Wisdom of Korea
PrefaceKoreans are very creative people. The only problem is that they do not know how creative they are. They never learn lessons from their own talented people. To make things worse, they punish those talented people.
- Let us see how creative Koreans are. At the top of this illustration,
you will see the promulgation in 1447 AD of King Sejong's twenty eight phonetic
characters for Koreans to write. King Sejong and his academicians were creative
enough to decode one syllable into one vowel to be sandwiched between two consonants,
just like an operator being sandwiched between wave functions in quantum mechanics.
In 1880, Korean Christians in Manchuria wrote the first Korean version of the New and Old Testaments using the letters invented by King Sejong. You will see in this figure the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 7, verses 7 and 8. If you know how to read Korean, you will note that Jesus was delivering his sermons in poetic Korean. This Korean poem can be translated into English. According to the King James version of the Bible, Jesus says "ASK, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it will be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
- Indeed, Koreans have enough wisdom to naturalize Jesus. Then
they should be able to flourish in the Western (Christian) world. Korean blue-collar
workers do, but Korean intellectuals do not. They only blame others for their
failures and misfortunes. The purpose of this web site is to reverse this
trend by presenting concrete examples where Koreans can use their own wisdom
to compete in the world.
Why do we (Koreans) have to do this? Unless we start making contributions to the world from our own wisdom, Korea will always be a backward country, and backward countries will eventually disappear from the surface of the earth. In order to see clearly what is troubling us, let us read the following article.
Strength of France
- When I go to Europe, I often talk about philosophers with
my European friends. When they ask me who I think is the best American philosopher,
I say "Thomas Edison." According to this kind of definition, the philosophy
of France is Art.
In 1939, when German army was becoming uncontrollably strong, some of the well-to-do Parisians collected money to send several thousands bushels of red roses to the Maginot line, in order to boost the morale of the French troops guarding the French-German border. This does not show how strong France is in art. However, I would like to advise you to watch a French film entitled "Les Enfants du Paradis" (children of paradise) produced by Marcel Carne. It is like watching the classic American film "Gone with the Wind," whose the cinema logistics shows how resourceful the United States was in 1935.
Image from Wikipedia.
- During the 1940-44
Nazi occupation, France produced some deep thinkers. Jean-Paul Sartre was
one of them. Sartre refused the 1964 Nobel prize in literature because he
thought the prize was a kind of Gamtu (he hated Gamtu much more than I did).
When he died in 1980, his funeral cortege was followed by 50,000 young Europeans.
Then what did Sartre really teach to earn the respect of those young people?
During the Nazi occupation, a young Frenchman had the following difficult problem. His elder brother was killed by German troops. His father left his family in order to collaborate with Germans. Thus, he was living with his mother. To her, this young man was everything. However, he very strongly felt that he had to flee to England to join the French Army being organized there. But his departure from his mother meant her collapse. After going through the agony, he went to Sartre and asked him what to do. Sartre clearly understood his problem, and said to him
YOU ARE FREE TO CHOOSE.
- Sartre was respected by young Frenchmen because he gave them
the true meaning of FREEDOM. You would agree that we need a Sartre these days
who will give lessons to our Korean students. Whenever things go wrong, Koreans
blame the educational system they went through. While I was writing this article
(around the noon of March 30 in Korea), the high school I attended (1948-54
in Korea) was having its 50th anniversary celebration. The principal of the
high school was kind enough to invite me to participate in the ceremony. Though
I was not able to fly to Korea, I told him that I met many people from many
different parts of the world but I never had a moment to think the Korean
educational system is second to any other educational system in the world.
I often have the following conversation with Korean students. They tell me that I am not a popular figure among Koreans because I insist on being honest and straightforward. They also complain that they cannot compete in the world because of the Korean educational system. I then ask them whether the Korean educational system taught them to be dishonest. They then complain that the Korean system does not teach them how to be honest. I think even animals know how to be honest. Thus, talking to Korean students is sometimes like talking to stone walls.
There are no schools in the world which will satisfy Korean students these days. Instead of complaining, they should realize that they are FREE to create a new knowledge whenever they need. If they cannot create new knowledge, they cannot compete in the world. Thomas Edison had his own style of creating new knowledge, and this is the reason why I insist that he was an American philosopher.
Andre Maginot and one of
the fortificions along his line.
- Let us go back to the issue of the Maginot line. Andre Maginot
was an efficient government administrator, but he was wounded and crippled
while serving in the army during World War I. He had enough reason to prevent
another war with Germans. Maginot was the French war minister (minister of
defense) during the period 1929-31. He produced the concept of heavy fortifications
along the French-German border to keep German troops from marching into France.
Maginot's original plan of course included France's entire eastern border,
but the French politicians did not allocate enough budget to cover their border
with Belgium. This incomplete Maginot line was completed in 1938. As you know,
in 1940, highly mechanized German troops invaded France through the Belgian-French
Thus, according to the wisdom of young Koreans these days, the solution is very simple to the above-mentioned young Frenchman who went to Sartre. Blame Andre Maginot! You would agree that this solution is not consistent with Korea's true wisdom. Then where is Korea's true wisdom? You are FREE to find out. Read the illustration given on this page.
- Related webpages.