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.

Watch “Donald Trump And Mike Pence: Shut Up on North Korea” on YouTube
May 16, 2017

Blame Tradition And Religion for FGM
August 24, 2016

Tradition
All around the world, in traditional cultures, female genital mutilation is a violent, terrifying, painful and medically problematic issue. Traditionally, if you were not cut, you could not be married. In some places this is changing as human rights and modern modes of fairness, compassion and reason seep into formerly tradition-run societies–and in this context, tradition equates to religious leadership, clerics, tribal chiefs, and male dominance.

The Fingers of Control And Marriage
I am not an expert on this issue, however, I can say that there are fingers of the concern that brought FGM to the world in many communities of the non-traditional (or still semi-traditional) world. Those fingers belong to long arms that connect to still-male-dominated or tradition-laden semi-male-dominated cultures where ethnicity and DNA expression (read “race”) are of paramount importance and status is right up there with that primitive concern. In such places, fathers–and mothers, perhaps to a lesser degree–insist their daughters–and sons–marry inside the ethnicity, the religion and the nation. I have seen and heard of this multiple times in my travels, and experienced this kind of traditional prejudice first hand. However, where FGM is concerned, it is an issue of reducing a girl’s and a woman’s amorous desires, and this is what I want to talk about. I will make a tacit mention of the issue of male genital mutilation, too — but as men have a more arguably superfluous protrusion of skin to be removed–beyond the human rights and sensitivity issues inherent–it is not as invasive or deleterious a procedure as that performed on women.

Teaching Love Instead of Marginalizing It
In my opinion, a lot of the traditional minds in the religious parts of the world could be relaxed and their concerns about promiscuity allayed if a practice of love were taught–even here, in the West — especially here.

Love is left to the realm of sex, “fantasy romance,” luxury and poetry — to tales of adventure in legend and in Hollywood, and that is, in my opinion, because it was taught that way in ancient religions.

Love (or mating — insofar as it is or was a part of marriage, by some association), has also been left to the realm of fiat, on the part of parents, clerics and royalty. In other words, mates have been — and still are — chosen by the authority other than that which should choose mates: love. This still happens jn most of the Muslim world, in India and in parts of Asia–most notably in South Korea, where it is becoming less and less common but is still done–not so much with parents making the outright choice, but in their having the prerogative to pressure their adult children into “Seon” meetings of blind dating–and in refusing some suitors and choosing others.

Religion And Love
In the Bible there is a passage that warns that the desires of the heart will lead one astray; this is terrible nonsense, and it is there because in ancient times — when male dominance protected bloodlines, fortunes, property and power — love could not be allowed to get in the way — and because humanity seems to have had a very primitively developed concept of what I call “the precepts of love,” which when understood and developed can foster very strong bonds of physical, emotional and honor-bound attraction, dedication and sustainable romantic states of mind such that a need to curb promiscuity can be made to be almost non-existent; but this depends on virtually sanctifying love, freedom and personal choice, not curtailing these virtues. However, traditional cultures have a long historical history of not liking freedom of choice.

Demonizing Sex
Finally, and perhaps most succinctly, that passage was in the Bible (the Torah or Talmud), because love was not truly respected or understood as both a bonding force in human relations that renders chastity rules virtually unnecessary, and because love was largely separated from the desire of sex, which was demonized; we continue to do both, today: “it was just sex.”

The desire for sex is actually the beginning of what can be love, but society teaches us not to honor that, because — ‘mommy and daddy (and traditionally, king, queen, prince and princess; cleric, Bishop and Pope) don’t want you to love this one or that one or to love at all right now; love is for later….’ This is the beginning of the parental and societal guidance toward the habit of “promiscuity” and why we have FGM and parental meddling in nature.

Carl Atteniese

Guns Do Kill People
May 6, 2015

A poster on Instagram defended guns with a double-image picture of a woman being abused in its first frame, and in the second, that same woman is defending herself with a pistol. The caption read “This prevents this.” I commented that the scenario depicted in the second image causes the scenario in the first, remarking that it is a chicken and egg situation. The person who had posted the picture said people can be killed with knives and that there is a difference between giving guns to children and arming responsible adults.

What I Wrote in Response:

What I said still stands as a reflection of the evidence and as a monumentally flawed and solution-less answer to the problematic questions of conflict, ethnic and political tensions, domestic disputes, religious intolerance, hunger, poverty, illness, and crime–exacerbating violence in the US.

Guns do kill people, in enormous numbers–and it is because people have them that they can kill (it is also because they empower us and inspire us in unnatural and almost narcotic ways; see my article: “What’s Wrong with Guns in America”).

If the guns were harder to come by, so would be the damage they inflict. If guns were difficult or impossible to obtain, people wanting to do harm would have to confront one another at close range, giving a greater opportunity for human contact, interaction, conflict resolution, even a chance at surviving through defense and escape; most murderous interactions might not even happen. Stabbing someone is too intimate and yields a greater possibility for failure, getting caught, and self-reflection.

Saying ‘people will get guns anyway’ doesn’t change the fact that their violence would be voluminously reduced if their acquisition were non-ubiquitous; it would be harder to get them, so fewer people would have them—therefore, their use would decrease exponentially. In addition, there would be a greater stigma attached to them, a greater need for concealment, and thus the greater possibility of perpetrators with guns being caught in suspicious behavior.

It is clinically insane that one can carry around a device in society that can render another miracle of thought, feeling, and life (a human being) inert. I lived in Korea fifteen years. I never heard of one murder by gun, there–because there are virtually no privately-owned guns in South Korea. Some Russian gangsters were rumored to have them. Gangsters kill gangsters. The police basically didn’t even have guns the first ten years I was there. Would you like to know why? The people didn’t have them. So, there was no need for the police to have them.

The kindergarten example I’ve written of is the best example, I can think of for illustrating the fundamental nature of the problem: if a boy has no gun, he has to get up the nerve to come close to you and hit you and spend a lot of time being intimate with you to beat you up. If he has a gun, he can kill you by mistake or intention, but both require only an action akin to pressing a button. It is perfect for success by error or insanity: virtually no skill is required. This is why guns are the weapons of choice among cowards and sociopaths; these personalities are indifferent to people and afraid of intimacy.

Perhaps the most sense offered on the gun problem in America is offered by resident Australian comedian, Jim Jeffries, who are points out the only reason Americans have guns is, ‘they like them.’

He says it’s not an issue of self-defense or home security: ‘You can’t go and retrieve your safely-stored gun to fight an intruder in your house. What are you going to say—dazed, and in your underwear, tripping out of bed—‘Wait, I’ll be right back’? Then you would go to your combination safe, unlock it, and assemble the gun or turn off the safety in the dark.’ It’s all nonsense. Sure it can be done, but with great difficulty. Jeffries then goes on to say that ‘in order for a gun to be useful in one’s defense, you have to keep it loaded and available.’ These are the guns killing people; ‘a person is seventy percent more likely to be injured by gun if he has one in his house.’

All the statistics (statistics are reflections of real life in numbers) show that where there are guns, there are more extremely violent crimes. It’s logical and sensical because it is natural, probable, and true. Guns are for crazy people, and so that’s why crazy people have the advantage, be they temporarily crazy or permanently—whether they are soldiers, police officers, criminals, or right-wingers—and the crazy people are the ones supplying children with guns—by mistake or on purpose—because, Dr. Poindexter, they are crazy. Now, who’s crazier; the crazy people, or the people following them?

Decided Paths
July 16, 2012

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