Sunday, June 30, 2013

North South Conflict Remains After 60 years

Most people  are not pleased with their personality or situation in life and would like to see a change, says the Catholic Times columnist writing in a recent View from the Ark. This is not all, he continues, for they want also to change the world. This wanting to change the world is stronger in the young, for they have the higher ideals, and a greater dissatisfaction. Most of the changes in the world come, he believes, from those who have this  dissatisfaction, and one might even say, he points out, that those who have attempted reformation, revolution, and innovation are similarly motivated.

The Chinese character used in  the above three words--reformation, revolution, innovation--refers to leather, and the verb would be 'to embellish leather.' With the passage of  time, the meaning becomes 'to change' and 'to fix'. To clean and polish any fine article requires care and earnestness. This is also true for the changes in the world, which only humans can accomplish. What is necessary to change the world? he asks. Without the need for discussion, the only thing necessary, he says, is a changed heart; and young people actually want to see this change.

What enables a person to change his way of thinking? Is it criticism, ridicule, pressure? This can develop quickly into conflict, as history tells us. One of the famous nationalists and patriots, Shin Chae-ho, expressed a view of history that evolves around competition between the “I” and the “non-I”.This has been a fact of our history, and we know it leaves aftereffects. There is no quicker way to bring about change, he says, but it's also the way of inflicting much pain and sorrow to both winners and losers.

We have seen this in our conflict between the North and South: Even after  60 years we are still experiencing the aftereffects. The results of change that come from war show that it was better never to have gone to war. With war, we leave the area of the heart and enter the material realm to achieve our purpose.

With war we have left behind the interior dimensions of the heart and opted for the material. Using our material strength we bring about great devastation. Obviously this is not the best way to bring about change. Conflict and war presupposes hostility between the parties, which is seen as  criticism, ridicule, pressure.This is certainly better than conflict and war but when it happens those who should be subjects are made into objects.

What each party to a conflict should try to understand, he says, is to see the situation through the eyes of the other. There has to be sincerity and love for this to succeed, only then will we see change. This will enable the two parties to acquire what each one lacks. This is the teaching of all religious leaders of all persuasions. Sincerity and love will naturally be followed by praise and awe. And with humility, each party will not be afraid to do what the world would naturally affirm as the right thing to do.

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