Friday, March 9, 2018

Going Against the Flow

A Chinese Philosopher from the 4th century before Christ used the phrase: only a live fish goes against the current. A dead fish has no choice but to go with the current, true even of a dead whale. In an article in the Catholic Peace Weekly the writer gives us a mediation on the phrase. Going along with the current makes life easy but is not always the right thing to do.

Evil and good, depending on the situation in society can use the phrase to express their hopes which means we need wisdom to decide what needs to change and what doesn't: the cause of polarization in society.

At the Pyeongchang Olympic Games, the two Koreas were united briefly in a hockey game. Was it a gesture for survival to break through some very powerful international sanctions against the North? The leader of the North sent his younger sister along with elder statesmen to the South; an attitude different from that of the past. The writer hopes this will be a sign of a new future for the North-South relationship.

Another movement aganist the flow are the women seeking to abolish the criminality of abortion. A few years ago adultery was no longer considered a crime. Recently the 'me too' campaign against sexual violence is showing results. The writer understands the vitality of the women movement to fight against the remains of a patriarchal culture but abortion should not be part of that movement.

However, the issue of legalizing abortion can be seen in a different dimension to that of  going against the flow. The fetus breathing in the mother's womb is sending a message of life. In Korea, half of the babies are aborted, babies necessary if Korea is to sustain its numbers which is another going against the flow.

In 1960, 1 million babies were born, last year less than 400,000. All kinds of methods to increase the numbers have been tried and proved ineffective. Many young men are not interested in marriage and women don't want to have babies; the state needs to have a policy that goes against the thinking of many in our society otherwise we face a gloomy future. If our selfishness and easy life, stand in the way, we will even see a change in our faith life.  

Humanity, however, never loses hope for we can always go against the flow and overcome the most tragic of situations. He mentions an uprising of the people in China during the Qin Dynasty when a poor soldier Chen Sheng iniated an uprising of the people and for a brief time became the emperor of the country. Today it is the vitality of democracy and the people's power; even the biggest problems can be overcome with numbers going against the flow.

Catholics, Protestants and Buddhists trying to keep that law as it is, were able to garner over 1 million signatures.

Jesus said he was the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) who showed us the energy of life. As long as we possess life than we always have the opportunity to overcome fixed ideas and stereotypes and false understandings. He hopes to see new ways of putting lives at the center and a pledge for the future.