Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Culture of Life

Until now, Korea's science and technology policy has been directed to economic growth. When a crisis arises various alternatives appear, over time all becomes vague for national resources are concentrated in areas where economic gains are greatest. Presently not only our society but the world is more concerned with coronavirus infections rather than economic growth. Infectious diseases threaten the life and health of all mankind and at the same time cause enormous damage to economic and social activities. With these words, a scholar in the field of morality begins her article in the Current Diagnosis column of the Catholic Peace Weekly.

Historically, the pandemic worsens the distribution of income and hurts mostly the weakest groups and classes both socially and economically. With the impact and urgency of the climate crisis, Corona 19 allows reevaluating our situation promoting a transition to a green economy. The global supply chain is being reorganized demanding a new international order. The world before and after Corona is radically changing.

On July 14, 2020, the government announced the Korean version of the New Deal as 'Korea's New 100 Year Design' and 'Korea's New Social Contract'. The major transition in the economy is from its pursuit to activation, from a carbon-dependent economy to a low-carbon economy, and from an unequal society to an inclusive society. 

The government's Korean version of the New Deal is driven by the spirit of voluntary participation shown by the Korean people in the wake of Corona 19. This spirit is not just for individuals. Awareness of the biological limits of humans, which are bound to be mutually influenced and dependent on each other, society showed the spirit of consideration for others.

The causes of the climate crisis are reviewed through the recent heavy rains sweeping Korea. In the 100 years after industrialization, economic growth has increased the global temperature by 1°C. Humans regarded nature as something to use for material abundance, and they were not interested in what would happen as a result. As the late Cardinal Soo-Hwan Kim pointed out: "The gap between those who have and those who do not have, continues to grow. Pursuing a better life materially is a problem that undermines human dignity and what follows is sexual assault against women, oppression of the poor and weak, and liberalization of abortion, etc. are appearing everywhere" (East Asian Laity Conference, 1992).

The attitude of humans toward nature also affects the relationships between humans. So the culture that kills nature is never separated from the culture that kills human life. Because everything is interconnected. Because everything is related to each other, conservation of nature and justification of abortion is incompatible. ("Laudato si" 120).  

"Openness to life is at the center of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man's true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away ("Love in Truth" 28). The government, the National Assembly, and the judiciary should look at the crisis facing humanity more fundamentally.

Through Corona 19, we learn that human freedom has limits, and the realization of freedom must aim for the survival of all. It is difficult to overcome either the Corona 19 crisis or the climate crisis without a culture that saves lives. The realization of "freedom for all" shown by the Korean people should not be limited to the crisis of Corona 19. As Pope Francis emphasizes, unless human beings are renewed, they cannot establish new relationships with nature.

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