Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What is Progress for Korea?

A parishioner gave me two articles taken from the daily newspaper, both interesting in their similarity on a number of points. She is familiar with this blog and thought they could be used.

One article was written by a foreigner ( Nothing has Changed), the other by a Korean, Professor of Psychology( Koreans' personality and destiny). Both would say we have been running in place (motionless) for the last 10 years and have not taken our rightful place in the lineup of Nations. I do think they are overly interested in the material side of life, be that as it may, they agree on a lack of "progress". They also agree that Koreans are overly interested in what others' think of them; mostly seeing themselves through the eyes of others.

The article, by the Psychology Professor, had a very provocative understanding of why Koreans trust fortune tellers and people who seem to have their fingers on what is going on. They can't figure out why others know them more accurately than they do. The Professor would say it is a lack of self- knowledge.

Koreans are quick to believe what others say of them. It is because they do not know themselves and have not spent time in delving into their personalities and character. We are always giving clues on who we are and those who are perceptive can read us like a book. Koreans are surprised when they hear what will happen to them, not realizing that we have given others the clues by the very things that we have told them. They jump to the conclusion that these people have some extrasensory gifts that allows them to see what we can't, not conscious that we have given them the information. His conclusion was that Koreans have to get to know themselves and have more confidence in who they are before they take hold of their own destiny.

It is easy to make sweeping statements about a country that is still very racially homogeneous like Korea. She belongs to the modern age: many search for brand names, many believe the good life is doing what those in the west are doing-listening to their music, watching their movies and indulging in their pastimes. There is a great deal that is good and worthwhile coming from other cultures but there is also the necessity to discern and not mindlessly accepting what others seem to enjoy. Koreans are more than equal and often in possession of more qualities for living the good life than those they want to imitate. They are intelligent and extremely capable but they have come late to the table of progress and are still not sure if it is time to leave and go on their own.