Friday, July 5, 2013

The "I" and "Non-I" Syndrome

Most people  are not pleased with their personality or situation in life and would like to see a change. These words begin the View from the Ark in the Catholic Times. This is not all, he continues, for they want to change the world in which they live. 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 naturally come from those who have this  dissatisfaction. It is not extreme to say those who have attempted reformation, revolutions and been innovators have been of this stripe.

The Chinese character used in  the above three words have to do with leather: and the verb would be embellishing the leather. With the passage of  time, we have the meaning of change and to fix. To sharpen, clean, and polish any fine article will require love and earnestness. This is also true for the changes in the world, and it is only humans that can do it. What is necessary to  change the world? Without any discussion necessary it is the heart that  has to change and the young people actually want to see this change.

What enables a person to change his way of thinking? Is it criticism, ridicule, containment, pressure? This develops quickly into conflict. Looking over history, we see that this has been the case. One of the famous nationalists and patriots Shin Chae-ho expressed a view of history that evolves around competition between the “I” and “non-I”.This has been a fact in our history, and we know it leaves aftereffects:  results are conflict and  war. This is a way of bringing change. There is no quicker way, he says but also the way of inflicting many scars to the winners and losers both.

We have seen this in our conflict between the North and South: even after  60 years we have 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 and mobilizing all the material to achieve our purpose. It is difficult to say that this is a good method of achieving our goal. We are left with scars and with desolation.

With war we have left behind the interior dimensions of the heart and opted for the material.With the material strength we bring about great devastation. Consequently this is not the best way to bring about change. Conflicts bring about scars and wars leave us with desolation. Conflict and war presupposes the hostility between the parties which gives birth to criticism, ridicule, containment, pressure.This is certainly better than conflict and war but when it happens those who should be subjects are made into objects.

What has to happen is that each party should   try to understand the other's position: to see the situation through the eyes of the other. There has to be sincerity and love it is only then that we will see change. This will enable the two parties to acquire what each lacks. This is the teaching of all our religious leaders of all persuasions. Sincerity and love  will naturally be followed by praise and awe. With humility, each party will not be afraid to do what the world wants.

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