“All men are similar, in soul as well as in body. Each of us has a brain, spleen, heart and lungs of similar construction; and the so-called moral qualities are the same in all of us – the slight variations are of no importance. It is enough to have one single human specimen in order to judge all the others.”
This passage, a quote from the nihilist Bazarov, appears in the book Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev. Squeezed in between reading manga and job-hunting, this thought has lodged in my head – the idea that we are not just physically similar, but morally similar too, all as corruptible and selfish as each other.
This may be obvious, but I forget it sometimes. If I am not careful, I can find myself ranking people on goodness.
`Look at him, taking the last slice of sashimi – he`s well down the table for that, just above the relegation places; any more slips and he`ll be an orangutang.`
There is no ranking. We are all stuck in 17th.
There might not be good people, but fortunately there is good manga. My current favourite is called Kuzu. He`s a lawyer who says the first thing that comes into his head. This is often honest but cringingly offensive. He is the reverse of the stereotype of Japanese; he`s all honne (true thoughts) without the tatemae (face).
He has an interesting opinion on human nature – we are all conceited idiots:
“Knocking people out-of-the-way for your own benefit, not aware of own your stupidity, pretending to know stuff, covering up your mistakes, getting angry and punching people, always and only thinking about perverse acts. That`s humankind!”
Sounds about right doesn`t it? If you agree with the gist of this, I`ll agree with you. But if you don`t agree with it, neither do I. I am not going to be a corrupt pervert on my own. Well I might do, but I am not going to tell you. Hang on, I think I`m now proving Kuzu right.