This weird Japanese festival is politics in a nutshell

02/14/201722 Comments

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What could make the would-be masters of society happier than to see us fighting with each other over the scraps from their table? Find out all about setsubun, mamemaki and politics in today's thought for the day.

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  1. HomeRemedySupply says:

    I love Corbett’s anecdotal and cultural stories which so often help with deep insight. The ‘priests of society’ play on the aberrations of masses. I will make my own blessed rice cakes.

    • Aphix says:

      Right on! Make ’em, bless ’em, and teach others how to do the same; absolutely.

      I rarely log in, but I had to leave a comment to say that this one was inspired.


      You nailed it.

      Keep it up.

      E> (Hacker Heart; Hacking meaning playful cleverness, of course.)

  2. m.clare says:

    I often fancy myself an anthropologist from a different universe observing human beings; they provide a perpetual source of absurdity. 5% thought coupled with 95% reflex. Left foot, right foot, coke, pepsi, ford, chevy, red light, green light, walk, don’t walk, liberal, conservative….

    The right to religious freedom is demanded only by the brainwashed to ensure future minds will be similarly abused. Rituals, rites of passage, Santa Claus throwing rice on newly weds, single women jostling for the magic garter belt. Why do we insist on repeating these idiotic magic rituals? Nostalgia?

    I admit having told my toddlers that some fat bearded fairy flew across the sky and delivered presents that were shoved in socks hung from the fireplace. I did so because I was nostalgic for the deceptions of my own childhood.

    Today these moments are lessons for my kids. The moral of the story: Question everything, especially stories delivered unto them by authorities… including their very own parents.

    (Very nice rice cake anecdote, Mr. Corbett, my fellow anthropological fabricator of catalytic analogy)

    • Aphix says:

      As Saint George Carlin said,

      “When you’re born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front row seat.”

      Your story reminded me of my ol’ hippie mother throwing a bandana on me for ’60’s day in the third grade that said, surrounded in peace signs, “QUESTION AUTHORITY.”

  3. mmabood says:

    You have noticed this in a greater scale than usual, being within a different culture, seeing with your wisdom, and not through the cultural customisation and wrong teachings.
    If you look closely you would find people no matter where they are living, have a more or less silly cultural irregularities.
    This teaches us a great deal about the leaders of the country and the way they have decided to MANAGE the masses, or to teach them obedience to authorities, but to disrespect their siblings.
    Beside think of people like the thrown hungry rats in one bag. Whom will they bit? The rat next to them or the guy who is batting them from outside?
    Understanding politics require psychological knowledge, which bring us to the point to learn about the root cause of all these problems, being human being himself.

    Don’t they call nature our mother? Let’s learn from it. I’m coming to the term that you never can teach a lamb to hold his grounds against a wolf.
    You could learn to be a braver sheep, but you never will become a wolf. And if you do whom will you attack, the wolf or the sheep?

    The power to do the right or wrong is from within and in most cases it goes toward the more rewarding root in a short period of time, which requires the least brain power. So if you have the power to choose, you would be pushed by your competitive affiliates to the edge, where you find yourself all the means to do what you see fit to do.

  4. Moxa4 says:

    Well said: step back! That might be not so easy, but it is very important indeed.
    Step back – to get a probably more accurate view of us as humanity.
    Step back – to recognise what me and my neighbour have in common.

    Me too, I’ve enjoyed this insight from Japan verry much, thank you.

  5. mkey says:

    James watch out, your fricken wheel is on the fricken starboard!111!1!!!!

  6. tgmolitor says:

    “After hydrogen, the most common element in the universe is stupidity.”

    -Albert Einstein

    • nosoapradio says:

      Interesting that someone who believed in the ubiquitous nature of human stupidy would facilitate bringing atomic bombs into the world…

      • nosoapradio says:

        so stupidy is the little sister of perfidy, the goddess of typos and the mother of stupidity.
        believe me. I know what I’m talking about… gnight

  7. akchobya says:

    Divide and conquer … A right-on bit of insight.I f people need a mutual thing to focus on they should be informed of Fukushima. If people knew how close we are to a great disaster maybe they would turn their focus away from who they hate to what they should actually be fearing. Ignorance is a short anchor chain in deep water.

  8. Renaldo Moon says:

    This spectacle seems like a joke. Especially, given that the element of the prizes are a relatively more recent development in Setsubun. If the throwing of fuku mame (blessed beans) at the ‘evil spirits’ (to keep them from entering ones home/lifestyle/existence, or to chase them away) represents a cleansing rite, then one could interpret a symbolic meaning of the rice cakes as being a pursuit of greed/ambition at the expense of family/peers (i.e. ‘devilish’ behavior). Then the ‘scraps from the table’ analogy takes on a deeper meaning which may go largely unnoticed to the masses. Perhaps this is simultaneously an invitation for ‘evil spirits’ through willing participation in bad practice, in the context of a spiritual tradition, which the priestly class definitely understands, and a reaffirmation of the social hierarchy and class separation.

