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Crossing the boundaries


What is happening in the word? Is this a backlash from Nature because of global warming and extreme industrialization?


As we cannot ask the forests and wild animals, we can only guess. It is the realm of speculation.


Since the beginning of the pandemic, I remembered Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
(Japanese: 風の谷のナウシカ)

adapted and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.


When I watch it now, it seems so relevant. Humans cross the boundaries of Nature and there are consequences.


A war erupts until the balance is established again.


Japanese perception of nature

I am always fascinated by how the Japanese emphasizes living in harmony with nature. In G7, it is the only nation that is not monotheistic.


The majority of the people will say they are atheists, but what they usually mean is they don't follow organized religions. There are millions of gods in Japan, based on the animistic Shinto beliefs. Buddism is integrated into the Shinto system as well.


People go to Shinto shrines and Buddist temples, and most of the time they are not even aware of the difference. They may marry in Christian ceremonies, and it is OK too.


Shinto is written as 神道 in Japanese and is the combination of two words: 神 (read kami) and 道 (read michi), which means the way. I feel the term 神 is not the same as "god" as we understand. It also includes spirits and invisible forces.


It is very common to see Shinto shrines associated with natural forces, such as mountains, rivers, big rocks, trees, and the ocean. The worship of such gods, I feel, is not worshipping a God in the monotheistic sense, not even in polytheistic sense (such as ancient Greeks, Romans, or idol-worshipping practices.) It is more about honoring or greeting those invisible forces.


Disturbing the harmony

There is a very common word called, 八百万の神 (やおよろずのかみ, Yaoyorozu no Kami), which means "millions of gods." They say "we live together with millions of gods".

Many people take pride in how they honor the harmony within the society, but also with the greater Nature. Honoring the invisible forces within Nature is one way of keeping harmony.


It also signifies the greater acceptance that humans are helpless against natural disasters, such as earthquakes, typhoons, floods, famine, volcanos.


I heard many comments that humans (outside Japan) are arrogant and reckless against Nature. They criticize the extreme ways humans attack and destroy Nature.


As there will be consequences.


For a detailed analysis of Miyazaki's take on human vs. Nature, you can refer to

Loy, David & Goodhew, Linda (February 2004). "The Dharma of Miyazaki Hayao: Revenge vs. Compassion in Nausicaa and Mononoke."

Please feel free to share your thoughts with me

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