Be Wary of the Dichotomy itself

TV news programs reported that the English expression of Japan Airlines’ airport announcement has changed today. The phrase Ladies and gentlemen disappeared. It was also reported that it was a consideration for people who felt uncomfortable with this expression, including obvious gender differences.

It can be said that this is an attempt to overcome the dichotomy that divides all human beings in the world into either men or women. This Sunday, at the invitation of Professor Ichikawa of the Faculty of International Studies,  I gave a presentation at an international mini-workshop connected with Professor Kong of Seoul National University. One of the claims there was to be careful about the dichotomy.

In the presentation, I examined the concept of sustainable development itself. First of all, I pointed out that the conflicting stories of sustainability and development are contained, and sustainability is linked to a circular view of time, and development is linked to a linear view of time.

And I insisted that it is essential to present a third idea of ​​time that overcomes the conflict or tension between these two ideas of time. In other words, re-examining sustainable development from the perspective of time and finding a way to achieve both is a step toward the realization of sustainable development, overcoming the tensions and conflicts between sustainability and development.

Generally, what is seen in Buddhist teachings is a circular view of time, and what is represented by Christianity and Islam is a linear view of time. Here is also the dichotomy. The idea of ​​time is divided into two. It is a linear time that goes straight toward the goal, and a circular time that the goal is not set and keeps going around an endless and tremendous circle.

The linear view of time will definitely be better tomorrow than today, so it will create an extremely positive story that will keep going, never give up. On the other hand, the circular view of time tends to lead to a negative story that no matter what you do, it is useless because you will eventually return to the starting point no matter how hard you try.

Of course, there are people who are negative about life even in a positive view of time, and there are people who are positive and always positive about life even in a negative view of time. It should be good for each person, but the dichotomy does not allow it.

However, the idea of ​​thinking that there is only one of the two, or that it is a problem if it is not one of the two, causes problems.

Enemy and ally / believer and unbelievers / truth and falsehood / heaven and hell / black and white, etc.

Let me introduce one story based on the dichotomy from the Islamic scripture Qur’an, which clearly divides the world into enemies and allies, believers and unbelievers.

–(6:11 الأنعام):{قُلْ سِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ ثُمَّ انظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ}

Say: ‘Go about journeying the earth and behold the end of those who gave the lie (to the Truth).’(Livestock 6:11)

  It is not necessary to wait for Ibn Khaldun to point out that all civilizations have a lifespan, but according to this verse, all those who lived in a dead civilization are “those who rejected the truth.” And the destruction itself is the result of rejecting the truth. Believers who know the truth and unbelievers who reject the truth that does not know the truth (and are destroyed). 

Even though the truth is not revealed even after continuous quest, it makes me feel like I knew the truth just because I was a believer, despised people other than believers, and even cursed the end. The dichotomy appears and disappears behind this verse.

I just want to pay attention to the dichotomy, that is, the dichotomy, as if only we have truth and justice. In my previous blog, I mentioned my theory that you should say Human lives matter instead of black lives matter, but everyone’s lives are equally important, and there is diversity, not black or white. There are only endless gradations.

As soon as I said black or white, I would get into the dichotomy of black or white, get involved, or be involved. In that sense, I don’t want Naomi Osaka to call herself black. “One person before being a tennis player” I think this is enough.

One person, not black or white. To continue to search for the truth, not whether it was accepted or rejected.

Regarding the dichotomy of linear time or circular time, both Islam and Buddhism offer an exit from there. By searching for religious knowledge on the premise that time has no substance, a path to solving this problem should be visible.

The problem of gender difference may be more difficult than the difference in skin color, but it is possible to live only in fiction as a man and fiction as a woman-even if the content is diverse. There is no doubt that it has been pushed for generations.

I sincerely hope that the abolition of Ladies and Gentlemen will be an opportunity to notice the existence of other dichotomy and its harmful effects.