The Weakness of a Purebred Culture
The Age of the Minor
Incorporating 'Noise' into our Lifestyle
Time-sharing and the Rabbit Hutch
What is lost to Functionalism and Dualism
The Pyramid Model of Aristotle, Descartes and Kant
A Dynamic, Pluralistic Principle that Incorporates Binomial Opposition
Post-Modernism that Assimilates Binomial Opposition
Asserting Japan's Identity in a Nomadic World
Leaving the Pendulum Phenomenon Behind
Centralized Authority in Industrial Society
The Holon: Equality of the Part and the Whole
Tokyo: Holon of Three Hundred Cities
A Revolutionary Concept: the State and the City-State
The Beginnings of the Merging of Mysticism and Science
A Philosophy of the Identity of Opposites
Sacred Zones for Each Nation, Each People
Symbiosis Means Recognising Each Other's Sacred Zone
A New International Horizon Created by Sacred Zones and Intermediate Space
For the half-century beginning in the 1920s, the following three elements have characterized what we know as the modern world: (1) universalism based on industrialization; (2) a division of labor based on function; and (3) elimination of classes. Industrial products such as watches, automobiles, and airplanes were great luxuries when they were first invented, but our industrial society has developed in such a way as to provide these things in great quantities and at reasonable prices to the masses. The great dream and goal of industrial society was to produce the blessings of material civilization in sufficient quantity to element the gap between rich and poor. As a result, today almost all of us can easily afford to buy anything from a watch to a personal computer with our pocket money.
This great wave of industrialization gave birth to the International Style in architecture. This is the Modern Architecture we are all so familiar with, the great boxes of steel, glass, and concrete. The International Style liberated architecture from past styles through the use of new materials and revolutionary technologies. It created a universal architectural model that spread to all countries and cultures. To my way of thinking, the International Style resembles Esperanto, since it sought to create a common architectural language for all humanity.
But a little consideration shows that his universal model is in fact a universal model based on the values and ethos of Western civilization. Again, the resemblance to Esperanto is clear: for Esperanto was a universal language based on Western languages. Modernization turned out to be industrialization and modernization based on the value system of the West, and the developing nations, in their pursuit of modernization through industrialization, have all quite naturally pursued Westernization with equal keenness.
The International Style ignores the climate and the traditional culture of the site and imposes a single style throughout the world. As part of the process of modernization unfolding in the People's Republic of China, an all-glass hotel called the Changcheng Fandian has been constructed in Beijing. But with Beijing's climate, cold in winter and hot in summer, the operating costs of an all-glass multistory structure are enormous. Such climatic and maintenance problems are always a bottleneck for buildings in the International Style. It is not enough to carry the latest in building technology into a developing country and put together a building from it; if replacement parts and proper repair services aren't available, the new building will soon be severely crippled. Elevators stop running properly unless they are checked regularly, and it is impossible for a particular building to stock all the replacement parts that are needed to maintain it.
When Toyota decided to sell its automobiles in the United States, it began by spreading a user-service network with several hundred outlets across the country. Without a proper maintenance system, sophisticated technology is soon reduced to utter uselessness. When high technologies are introduced into developing countries, it is absolutely necessary to regionalize and adapt the technology to the culture and climate of the nation. An understanding of the need for a symbiosis between technology and the cultural tradition is a must.
It is time, too, to correct the mistaken Western conception that universalism is divinely ordained and abandon Esperanto-style thinking. Internationalism can be achieved by deepening our understanding of our own language while engaging in exchange with other languages. If Mishima Yukio or Yasunari Kawabata had written their classics The Temple of the Golden Pavilion or Snow Country in Esperanto, it would have been impossible for them to create the literary depth that they achieved in Japanese. It is precisely because they wrote what they did in their richly suggestive Japanese that they achieved their literary success. But need we conclude that a literature that couldn't have been written but in Japanese can only be understood and appreciated in Japan? Quite the contrary. People around world are reading Mishima and Kawabata, Tanizaki, Abe Kobo, and Oe Kenzaburo--in translation. Literature of quality in Japanese is, through translation, literature of international quality.
I must make perfectly clear, however, that because I reject the universalism and internationalism that presupposed to superiority of the West does not mean that I advocate a static traditionalism or a narrow racialism. I believe instead that the coming age will be one in which the different regions of the world will reexamine their own traditions. On the international level, each region will confront the values and standards of other regions and, while mutually influencing each other, each will produce its own distinctive culture. This I call not internationalism but interculturalism.
The Weakness of Purebred Culture
As a culture matures, it becomes more and more centripetal, and forces to preserve the purity of the culture come strongly into play. It rejects all dissonant, opposing, and heterogeneous elements and constructs its own distinct hierarchy. In this process, the culture's identity is sharpened and refined. This type of refined, highly distinctive culture--a purebred culture as it were--is surprisingly unstable, and this is particularly so when the culture has grown tremendously. Unlike a "mongrel culture," which contains many heterogeneous elements, a purebred culture is unable to adapt to even the slightest changes in its environment. One of the reasons European culture is undeniably on the wane is that since the time of the Greeks and Romans, Europeans have sought to preserve the orthodoxy of their culture to excess, excluding without exception the surrounding cultures of the Islamic world and Asia.
The weakness of the pure blooded and the strength of the mongrel can be seen in business organizations as well. If a company limits itself to one product and concentrates entirely on strategies for its production and sales, it will acquire very sophisticated skills and know-how concerning that product. If that product is automobiles, for example, the company is capable of becoming an unchallenged giant in the industry. But if because of external circumstances the automotive industry as a whole falls upon hard times, the company will crumble and fall apart. The transportation revolution, an upset in the balance of petroleum supply and demand, trade friction--all and any of these are possible causes for such a collapse.
In the past, the coal industry was the leading industry in many outlying regions, but now it is disappearing--and taking the coal-mining towns with it. Textiles is on its way out as a major Japanese industry. A look at the present state of the national railways system, the petrochemical industry, steel, and shipbuilding shows how technologies that are organized in a centripetal pattern around a single product and possess huge organizations are susceptible to the passing of time and, for all their span and size, deteriorate easily when conditions change.
