A Modern Utopia

All Rights Reserved ©

6.

I should come to our third talk with a great curiosity to hear of the last portion of the Rule, of the things that the samurai are obliged to do.

There would be many precise directions regarding his health, and rules that would aim at once at health and that constant exercise of will that makes life good. Save in specified exceptional circumstances, the samurai must bathe in cold water, and the men must shave every day; they have the precisest directions in such matters; the body must be in health, the skin and muscles and nerves in perfect tone, or the samurai must go to the doctors of the order, and give implicit obedience to the regimen prescribed. They must sleep alone at least four nights in five; and they must eat with and talk to anyone in their fellowship who cares for their conversation for an hour, at least, at the nearest club-house of the samurai once on three chosen days in every week. Moreover, they must read aloud from the Book of the Samurai for at least ten minutes every day. Every month they must buy and read faithfully through at least one book that has been published during the past five years, and the only intervention with private choice in that matter is the prescription of a certain minimum of length for the monthly book or books. But the full Rule in these minor compulsory matters is voluminous and detailed, and it abounds with alternatives. Its aim is rather to keep before the samurai by a number of sample duties, as it were, the need of, and some of the chief methods towards health of body and mind, rather than to provide a comprehensive rule, and to ensure the maintenance of a community of feeling and interests among the samurai through habit, intercourse, and a living contemporary literature. These minor obligations do not earmark more than an hour in the day. Yet they serve to break down isolations of sympathy, all sorts of physical and intellectual sluggishness and the development of unsocial preoccupations of many sorts.

Women samurai who are married, my double told me, must bear children—if they are to remain married as well as in the order—before the second period for terminating a childless marriage is exhausted. I failed to ask for the precise figures from my double at the time, but I think it is beyond doubt that it is from samurai mothers of the Greater or Lesser Rule that a very large proportion of the future population of Utopia will be derived. There is one liberty accorded to women samurai which is refused to men, and that is to marry outside the Rule, and women married to men not under the Rule are also free to become samurai. Here, too, it will be manifest there is scope for novels and the drama of life. In practice, it seems that it is only men of great poietic distinction outside the Rule, or great commercial leaders, who have wives under it. The tendency of such unions is either to bring the husband under the Rule, or take the wife out of it. There can be no doubt that these marriage limitations tend to make the samurai something of an hereditary class. Their children, as a rule, become samurai. But it is not an exclusive caste; subject to the most reasonable qualifications, anyone who sees fit can enter it at any time, and so, unlike all other privileged castes the world has seen, it increases relatively to the total population, and may indeed at last assimilate almost the whole population of the earth.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.