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 School Shootings, Prayer And Campaigns
May 21, 2018

Read Today in Tokyo: Standard English –
April 11, 2018

Who, That And Which ー Relative Pronouns (With More Humanity)

We use other words to replace and refer to nouns where those nouns must be mentioned again in our speech and writing. This prevents redundancy; we don’t want to repeat a noun with the same word or name twice in a sentence. It’s boring and repetitive, non-aesthetic, and unnatural

Things are nouns. People are nouns. Members of other species are nouns. Here are some nouns:

  • book
  • Jane
  • Joseph
  • Spot
  • Frank Smith
  • a nice girl
  • a whale
  • a movie
  • an astronaut
  • an AI
  • the man
  • the lake
  • the pencil

The words that refer to and replace nouns in a sentence are called relative pronouns, because they relate to the original word being referred to and replaced.

Here are some relative pronouns:

  • that
  • which
  • who

Below, the nouns will be in bold type and the relative pronouns referring to and replacing them will be underlined. Look:

A movie that I’ve watched again and again is called 2001: A Space Odyssey. In that film an astronaut who survives a mass murder by an AI, is lost in space.

If we don’t use relative pronouns, our speech is awkward:

Sample Example I – Redundancy (no relative pronouns):

The class book is helpful. The class book is on sale at the campus bookstore. Jane is a nice girl; Jane is in my class. Jane uses the book ー the book I just mentioned.

Sample Example II – Non-Redundancy (with Relative Pronouns):

Class books are helpful. The one that I use is on sale at the campus bookstore. Jane is a nice girl who is in my class. She uses the class book that I just mentioned.

As we can see, the speech employing relative pronouns is more natural and easy to utter.

You might also have noticed that when referring to people, it is better to use ‘who’ instead of ‘that’ for the pronoun referring to them. Here is more about this idea;

Example 1:

The man on the bus who helped me is over there. The transit card that he gave me got me to work on time.

Example 2:

People who use ‘that’ to describe dogs and whales are still abiding by the popular English language and human convention of denying the sentient status and personhood of those intelligent and social creatures who/that possess IQ; so they would say ‘that possess IQ’ and wouldn’t be wrongーnot to most people, anyway.

Example 3:

Most people still use ‘that’, with other species, however:

  • The dog that saved Joseph lives with the Smith family on Schweitzer Avenue in Baltimore.

In fact, many people use ‘that’ when referring to humans:

Example 4:

The man that owns the dog is Frank Smith.

Example 5:

However, I use ‘who’ with humans and members of other species:

  • The dog, ‘Spot’, who saved Joseph, lives on Schweitzer Avenue in Baltimore, with the Smith family. The man who unleashed Spot so he could save Joseph from drowning is Frank Smith.

Example 4
The man who smiles brings smiles to the faces of his neighbors.

Example 5: Things

4. One of the pencils that Da Vinci used is on display at Windsor castle.

5. The lake which Joseph almost drowned in is in Baltimore Park.

Do you now have a better understanding of relative pronouns and when to use them? Will you use who or that when referring to social and intelligent members of other species?

I wrote this lesson to help English as a Second Language students and to show officials who grant visas that I know my language. I hope it helps you, other species and me.


Watch Today in Tokyo: Appeal to Sam Harris et al
April 5, 2018

Let’s Stop Using ‘Race’

( @charlesmurray @RichardDawkins @danieldennett )


Art © Carl Atteniese 2018

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