Millions of years ago, humanity appeared on earth and lived together with nature, giving humanity a unique vision. About five thousand years ago words were written down for prosperity. Both in the East and in the West we have written accounts appearing about the same time in Genesis and in the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu.
The professor contrasts the thinking of the East with the West. The West has the understanding that humans are to conquer and subdue the natural world, and he quotes Aristotle being of the same mind: "Humans have been made to perfect nature"-- words similar to those used in Genesis. However, Lao Tzu in his chapter 25 says:
Man models himself on earth.
Earth on heaven,
Heaven on the way,
And the way on that which is naturally so.
Korean ancestors saw everything moving, nothing was static being, everything was becoming--a coming into and out of being. Humanity was to keep pace with all of life, which was in constant motion; those who did were living the good life; those who who did not were the losers. 'Becoming' was understood as an emptying of oneself. Their foundational thinking was not 'being' but emptiness. Everything disappears into no-thing.
Koreans, in contrast to Westerners, see the law of life in nature: sharing oneself, emptying oneself to enable others to live. This is equally true, says the professor, for the amoeba to the plant sprout; they give, in order to grow. Without sharing there is death, he says. We are all to disappear into the potency of the universe. The last step of this division is emptiness. In the West, there is a drive to satisfy our personal desires. In the East, there is the ideal of throwing oneself into the emptiness of the universe to receive new life. We take the example of God, in his absence, to share and empty ourselves.
Those who refuse to share, to open to others by emptying themselves, are working against life. It is this sharing and emptying, the professor says, that is 'the housekeeping law of the universe.'