Salve to our crisis of meaning & repugnant narcissism: Bildungsroman: A literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood (coming of age), and wherein character change therefore is extremely important.

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+oliver+twist&qpvt=images+oliver+twist&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=C29A822DF2AF38DB36C369716F0C1517FBBE0E02&selectedIndex=10

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Twist#Major_themes_and_symbols

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Though immensely great novelist Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist is not depicted into adulthood, nonetheless  in the midst of corruption and degradation, the essentially passive Oliver remains pure-hearted; he steers away from evil when those around him give in to it, and in proper fairy-tale fashion, he eventually receives his reward – leaving for a peaceful life in the country, surrounded by kind friends. On the way to this happy ending, Dickens explores the kind of life an outcast orphan boy could expect to lead in 1830s London.

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Dickens mixes grim realism with merciless satire to describe the effects of industrialism on 19th-century England and to criticise the harsh new Poor Laws. Oliver, an innocent child, is trapped in a world where his only options seem to be the workhouse, Fagin’s gang, a prison, or an early grave. From this unpromising industrial/institutional setting, however, a fairy tale also emerges as described above.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/im-here-to-love-and-be-loved/

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I stand incredulous before the sheer number of people reporting/experiencing symptoms of depression. I say again, I don’t believe our ancestors experienced the same proportion of depressive symptoms.  Possible explanations for this phenomenon:  Crisis of meaning, for example. An increasingly vacuous culture, with significant evidence of devolution. Or, perhaps depression/depressive episodes is in part provoked by the emotional self-absorption of moderns – the observable, inexplicable delay of real emotional conversance and maturity in modern people. — Steven Kalas

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bildungsroman

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The term was coined in 1819 by philologist Karl Morgenstern in his university lectures, and later famously reprised by Wilhelm Dilthey, who legitimized it in 1870 and popularized it in 1905.   The genre is further characterized by a number of formal, topical, and thematic features.   The term coming-of-age novel is sometimes used interchangeably with bildungsroman, but its use is usually wider and less technical.

The birth of the bildungsroman is normally dated to the publication Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship by Johann Wolfgang Goethe in 1795–96.  Although the bildungsroman arose in Germany, it has had extensive influence first in Europe and later throughout the world. Thomas Carlyle translated Goethe’s novel into English, and after its publication in 1824, many British authors wrote novels inspired by it.   In the 20th century, it has spread to Germany, Britain, France,and several other countries around the globe.

The genre translates fairly directly into cinematic form, the coming-of-age film.

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A bildungsroman relates the growing up or “coming of age” of a sensitive person who goes in search of answers to life’s questions with the expectation that these will result from gaining experience of the world. The genre evolved from folklore tales of a dunce or youngest son going out in the world to seek his fortune. Usually in the beginning of the story there is an emotional loss which makes the protagonist leave on his journey. In a bildungsroman, the goal is maturity, and the protagonist achieves it gradually and with difficulty. The genre often features a main conflict between the main character and society. Typically, the values of society are gradually accepted by the protagonist and he/she is ultimately accepted into society – the protagonist’s mistakes and disappointments are over. In some works, the protagonist is able to reach out and help others after having achieved maturity.

There are many variations and subgenres of bildungsroman that focus on the growth of an individual. An Entwicklungsroman (“development novel”) is a story of general growth rather than self-cultivation. An Erziehungsroman (“education novel”) focuses on training and formal schooling, while a Künstlerroman (“artist novel”) is about the development of an artist and shows a growth of the self.

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Examples

Precursors

18th Century

19th Century

20th Century

21st Century

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Expectations

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Young Charles Dickens by Daniel Maclise (1839)

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Sketch of Dickens in 1842 during American Tour.

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Crisis of meaning & narcissism   —

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/13/religion-poll-nbc-wsj_n_4957886.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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1 In 5 Americans Say Religion Is ‘Not That Important’ To Them

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Americans are losing faith. At least, that’s the conclusion of a new poll on religion.

Jointly conducted by NBC and The Wall Street Journal, the poll found that 21 percent of Americans feel religion is “not that important” in their lives.

This, NBC News writes, is the “highest percentage” recorded since the survey was first conducted in 1997. “The poll showed that these less religious Americans are more likely to be men, have an income over $75,000, to live in the Northeast or West and to be under the age of 35,” says NBC.

For more on the NBC-WSJ poll results, click here.

