Confucianism, Christianity And Buddhism in the Koreas:
June 13, 2018

Which, if any one or a mixture of these systems could help the Koreas co-exist?

1. South Korea is very Confucian. My not being married isーperhaps to some degreeーtestament to this.

The people who manage to marry South Koreans from outside the culture do it in spite of the strong Confucian ethic to keep it in the “family”. Yes, many trends are changing,but I can tell you from living there 15 years that actually, though I am not a huge fan of Confucianism for the reason I just mentioned and a few more, there are benefits to their Confucianism, too:

2. Not only is the North quite communist, culturally, as in “communal”, the South reminded me of a Communist country all the time. You will never see people cooperate like the Koreans – unless you are looking at the Japanese or Chinese (or any other Confucian-backed culture in Asia) – but the Koreans take the cake. Their language reflects communal-ism; everything is “we” and “our”. An only child refers to his or her parents as “our parents.” Everyone says “our country” instead of “my country.” You hear “oori nara”, “Our country” all the time, and just as often, “We think.” Not only this, but you hear patently same answers to many mundane questions about which one would expect variation in answer.

No, these things don’t have to be patently communist, but the foreigner gets the feeling the South Koreans would be happy being Communist in deed if not name, as long as they could still have capitalism alongside it. I mean, they hate Communism, but their behavior beguiles that.

The South Koreans have many socially democratic or out-and-out socialist tendencies. They limit private teaching to level the playing field between rich and poor – things of that nature.

3. I think that though the North is more Confucian, this is more a function of the totalitarian system; and, yes, once that system is gone old Kong Fu Tsu’s traditions will erode, but far more slowly than in the South, as the South has not slaked it off completely yet, either – and they have been a republic over fifty years.

Confucianism is a deep part of the consciousness in this part of the world. The Japanese don’t seem to talk about it, but it is deeply instilled here, too. The roles men and women play are strong – and much stronger, though blurred – in South Korea.

4. There is a lot of Buddhism South Korea, but the Buddhists are not sensational about their religion, as the Catholics are and the Protestants are. Yes, they are becoming more secular, but the Christian population is at about 24~28%.

A lot of Koreans (if not most) claim to be Christian or Catholic (which they annoyingly pretend are so very different, that they say Catholics are not Christians).

Many go to church solely for the appearances, and more so for the networking opportunities. It is probably the most “keep-up-with-the-Joneses” country on the planet and it drives its own citizens to madness.they have told me many times themselves. this cannot be under-estimated. I have a friend of 20 some odd years who emigrated with his family and recently went back to try to start a business. he has become so Americanized he cannot stand it.He particularly hated how his wife loses so much social freedom from scrutiny every time he goes back.

So, while Confucianism is not a “religion” per se, in South Korea – according to anthropology (it’s more of a philosophy), I say it is a religion. I said it all the time when I was there. They honor Confucianism far more than Christianity or Buddhism, whether they would admit it or not. It is who they are. I don’t think they even realize it. My ex had no clue that she behaved more Confucian and Buddhist than “Capitalist Republic-an Christian” because it was in her heritage.

The North’s religion, I would say is “Kim-ism” with a backbone of Confucianism.

The South’s religion Is Confucianism with backbones of Korean Christianity and Buddhism.

But the funny thing is, the civility and obedience and communal success in China, North Korea and South Korea – in my opinion – is probably also so much more in debt to Confucius than to Communism.

So, I think that what people are hinting at – that the two countries could co-exist or even re-unite at some point – is right. This could work – but because they share Confucius, not because one is democratic and will influence the other.

Bertrand Russell And God
August 27, 2016

Good morning:

I would like you to let me share with you just one or two points about a book I’m reading, by Bertrand Russell.

Russell was a British philosopher writing the book I am reading at a time when things Christians don’t believe today were well-believed or recently let go of by them. That is a monumentally enormous point.

What Russell does–amongst other things–is make you realize that the arguments used a long time ago to prove God, etc., have changed, meaning (as we know) that what is acceptable about God and religion has changed due to intellect; this has the surreptitious effect of showing we make God, not the other way around. That is not his point–or at least wasn’t where I am in the book, right now, but I realized from yet another angle of approach that it’s our story, not His–though Russell doesn’t say that, per se. It’s consequential and deductible from the reading. He suggests it, or you glean it reading his debunking of old standard arguments for the proof of a god.

Russell isn’t heavy-handed. He does what great philosopher do–like some comedians: he illustrates tracts of reasoning based on observations you realize should be plain to all of us. He gives you “Ah ha!” moments. You find yourself saying, ‘a child could see that; why didn’t I think of it?’

He is funny. He goes into “God is good.” That’s hilarious. But he doesn’t approach it as people often do, with a litany of disasters. He goes into it sort of like ‘good as opposed to what–by what other cause’s standard?’