To acquire the necessary flexibility and adaptability, many industries today are subdividing and diversifying. The companies Toray and Kanebo are excellent examples of this diversification. Originally textile manufacturers, their main products at present are cosmetics, clothing, sporting goods, and pharmaceuticals--all quite removed from textiles. The break up and privatization of the Japanese National Railways is another example of the benefits of diversification.
The Age of the Minor
The mongrel has the flexibility to incorporate heterogeneous, even opposing elements. An organization or a culture that exhibits such flexibility is youthful. As the organization or culture ages, it begins to reject the heterogeneous. The secret to preserving youth and life is to be found in whether the mainstream of a culture can still incorporate non-mainstream elements. The reevaluation of the so-called minor elements that is much talked about among French philosophers of the new school can be taken as a warning to contemporary society of the truth of this fact. The subtitle of Kafka by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari is Pour une litterature mineur (Toward a Minor Literature), indicating the importance that minor traditions possess in the author's minds. NOTE 1 They frequently speak of "literature with a capital L." The source of this idea is probable Jacques Lacan's "Autre (the other, the subject) with a capital A." NOTE 2
According to this way of thinking, because the subject with a capital letter, that is, the absolute subject, contains plurality and free space within itself, it is necessary to respect minorities and heretics and create a state of tension between the part and the whole. The key concept behind the attempt by Deleuze and Guattari to reevaluate minor literature is "a simple conglomeration of individuals cannot be called a group. A group first comes into existence when heterogeneous elements assemble and exist at the same time." In other words, to create a group it is necessary for elements that exist as extremes at a given time, the minor elements, to be incorporated into the purified mainstream.
Deleuze and Guattari frequently make reference to the concepts of links and the rhizome. These are models of systems that are not organized in either a vertical or a horizontal hierarchy. They are models of intersection and fluidity. A linking, dynamic order is created by constantly casting heterogeneous elements in the realm of the Major.
Liberation from all dialectic, dualism, and binomial opposition is what Deleuze and Guattari seek. In order to transcend dualism, they offer the new terms (insisting that they are not systematized sufficiently to rank as concepts, and employing the nonsystematization as a weapon) rhizome, multiplicity, and machine. The rhizome is the antithesis of the tree. The tree, according to Deleuze and Guattari, is a model for the hierarchy of dualism. First there is the central trunk, from which branches sprout in order. This hierarchy is firmly established; a branch, for example, never sprouts a trunk. A rhizome, in contrast, is an interwoven complex that defies division. It is an intertwining of many heterogeneous things, out of order. It is always dynamic and changing, producing bulbs here and there as it mingles and twists back on itself. It has no center.
Deleuze and Guattari distinguish their machine from an unmoving, rigid mechanism. Their machine is an assemblage of various independent and heterogeneous elements. It is a living, fluid existence.
I believe that the advent of an information society will provide us with the chance to deconstruct and rebuild the "tree" social structure of our present rigid industrial society. If we are not careful, however, the possibility remains that the network of our information society will take shape as an ever greater "trunk," or centralized structure. The test will be whether in the years ahead we can create a fluid and living rhizome instead.
Incorporating Noise into Our Lifestyle
Rene Girard in his book Mensonge Romantique et Verite romanesque (1961), says that when one structure is completed it begins to close itself off. NOTE 3 The completion or realization of a culture, society, or a nation, is followed by this closing, as it becomes more and more difficult to incorporate things from outside.
The same is true for a human individual. After building a personal life by entering adulthood and marrying, the defensive instincts of a person begin naturally to operate. He selects and rejects information accordingly, and he builds a closed structure around himself. This structure is his lifestyle, his personality, or, for that person, his society. In other words, as a person matures, a tendency to close himself off makes its appearance and, in the interest of avoiding danger, he also avoids intercourse with heterogeneous elements that are actually necessary to achieve true maturity. But according to Girard, the fundamental nature of human thought processes is based on differentiation, and the origin of differentiation is crisis, or the birth of what Girard calls "the theatrical factor."
In order to preserve both our physical and spiritual youth and continue to receive proof that we are alive it is necessary to incorporate heterogeneous elements--noise--into our lifestyle.
Girard's theory of the scapegoat is another way of saying the same thing. According to Girard, the creation of a scapegoat--that is, the elimination of heterogeneous elements from the hierarchy, or structure of authority--is a means of preserving that hierarchy. For that reason, heterogeneous elements (noise) that vibrate the structure of authority, or stability, are so important.
In the second volume of his work L'Espirit du Temps (The spirit of the age), the French sociologist Edgar Morin discusses the concepts of crisis and event and writes of "order from noise." The economist Jacques Attali, too, has written on this topic in his article "L'order par lebruip (Order from Noise)" that appeared in the special 1976 issue of Communication of the topic of crisis. NOTE 4
Crisis and noise as defined by Morin are things that stand in opposition to or are heterogeneous to a system. This is not a heterogeneity that can be quoted, absorbed, and harmonized in a peaceful fashion, but refers to the event or the process that upsets the hierarchy to the point of causing it to feel endangered and forces the hierarchy into a new level or different dimension. Noise in this sense is related to a critique of Claude Levi-Strauss's theory of Structuralism. NOTE 5
Levi-Strauss examined myths and family structures of peoples in various cultures and illuminated the connections and relations between them. In other words, he organized them. But the model that he created rejected the unknown factors and elements that remained outside of his organized structures or were difficult to organize into structures--in other words, noise. And it is at this point that the concept of noise is a critique of Levi-Strauss' Structuralism.
To exclude noise from a society or a culture is to send that society or culture on its path of decline. By refusing to be bound by a single standard of values, by cleverly incorporating elements from other cultures into one's own, a reconfirmation of one's culture becomes possible. This, I believe will be the internationalism of the new age.
Japan is a small nation situated next to a large one, China. From ages past, the Japanese have cultivated the ability to survive by incorporating elements of Chinese civilization into their own. On the other hand, its farming villages were governed by a rigid communalism, and those who did not obey the rules of the village, those who were unique, were labeled strange or mad and, to maintain the village order, were driven away. Outsiders were allowed to join the village unit only after the most careful consideration. One of the reasons Japan has survived to the present is the dual structure, the fine balance, that the Japanese have maintained between a hermeticism that preserves the social order and an openness that brings new elements into the culture.