This isn’t the first time that a survey of the American public has indicated a dip in religiosity. A Harris Poll last year found that only 74 percent of American adults believe in God — an 8 percent fall since 2009. Moreover, according to a 2012 WIN-Gallup International survey, the country is one of the top 10 in the world to have experienced a “notable decline in religiosity” since 2005.

Though the number of non-religious people may be on the rise in the country, NBC writes that there is still a significant proportion of Americans who are religious. More than 50 percent of respondents in the new poll said that religion is very important to them.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/20/society-doomed_n_5001032.html?utm_hp_ref=science

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The researchers developed a relatively simple formula with four factors influencing social collapse: nature and natural resources, the accumulation of wealth, the elite and the commoners.

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The researchers used the HANDY model to analyze three different social scenarios: an egalitarian society with no elite class; an equitable society with workers and non-workers (students, retirees, disabled persons); and an unequal society with a robust class of elites.

The egalitarian and equitable societies could produce a sustainable civilization and avoid collapse, even with a high ratio of non-workers. Social collapse was more likely after people overreached and depleted natural resources. Importantly, even without any social stratification, collapse could occur if a society exhausted its natural resources.

In the unequal society, however, collapse was almost unavoidable — and these were the HANDY scenarios that mirrored our current globalized society.

The income gap

“The scenarios most closely reflecting the reality of our world today are found in the third group of experiments, where we introduced economic stratification,” the researchers wrote, referring to uneven wealth distribution. “Under such conditions, we find that collapse is difficult to avoid.”

Other recent research backs up the authors’ claims: A 2012 study from the journal American Sociological Review shows that the income share of the top 1 percent of Americans grew rapidly after 1980 — from 10 percent in 1981 to 23.5 percent in 2007, an increase of 135 percentage points.

Meanwhile, the bottom three-quarters of the U.S. population has seen slow economic growth, with predictable results: A 2011 study published in the journal Psychological Science found that happiness, trust in others and life satisfaction plummet when income inequality is high.

Technology won’t save you

For those who believe that there must be a technological fix to all this despair and destruction, the researchers found that the historical record provides “testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.

“It may be reasonable to believe that modern civilization, armed with its greater technological capacity, scientific knowledge and energy resources, will be able to survive and endure whatever crises historical societies succumbed to,” the authors wrote.

“But the brief overview of collapses demonstrates not only the ubiquity of the phenomenon, but also the extent to which advanced, complex and powerful societies are susceptible to collapse.”

Not all is lost, however: Societies can moderate the two factors that contribute most to social meltdown: the exploitation of natural resources and the uneven distribution of wealth, the researchers said.

“Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per-capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion,” they wrote.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/cool-hand-obama/

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In praise of rags to respect Shokan “Jesse” Shima[bukuro]   —

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Pi’ihonua oyabun Uchinanchu/OkinawanHenry Shimabukuro born 1931 [retired Air Force top brass laser weapons intelligence] reminds me of Robin Hood — dress down the rich & correctly care for the poor — Henry promulgated lease to fee simple grassroot “piece of the rock” preservation of Pi’ihonua camps 3-5 two miles above Hilo tourist site Rainbow Falls. BTW, Henry pinned down crybaby Jim Albertini born 1946 when Jim poured blood on the files at Hickam AFB in the most famous anti-war protest in Hawai’i 41 yrs. ago. Nearly 6 foot strapping Italian coal miner’s son Jim thought that Jim was going to die at the hands of 5’3″ dynamo Henry.

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Henry’s uncle & centenarian Jesse Shima[bukuro] 1901-2002 of Hilo is the greatest Nikkei/Japanese in America because of Jesse’s international statesmanship in bringing post-WWII Japan via Hirohito & prime minister Shigeru Yoshida into the fold of U.S. government constitutional paradigms, despite Honolulu’s Bill Castle’s write-ups – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Richards_Castle,_Jr.#Out_of_power

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Jesse’s Nikkei legacy far surpasses Mike Masaoka 1915-1991, Mike credited with U.S. naturalization for immigrant Japanese http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Masaoka – Masaoka got lobbying monies from Hawai’i Issei immigrants who were not interned [did not lose monies/wealth] like Mainland “kotonk” immigrants — but Masaoka bypassed Hawai’i Issei/Nisei [2nd generation] supporter & Congressman Joe Farrington in order to avoid giving credit to Hawai’i buddaheads/Japanese for attaining naturalization legislation, just as Masaoka falsely tried to take credit for forming our Hawai’i 100th Batt. & 442nd all-Nisei WWII combat units which were formed by Hawai’i prophet & Chinaman Rev. Hung Wai Ching 1905-2002. Masaoka’s wife’s baby brother is Norman Mineta.

