This book came to me by way of the same patient who gave me A Spiritual Interview with George Washington. It is written by the same Japanese millionaire author. This book was interesting to read because there were elements of it that I completely agreed with, but I also absolutely felt that there were subtleties within the language that were brainwash. I think this book represents Okawa’s fundamental writings so that you eventually join his religion which is called Happy Science. He is the CEO of this religious organization and in The Starting Point of Happiness he explains how unique his religion is because there are tests and exams to progress. Many of his ideas sound reasonable at first blush but in actuality they are quite dangerous — for example, the concept of the ‘frontier spirit’ is explained. While in some moments Okawa encourages the reader to forgive themselves for their shortcomings and to be themselves and find their “inner soul” which is ultimately the goal in life– to perfect our soul– he simultaneously suggests that the frontier spirit is another thing an individual needs to work on, which is bringing hope to your life through evangelism as far as I understand it.
So, the book was a little like Thich Nhat Hanh but a fast food version– you could easily be manipulated by the subtleties of the white supremacy that is present in this book. The Japanese author writes about Chris Columbus and Abraham Lincoln and when discussing world religions he mentions only Buddhism and Jesus Christ. The book overall does not feel inclusive.
I have to confess– thinking about summer reading, I was struggling to identify things to read that would not be too depressing but also would be interesting to read. It’s hard for me to find relaxing reading sometimes. My dad’s patient has given me at least 7 other books by Okawa, which seems to be the gift I’ve received for asking for something relaxing and different to read.
I have had many conversations with the dude who is supplying me with this literature and it is absolutely fascinating – perhaps at some point after I’ve finishing reading whatever I can manage from this stack, I’ll try to summarize some of what I’ve learned from the last three weeks of reading and conversing about Okawa.
Life is fun.