That’s what I love about philosophers. Like comedians, they are so plainly and obviously insightful where others are stark raving blind that they can deconstruct the arguments “stupid” people take for granted, for lack of looking and caring– either because they wouldn’t even know to look or because they are afraid to.

The important aspect about philosophers and scientists is this: they approach their subjects out of honest and sincere naivte and innocence in a spirit if good nature. The fact that they come to conclusions religious people don’t like is a fact about the religious people, not about they who are the challendging philosophers and scientists; they don’t set out to hurt anyone or to aggrandize their situations, but rather their deeds indicate they are the epitome of lives utilizing free speech and free thought–to better the world and our misunderstanding of it.

These are some of the topics Russell covers on the existence of a god:

The First Cause Arguement

The Natural Law Arguement

The Arguement from Design

The Moral Arguements for Deity

The Arguement for The Remedying of Justice

Other chapters:

The Character of Christ

Defects in Christ’s Teaching

And more….

Keep in mind this book was written in 1927. That fact stands to illuminate the debate raging now among prominant American, European and Muslim-American and Muslim-European intellectuals.

I first read Russell when I was nineteen. I am glad to be reading him, again. You should be enjoying this amazing thinker, too. His work is rather essential:

‘Why I Am Not A Christian’ by Bertrand Russell could do you and the world a lot of good, because you matter. That’s why he wrote it.

Incessant Demands for Unaccepted Apologies
August 15, 2015

This is a reaction to the details of an NPR News story- Japan’s Abe Notes Regret And Past Apologies In WWII Speech at http://n.pr/1Ern78
Image Credit: Stephens

I Am Supremely Discouraged by Wise Asian Nations whose leaders continue–year after year–to fan the flames of shame and pain and do not accept, decade after decade after decade–a multitude of deeply remorseful and annual state apologies from the Japanese for their wartime transgressions.

It particularly troubles me, because some of these nations have very spotty human rights records, themselves–in the current era since World War II. They act, in modern history, with exceptionalism, through foreign invasion, duplicitous technology-hacking, atrocious use of the death penalty, and with reputations for high levels of xenophobia, endemic societal enthniphobia, sexism, and providing poor opportunities for the aged and poor–exhibiting rampant ageism.

So how can these nations partake in finger-wagging at Japan– especially in modern times? To me it so plainly obvious that this is opportunism at work, with spiritual decrepitude in evidence–which amounts to a representation of a very low national character, indeed.

Some of these nations are the world’s human traffickers extraordinaire, with economies dependent in no small part, on economically entrenched prostitution, while they harbor a citizenry that is, in numbered cases, abusive to and discriminatory toward citizens of foreign countries who come to work in their lands–and to foreign soldiers who are there to protect them from one another.

If it weren’t shameful it would be comedic, how these Asian nations pick at the apologies of Japan and they blame Japan still–nation which paid torturously for its missteps–with fire-bombing and nuclear blasts that maimed, poisoned, and killed hundreds of thousands–if not millions; then Japan resurrected itself into one of the world’s most kind, civilized, and peaceful philanthropic nations.

To me, one who called his home twice and for fifteen years in total, this has more to do with the national characters of the nations in question; I found it very difficult, for example–in one of these countries–to observe both sincere apologies and sincere forgiveness among the otherwise genuine people, and I found it came after long periods of cold, if at all. It was very consistently curious–but this, is not. It seems indicative to me.

For shame, North Asian Mainland and peninsula–for shame. Put an end to this and clean up your own house. This behavior is beneath your greatness and kindness and subtracting from your world image, national potentials, and priorities. You are only hurting yourselves, making enemies of people who have come to love the Japanese fiercely, and damaging future relations with them and their friends–of which I am one.

Why We Need A Publicly-funded Election System
February 2, 2014

Why America Needs a Publicly Funded Electoral System
by Carl Charles Atteniese Jr.

Dear Fellow American Citizen:

A recent study conducted in Britain resulted in the determination that the United States of America is an oligarchy–by virtue of the fact that statistics show the majority of the laws passed here favor the rich and their corporations. It is no longer a left-wing mantra; it’s a fact: We don’t have a democracy any more. And it is because of our election laws and party finance laws.

Think about it; right now, our health, happiness, and security in this country is decided largely by whomever has the most financial influence over a select few candidates who in turn are able to afford the ad campaigns necessary to run for office. They also decide what laws are passed. As it has been accurately said before, ‘that’s an auction’ for political power. Is that what we want?

When it comes to elections–we usually have so few candidates, and that’s why we have to funnel money to candidates who are usually not our first choice–but more are often the lesser of two evils.

