July 15, 2006

The Idea of Limits

This idea of limits is a foreign concept, i first encountered it through the culture of Japan.

One of the words they use is genkai. Kai meaing to release. I suppose it means to release or surpass one's limits. So when they say they have reached your genkai, it means you can no longer surpass your limitations anymore. You are forever stuck on this plateau of power and will never get anymore powerful.

Japan probably has more words, but I don't know them, I just study the philosophical concept.

A friend of mine said yesterday that he believes Israel and the United States have reached the limits of their power. He believes the battle is joined, is highly asymmetric, and has ground American and Israeli forces to a halt. He wasn't gloating, but was hypothesizing.

He might be wrong. Having power assumes a monopoly of violence. As we restrain our power to appeal to our allies and win friends on the ground, Islamicists do everything they can to monopolize violence through random acts of terror. They're quite unrestrained in that pursuit, and on that level, we are neck-and-neck with them for control on the ground. The battle for the monopoly of violence is symmetrical in this war because we restrain ourselves from unleashing our full fury. My friend assumes that we will restrain ourselves indefinitely, and so we have reached the limit of our power.

My friend will be right -- that the Israelis and Americans have hit their wall -- only if we continue self-restraint. We've made war with our seat belts on. There's no guarantee that things can't get to a point where further self-restraint makes no sense.

These descriptions of walls and stuff don't accurately portray the philosophical concept of limits well. FOr one thing, you can go around a wall or under a wall or over a wall or even through a wall. Breaking one's limits is only accomplished through willpower. In this case, it is the US ushering enough willpower to drop the facade of "peace" and "compassion".

I think they first developed this concept because of the spirituality of martial arts. In martial arts we know that there are levels of expertise and knowledge. We also know that the higher one goes in rank, the proportional wisdom of that person grows as well because in dojos a higher ranked person has more responsibility and duties.

So someone's "limits" in martial arts was not just a level of skill like a certificate, it was actually a thing of character and determination. In concrete terms. Some people can't become any more powerful in a martial arts, either because of injury, lack of talent, lack of motivation, lack of time, etc. These are the limitations that prevent the potential of a person from being fully expressed. The potential power of the United States of America is beyond reckoning. Yet this potential is not released for the sole fact that it is "Sealed", fuujin or otherwords. Kai, to release this seal, requires the exercise of willpower and determination.

Part of me wants to see our self-restraint maintained; we have the keys to Hell's door, a Pandora's Box that is best kept shut. Another part of me wants to see our civilization's enemies mercilessly vanquished. We can't have it both ways forever.

Indeed we do hold the keys. Do we release hell on Earth as Sherman did, kai? Or do we keep it sealed, fuujin? It's always interesting, but the Japanese anime always show the characters unleashing their genkai when they are to the point of utter defeat. It really does take seeing death and ultimate defeat in one's face, that truly allows you to take off the limitations on your own power. For America, it is because she fears her power, her Pandora's box. It was released back in the past, and nations and people were ground into fine nothingness. America was also afraid during the Cold War. America is even now, afraid that if we release the destructive forces of the Heavens, we will no longer be able to seal it back.

The enemies of America do not seem to believe that America is weak not because we are so in reality, but because it is a byproduct of sealing our power down several several orders of magnitude. If they miscalculate, they will pay the price.


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