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Jesse’s internationalism/trans-Pacific/trans-national legacies far surpass Masaoka’s brother-in-law Mineta & Hawai’i JCS member Eric Shinseki. Dan Inouye is zero/useless on international policy & known solely as Hawai’i most important modern person [pork barrel/earmarks on Capitol Hill], though President Obama born 1961 is a native-born resident of Hawai’i but made his mark in Chicago & in the White House.

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Jesse was Jim Hagerty’s dear friend, Jim just a high school grad but Jim was President Eisenhower’s go-to kozo/younger protege, & Jim is the longest-serving press secretary to the U.S. President. http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/37566/gaddis-smith/the-diary-of-james-c-hagerty-eisenhower-in-mid-course-1954-1955

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Jesse also was Harry Hopkins’ dear friend — Hopkins was FDR’s lend lease braintrust & a confidant/member of FDR’s closest inner circle NY gang. Truman was unable to pick up Hopkins for Truman’s team because Hopkins died of cancer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Hopkins

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Jesse is the mo’o ali’i successor to the authentic line of our greatest abolitionists, starting with our Quakers [& later our NE Congregationalists], followed by our greatest U.S. Senator, Henry Clay [“I’d rather be right than be President of our Country”] of Kentucky http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Clay, followed by Clay’s kozo/prodigy Abraham Lincoln, followed by Lincoln’s kozo/protege & Jesse’s hanai father U.S. Sen. John Henderson of Missouri [author of 13th Amendment outlawing slavery forever even in private facilities after Lincoln’s death — also the deciding vote in not impeaching President Andrew Johnson — “the office is more important than the person occupying it” — this had tremendous salience with traditional countries in Asia & Europe like China & France], followed by Jesse himself as Henderson’s dearest wife’s kozo/prodigy. In Jesse — Henderson’s wife was psychic & experienced Henderson’s reincarnation via Jesse. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_B._Henderson#13th_Amendment

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Jesse was dearest friend of Howard U. [the Harvard of African-Americans in the heart of D.C. ] Mordecai Johnson, who enabled legal eagles Charles Hamilton Houston/Thurgood Marshall in the most famous Supreme Court case of all time — Brown v. Bd. of Education 1954. Jesse was the real deal abolitionist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordecai_Wyatt_Johnson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Hamilton_Houston

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Unlike Jeffersonians [Declaration of Independence, Jefferson pro-slavery] Hung Wai Ching & Gov. Jack Burns of shantytowns Emma Lane & Kalihi in Honolulu, Hilo’s Jesse was the blueblood pedigree/real thing & successor to authentic abolitionists Quakers-later Congregationalists/Clay/Lincoln/Henderson. Jesse was studied by keen Japan-phile & Anglophile Chou En Lai, just as Chou studied Hung Wai Ching [Chou’s close friend immigrated to/lived in Hawai’i]. Jesse even went to Red China preparatory to Nixon’s opening up of relations with Red China. But unlike propagandist shils Koji Ariyoshi 1914-1976 [plus point is Koji’s genesis of today’s Hawaiian sovereignty via ethnic studies movement at UH-Manoa] & Yasuki Arakaki 1917-2005 [plus point is Yasu’s genesis of modern Democratic Party of Jack Burns] of Mao, mature sage Jesse had tremendous clarity/equanimity & was not gullible to the glamor/danger/thrill of Commie talk so rampant/pernicious in the 1930s. Koji is the Hawai’i 7 principal, & Yasu is the Reluctant 39 principal. Koji is from Keopu/Kailua Kona [where astronaut Ellison Onizuka 1946-1986 was born 32 yrs. later to a much easier life vs. haole persecution against Koji– Ellison’s family store bldg. still existent along old Mamalahoa Hwy in Keopu], & Yasu is from Kea’au [fka Ola’a][Uchinanchu Yasu married “out of race” Kona Sen. Julian Yates’ daughter]. Both Koji/Yasu were boneheads & not adaptable/flexible like Jesse — but Koji/Yasu had undying yamato damashii — courage — like Jesse — & would take bullets so that others could live.