The wonderful sense of balance can be seen in the flurried trial-and-error swings of the nation between an open country and closed country in the year before the complete opening of Japan that occurred in the Meiji era. Though technically Japan was closed to the outside world for several centuries, trade and communication with other countries were not completely cut off. Chinese publications--many of them translations into Chinese of European works--provided the Japanese with sufficient acquaintance with the West, and trade routes were never completely closed.
Japan's problems began, rather, after the country was officially opened to the world, from the Meiji era on. As I mentioned earlier, the race to modernize in the form of a complete and thoroughgoing Westernization resulted in the Japanese making every effort to reject Japanese culture up to that time. This is not the same as incorporating Western culture into Japanese culture as noise. Since the Meiji era, study abroad in the United States or Europe has been regarded as crucial for a complete education. Western food, architecture, and clothing have become the norm, and the Japanese have lived bound by a Western standard of values.
This tendency to look exclusively to the West is still with us today. To be recognized abroad or to be active abroad means, to the Japanese, to be recognized in Europe and America. There is still no awareness of recognition or activity in the far broader world that includes the regions of Islamic culture, China, Southeast Asia, Australia, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union.
Japan must adopt new government policies that place the Islamic world, China, the countries of Asia, and Eastern Europe on a par with the West. We must guard, however, against letting the new importance we give to the many regions of the globe lapse into a provincial regionalism. Though some advocate an insular regionalism that would insist on carrying out all projects solely with the resources of the region involved, refusing foreign capital investment and the help of outside specialists, this type of isolationism can only result in decline.
We would do well to remember the case of Kyoto. While preserving Japan's ancient cultural traditions, the city was a pioneer in a major public works project to supply industrial water and was the first city in the nation to put streetcars on the streets. It reached out to non-Japanese and talented Japanese people from other cities to achieve these things. Kyoto is able to preserve its traditions today precisely because it took such positive and liberal steps and embraced the future with open arms. And this is exactly what we mean by incorporating noise into the established order.
This concept of noise has something in common with Yamaguchi Masao's concept of the periphery. NOTE 6 A culture that focuses its interest on the center may intensify its own purity, but it is fated to decline in the outlying regions. Let us direct our attention to the heterogeneous elements around us, the strange things, the suspicious things, the quirky, idiosyncratic things. Let us be alert to them, and cultivate a broad magnanimity. Unless we say goodbye to our distinct brand of communalism -- the lifestyle of the farm village -- that leads us to ostracize anyone with individual or special talent, Japan has no future.
Time-sharing and the Rabbit Hutch
The second guiding principle of the Modern Age is division of labor based on function. The social policy of segregating according to function reaches its extreme form in the analysis and distribution of architectural and urban space, and industry as well, by function. The social rule of "time, place, and occasion" is another form of the division by function. Houses contain bedrooms, which are used for sleeping; dining rooms for eating; living rooms for entertainment; and halls connect these separate facilities. This is the way of Modernism. And since according to that way of thinking, the sole function of the bedroom is sleeping and the sole function of the dining room is eating, every home must have a considerable amount of space.
Japanese houses have recently been described as rabbit hutches. They are indeed small, but they also possess a distinct advantage. Because of the nature of tatami-floored rooms, Japanese houses have escaped a thoroughgoing division of space by function. A tatami-floored room is multipurpose. It becomes a bedroom when you pull the futon mattresses out of the closet and spread them on the matting. When you place a low table in the center of the room, it becomes a dining room. Set floor cushions here and there and you have a room to receive guests. Place a flower arrangement and hang a scroll in the tokonoma, and you have a tea room. By changing the signs -- decor -- one room takes on many different meanings. This multipurpose space makes time sharing possible. And through that means, we can triumph over the limitations of a relatively small space.
This strategy of time sharing offers us a hint for a way to transform the densely over-populated city of Tokyo. The central business district of Tokyo is nearly one-hundred-percent utilized during the day, but from midnight to dawn it is a ghost town. Surely lockers and other systems could be devised that would make it possible for two businesses to use the same building around the clock. Hotels, for example, have nearly doubled their guest turnover and their profit by transforming themselves from mere places to sleep to centers for banquets, conferences, business meetings, places to nap during the day, and even sites for romantic assignations -- "love hotels," in Japanese. Once we cease to regard a place or a thing as wedded to a single function and adopt a flexible, time-sharing system, we will gain increased efficiency and be able to meet a wide variety of needs with far fewer facilities. By restoring even a small degree of plurality to our present classification and segregation by function, we can create new riches and a new life style.
The unbelievable rise in land prices in Tokyo in recent years is a major problem facing us, and it will be the undoing of the Japanese economy unless it is checked. I discuss this subject in chapter 11, where I present a plan for the complete reconstruction of the city that I believe is necessary. But my plan is not for redevelopment of the present city by tearing this down and rebuilding that; rather, I propose the construction of an island in Tokyo Bay that will restore the proper balance between demand for land and its supply -- or even tip that balance in favor of supply. I suggest cleaning up Tokyo Bay and preserving the city of Tokyo, especially the historic Shitamachi area, while restoring the old forests of Musashino in the city's western suburbs and building looping canals as fire breaks. My plan is one of a symbiosis of development and restoration.
I believe that if the problems of land costs and the threat of fire were solved. Tokyo would be the most interesting, fascinating, and futuristic city on earth. One reason for this that Tokyo is already a time-sharing city. There can be no denying that houses in Tokyo are small; but the city itself provides every sort of "second home" conceivable, for even the most arcane tastes. Tokyoites may not be able to invite their friends or coworkers to their home for a party or dinner after work, but the city is filled with fine restaurants, bars, and clubs where they can bring and entertain their friends. A Tokyoite may not have a game room in his home, but he does not lack for mah-jong, pachinko, and billiard parlors, computer-game centers and sing-along clubs. He may not have his own tennis court or pool, but there is no shortage of sports clubs, golf courses, driving ranges, and tennis courts in the city.
All of these facilities take the place of your own private living room, game room, your own pool and tennis court. They are your second homes. And since these facilities provide space efficiently, by the hour or other period of time, they are time-sharing second homes. Considered from this point of view, it is precisely because of this time-sharing system that Tokyo offers cuisine from nearly every country on earth and such tremendous variety of entertainment spaces. Pursuing this line of thought further, we can seen how a group (or a wealthy individual) could purchase or rent a one-room apartment in the city and make it into an actual second home -- a study, a hobby room, or a place to entertain guests -- while building the family home in the suburbs, where land prices are more reasonable.
