Me Against the World

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Me Against the World
Author: Kazufumi Shiraishi
Specifications: ISBN  978-4093862110
146 pages
13.4 x 18.8 cm / 5.4 x 7.5 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Shogakukan Inc.
Tokyo, 2008
Translations: English
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United States English Dalkey Archive Press Me Against the World 978-1943150021 Raj Mahtani
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I have a son and daughter, and a wife, but I have no love for them. Humankind is a cancer; people are cancer cells. We have abandoned Mother Earth and are destroying it with our unrestrained propagation.

This is the nihilistic opening line of a manuscript by a 53-year-old family man, which can be taken as the voice of the author. Where do we come from? And where are we headed? These are the questions he goes on to examine. More than the former, though, it is the latter he is concerned with?in other words, the question of death. Our awareness of where we come from is problematic, given that all we have to go on are hazy memories of infancy. But we have many examples we can turn to when it comes to where we are headed. One of them might be possession by the dead, and psychic mediums may provide insight into such occasions. Ultimately, though, death is something we cannot escape. No one is immortal.

But even if we could attain immortality, it would be at the expense of a spiritual life. All our exclusive relationships?parent-child, brother-sister, friends, lovers?along with our virtuous feelings of love and succor, and even our very sense of individual identity, would become unnecessary. Eventually we would probably end up yearning for death rather than trying to avoid it.

In other words, ours is an existence in which we must die. There are numerous people who preach (whether in a religious, spiritual, or simply humanistic context) that love is the only way of escaping the fear of death, that love is something absolute that transcends death, but it is these people we should beware of. The "true love" that the author is at pains to convey is fellow-feeling and compassion. Such a love is powerless against death, which is why it is so universal and all-encompassing. It is only once you stop praying for the happiness of the special people in your life, he declares, that you can set your sights on neutralizing evils such as poverty, violence, war, discrimination, persecution, and fanaticism.