From Pillow of Grass by Natsume Soseki, 1925

yin-yangFrom Pillow of Grass by Natsume Soseki

Going up a mountain track I fell to thinking. Approach everything rationally, and you become harsh. Pole along in the stream of emotions, and you will be swept away by the current. Give free rein to your desires, and you become uncomfortable confined.

When the unpleasantness increases, you want to draw yourself up to some place where life is easier. It is just at that point when you first realize that life will be no more agreeable no matter what heights you may attain, that a poem may be given birth, or a picture created.

The creation of this world is the work of neither God nor devil, but of the ordinary people around us; those who live opposite, and those next door, drifting here and there about their daily business. You may think this world created by ordinary people a horrible place in which to live, but where else is there? Even if there is somewhere else to go, it can only be a “non-human” realm, and who knows but that such a world may not be even more hateful than this?

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