I suspect many will jeer and ridicule Tom Cruise’s film The Last Samurai, but I always get something deeper out of it every time I watch it. While you can find plenty of critics of the film, what they fail to realize is that this was not a purely historic or cultural film - it was art, the sole purpose of which is to elevate the soul. In my opinion, it is one of the most beautifully filmed and staged productions to have ever come out of Hollywood. While its thematic narrative is no surprise to anyone within 30 min of watching it, the story is told so simply and beautifully (at least for me) that you can’t help but respond to its spiritual power.
KATSUMOTO: To know life in every breath, in every cup of tea. Every life we take. The way of the warrior.
ALGREN: Life in every breath.
KATSUMOTO: That is... Bushido!
Death is not something man thinks about anymore in our scientific and secular/atheist age.
We are becoming the only generation of men in the whole of human history to believe death is nothing more than the orderly disintegration of randomly created atoms and DNA strings. This really stuck out for me watching this film again recently. While the focus in manosphere writing is about returning masculinity to Man and reclaiming some respect and dignity in the world through various belief and attitude adjustments followed up by real world practice, I believe a true return of Man, capital M, will only happen when men return to the root of their power - our spiritual power, one that is unique to males.
China’s reclusive Buddhists and Taoists became its kung-fu warrior monks.
Japan’s samurai class had deep Zen Buddhist and Shinto roots.
Medieval Europe’s Christian Knight’s were famed for their bravery in battle and their martial prowess.
Alexander The Great had deep philosophical and religious beliefs about himself and the world stage he acted on.
Genghis Khan conquered more territory in 40 years than the Romans did in 400 with the Shamanistic belief in the infinite power of the Eternal Blue Sky.
Young aboriginal warriors embark on a coming-of-age vision quest to investigate, discover and harness personal spirit power, derived from the Creator, to help guide them the rest of their lives.
Yet today, from what I can gather, the vast majority of young men don’t really believe, let alone practice, anything spiritual or soul enhancing in a meaningful way.
Freedom. Sex. Money.
This is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for 21st century young men who have taken The Red Pill.
I am hypothesizing with this post that it is this very focus on freedom, sex and money that is preventing young men from acquiring truly deep, authentic masculine power, and thus the responsibility that comes along with it to reform and remake the world for the better.
It is his spirit & soul that is central to the power within Man, and thus the root of authentic masculinity.
It is not how many notches you have marked on your bedpost that makes you a Man, but whether or not you have gained command and control of the spiritual forces within you. You won’t have spirit or soul power if you are focused on pussy and dollars.
I trained in karate for over four years a little over a decade ago. What I remember most from those hard days of training was immersing myself in Japanese martial culture. Of course, this meant reading a lot of books.
One of the best books on the topic of samurai and bushido is a collection of anecdotes and reflections on it by Yamamoto Tsunetomo (1659-1719), a samurai retainer to the Nabeshima Clan. The book is titled HAGAKURE - THE BOOK OF THE SAMURAI. Tsunetomo's musings is translated by William Scott Wilson, recognized by The American Literary Translator's Association (ALTA) as "today’s foremost translator of classic Samurai texts."
If you have trained in any Japanese martial art (and if not, you should) and done any reading at all on Bushido, you would recognize just how well this film successfully translates bushido’s teachings on the Way Of Dying. Far from doing a disservice or insult to Japanese culture, The Last Samurai encapsulated one of the most enduring cultural lodestones behind the very core of Japanese thought and spiritual traditions.
Living ones life as if already dead. Seeking perfection in all that you do.
The Way Of Dying is what we men in the West now find ourselves learning to walk.
