Watching another amazing Taiga drama with relevance to the present

Started watching the current Taiga drama Onna Joushu Naotora (Naotora: The Lady Warlord). One of the themes that has come up is very interesting. The main clan the Ii have had negative interactions with a group of thieves but not all the interactions were bad. Before knowing who he was, the priestess head of the Ii clan, Naotora, encountered the man who is the head of thieves. Several things he said to her actually helped her deal with important issues she was facing.

Later on though the thieves were found to have been stealing trees from the lands of the Ii and of a neighboring warlord. The neighboring warlord demanded that the head of the theives be punished severely. Back then the punishment for that kind of theft would have been death.

But Naotora decided to not kill him, going against even her own top advisers who were angry with her because of the blowback she might receive for not killing him. But, perhaps because she is also a devout priestess who trained in a Buddhist temple, and also because in her previous interactions with the head thief, she did not have him killed.

He ends up escaping. But in a later episode she ends up being kidnapped by the thieves and meets the man again. Again they speak and in their speaking she criticizes him for being a thief, but he turns around and says to her that he and his men are only petty thieves compared with the samurai.

Naotora is taken aback by this. She has never heard someone criticize the samurai like this before. She eventually is freed and goes back to her home but cannot stop thinking about what the head thief man said. She even asks her younger sister – who as a child lived a life of a poor farmer – if she ever thought of the samurai as theives and she says that “we grow the rice but we cannot eat it”, meaning that the rice has to be given to the samurai as tax. So it seems natural in the minds of farmers that samurai are like theives.

Later on one of Naotora’s enterprising advisers wants to start lumber production. Naotora remembers how effective the thieves were at quickly chopping down the trees they stole and she decides to do something crazy: She arranges a meeting with the head thief man again at a temple and offers to hire him and his men to harvest trees for the Ii’s new lumber enterprise.

Once again, against very strong objections of her leading advisers, Naotora decides to do this. The enterprising advisor, who does not object, tells the other advisors that over time the thieves can be rehabilitated and become active members in the clan. An enticing idea but one with potential pitfalls.

The advisors who don’t want Naotora to work with the thieves protest that they will not change and will only cause problems. This is kind of the idea of throwaway people.

On the other side is Naotora, a Buddhist priestess, who clearly believes in and is willing to take a stake in something higher.

That is kind of where I’ve left off, but I think it’s really interesting how a story about a samurai clan in 16th century Japan can have relevance to the modern world.

My only take on this issue would be that yes it is possible to try to rehabilitate hardened criminals however the pitfalls are not only that the criminals may not change, those attempting the rehabilitation can fall into a kind of false compassion that on the surface may feel good but may not be healthy.

To work with difficult situations like that also requires a certain kind of strictness, something that is alarmingly lacking in the present at least where I live, where crime and drug use is running rampant. Compassion which truly helps people and can rehabilitate people and change the world does not mean being weak and soft. There is a kind of wisdom in being strong.

Perhaps that’s soemthing I’ve learned through my work which has involved dealing with a lot of different people over the years. What does it really mean to help someone? Does it help someone if you harm yourself? Is it compassionate and wise if you cave in to your healthy limits and boundaries and allow others to disrespect and inflict harm on you? Are you even wise enough to fully recognize when you’re being harmed? Or are you one of those deluded people who equates being harmed with being virtuous?

I believe there are rare, highly talented people who can do amazing things in certain situations. But for that kind of thing to occur requires extraordinary insight, knowledge, and experience which not everyone is capable of.

Clearly we as a society should be very careful about who we choose to be our “leaders”. Most are shockingly unqualified – people who could barely run a successful business on their own much less be responsible for making decisions which affect the lives of many.

But we get a lot of deluded “compassion” and end up with the train wreck society like we have at the present, while leaders with actual experience and know how such as Donald Trump get constantly attacked. In the end it turns out that the ones always grandstanding about how compassionate they are are the ones causing the greatest harm, while the ones like Donald Trump who stand for rules and healthy limits get constantly attacked. It’s almost like a patient who is so sick they reject the medicine that can actually make them better.