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Lawrence Edward Richard

The Wind Rises IS an Objectivist movie to the core.

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Hello everyone. 

The Wind Rises is currently available on Netflix and I would just like to recommend it to you. 

I think it is Objectivist in outlook, from a Howard Roark point of view.

1. Jiro wants to design planes, he takes no responsibility for how they are used.

2. Jiro and his wife respond to each other's virtues, and build a relationship based on shared values and total honesty.

3. Jiro and his friend at Mitsubishi spend their time talking work and enjoying being together but do not pass judgements on each other. They are simply together like Roark and his friends because they like being together.

4. The movie is very harsh on reality deniers and the way Imperialists try to ignore reality and justify the indefensible.

5. Jiro's boss is benevolent and caring towards Jiro because the values he sees present in Jiro, and therefore works to help him as it in turn helps his own vision of the world. The bit of the movie where he shelters Jiro at his home and Jiro and Naoko marry is very moving.

I think when I have more time there is a lighthearted Objectivist review to be made of this movie, I say lighthearted because my Objectivism is not as deeply read as others. 

I heartily recommend you watch this film if you haven't seen it yet, it is a touchstone in my emotional movie watching life.

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I saw this movie a while ago, I pretty much agree with you.

I'm just wondering your opinion though about how Jiro was fighting for the Axis powers and actively worked with the Germans?

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To be honest it never bothered me that Jiro created planes for the military. Someone else would have, and it wouldn’t have a material effect on the course of the war. Jiro in the film loves to create aviation technology and has this imagination and talent that he will not squander. I think it is in his interest to simply be who he is to his utmost, he cannot control how his creations are used or by whom for what. 

I don’t think Jiro avoiding practicing his talent would have changed the course of history and it would have been a sacrifice in the worst way for him not to.

I also love the way the movie captures the everyday experience for people caught up in the wind. All they can do is try to live as them to their best ability. The wind needs no more victims it will do what it does.

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8 hours ago, Lawrence Edward Richard said:

To be honest it never bothered me that Jiro created planes for the military. Someone else would have, and it wouldn’t have a material effect on the course of the war. Jiro in the film loves to create aviation technology and has this imagination and talent that he will not squander. I think it is in his interest to simply be who he is to his utmost, he cannot control how his creations are used or by whom for what. 

I don’t think Jiro avoiding practicing his talent would have changed the course of history and it would have been a sacrifice in the worst way for him not to.

I also love the way the movie captures the everyday experience for people caught up in the wind. All they can do is try to live as them to their best ability. The wind needs no more victims it will do what it does.

A rational moral actor should never evade the consequences of his actions, whether the consequences are directly or indirectly caused or contributed to by him.  Those consequences which affect him, and which are partly caused by his actions, ARE relevant to the morality of those actions: he cannot ignore the consequences of his own action upon himself and his values when he chooses to do or not to do something.

The questions of whether supporting the war effort for the particular regime in power in exchange for a career is not one dimensional.  He cannot simply put the blinders on and ignore reality.  The consequences of his actions involve everything surrounding the activity of designing planes for a rewarding career and a family life (including the joy and the money), it also includes everything connected with his supporting the regime in power, including not being labeled a traitor, increasing the effectiveness of the regime and increasing the likelihood that the totalitarian state will continue to remain in power for longer or permanently. 

Jiro, having never discovered what freedom and individual rights are, unfortunately does not know that supporting a totalitarian state IS inimical to his life, long range... and that in fact he should do whatever is possible to escape, defect to a western nation with more freedoms, and help THEM win the war with his skills in designing airplanes.

 

To be clear, the moral choices of Jiro by definition have nothing to do with any altruism. 

What he cannot morally  ignore (should he actually understand it) is the fact that freedom and individual rights are in his and his family's long term self-interest.

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But what is it to Jiro?

He only wants to design planes, he isn’t political. I would argue that yes it would be vastly preferable for all of us if Jiro joins the side of right compared to an imperialistic government but I would liken him to Roark rather than Galt. Socially and societally he is saddened by what he sees but refuses (Jiro is not as strong as Galt so wilfully refuses, blinkers himself, tries to ignore?) to take responsibility for others blindness. 

I see him not as an ideal Objectivist hero but as an example of what happens when dreams and uncompromising talent meets larger events. Yes he makes the wrong decision not to free but there are doubtless reasons for that. You have argued convincingly that he fails the test on broader issues about how his creations will be used. I’d argue that goes for an awful LOT of people and therefore he gets a pass from me. I still like him and admire his drive.

He may in the story be the man who could have been but wasn’t, but he is also simply him. I can’t condemn him for his limitations although they seem a bit wilful at times and it does make you wonder.

