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Chapter 10

Riding aimlessly through the 7th street market I found a video rental shop.  With nothing in mind, I chose two videos, "Che" and Yamamura's depiction of Kafka's "Ein Landarzt" (The Country Doctor).  In both, I see the tragedy of sacrificing humanity for service.

Che is about a determined man who finds purpose in guerrilla war.  "Kill or be killed."  His life ends futilely and tragically.  Kafka's "Ein Landarzt" tells a similar tale:
On a cold of winter night, a doctor is called for.  However, his horse is dead.  His beloved Rosa seeks another horse, but who would loan a horse on a night like this?!  She finds a groom who kisses her outright.  But, since he offers the horses, the doctor has no choice but go take the horses and go.  The groom sends the horses away and quickly breaks into Rosa's house.
The doctor arrives immediately at the house of a strange family.  Here, he meets the patient: "Thin, without fever, not cold, not warm, with empty eyes, without a shirt, the young man under the stuffed quilt heaves himself up, hangs around my throat and whispers in my ear, 'Doctor, let me die."
Noticing the girl in the house to be holding a bloody handkerchief, he analyzes further.  The boy has a strange wound.  He thinks of Rosa and blames himself.  Meanwhile, the family forces him, naked, into bed with the boy.  After telling the boy that the wound is not fatal, he flees.  The horses, now tired, return slowly and he merely "crawls slowly through the wasteland of snow men."  The story ends with this line, "A false ring of the night bell, once answered — it can never be made right." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Country_Doctor_(story))

The "country doctor" and "Che" are both used as tools.  Both operate in the country and both are trying to help people.  They serve, but where is their humanity?  In both films, their humanity seems to come from their confrontation of death, and the pain that they find in this.

Here in Nohin, the spirit of service is very important.  People will die to get the job done.   Indeed, there was once a famous class of warriors who were called "servants" because of how they embodied, lived, and died for the service of their lord.

If one lives and works in the same breath, if one serves and creates at the same time, in the same place, then there is no problem here.  For example, if a shop keeper's business is his home, and his company is his family, then service is also an expression of his humanity.  His purpose as a man and his purpose as a servant are united.

When one's work is also an exploration of their creative humanity one can embody this life and death service and also embody their humanity.  But to do this requires a very strict sort of life, and it requires a certain kind of social, living, and working system.

When living in space people live in isolated capsules far from the station where they work.  Their families and their friends are likely even farther away.  Trying to join work and life requires even greater commutes.

Here in Nohin, the strict standard of service, combined with living in space, requires people to channel their humanity through text messages.  Friends, values, family, all become memories; the rest is dropped into the void.  Life becomes a series of commutes, silent travel through space, alone. 

As we walk down a dark road, I confide in S. Pillier, "I fear I am waiting alone, I have lost faith in others."  He says, "Let your humanity become your service.  Fill it with your being, and then in being, you will see the others.  They are all around you."