Thomas Jefferson said two things were necessary for democracy to thrive–an educated electorate and a free press. That’s all we really need. However, we have a dumbed-down and disenfranchised electorate and a private press, which means the press (the media) is often influenced by who owns it. In addition–and most destructively–we allow money to control our politicians by allowing it to be funneled into campaigns and parties–from corporations and wealthy private citizens who then expect their bidding to be done in office–and it is–to the detriment of truth, our public health, happiness, and security.

Moneyed institutions and banks narrow the size of the political arena and the depth of the national debate by making it near impossible for average, intelligent, and moral citizens to enter politics in America–unless they can compete with the financial saturation of their opponents. And this is precisely how Thomas Jefferson said the American revolution and democracy here would fail and end. He said it would happen when our government fell under the control of banks and moneyed institutions. This is precisely what has happened.

According to Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, thirty to seventy percent of a congressperson’s time is spent raising money for re-election. Moreover, 0.5% of the population supplies 60% of the funds necessary to put people in government. This one-half of one percent of the people decides with their money who is going to be on the ballot. This means a large part of their time is not spent on us, but on them.

Maybe we have allowed money in politics because we haven’t imagined a more fair system being possible. Maybe we privately feel this wealthy small percentage–who choose our candidates for us–along with the Electoral College, which finally picks our presidents—are the only ones qualified for the job. Maybe we are afraid that if rich white men did not control our politics, we would not be able to run this country or that we would really be a truly multi-ethnic society. I am not afraid of these things. Are you?

Imagine if money weren’t such a factor in candidacy; there would likely be a multitude of candidates–probably so many that we wouldn’t have to worry so much about one or the other getting elected. The more candidates, the more congruent their views would tend to be, so we wouldn’t have to worry so much about whether one or the other person takes. The way things are now, candidates to pretend to have vastly different views to strike the illusion of contrast on controversial issues–to differentiate themselves from one another. When really they are not much different at all, except for maybe in the area of social policy and war-making.

We keep supporting a system of elections and policy-making that survives on bribery, which is why we don’t have the foreign or domestic social policy that the majority of us want, nor the energy, education, and civic policies we need, or the environmental ones–necessary to save the planet’s biosphere.

These days, candidates say they’ll advocate a particular policy before being elected and later, as elected representatives, they advocate the opposite. They may believe in the original views got them elected, but if money is not behind them, they have to abandon those views and values (in whole or in part). They consistently have to severely weaken their positions and propose policies supporting the money–instead of what’s best for the nation, and/or what is righteous, just, and reasonable.

People against publically-funded elections say money is free speech. It isn’t. Robert Reich, Bernie Sanders, and all the people against Citizens United & corporate manipulators like the Koch Brothers say it isn’t either. In politics, money is wealth–either enough or not enough–to influence people unnaturally. And it is bribery, when it is coming from a few billionaires and corporations, who actually often write the bills that become the laws—along with political action committees. The reason they get away with this is they pay off the politicians. It’s legal corruption, plain and simple. That’s not democracy. That’s plain chicanery. That’s oligarchy—rule by the rich. Noam Chomsky calls it polyarchy, because it is not democracy, but many rulers who are not us.

Unnatural political influence also creates ads in the media, and phony scientific studies. It’s hiring pundits, lawyers, and broadcasters, to say something over and over again, which we could hear ONCE in a public service announcement (but probably wouldn’t believe, anyway).

It drums ideas into our heads more frequently and more loudly–to bombard us and inculcate us (to program us) — and usually it is skewed messages, outright lies, or irrelevant information designed to distract us. And it is all possible because of private money. It is an insult to our intelligence and to those who have fought for this country and build it, too. It is un-American. It’s advertising–which is for commercial sales, not the running of a nation.

Let none of the money generated by the tax-based electoral system we advocate–in any way–come into contact with candidates or their parties in such a way that it corrupts them or their values. Let is only contribute to air-time and a few debates.

See what happens. I guarantee that after a short time (shorter than it took to get all members of Congress to obey the law on the Affordable Care Act), no one will take the ad campaigns of the then past system of electoral advertising seriously… over the new public service system of our proposed election and campaign process.

In the system we advocate, there would be an allowance given and press time provided for a set number of introductions to a candidate. So, the funds necessary for a few necessary public appearances by candidates would come from a couple cents on the dollar. That’s it.

We don’t worry about whether the police department is staffed with unskilled law enforcement professionals when we dial 911. That’s because we have a plethora of officers whose candidacy for a public service position on the police force is not determined by or predicated on vested wealth-based private interests. Police officers are hired after a test, a background check, and an interview…. That’s precisely how it should be for the most important jobs in the land: political jobs and the running of our nation!