  9. bill_i says:

    James — did you mention pumpkins, as in Smashing Pumpkins?

    Right after watching your video I went The Daily Grail at , followed a link, and came across this video:

  10. pcwise555 says:

    Here in the good ole USSA, the slaves are threatening violence because Trump is fixin to abolish ObamaCare. Let me see if I can get this straight. The USSA Gov is going to force them at gunpoint to buy “health” insurance from a gaggle of inbred psychopaths. No scraps that I can see, at least in Japan ya might get a box of Kleenex…

  11. HomeRemedySupply says:

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Robert De Niro To Hold Feb. 15, (starting 9:25 am) Press Conference at The National Press Club
    The event will focus on the announcement of a unique challenge with substantial cash award to the American people and media. Kennedy also will address questions about President Trump’s vaccine safety commission. Kennedy and De Niro will be joined by the Hon. Nicholas “Nico” LaHood of San Antonio. Sharyl Attkisson, former CBS Evening News investigative correspondent and current host of the weekly Sunday news program, Full Measure, will moderate the conference.
    WHERE: The National Press Club, Washington, DC.
    The event will be live-streamed beginning at 10:00 a.m. at and

    Heard the news at…

    Many Vaccine links and vaccine / health videos (including Corbett’s “How Big Oil Conquered the World”.

  12. peace.froggs says:

    Bad news is, James was temporarily a devil with a belly full of lucky beans!?
    Good news is…Spring is coming! Haha..

    Capitalism = The 99% Fighting for Rice Cakes and Rice Cake crumbs, while the 1% Own the Rice Cake making Factories.

  13. ben7 says:

    Thanks James. Reminded me of recent post by Charles Eisenstein:

    “At such moments, it is a normal response to find someone to blame, as if identifying fault could restore the lost normality, and to lash out in anger. Hate and blame are convenient ways of making meaning out of a bewildering situation. Anyone who disputes the blame narrative may receive more hostility than the opponents themselves, as in wartime when pacifists are more reviled than the enemy.”

    “…I think the pain beneath is fundamentally the same pain that animates misogyny and racism – hate in a different form. Please stop thinking you are better than these people! We are all victims of the same world-dominating machine, suffering different mutations of the same wound of separation. Something hurts in there. We live in a civilization that has robbed nearly all of us of deep community, intimate connection with nature, unconditional love, freedom to explore the kingdom of childhood, and so much more. The acute trauma endured by the incarcerated, the abused, the raped, the trafficked, the starved, the murdered, and the dispossessed does not exempt the perpetrators. They feel it in mirror image, adding damage to their souls atop the damage that compels them to violence. Thus it is that suicide is the leading cause of death in the U.S. military. Thus it is that addiction is rampant among the police. Thus it is that depression is epidemic in the upper middle class. We are all in this together.

    Something hurts in there. Can you feel it? We are all in this together. One earth, one tribe, one people.

    We have entertained teachings like these long enough in our spiritual retreats, meditations, and prayers. Can we take them now into the political world and create an eye of compassion inside the political hate vortex? It is time to do it, time to up our game. It is time to stop feeding hate. Next time you post on line, check your words to see if they smuggle in some form of hate: dehumanization, snark, belittling, derision.., some invitation to us versus them. Notice how it feels kind of good to do that, like getting a fix. And notice what hurts underneath, and how it doesn’t feel good, not really. Maybe it is time to stop.”

  14. karl.h says:

    “It’s the simulation of politics” (35:50)

    Explains modern politics quite well.

    • Aphix says:

      Thanks for the link!

      “Simulacra and Simulation” by Jean Baudrillard — the only book I’ve found from him, was lent it by a friend — was fantastic and certainly worth the time to read it.

      Listening now, seems like an interesting presentation so far =)

      • karl.h says:

        It’s also quite old, from the time of Clinton, I believe. It seems to me that everything said there applies even more now than it did back then. Also check out Marshall McLuren, his wiritngs are quite interesting and related to what Baudrillard writes about. However, he’s not a philosopher, so his method of writing is more unusual and a bit more on the ‘mystic’ side.

        I recently saw “Cabin in the Woods”. I found that movie to be a giant homage to Baudrillard and his writings. It’s somewhat serious at times, but it also pokes fun at American simulacra.

        They know ‘this isn’t who we are..’ even before they enter the ‘controlled’ area, which is almost like breaking the fourth wall for anyone who knows about Baudrillard’s writings. It happens several times during the movie, with the characters struggling to differentiate between ‘themselves’ and their even more cartoonish roles.

        The part with scientists making bets and not being empathetic at all, may be influenced by McLuren’s idea of numbing the senses through the technological extension via the giant screen.

        I won’t spoil the ending, but there is a concept of the ‘ancient gods’ which I think is a representation of reality as opposed to the hyperreality that the characters eventually embrace.

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