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The useful in the useless 2

After the Second World War, Japan's system of the head of a school was a target to be removed as one of the symbolic factors of the feudal system, however I have been thinking that culture or cultural assets may have the close bounds with the system of the head of a school.

Although I was once absorbed in the student power, I was always pestered with such questions to myself as 'thought can save poverty?' or 'I'm nothing but an elite student in the end?' It was presentation of questions of tangibility against intangibility.

In these days when I have been involved in a variety of projects all over the world, such questions have been befalling me. I've been constructing schools or museums, but how much they can actually be of use in the world?

 

In the Egypt's Old Kingdoms, the Roman Empire, the Tokugawa (Shogun) Period, the British Empire or the United States after the WW II, they have fostered, under their stable governance, culture which seems useless in short order that is to say the useless. On the contrary it can be said that just such culture has been answering for the stable governance.

As the relation between 'culture = the useless' and 'governance = the useful' is so subtle that I don't think at all I can talk everything in this blog, however I would like to talk just the point of essence. This is closely related with the Islam's yoke in my previous blog.

Talking it through my experience having worked in Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Arab, I can say that thought cannot be 'today's' bread but can be 'tomorrow's' bread. The problem of terrorism shall be talked in the matter of 'tomorrow'. It is utterly useless to try to establish 'today's' security.

When we talk of culture, we are apt to focus on tradition or the past, however the story of culture is fulfilled with the story of future. In an English way we have to enjoy fruits of 'culture = to cultivate'. It is the sense that from tomorrow on we will enjoy our products which can be gained through our hard work until yesterday.

Why Japan has been so carefully cultivating such cultural arts and crafts as 'Go', 'Shogi' and 'Ikebana = flower arrangement' which are utterly useless from a practical viewpoint?

I have no intention at all to immediately conclude that the swift revival of Japan after the WW II was made due to such manner, however I can find a faint light towards such a foolish theme 'let's make cultural assets human property'.

I would like to repeat it again that culture may not be useful for 'today's' purpose but may be useful for 'tomorrow's' one. In Japan this is called 'the useful in the useless'.

(2/9/2005)
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