What Is Lost to Functionalism and Dualism
The application of Modernism's division by function has not been restricted to the home. It has been extended to urban space in general. In the Athens Declaration of the C.I.A.M. (Congres internationaux d'Architecture moderne) conference, the city was analyzed and divided into facilities for work, for living, and for recreation, with transportation facilities to connect the areas with these different functions. NOTE 7 The present systems of land-use planning and zoning, which divide the city into color-coded functional areas, are of course based on this way of thinking. But not everyone has assented to this functionalism, most strongly advocated by Le Corbusier. NOTE 8
Jan Mukarovsky, a member of the structuralist group in Prague in the 1930s, criticized Le Corbusier's simple functionalism as follows: "The existence of the whole is the source of the life-energy of all individual functions, and no human action is limited to a single function." NOTE 9 But with the support of the increasing industrialization of our society, the segregation of functions based on this simple functionalism has swollen into a great tide that has engulfed the entire world. The segregation of functions is, above all, easy to grasp -- like explaining a machine by describing its parts. In addition, this functionalism was a convenient weapon for dismantling the academism and feudal elements that remained so strongly rooted in the society of the day. The lions of Modernism rejected the state of the city of their day, in which pluralistic functions that had accumulated in a confused fashion over the ages existed in an overlapping state, as anti-modern. They made the purification of functions, broad empty spaces, greenery, and fresh air their slogans and embraced Le Corbusier's "shining city" as the vital new breeze of Modernism that would sweep away the confusion of the past. From that time, the image of the city of the future as a place of multistory buildings and huge empty plazas has spread not only to Brasilia and Chandrigarh but to all modern cities of the world.
The principle is evident not only in the zoning system that segregates residential from industrial areas, but also segregation by races and classes -- for example, Chinatown and Harlem in New York -- and the designation of the city center as a business district and the suburbs as residential districts. Social welfare policy is conceived along the same lines. The handicapped and the elderly are held in special segregated facilities separated not only from the center of the city but also cut off from the normal human relations of the community and the family and treated as wards of the state. It is crucial to retrieve and reclaim what has been lost and sacrificed in a wide range of spheres through these principles of Modernism and Modern Architecture: segregation and dualism. The whole of existence, the essentially indivisible chaos of life, the complementary nature of functions, the intermediary zone that has been lost through segregation, the ambiguity that has been lost through clarity, all of these elements are missing from Modernism and Modern Architecture.
The Pyramid Model of Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant
Of course, the simple functionalism by which each part and each space has a single function is not only the product of Modernism. It is the very basis of Western rationalism, and it can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece and its philosophy of architecture.
In his Metaphysics, Aristotle declared that "the primary features of beauty are taxis, symmetria, and horismmenon, and they can be expressed mathematically." Taxis is order or hierarchy. The word symmetria derives from syn, meaning common, and metreo, meaning measurement; it means dividing an object into equal measures or quantities. Horismmenon means a limit. The philosophy of ancient Greece was to lift man from chaos through the exercise of reason in the form of categorizing, analyzing, defining, and limiting phenomena.
The categorization and analysis of things with the faculty of reason is a central philosophy of Western culture in every age. The religious, mythological dualism which postulates a good god and an evil god, a good god of light and his evil material world, the creator god and his creation, is derived from this, as is the philosophy of Descartes, which divides all of finite existence, dependent upon God's will into spirit and matter, and the philosophy of Kant, who distinguishes the thing itself from phenomena, freedom from necessity. This same analytic dualism has permeated the social structures, the cities, and the architecture of all industrialized nations. But how great is our loss as a result! The relentless pendulum swing between humanity and technology, science and religion, good and evil, the part and the whole, that has afflicted modern society is a direct result of this unrelenting binomial opposition.
A Dynamic, Pluralistic Principle that Incorporates Binomial Opposition
The dualism -- binomial opposition, the analytic method -- that has played such an important role in the modernization of Western society is deeply entrenched in our ways of thinking and living. As a result, when we wish to refute dualism, we inevitably fall into the contradiction of creating a new binomial opposition. In discussing the concept of symbiosis, too, we are most often forced to produce a binomial opposition in our attempt to transcend all dualism -- and this is without a doubt the greatest weakness of the concept of symbiosis.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty's philosophy is often described as a philosophy of multivalence or ambiguity. NOTE 10 Alphonse De Waelhens, in the foreword he contributed to Merleau-Ponty's work The Structure of Behavior (La Structure du comportement, 1941), compares Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, and I paraphrase: "In the end, Sartre strengthened the Cartesian dualism of mind and matter, while Merleau-Ponty remained endlessly concerned with the subtle connections between the two. "One paradigm that Merleau-Ponty considered, for example, was the case of a man confined to a prison cell: the prisoner's perception (mind) of a meal placed outside the cell changes drastically depending on whether his body (matter) can pass through the bars. The state of the body is the base for the state of the mind (cogito); or the mind can project itself out of the body and be out of synch with it.
Critics of Merleau-Ponty -- Lacan, for example -- claim that to divide being into matter and mind and set them up as two opposing entities is already to fall into the Cartesian dualism. By the same reasoning, as long as the arguments of the concept of symbiosis against dualism resort to creating opposing entities (symbiosis versus dualism), there can be no escape from dualism.
The concept of symbiosis is basically a dynamic pluralism. It does not seek to reconcile binomial opposites through a dialectic, nor does it follow Merleau-Ponty in searching for a unified principle that transcends two opposing elements. At times it is a binomial opposition; at times it is Merleau-Ponty's unified principle; and at times it is neither. It can only be truly described as a dynamic, pluralistic principle that can done many different forms.
A Post-Modernism that Assimilates the Binomial Opposition
Man is flesh, man is spirit. Man is a unity of flesh and spirit. Man is something that is neither flesh nor spirit -- for example, the consciousness referred to in the Buddhist philosophy of Consciousness-Only as the alaya consciousness. NOTE 11 The "neither flesh nor spirit" here is an intermediary space, a central concept of the philosophy of symbiosis. The intermediary space that is neither assimilates flesh and spirit, the two elements of the binomial opposition. It is not a third element itself.
