Tanabe Hajime’s Zange 懺悔: The Power Of Tariki •
‘Although Socratic ethical intellectualism did not develop as far as the
self-reflective (für sich) stage of metanoetics mediated by salvation of
Other-power, metanoesis is already implicit in its ironical dialectics.[ Tanabe Hajime, Philosophy as Metanoetics (1986), University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California, Pp.17.]’
The above quote is in the section explaining the meaning of a translation of Tanabe Hajime’s major work, Philosophy as Metanoetics. What one wants to explore with this short reflective piece is Hajime’s concept of Tariki 他力(Other-power), and briefly understand what it is and the power it contains? In the beginning quotation we gain an insight into how this idea is active in the mediation of the self reflective part of Metanoetics. So one can observe that this Other-power mediates via a salvation or by being saved. Tariki is best explained in its superiority over Jiriki (Self-power) which Hajime abandoned, in his own words: ‘Yet insofar as this entails an act of self-denial, it points to a paradox: even though it is my own act. It has been prompted by a Power outside of myself. This Other-power brings about a conversion in me that heads me in a direction along a path hitherto unknown to me.[ Ibid, Tanabe Hajime, preface, pp.li ]’ So, the concept of Tariki 他力 is that which the process of a regeneration in life starts from through practice and faith found in Zange 懺悔(confession/repentance – conversion). This term is so powerful because it appears as an innate concept to philosophy of both the West and East. If in need of further explanation one should consider two things: 1) we may discover the Truth, but not anticipate its effects. 2)Being wrong, or incorrect is a state unavoidable in existence – Hajime and his support of Japanese Nationalism is a way to understand Other-power. Moreover, the Japanese social concept of omoiyari 思いやり[ Kazuya Hara, The Concept of Omoiyari (Altruistic Sensitivity) in Japanese Relational Communication, Intercultural Communication Studies XV: 1 (2006). ], sometimes translated as: ‘always considering the other [person]’ is also useful to understanding this concept, so meta-ethically important.[ Tariki, allows, and enables for thinkers to think about the “ethics of ethics” because Other-power maintains there is something in the world that causes a certain reflective reaction on an individuals behaviour and the qualities of one’s being. ] Are there any western thinkers that come close to expressing a kinship with Hajime’s concept? Tentatively put, a western thinker close to this idea is Emmanuel Levinas who’s notion of the “other” and “being is two” in his writings could be read comparatively. However the two concepts of “Other” differ in that for Levinas the “Other” is an unreachable distance readable in his concept of Illeity in his later writing.
[ (Emmanuel Levinas, Enigma and Phenomenon, (1965)
&, Darren Ambrose, Levinas, Illeity and the Persistence of Skepticism, IAPL Conference
Chiasmatic Encounters, Helsinki, (2005) ) For Hajime it would not necessarily have such an emphasis on separation it would be more positioned towards external events in relation to an individual’s consciousness of their actions and the following mediation of the two.]
Finally, the force of Other-power in this process of repentance one has personally experienced. After living in Japan, and desiring cultural assimilation one eventually confessed that Tokyo was not a suitable home. Its Capitalism uncreative, unkind, and enslaving for me.
- Paul Harrison, November (2017)
—Hajime, T. Philosophy as Metanoetics, (University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California 1986).
—Hara, K. The Concept of Omoiyari (Altruistic Sensitivity) in Japanese Relational Communication, Intercultural Communication Studies XV: 1 (2006).
—Levinas, E. En découvrant l’existence avec Husserl et Heidegger, (2e éd. Paris: Vrin, 1967).
—Darren Ambrose, Levinas, Illeity and the Persistence of Skepticism, IAPL Conference Chiasmatic Encounters, Helsinki, (2005).