There are many parallels in the film to what western men face now in The West. If you are a masculine, heterosexual, European white male, you now find yourself immersed in:
- a culture that is not only becoming completely foreign to you, but hates you and sees you as the enemy
- massive technological change at warp speed
- change that at times feels (and is) being forced upon you without your consent
- traditional morals, values and ways of life being rent asunder, replaced with vapid egotistic drives toward material comfort, pleasure and escapism
- matters of spirit/soul/religion are seen to not just be a matter of personal choice, but literally holding back advancement into the modern age and need to be completely rejected "for the health of humanity"
- a political landscape in turmoil with rebellion in the air
- oligarchical rule over society, with the values of money and power, not honor and justice, at the forefront of society
If you have taken the Red Pill, you will most likely identify with this clip in a way the mass of blue pill men never will.
Perfecting the body, mind and spirit. Having honor, strength, discipline and courage. This... is the foreign world Tom Cruise's character walks into in his trip to Japan. It is a trip into a masculine world. A world that most men I suspect will feel is very foreign, yet somehow familiar at the same time, when they first find the manosphere, take the Red Pill and come to learn just how warped and degenerate western culture has become in the 21st century.
If you have watched the film, or are about to after reading this post, you will know or can guess how this movie ends.
The samurai – as a class, as a way of life – come to a deadly end. They are no more. The world moves on.
A tragic end may be just what we masculine, heterosexual, white western men in The West may be facing as well, despite our desire to see a return to moral and ethical values with the family and patriarchal man at center stage once more.
Yet... that is the very lesson of the samurai and the bushido path.
The Way Of Dying is a way of life focused on the spirit and living life fully for that which is most important to a man - his honor.
Finding our spirit and developing our honor. Cultivating and mastering both with discipline and will and pushing on, no matter the odds, to live a life of meaning and purpose. We act in the world to better it and ourselves, but we don’t become attached to the results. We strive for love, for wealth, for women and for play, but we realize that the power that brought us to life will also one day withdraw it and send us to our death.
My dojo has framed kanji on the wall that answers one of man's most fundamental questions and also perfectly illustrates the divide in mindset between East and West - what is the meaning of life. Apparently, the Japanese figured this out a long time ago and it goes entirely counter to the western mode of thinking that all progress should lead man to ease and comfort.
Struggle is the meaning of Life
defeat of victory is in the hands of God
but struggle itself is one's duty and
should be one's joy.
Struggle as pleasure. Difficulty as training.
The perfection of Man's soul and his honor by forging both in the fire of the material world, hammering them through experience into something truly beautiful. But only, only, if we choose to put in the work. If we believe there is something beautiful within us to be perfected.
A majority of writing in the manosphere can usually be categorized into one of two themes: angry rants complaining about feminism and how evil women are; or complete abandonment to the senses with a head first dive into material, sensual pleasure and personal ego gratification - the hot pursuit of sex and money.
This post is to get men thinking instead about how to develop themselves most fully into warriors.
The heart of a warrior IS his heart, his capacity to love, his will to live.
We are all samurai now because the rage we scream on blogs around the internet is a cry from the darkness of men’s souls for a return to something pure, something true, something beautiful. As samurai, we must live as if we were already dead. Clear the mind of senseless chatter and engage the reality of the moment with the full force of our living spirits.
There is so much here that I will never understand. I have never been a church going man, and, what I have seen on the field of battle has led me to question God’s purpose. But there is indeed something… spiritual… in this place. And though it may forever be obscure to me, I cannot but be aware of its power. I do know that it is here that I have known my first untroubled sleep in many years.
Captain Algren – The Last Samurai
The here… the place a man finds rest for his troubled soul… is in stilling the mind and making contact with the infinite.
Bushido, The Way Of The Samurai, has lessons for young men today.
If these young men have the discipline to quell the nihilistic rage in their souls, to tame the hedonist in their loins, and open their hearts to a spirit that is infinite in its life giving nature.
Who knows what they might accomplish? What mark their souls will leave upon the world. What honor they will return to men. What peace they might find in finally feeling, living and loving, knowing death is but one breath away and could come at any moment.
See you in 2018.
Strength & Honor