In intermediary space, we can postulate differing proportions of combination of two elements, for example, flesh and spirit, in ratios varying from 10:1 to 1:10. In other words an infinite number of elements in a plural system can be postulated. But in fact, the concept of the intermediary space is easier to understand if we abandon these opposing elements and describe it instead as the creation of dynamic relations between an infinite number of freely combined proportions of flesh and spirit.
The strong interest I have in Deleuze and Guattari's concept of the rhizome is because of this element of dynamic relationships. In the past, new ideas and revolutionary philosophies have established their value and their truth by completely refuting all previous philosophies. By creating a new binomial opposition, they discredit and refute their predecessors. But the philosophy of symbiosis, while refuting its opposing element (philosophy, theory, or social system), which had been the mainstream up to now, also assimilates it. Modernism, for example, is the element that the philosophy of symbiosis must stand in greatest opposition to. But symbiosis does not completely reject Modernism. While rejecting (criticizing) it, it must simultaneously assimilate it.
Post-Modern Architecture in the narrower sense of the term (we might also call it "Historicist" Architecture), which made its appearance as a rejection of Modern Architecture, has fallen into the same old binomial opposition, the same pattern of dualism. Modern Architecture, with its emphasis on function, rationality, and efficiency, must be criticized at the present moment. But a new horizon will only be opened up by a dynamic, free philosophy that assimilates Modern Architecture while criticizing it.
Asserting Japan's Identity in a Nomadic World
The philosophy of symbiosis is dynamic, free, light, the philosophy of the nomads of the new age.
In a society of settlers, people live at determined sites within a certain territory and create boundaries or neutral zones to avoid conflict. In such a society, peace means not interfering in the internal rules of other groups, not violating their boundaries, and creating mutually closed societies. Theirs is a world of coexisting protectionist societies.
But today we live in the society of homo movens, which has learned that movement and exchange produce value and discovery. Ours is a world that transcends differences of ideology, culture, and levels of economic and technological development. A society of symbiosis is one in which each person can display his own individuality, a pluralistic society; and our world, too, is one in which many different cultural spheres exist in symbiosis. In this situation, the expression of a unique national character, a people's identity, becomes extremely important.
Imagine that in a part of the world people by nomadic tribes, an unknown band suddenly appears in the middle of the desert. They give no sign of their intentions. Without a doubt, they would be driven away as a band of brigands or demons. In the nomadic world, it is crucial to first clearly indicate who you are, why you have come here, and that you have no intent to attack others. japan today is like a band of silent, black-robed horsemen that suddenly appears in the desert. There is nothing more unsettling than a silent group that simply stands there, smiling slightly. They may even seem to be demons. One of the reasons for Japan bashing can be found in the unsettling actions that Japan has taken.
The Japanese tradition of prizing silence and regarding clever speakers as lacking in substance has produced a nation of slow, silent craftsmen and silent, hairsplitting researchers and academicians. It's gone so far that an artist or scholar in Japan who is articulate is regarded as a performer, and his achievements are suspect. We must put an end to this. Japan's educational system is far, far behind in teaching young people to express themselves clearly and to acquire the ability to explain themselves and their views. I believe that ambiguity is, indeed, a special and important characteristic of Japanese culture. But the inability to express oneself has nothing to do with the ambiguity I speak of; they have no relation or connection.
Japan must present the identity of Japanese culture more clearly to the people of the world, must make the goals of the Japanese nation clear to the rest of the world -- this is an urgent necessity. Our goal is a world in which the many different cultures recognize each other's values, compete with each other, and while opposing each other in their unique identities also live in symbiosis.
Leaving the Pendulum Phenomena Behind
European history has been marked by extreme swings of the pendulum between rationalism and nonrationalism. Since the Industrial Revolution, with its philosophy of mass production, the importance of craftsmanship and handwork has been emphasized. The sudden appearance in England of William Morris's Arts and Crafts Movement on the tail of the Industrial Revolution is a case in point. NOTE 12 The popularity around the world at the end of the nineteenth century of such design movements as Art Nouveau and the Jugendstil movements which employed the curving lines of plants and other natural forms, were part of a reaction against the Industrial Revolution, another pendulum swing. Antonio Gaudi is regarded as having conceived of the structure of architecture in an extremely rational manner, but his architecture shares much with the Art Nouveau and Jugendstil movements and was in its own way a reaction against, or a pendulum swing back from, the Industrial Revolution as well.
At the start of the twentieth century, however, architects such as Peter Behrens, Tony Garnier, and Auguste Perret advocated rationalism, and the pendulum swung back to that extreme with the Bauhaus and Modern Architecture movements. NOTE 13
This pendulum phenomena was imported into Japan. The Japanese who advocated high growth in the 1960s were suddenly opposed to high growth and technology in the 1970s. Japanese journalism, which had until then strongly supported high growth, did a sudden about-face and unleashed a zero-growth campaign, printing daily articles and editorials labeling all technology evil. The simple, ordinary life, lived at an easy rhythm, became the approved lifestyle. In the 1980s, Japan became more and more directly involved in international society, and high growth was no longer a question: it became difficult even to maintain the present rate of growth, faced with the vicious circles of the oil shock, the emerging NICs economies, the high yen, trade friction, reduced government budgets, and cooling of domestic demand. Now the new and most advanced technologies, such as biotechnology, new media, computer communication, and superconductors, are looked to as hopes for a revival of the economy. It was against this background that the Tsukuba International Science Fair was held in 1985.
What we see here are two extremes -- an extreme faith in the virtues of technology and an extreme rejection of the value of technology. This dualistic, pendulum phenomena only confuses and unsettles our thinking; it produces few positive results. And the swings of the pendulum seems to be larger in younger, less mature nations. When chauffeured by a poor driver, we are rocked back and forth by his sudden acceleration and braking; a good driver manages these transitions smoothly and effortlessly. Truly accomplished racers have even mastered the technique of pressing the accelerator and the brake at the same time.
The time has come for us to transcend dualism and leave these extremes swings of the pendulum behind us. Since human beings are by nature an ambiguous form of existence which incorporates contradictions and oppositions, we have no grounds for disdaining or faulting that which is intermediate, that which cannot be divided into opposing dualisms. On the contrary, I am convinced that this intermediary zone will prove to be a fertile field of human creativity as we face the future.