In the actual made up story, what were his options?

We are all weak in some places and strong in others. I follow Objectivism myself for a lens and a practical plan. It’s also uncompromising reality that promotes positive decision making. However I see myself as too concerned with others opinion of me, too worried, too wobbly. 

Like Jiro (and I’m by no means as much of a talent as him) I’m a student not a teacher.

Would the world be a better place without a lot of things that were built initially for and used for war? Would that stop those wars still happening? The atom bomb saved more lives than it took. When arguments go upward from me to you, a person to another, when these become societal judgements I become uneasy. I hate group theories because it seems to contaminate the whole argument of existentialism and authenticity which has to be freedom, and that includes freedom to differ.

I can’t condemn Jiro as I would be condemning myself. I haven’t reached Superman status yet. The funny thing is that I’m not in touch with my own ethics anyway, my stated reactions to hypotheticals are often at odds with my actual reactions that are generally MORE moral than what I profess to believe. To give a simple example when Lisa is offered the check by Burns. I say every time I see the episode that I’d take it. My wife says every time that I wouldn’t. Deep down I know she’s right. That might flatter me by choice of example, apologies as I could use a negative one possibly as easily - but it just goes to show a lot of us go through life trying to recognise what we plan to do and would do and actually being wrong about that.

So Jiro is human, it’s allowable if not ideal.

You describe what he should do but it seems a bit more heroic than Jiro and indeed most people. But I won’t commit the sin of speaking for a crowd. I am worried that what you describe is better than I would have been. There always comes a time for a break, a moment to snap back and rise up, a turning point. I have no idea where mine are usually until they show up.

 

Edited by Lawrence Edward Richard

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I haven't seen the movie, but as people on this thread are describing the character he seems to have more in common with Robert Stadler than with Howard Roark.

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Stadler felt a lab was his right, and was filled with rage when he was confronted with facts he already knew but refused to accept. He set up his desires as nullifying reality.

Think of Jiro as more like Pasternak, a cloud dweller. He lacks the ability or will to want to change systems. Jiro would never have tried to go after power the way Stadler did at the end there. Jiro would have been convinced by Galt’s arguments or an argument by the West to defect, but oddly unless given the choice he wouldn’t seek it. Stadler chooses his fate. 

I think Jiro is more like Rearden without anyone taking his hand to lead him out of being used.

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9 hours ago, Lawrence Edward Richard said:

an example of what happens when dreams and uncompromising talent meets larger events.

Sure, you can appreciate him for his drive. But what he did with this drive was ignore how his own creations were used, tacitly condoned both the Japanese imperialist government and Nazi Germany government, just so that he could build planes. As hard as it might be, there were other options, he wasn't threatened to build planes for the government. He could have been a rebel leader, he could even have taken his position within the government as a way to undermine their operations - similar to how some German generals tried to assassinate Hitler. It's not like his planes were a means to some other scientific objective (like working on the atom bomb in the US), he just wanted to design planes and build them.

In other words, compromise was Jiro's main moral error. "Not Galt" isn't a useful point here, especially because Galt had no special powers or abilities or skills. There was no actual setback for Jiro that prevented him from doing things he had the capability of doing. 

2 hours ago, Lawrence Edward Richard said:

Jiro would have been convinced by Galt’s arguments or an argument by the West to defect, but oddly unless given the choice he wouldn’t seek it.

Jiro lived in a world where he already knew about defection, standing up for ideals despite the difficulty, what rights are, and everything like that. So he was given the choice, he just didn't want to take it. It was a long time ago that I saw the movie, so I might be forgetting any of his psychological conflicts in the movie.
 

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Hey there Eiuol.

His psychological conflicts are represented in a very strange detached way, I can never really tell what he is thinking. It feels to me like he sticks his head in the sand so long as he can work on his passions, his planes - and his wife. The impression I gained that until they came for him he kept hoping that things wouldn't get worse. There is a disconnect there. Was that a feature of the Japanese people in general as they walked into war? 

It is strange that after being hounded into hiding he still wanted to build them the plane that became the Zero. 

Perhaps it is one of the problems of being a biographical movie that actually is largely fabrication. Interpersonally I LOVE the film, but the larger issues seem to be poorly handled or with too much lightness of touch. Miyazaki compares earthquakes to wars etc. 

For a lot of people a war their country becomes involved in makes them passengers. That would be an appropriate theme but maybe not for a genius who would have been able to recognise their own value and possibly leave? But then what would have happened to his sister, his wife, his friends? 

Maybe also in the story Jiro becomes renowned because of the Zero, not before, so isn't that marketable?

 

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