A Life In Four Chapters

Body and spirit had never blended;
Never in physical action had I found the chilling satisfaction of words,
Never in words had I experienced the hot darkness of action.
Somewhere there must be a higher principle which reconciles art and action;
That principle, it occurred to me, was death —
The vast upper atmosphere where there is no oxygen is surrounded with death.
To survive in this atmosphere, man, like an actor, must wear a mask.
Flying at forty five thousand feet,
The silver phallus of the fuselage floated in sunlight.
My mind was at ease, my thought process lively;
No movement, no sound, no memories.
The closed cockpit and outer space.
Were like the spirit and body of the same being.
Here I saw the outcome of my final action. In this stillness was a beauty beyond words:
No more body or spirit, pen or sword, male or female…
Then I saw a giant circle coiled around the earth,
A ring that resolved all contradictions,
A ring vaster than death,
More fragrant than any scent I have ever known.
Here was the moment I had always been seeking.

A monologue written by Yukio Mishima, perhaps one of the worse mental nutcase authors I’ve read.

Whatever the case, I like his works a lot. Beautiful, subversive, disturbing, nauseating, highly pretentious. He pretty much epitomises the stereotype of the tortured artist, joining the ranks of other poets and writers like Sylvia Plath and Hemingway with their quirky suicides.

Mishima for one stormed into the Japanese Self-Defence Force headquarters on November 25 1970 with a few men from his own private army (what kind of nutcase has a private army anyway?) with Samurai swords, held a general hostage, made a speech to the soldiers at the barracks, rallying them to restore power to the emperor and the Samurais, and when that gambit failed, committed ritual suicide with his sword.

I would like to think that he found his greatest form of artistic expression in a performance art display where he took his own life.




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