Centralized Authority in Industrial Society
The last characteristic principle of the Modern Age, the elimination of social classes, is based on a pyramid hierarchy in which part and whole are clearly distinguished and the whole is valued above the part. In architectural terms this takes shape as: (1) the superiority of the structure to the interior; (2) the superiority of the infrastructure to the substructure; and (3) the superiority of public space to private space. All of these are examples of the whole taking precedence over the part, the whole being on a higher level than the part in a pyramid-type hierarchy. Since housing is a part of the city, it is only planned after the public spaces and facilities, the plazas and roadways that make up the city's infrastructure, are in place. Housing is secondary and subsidiary.
The same can be said with regard to works of architecture and the various spaces of which they consist. The part is always subsidiary to the whole, forming a hierarchy of levels. Nor is this way of thinking restricted to architecture or urban planning. Industrial society subscribes to a strategy of the concentration of efforts in the name of efficiency, and the result has been that big science, big technology, and big industry are given top priority. The components that make up these areas of human activity are subsidiary to the whole, as an industrial hierarchy of sorts is created. This, a structure of industrial centralization has merely replaced the old structure of feudal centralization. Modernism's hierarchy of levels, its insistence on the superiority of the macrostructure, reigns at the expense of the plurality and variety of the parts, their humanity, and subtlety of perception. As we move into the information age, this modern industrial structure will change greatly. Medium-size and small manufacturers will outstrip their huge rivals and the service industries rather than manufacturing will move the industrial world. Unlike the present pyramidal hierarchy, in which the large enterprises form the superstructure and parcel out work to medium and small enterprises, an entirely new industrial network will evolve.
The Holon: Equality of the Part and the Whole
There is considerable interest across a wide range of fields in a nondualistic view of the part and the whole, in other words, the philosophy of symbiosis. One articulation of this view was offered by Arthur Koestler, who formulated the concept of the holon. NOTE 14 In Beyond Reductionism: New Perspectives in the Life Sciences. The Alpbach Symposium, a work he edited with J.R. Smythies, and "Janus," an essay in The Roots of Coincidence, he explains that he has coined the term holon by combining the Greek root holos, meaning the whole, and the suffix on, for "part" or "particle." Thus the word holon simultaneously signifies the part and the whole. Koestler is a critic of reductionism, which reduces a phenomenon to its parts for analysis. In that process, he insists, the essence of the phenomenon, which is what it is because of the harmonious sum of its parts, is inevitably lost, and the thing falsified. Koestler contributed an essay entitled "The Tree and the Candle" to Unity Through Diversity, a collection of papers published to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the birth of Ludwig von Bertalanffy, the originator of general systems theory. In this essay, Koestler describes the properties of the holon with two examples. He uses a burning candle as a metaphor for the concept of an open system, since the candle while retaining its own basic form, takes oxygen from the atmosphere around it and in turn releases moisture, carbon dioxide, water, and heat. He cites a tree as a living example of levels of hierarchy. According to Koestler, the tree is an intermediate structure, because it represents the whole system for all units smaller than it, but the same time it is only another unit in an even larger system, the forest.
Koestler points out that biological and social structures as well as human activities and linguistic systems all exhibit these two properties of openness and hierarchy. He calls this the open hierarchy, which he regards as the fundamental characteristic of the holon.
Tokyo is a Holon of Three Hundred Cities
In my book Toshigaku Nyumon, published in 1973 by Shodensha, I called Tokyo a conglomeration of three hundred cities. I think that all cities should actually be considered conglomerations of smaller cities. We are accustomed to thinking of a city as a single, unified existence simply because it is an independent administrative unit with prescribed boundaries. But the simple act of tracing an administrative boundary does not make a city single, unified entity. In fact, the smaller cities that make it up each possess their own histories, and physically they merge and separate, changing shape to match the local topography. If we realize that the greater city is made up to independent areas, each with its own identity, linked to the others in fluid relationships, the meaning of my claim that Tokyo is a conglomeration of three hundred cities is easily grasped. And when we have accepted this way of looking at things, we see that the smaller parts that form the larger city need not be subjugated to the whole in "tree" hierarchy, but the smaller areas (the parts) and the city (the whole) are a holon.
A few years ago, I served as chairman of a planning committee to establish a code for scenic views in the city of Nagoya. The unique thing about the regulations we proposed was that we did not urge the creation of a unified view for the entire city but suggested instead that scenic views be designated in more than one hundred places throughout the city. These locations were chosen because they represented the cultural and natural life of the city, its inhabitants, and its environments. We called them Autonomous Scenic Zones. Each was a unique expression of the life of Nagoya City, and we allowed them to retain this uniqueness and variety. This was a revolutionary concept when compared with the typical Modernist approach, which would be to establish universal standards and then apply them uniformly to all individual cases. Our work in Nagoya produced another holon, of the individual Autonomous Scenic Zones and the city as a whole.
A Revolutionary Concept: The State and the City-State
The philosophy of the holon can also be applied to the relationship between the state and other self-governing bodies. When Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira was still alive, I was a member of a policy research council that he had established, and I had many opportunities to discuss various ideas with him. One day when we were at the prime minister's residence, the talk turned to the relationships among the state, the prefectures, and the cities. Suddenly the prime minister said, "Mr. Kurokawa, why not eliminate the prefectures entirely and just get by with the state and its cities? In place of the prefectures, we could have a general communications processing agency." These remarks indicated to me that the prime minister's ideal was to increase the autonomy of Japan's cities, in the direction of city-states. The report issued by our council was entitled "A Plan for a National Garden City-State." By this we did not mean a nation centered around garden cities, but a garden city-state on a national level. From the standpoint of the hallowed concept of the subordination of self-governing bodies such as cities to the state, his view of the state and the city-state as equal entities is indeed revolutionary and holonic.
The philosophy of holonism is bound to exert a strong influence on theories of industrial and business organization as well as on architecture and artistic creation. The top-down method whereby a general framework is first established and then, in a part-by-part breakdown, the details are decided fails to give sufficient consideration to the details. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that the whole will reach successful completion if we proceed from the bottom up, by piling detail upon detail to build the totality. The truly creative and holonic approach is to give equal weight and consideration to both the top-down approach and the bottom-up method.
