I’ll Get Rid of Your Discontent – Mayumura Taku

 Kurodahan- Speculative Japan
“I’ll Get Rid of Your Discontent” (short story) by Mayumura Taku

First published in Uchujin (Cosmic Dust) 57 (July, 1962)

Currently available from Kurodahan Press’s Speculative Japan (2007)

Original: Japanese, 1962
Translated by M. Hattori and Grania Davis, 2007

Synopsis: A curious shabby item at a curious shabby store draws one man’s attention yet he is unable to read the paper instructions of the object unless her purchases the hand-sized trinket. Inside, he discovers the welcome gift of three wishes that will appease his discontent. Amid an argument with his boss, he uses his first wish; while a train arrives late, he uses his second; the third placates a friendship. Regardless of the “fatal” consequence, he keeps it.

Analysis: Pain is an essential mammalian experience that requires all mammals to learn in order to avoid repeating the same mistake, the same pain. However, pain comes in many varieties: the physical pain of cold, heat and pressure; the mental pain of regret, sadness and anger. Each experience with these pains alters our approach to life—you get burned by a flame, you stay away from flames; you get burned by a blond, you stay away from blonds.

If this learning tool is avoided, the physical and mental scars will build up over time into a eviscerated mess of primality… but if this learning tool is replaced with one that changes the experience, what will the result be? Without the physical sense of pain, a man would become a human bulldozer, without emotional pain, a man would become, yet again, a human bulldozer. Therefore, pain is essential as a learning tool because it aligns our trust on painlessness as a pleasant experience.

Now, compare: a) to be without pain because of invulnerability and b) to be without pain because of contentment. Respectively, one is a Caterpillar bulldozer and the other is a Woomba vacuum; one is a wrecking ball and the other is an aggie marble. If a bulldozer had emotion, how would it feel if it suddenly became a vacuum? If a wrecking ball had emotion, how would it feel if it suddenly became a marble?

2 thoughts on “I’ll Get Rid of Your Discontent – Mayumura Taku

  1. Pingback: The Very Edge of Happiness – Yasutaka Tsutsui | Tongues of Speculation

  2. Pingback: Administrator – Taku Mayumura | Tongues of Speculation

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