My new romantic interest, Leslie, turned me on to director Jim Jarmusch’s movies.
One of those movies is Ghost Dog – The Way of the Samurai
We watched it, just last night.
Ghost Dog is a Samurai / assasin who does ‘hits’ for the mafia.
But the mafia boss decides he needs to have Ghost Dog dead after ordering him to hit someone else in his organization.
Ghost Dog considers one of the lesser bosses to be his ‘master’ because that guy saved his life once. So Ghost dog goes on a Samurai rampage to eliminate his enemies, wiping out the mafia family, except his master whom he allows to kill him.
In the process, he also wipes out some bear poachers – just for good measure, because ‘bears were considered equal to men in some ancient cultures’.
Throughout the movie, Ghost Dog reads from the Samurai book he uses as his code to live by.
I think this was one of the most interesting aspects of the movie.
The discipline undoubtedly helped Ghost Dog become the near-perfect assassin. However, the ancient Samurai code was flawed by a couple of factors that become evident in Jarmusch’s movie.
One factor is unquestioning loyalty to the master. In spiritual practices, this can be a very useful quality. However, when choosing a mafia boss as your master, it is disastrous.
In other words, if your master is very benevolent being who only wants the best for you, then having unquestioning loyalty is an asset, as it helps you to grow.
However, if you choose someone who is primarily evil, such as a mafia boss or ancient Samurai warlord, then you’ll probably walk a dark path and meet with a lousy ending. Who would want that?
This tragic flaw makes for a good movie though.
The other tragic flaw in the Samurai code was the propensity for suicide. This part of Samurai tradition was no doubt useful to Samurai warlords and Emperors. However, it ultimately failed the Japanese because it directly opposes life, growth and the usefulness of accumulated knowledge.
In modern times, we understand the value of experienced human resources.
Even up to WWII the Japanese failed to grasp this concept and wasted their best and most experienced pilots by having them commit suicide attacks.
In the end they were left with the dilemma of having barely experienced pilots left to carry out missions.
And of course the inexperienced are generally crushed by the experienced.
You see the same dilemma in the Middle East today. The method of suicide bombing causes a loss of the bravest and most committed resources.
On the other side of things the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) becomes more and more experienced and capable.
Do you see the problem there and the folly of the wisdom of suicide attacks and the ensuing loss of valuable human resources?