In my own designs, I begin by keeping, on the one hand, extremely general, macro considerations, such as the urban planning, the surrounding environment, and various social factors, in mind. On the other hand and at the same time, I begin to imagine and sketch very specific parts and details: the shape of the door handles and their feel in my hand, the curve of the hand rails on the stairs, the carpet patterns, the furniture, and the textures of the walls. This double and parallel approach, working on the whole and the details at the same time, leads to a holonic style of architecture. Non-Japanese architects and architectural critics have described my work as a combination of bold spatial structure and eloquent, hand-crafted details. This evaluation of my work of course pleases me, in particular because it shows that those who have experienced by works have appreciated the holonic relationship I have striven to create between the parts and the whole.
The title of Koestler' essay, "Janus," refers to the two-faced god of Roman mythology who on the one hand forces humanity into the various levels of the hierarchy but on the other hand urges it onto a transcendent and whole reality. For in Koestler's part and whole there is the drive toward the symbiosis of man and God. Koestler also postulates three levels of reality: sensual awareness is the first level, followed by conceptual awareness, and finally the mystical awareness of "oceanic feeling," a world that transcends both sense perceptions and concepts. Koestler claims that this oceanic feeling is similar to the synchronicity that was described by Carl Jung and Wolfgang Pauli. I have interpreted the idea of synchronicity to mean the symbiosis of past, present, and future. Koestler, however, while referring to Jung and Pauli's synchronicity, enlarges it to mean the symbiosis of body and spirit, consciousness and the unconsciousness, and man and God.
The Beginnings of the Merging of Mysticism and Science
Recently, the continuity between religion and science has also become apparent. As the physicist David Bohm has proclaimed, "Even life can be made from matter." NOTE 15 The June 1983 issue of the journal Gendai Shiso carried an extremely interesting discussion between Bohm and Rene Weber, originally included in Weber's book The Holographic Paradigm and Other Paradoxes. In their conversation, which was titled "The Physicist and the Mystic -- Is a Dialogue Between Them Possible?" they noted how up to the present, physics has set itself to discovering the unity of part and part, yet no trace of the unity of the part and the whole has been uncovered. For the first time, physics is broaching this issue.
We see here that the same problem that attracted Koestler is drawing the attention of the science of physics. Quoting Einstein's remark that "the most beautiful of all things is God," Bohm and Weber claim that mysticism, which was once the province of religion and art, is beginning to evolve a point of contact with science and physics. A new dynamism that transcends the dualistic categorization of science and religion as distinct fields in beginning to make itself felt. The defeat of Modernism is a great, common theme of our age, equally pressing all over the world. Japan has the additional task of freeing itself from the ideology of Westernization. To Japan's great advantage, it has a tradition of Buddhist thought that articulates a philosophy of symbiosis which transcends the limits of dualism. This tradition, cultivated over long centuries, is inherent in Japan's culture and way of life.
A Philosophy of the Identity of Opposites
Suzuki Daisetz's philosophy of the identity of opposites is the fundamental principle by which the part and the whole or contradictory opposites are revealed as existing in relation to each other. NOTE 16 The Vajracchedika Sutra contains the verse: "Ya eva subhte, Prajnaparamita. / Tathagatena, bhasita sa eva aparamita. / Tathagatena bhasita. / Tenaucyate Prajnaparamita it." Removing all of the modifiers from this verse, we can reduce it to the phrase, "A eva a-A. Tena ucyate A iti." This can be translated, "A is non-A, therefore it is called A." And this is the source of the philosophy of the identity of opposites.
"The oriental individuum is not an independent individual as in the West. It contains no self-existent core, but exists by virtue of emptiness (sunyata), which transcends the individuum. Though the individuum and that which transcends the individuum are contradictory, they exist together without the loss of the individuum's identity. "Identity" (soku) means that two things are not different. "Non" means that two things are not the same."
The philosophy of the identity of opposites creates an ambiguity of meaning, a floating multivalence, through simultaneous affirmation and rejection on the conceptual level. The entitles A and non-A are in fact a single entity. Since two contradictory entities are in fact a single entity, Daisetz Suzuki calls the mutually embracing relationship of the part and the whole the philosophy of the identity of opposites. Human beings exist as a part of the universe; at the same time, the universe is enfolded in the consciousness of human beings. Zen teaches that the universe and humanity are mutually inclusive, and it is easy to find other expressions of this antidualism or nondualism in Asian thought.
In the world of the Oriental Individuum, where the part and the whole are accorded the same value and the individual and the metaindividual exist together, neither losing their own natures nor contradicting each other, there is no pyramidal hierarchy in which the part is subjugated in its unity with the whole.
The Edo-period philosopher Miura Baien devised a synthetic philosophy of the unification of opposites, which he set forth on a trilogy, the discourses on metaphysics, corollaries, and morality. NOTE 17 Professor Hiroto Saigusa of Tokyo University, in his Philosophy of Miura Baien, declares that Miura invented the dialectic a half century before Hegel. More important than any comparisons with Hegel, however, is the recognition of Baien's inspirations in Asian thought, particularly Indian philosophy. Miura's philosophy is typical of the Asian tradition in that it resolves dualism into monism and represents a symbiosis of analysis and unification, the part and the whole. His first discovery was a dualistic analytic method for parsing all existence into infinitely small parts. His next step was to reverse that method and synthesize all existence into a single totality. If emphasis is placed on his dialectical analysis, Miura's philosophy indeed seems to belong to the same fold as Hegel's. But as he clearly indicates in the name he himself gave his philosophy, the unification of opposites, Miura ultimately sought a unified, whole world. We can interpret his thought as a philosophy of apprehending all seeming opposites as a single totality, a philosophy of the symbiosis of part and whole. We do not know whether Miura ever studied the Buddhist philosophy of Consciousness-Only, but his thought bears a close resemblance to it. And I am convinced that the philosophy of Consciousness-Only is bound to be the source for the thought of the twenty-first century. While Western thought has reached the dead end of dualism, Buddhism and its philosophy of Consciousness-Only offers Japan a means to assume the intellectual leadership of the future.
