Nothing to do with words


In my earliest years I realised life consisted of two contradictory elements. One was words, which could change the world; the other was the world itself, which had nothing to do with words.



Yukio Mishima, in Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (dir. Paul Schrader, 1985).


9 Responses to Nothing to do with words

  1. Sean Jeating says:

    I had to look up Mashima. But then I remembered, and … my opinion has not changed since his – ahem – finale furioso: What an idiot.
    Well, and as in 1970 I considered him an idiot I did not feel intrigued to read any of his works, since.

    The quote is interesting, though. And the photo. One of yours, Stan?

  2. boaby says:

    I believe the image is from the opening of the excellent Schrader film “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters”. Although I’ve only read a few of his books, I suggest that they shouldn’t be directly equated with his political activities.

  3. Stan says:

    Sean: I haven’t read Mishima’s books either, though I might one day — his political peculiarities wouldn’t put me off. I know very little about him, apart from what I’ve picked up from articles and two films (the other being Mishima’s own short film, which anticipates his death). The photo is actually a screenshot, from Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters.

    boaby: Yes, the image is from Schrader’s film, but not from its opening — it’s from about the three-quarters mark. I agree, it’s an excellent film, absorbing and ambitious, and beautifully designed.

  4. Sean Jeating says:

    Ah, now I got reminded of him, like you, Stan, I might read a book of him.
    Actually, I was surprised myself when coming to think of how much influence one event can have on the mind of a teenager.

  5. Claudia says:

    No! Life is too short…There are still too many great books (for me, to read) written by excellent writers, who had a difficult life, filled with problems they didn’t create themselves. I’m not judgemental. But I do boycot certain writers and artists unless it’s absolutely necessary to know them. And when is it? I don’t have to read every writer, and see every film, and hear everysong. Etc. It’s really a question of taste and enjoyment. To each, its own! No time to waste. Tempus fugit…

  6. wisewebwoman says:

    H’m. Words shape and form our reality, our world. A deep and philosophical conundrum you and Mishima present for our reflection.
    Without words, what is the world?

  7. Stan says:

    Sean: Teenage minds are very sensitive! I know that mine, at least, was likely to pick up and fixate on any half-baked idea.

    Claudia: That’s a spirited argument for declining the works of certain artists. I sympathise with it — there are more than enough great and deserving works. However, even though it’s quite possible I’ll never get around to reading Mishima, I won’t rule out the possibility.

    WWW: Without words, the world remains the world; it just isn’t called the world, and so our connection to it is (or would be) altogether different. It’s a pretty paradox, hm.

  8. The only Mishima I ever read was The Sailor who fell from grace from the sea. A fine work but as for Mishima himself…

  9. John Cowan says:

    “The artist deals with what cannot be said in words. The artist whose medium is fiction does this in words. The novelist says in words what cannot be said in words.”
         Ursula K. Le Guin

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