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BTW, Burns progenitor Chuck Mau was talked about in the highest reaches of government as post-WWII ambassador/emissary to Taiwan, but President Truman nixed Mau’s appointment because of Mau’s 1930s pro-Commie stance — sadly for ‘Opihikao Jack Kawano, also Burns’ progenitor, Mau badly advised Kawano to turncoat vs. fellow progressives Reluctant 39/Hawai’i 7 — because Mau wanted to clean up Mau for Mau’s hoped-for appointment to be ambassador to Taiwan.

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Jesse was the Issei/Nikkei in America’s greatest friend — Jesse enabled interned Seabrook NJ Farms Nikkei to start again amid WWII prejudice — today’s Tony Honda’s Tony Masamitsu [Tony’s older brother was my Dad’s 442nd combat brother in arm] attributes the Masamitsu survival/financial restoration post-WWII to Jesse. Jesse advocated equal footing for many other interned Nikkei, including grocers/farmers/etc.

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Jesse exactly 81 years ago today, August 8, 1931 –

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http://fultonhistory.com/Newspaper4/Newtown%20NY%20Register/Newtown%20NY%20Register%201930%20Grayscale/Newtown%20NY%20Register%201930%20Grayscale%20-%200454.pdf

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http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-396651.html

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I went to school for 3 years in the Henderson hillside [16th St. NW D.C.] & its mansions which blended into the panorama/palisade. —-

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http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/88000171.pdf

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/keeping-neighbors-fireworks-display

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The summer sun yields to the crest of the mountain. The shadows deepen, then darken.

Here, nestled deep in suburban Las Vegas, night falls on America’s birthday. And Joseph and I are ready. Loaded for bear.

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I remember the young, hopeful faces of the teens who were selling me these fireworks earlier today. They told me stories of how this fireworks stand was helping them raise money for their church youth group and its mission work. Somehow I doubt their organization includes a “quality control” hotline.           Luck of the draw.

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My neighbors press their advantage with bottle rockets. Hmm. I didn’t see bottle rockets at the church youth group fireworks stand. We can only counter with Piccolo Petes which, when lit, don’t really sound so much like a piccolo as it does Satan’s fingernails on a chalkboard. It’s obnoxious. I think my eardrums are bleeding. The CIA could extract confessions with these things. I’m never buying Piccolo Petes again.

My neighbors’ cul-de-sac erupts with an aerial display rivaling what Frances Scott Key saw aboard the British warship HMS Tonnant as it pounded Fort McHenry in 1814. I’m serious.

Gigantic, blooming flowers of color stretch across the roofs of our little village.

Whistle … KA-BOOM!! Whistle … KA-BOOM!! Over and over. Then bigger rockets are launched. On an angle. Right toward us. Their shrill whining and bright tracer path cuts the sky right over our heads.

More neighbors join the festivities. And I don’t mean licensed, professional fireworks shows.

No; I mean neighbors with a lighter in one hand, a beer in the other, barefoot kids biting their ankles and enough explosives to bring a small army to its knees. It feels like I’m trapped in a PBS newsreel of Beirut.

I’m beginning to think my neighbors did NOT purchase their arsenal at the church youth groups’ fireworks stand. No; they went to the Moapa Indian Reservation. Or to Mexico and smuggled these explosives into our fair city. I’m thinking it might be illegal to light such fireworks within city limits. And I’m really amazed that more Las Vegans don’t lose eyes, fingers, toes, etc., every Fourth of July, not to mention setting fire to houses and yards.

Joseph and I surrender. It’s not a fair fight. We feel silly standing there, pathetically waving our impotent magnesium sparklers.

Ah, but just when we think all is lost — divine intervention! The heavens bring an early “monsoon.” A sudden desert deluge with drops of rain the size of nickels. Lightning traces crazy through the clouds, followed by claps of rolling thunder. My neighbors’ displays are shamed, hauled and humbled before an indomitable perspective, then extinguished.

Silenced.

Whereupon I do finally see a police unit creep through the neighborhood.

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Maybe God’s about to be cited for an illegal fireworks display.

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9 Responses to Salve to our crisis of meaning & repugnant narcissism: Bildungsroman: A literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood (coming of age), and wherein character change therefore is extremely important.

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