Sacred Zones For Each Nation, Each People
In 1979, the Aspen International Design Conference was held in Aspen, Colorado. The theme of the conference was "Japan and the Japanese, and CBS vice-president Lou Dorfsman and I were joint chairman of the conference. I suggested "Rice" as an important sub theme of this conference.
The thrust of my argument was that California rice was indeed food, but for the Japanese "rice" is not merely food; it is their culture. Since that conference, for more than ten years, I have continued to argue that rise is culture, and I have opposed the liberalization of foreign rice imports into Japan.
I can sum up my reason for this view in a phrase: the concept of sacred zones. I have said again and again that the philosophy of symbiosis destroys all dualisms. Yet in doing so it in no way resembles the "coexistence" of the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War Period, nor can it be compared to the synthesis of thesis and antithesis as described in the European philosophy of dialectical materialism. And of course it is not the haphazard mingling or the temporary compromise of different things.
The most important features of the philosophy of symbiosis are the concepts of intermediate spaces and scared zones.
I will discuss intermediate spaces in another section of this work, and for our present purposes, and outline of the essence of the idea will suffice. Intermediate space is the zone tentatively establishment between two opposing elements; it is a third zone which belongs to neither. When such an intermediate space is placed between two clearly opposing, radically separated, rationalized extremes, the ambiguous elements that were purposefully excluded in the process of creating the binomial opposition and its rationalization, the non-rational elements, can be recouped in a single stroke.
There are many intermediate spaces in our world, zones which have been forgotten, discarded, ignored, or dismissed because they do not belong to the two main, opposing currents.
Many of the concepts that I have investigated as premises of the philosophy of symbiosis can be grouped under the heading of intermediate space: street space; the concept of ambiguity, ambivalence and multivalence; Rikyu gray; ma, or interval, as intermediate space; and several others.
Intermediate zones are created when two different, opposing things continue to exist as they are pro forma, yet each extends some part of itself into the third, intermediate space. Even if each opposing element only offers, for example, ten percent of itself to the intermediate zone, a third, partly shared region is created.
This is not a theory of domination, in which the stronger of the two opposing elements rules over the weaker. Rather, it is an attempt to discover common elements and rules without erasing the opposition between the elements.
The concept of intermediate space poses a challenge to authoritarianism, to universalism, and to revolutionism.
The most fundamental principle of the philosophy of symbiosis is that there is always an intermediate space, always something shared between extremes: cultures however different, ideologies however opposing. This is what distinguishes the philosophy of symbiosis from coexistence and compromise, from dualism, from dialectical materialism, and from tripartite philosophical models.
The philosophy of symbiosis also possesses a fundamentally new idea: sacred zones. As I noted earlier, I continue to oppose the liberalization of rice imports to Japan, and one of my reasons is linked to this idea of scared zones. Each country, people, culture, company, and individual has its own sacred zones.
Up to now, the sacred zones of religion and cultural tradition have been called tabus. The cow is scared in India; the pig is tabu in Islamic culture, so pork is not eaten. The failure to observe tabus was condemned with a harshness approaching a sentence of death, yet no one ever thought of inquiring in a systematic fashion into the reasons for their hold over us.
In modern times, such tabus and scared zones have been declared irrational and unscientific and are considered signs of lack of development. They have been excised from our lives with the sharp knives of science and economics.
The rules of the dominant countries have been made the universal rules, and the sacred zones of weak countries have been declared irrational -- or "non-tariff trade barriers."
Symbiosis Means Recognizing Each Other's Sacred Zone
In the forum of the Structural Impediments Initiative (SII), a Japan-U.S. institutional framework, Japanese customs such as intragroup trading, consensus price setting, and rice-growing policy are coming under attack from the United States as incompatible with international rules (the rules of the strong countries). The philosophy of symbiosis, on the other hand, seeks to recognize the respective sacred zones of different cultures.
It goes without saying, of course, that the sacred zones that have been handed down as part of cultural tradition do not persist just as they are forever. As times change, they may disappear or they may change, too. That is why each country must proclaim the most important, the most essential, of its sacred zones today,
For Japan, I believe these probably include the emperor system, rice cultivation, Sumo, kabuki, and the tea ceremony (with its sukiya-style architecture).
Sacred zones are linked to the lifestyle and national pride of a country. They have strong roots in cultural traditions intimately linked to religion and language. For example, America's California-grown rice has been improved in quality and taste. Some varieties are far better tasting than the average rice available in Japan. When we consider that California rice costs a fraction of the price of Japanese rice, it's only normal to wonder why it shouldn't be imported. But this argument treats California rice and Japanese rice as if they were both only a foodstuff.
In my opinion, Japanese rice is culture, it is a sacred zone, while California rice if mere grain. If all the rice in California were suddenly to disappear, California would be little changed by it, nor would the American lifestyle or national pride be damaged. But what would happen if rice-growing were to disappear from Japan? The traditional Japanese countryside scenery, with its groves surrounding large homes and shrines, it's forested village hills, its paddies, and its fields -- the most typical Japanese landscapes would all disappear. Japanese sake, a work of art in itself, would disappear, as would many crafts, folk songs, and festivals, and the regional cultural traditions transmitted with those festivals would all perish.
Even though inhabitants of farm villages are gradually taking outside part-time and full-time jobs, the villages remain refuges where the ancient skills of craftsmen are preserved. When the harvest is in, the farmers turn their hands to other tasks, to forestry, to lacquer work, and other crafts.
The villagers teach their children what they must know to carry on the traditions of the major summer and autumn festivals. Such village performing arts as Kagura dancing, Kurokawa Noh, and the puppet plays of Awaji have been kept alive in just this way.
Rice has a different meaning for Japanese than for Americans because if rice culture were to disappear from Japan, a large part of Japanese cultural heritage would disappear with it. This is the reason that I have advocated the idea the rice is culture and that I have opposed liberalization of rice imports for well over a decade.
The Japanese government and bureaucracy, and the farmer's associations, too, argue that Japan must protect its supply of foodstuffs by being agriculturally self-sufficient. But as long as Japan argues with America on the premise that rice is food, Japan has no hope of winning.
We should instead declare that rice growing is one of the sacred zones of Japanese culture, and as such it isn't a suitable area for trade friction.
And at the same time, we must declare our respect for the sacred zones of U.S. culture.
A new International Horizon Created by