【World Life】とは?


World Lifeな生活

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Recently, two news stories caught my attention. One involved a high school baseball player, who was admonished by an umpire for making a pepper mill gesture on first base after hitting a base. What struck me was that the player accepted the admonishment without protest or argument, and never repeated the gesture throughout the game.
The other news story concerned the police considering a law that would make it mandatory for all Japanese people to wear helmets while riding bicycles. It is expected that once the law is implemented, Japanese people will comply with little protest or argument.

These incidents made me reflect on the tendency of Japanese people to be obedient and docile. It reminded me of the ideas put forth by Michel Foucault, who argued that since the late 17th century, political, religious, and social powers have sought to discipline ordinary individuals by influencing their conscience and awareness, rather than using brute force.
This approach aims to make citizens obedient and compliant, willingly following the rules and laws imposed upon them.
Foucault illustrated this concept with the panopticon, a prison designed with a central watchtower from which all prisoners could be observed at all times, regardless of their location within the prison. The constant surveillance was intended to cultivate a sense of being watched, thereby encouraging prisoners to behave.
While we often take it for granted that we must obey the law, it is worth considering whether this belief has been ingrained in us by those in power. If what we have considered as our own beliefs and values were actually implanted by external forces, can we remain calm?
However, it is important to note that this is a more complex issue than a simple “us vs. them” scenario. Many of these beliefs and values have become internalized within us, requiring us to challenge a part of ourselves.
It can feel like a battle within ourselves, akin to “me against me” or “Jiro against Imamura,” to borrow the terminology of a Foucault’s student.
My point is that we need to be conscious of the intricate power dynamics that exist in the modern age, particularly in terms of governance and being governed. Knowledge, as Francis Bacon once said, is power. Here, “knowledge” does not merely refer to information or data,but rather to awareness and insights.
To gain a new perspective and broaden our understanding, I believe it is essential to read extensively, especially in foreign languages.
It won’t be easy, though. Who ever said that developing independent opinions and speaking out was easy? It requires significant effort if we are to live as true human beings, not as slaves or sheep.