The story is so simple, the writing is so easy to read, yet the concepts about life are so poignant.

In the book, Artist of the Floating World, by Kazuo Ishiguro, the artist Masuji Ono made a decision to use his artistic abilities for what he thought was a greater good. Instead of painting the “floating world” of physical beauty and pleasures, he chose to join the imperialist movement in Japan that led the country into World War II.

Now as an older man after the war, Ono struggles with the disgrace in postwar.

There are two quotes from Ono that made me think about my own life. While reflecting on his colleagues from the past who stayed away from the controversy of the war, Ono says, “For their kind do not know what it is to risk everything in the endeavour to rise above the mediocre.” It is a risk to rise above mediocrity and be satisfied with the familiar. In the end, you may lose everything. Though he admitted he was wrong in supporting the war, he comes to term with it by saying, “…we have the satisfaction of knowing that whatever we did, we did at the time in the best of faith. Of course, we took some bold steps and often did things with much single-mindedness; but this is surely preferable to to never putting one’s convictions to the test, for lack of will or courage. When one holds convictions deeply enough, there surely comes a point when it is despicable to prevaricate further.”

Do I have any convictions for which I would risk everything? Would I have the courage to pursue the cause?

Comments Off

Comments are closed.