lundi 16 août 2010

"Amateurisme vs professionalisme" selon Kazuo Ishiguro

'...Now we're are all being so frank, I'll be frank too. You gentlemen here, forgive me, but you are just a bunch of naïve dreamers. And if you didn't insist on meddling in large affairs that affect the globe, you would actually be charming. Let's take our good host here. What is he? He is a gentleman. No one here, I trust, would care to disagree. A classic English gentleman. Decent, honest, well-meaning. But his lordship here is an amateur.' He (Mr Lewis, American gentleman: Note by Paul Ailleurs) paused at the word and looked around the table. 'He is an amateur and international affairs today are no longer for gentlemen amateurs. The sooner you here in Europe realize that the better. All you decent, well-meaning gentlemen, let me ask you, have you any idea what sort of place the world is becoming all around you? The days when you could act out of your noble instincts are over. Except of course, you here in Europe don't yet seem to know it... You here in Europe need professionals to run your affairs. If you don't realize that soon you're headed for disaster. A toast, gentlemen. Let me make a toast. To professionalism.'

 There was a stunned silence and no one moved. Mr Lewis shrugged, raised his glass to all the company, drank and sat back down. Almost immediately, Lord Darlington stood up.

 'I have no wish,' his lordship said, 'to enter into a quarrel on this our last evening together which we all deserve to enjoy as a happy and triumphant occasion. But it is out of respect for your views, Mr Lewis, that I feel one should not simply cast them to one side as though they were uttered by some soap-box eccentric. Let me say this. What you describe as "amateurism", sir, is what I think most of us here still prefer to call "honour".'

 This brought a loud murmur of assent with several 'hear, hear's' and some applause.

 'What is more, sir,' his lordship went on, 'I believe I have a good idea of what you mean by "professionalism." It appears to mean getting one's way by cheating and manipulating. It appears to mean serving the dictates of greed and advantage rather than those of goodness and the desire to see justice prevail in the world. If that is the "professionalism" you refer to, sir, I don't much care for it and have no wish to acquire it.'

 This was met by the loudest burst of approval yet, followed by warm and sustained applause.

From The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

samedi 14 août 2010

Back in Japan

I am back in Japan. The clouds look different from those I see from the balcony of my Paris apartment. The sky also, if you notice the black lines in blue background. My frame of mind also changed since I arrived here. The logical thinking or the will to think logically apparently diminished. At least judged from many TV programs, it is rather difficult to see the independence or autonomy of our mind and thinking. Our culture has made us such an existence. It seems to me that our state of mind has not changed a bit for the last 40 or 50 years. As Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) clearly perceived it, our culture or our spiritual life has been gradually degraded after the World War II. Nobody listened to his inner voice and his final outcry. Since then, the situation here is getting worse, and few people realize the lack of our inner life, it seems. People, preoccupied with "here and now", look like floating in an ephemeral world.