The closer we bring the electoral system to an interview and job selection scenario and further away from its being an ‘auction and popularity contest’, the sooner we won’t have to be intent on one of two (or several) candidates we don’t totally agree with, and the sooner we will have more options in policy, greater commonality in sensible views, a deeper, more meaningful national debate, and astronomically less corruption.

Here is a recent bill that was introduced in the House, supporting public campaign finance and the politicians and celebrated public figures who have championed the cause of publicly funded elections (from Wikipedia):

US, SB 752, the Fair Elections Now Act, called for publicly funded elections in U.S. Senate campaigns. It was sponsored in the 111th Congress (2009–10) by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Arlen Specter (D-PA). A companion bill, H.R. 1826, was introduced in the House, sponsored by John Larson (D-CT), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Walter Jones (R-NC). Neither bill moved out of Committee.

Barack Obama as an Illinois senator was the first co-sponsor of the 2007 version of the Durbin–Specter bill. (Obama chose not to participate in the public financing system in 2008)

John Bonifaz, founder of the National Voting Rights Institute
Bill Bradley (D-NJ), former U.S. Senator

John Edwards (D-NC), former U.S. Presidential Candidate and Senator
Adonal Foyle, NBA player, and founder of Democracy Matters

Cecil Heftel (D-HI), former U.S. Representative

Ned Lamont (D-CT), former U.S. Senate candidate

John McCain (R-AZ), U.S. Presidential Candidate and Senator (McCain has also expressed opposition to a national version of the system and has not endorsed or co-sponsored the bills introduced in the U.S. Senate.)

Ralph Nader of Connecticut, U.S. Presidential Candidate

Janet Napolitano (D-AZ), former Governor, former Secretary of Homeland Security

Bill Richardson (D-NM), U.S. Presidential Candidate and Governor

Eliot Spitzer (D-NY), former Governor

John Eder, Green Party leader who utilized Maine’s public financing to win office to the Maine State Legislature

Thank you,
And Peace, Love, Joy, and Prosperity to You and Yours,
Carl Charles Atteniese Jr.
_________________________

*In actuality, when it comes to corporate issues and the economy, right wing and left wing candidates do not differ very much on the issues. They appear to be different because of tax-issues, social issues, and their foreign policy stances–and both usually take huge contributions from BOTH SIDES of the political spectrum in the corporate sector (most top companies give money to both parties and the two primary candidates running for office), which is why all the other issues connected to the economy (environmental protection, labor, education, health, energy, and foreign policy) generally get compromised once candidates reach office. Politicians have to start raising money for their next election as soon as they sit down at their desks and they have to compromise their principles to take that money from otherwise hitherto ideologically political “enemies”. Money thus hamstrings our best intentions in this country and that is especially true for the well-intentioned politicians–most especially the good ones. The top sixty corporations generally donate to both parties. That makes you and I a complete back-seat concern, unless we are wealthy corporate officers who can have lobbyists rewrite the laws for us. Why not disallow this? What are we; slaves and second-class citizens? That is exactly what we are–under the present system.

American environmental, economic and national security policies have real international challenges; climate, health, education, and social policy are at critical emergency alert levels; now, more than ever, we the average American citizens must wrest control of our national direction and public policies away from the clutches of corporate and wealth-driven greed. It is essential to our survival as a nation and a species.

Join us on Facebook, at:

(Short Link) http://goo.gl/maFyff

Or at:
(Actual Link) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ban-Private-Campaign-Finance/691017934250442

_____
LINKS:

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xzVBe3hmOk

Link: http://www.moneyoutvotersin.org/

A Tale of Two Slumber Zones
November 10, 2013

Originally published here on Tuesday, October 22, 2013

East Rockaway is like Korea: no alarm clocks required. We have garbage men. They don’t holler, like the sudden parkside drunks in Kyounggi doe who in their melancholy suddenly rocket your heart into your throat with their middle-of-the-night blood curdling shotgun screams of anguish, but they have elephant-like whining hydraulic trash compactors on their monster garbage trucks.

There are no break-of-dawn jack hammers that sound like a parade of angry elephants, and no platoons of Samsung employees shouting out their numbered calisthenics in marine corps fashion, like in Suwon, but there are interstate-ready, stereophonic, heart-attack-inducing fire sirens that sound like Godzilla. And there are buzzers that sound like what I imagine the ones sound blasting their warnings before rockets take off at the launch sites round Cape Canaveral.

And, there are no people making as much noise as possible with banging heels and slamming doors — such as I experienced in almost every building I tried to sleep in in “The Land of The Morning Calm”, but of course, there are the (usually charming, but not at six AM) backyard railroad trains that sound like 747s erupting through the morning quiet ‘back of the house, complete with their bells, and whistles. And there is the explosive morning sunshine.

But it’s all right. I’m home. For now, anyway….

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