Autumn and Philosophy


Feb 16, 2017
Thinking about the last quarter of the year.

I just talked to a friend of mine in Macedonia today via slack.
And he called the vanishing of summer, the beginning of rain and cold "Summer Sadness

I liked that expression.
There is a certain gloominess to the buildup to winter and the turning of the year.

But I also enjoy this time.
The world gets quieter, somehow.
Turning inward, thinking, gestating.

This is when I read the Samurai and the Monks.
I invite you to do the same.

The Samurai
To me, the main book on the Samurai Code is the Bushido Shoshinshu by Taira Shigesuke, there is a very good translation with an excellent introduction article available at amazon (no aff link)

Not a lot of people read the Code of the Samurai.
A lot have only used the Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunemoto (wikipedia).
(again, no affiliate link)

On the other hand, we have western and Christian philosophy, in the order of monks.

One very interesting vow and book of laws is the "Rule of Saint Benedict (wikipedia link)". For this, the wikipedia link is very thorough and leads to several avenues of thought.
Feel free to explore.

One interesting tidbit:
  • Chapter 1 defines four kinds of monk:

  1. Cenobites, those "in a monastery, where they serve under a rule and an abbot".
  2. Anchorites, or hermits, who, after long successful training in a monastery, are now coping single-handedly, with only God for their help.
    Regula, 1495
  3. Sarabaites, living by twos and threes together or even alone, with no experience, rule and superior, and thus a law unto themselves.[8]
  4. Gyrovagues, wandering from one monastery to another, slaves to their own wills and appetites.[8]

Especially numbers three and four of this list are very interesting and something we all forgot.

The Greek Philosophers
To complete the vioew opf the ancient west, we look to the Stoics.
Stoicism (Wikipedia link)

These Greek philosophers have been likened to the Samurai spirit in the stoic approach to death and the perspective on life this gives the practitioner.

A very accessible book can be found in Irvine's book A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy. (non aff amazon)

Roman Stoics
Having read that, you are up to Marcus Aurelius' Meditations (non affiliate link), in a more modern, annotated version - much more readable than the old translations.

Going full circle we go to the western warriors, and the ethics of knighthood.

Ten Commandments of Chivalry
Gautier's Ten Commandments of chivalry, set out in the 19th century, hundreds of years after the time of medieval chivalry, are:
  1. Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches and thou shalt observe all its directions.
  2. Thou shalt defend the Church.
  3. Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
  4. Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born.
  5. Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
  6. Thou shalt make war against the infidel without cessation and without mercy.
  7. Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
  8. Thou shalt never lie, and shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
  9. Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone.
  10. Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
There is no reference to women, horses, quests, or travel.
This list would serve a soldier, or even a clergyman.

Hope you enjoyed this. Good luck!

And hit me up whenever, alwazs happy to talk about this.
Mar 19, 2019
I love this time of year. I live in a tourist/cottage town and the population doubles during May-September, so as the weather cools down the majority of the population disappears, giving me a much better atmosphere for focusing on work and relaxing on Sundays. I also feel less guilty about not getting out of the house because it gets dark around 5:30 PM or 6:00 PM (depending on the month).