Wednesday, November 18, 2015

We Learn About the New from the Old

Change  requires we discontinue acting like we did in the past. This does not mean, however, we scuttle everything we did in the past, which, in fact, is  impossible.  Consequently, there is a need for some stability other wise we have chaos.

A seminary professor writing in the diocesan bulletin considers the  problems in society began with the disparaging, aversion, and without reason, jettisoning  many of the values that came  from the culture of the past. Among these are the Confucian family values we have let disappear, and have lost more than we have gained from the exchange.  Under Japanese colonial rule, we learned to discount much of our past and  forgot the merits and demerits of what to discard or retain.

Many blame Confucianism for many of the scars of our history. Our freedom was limited by etiquette, and moral duties: cause of our problems. During the last years of the Joseon Dynasty, the factionalism among the different  parties, fighting for their own interests, showed clearly the abuses in society.

In the history of the Church, we also had  periods of corruption, but we didn't throw out the Church because of the evils. Confucianism, likewise, did have infighting among those who were wearing  Confucian's vestments,  but it is no reason to remove all the values that have come from Confucianism. It enabled the Dynasty to last 500 years, and gave us our Korean sensibilities. Three bonds and five  moral rules in relationships are a description of its main teaching.  When we got rid of these values did  it  give us a better way of living?   

Ideas of an age influence all the structures and thinking of a society. During the Joseon period of our history,  Love, Justice and  Etiquette were all important. They were intrinsic to relationships, more important than status and material goods,  and all under the heading of family. However, all is now centered on money. We  turn our back on the past and go suicidally, after material goods: like changing a brass bowl for a stainless one, selling a silk blouse for nylon socks.

He finishes the article with the five relationships:   parents and children should be one of love; ruler and citizens should be one of justice; male and female are different, each other's area of action needs to be respected; proper order between old and young;  between friends, words and actions need to express faithfulness.

When we ignore these relationships and work towards  different values are we building a better society? We need to look for answers to this question.

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