suddenly. He deeply laments over her death, and wishes that at least a part of his loved one's body will continue to exist inside his body, and decides to eat her. (Please remember that the parents whose child becomes brain dead often wish at least a part of the body of their beloved child will continue to exist in someone's body, and argree to organ transplants.)

In this case, is it possible to find a sound reason for persuading him (and us) not to eat his deceased wife's body?

While destruction of the dead bodies is forbidden in many countries, organ transplants (this is the apparent destruction of the dead body) is considered an exception to this rule. Then, what about eating the beloved one's dead body?

Photo: Zushi Coast, Kanagawa

Related post: Is it cruel to kill animals?

  -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org