As a Korean, I am pretty much forced to think about my country. My brain is wired to detect anything Korean there is to find even in very exotic sources.
Anyway, to know about Korea (not just South Korea but including North Korea) is kind of a pain in the butt, since doing so makes you feel extremely indignant and even so helpless.
Korea was divided up during the Cold War conflict after WWII, which came about because Koreans were unable to free themselves before the war's end.
Many Koreans who lived in Manchuria (even today, China recognizes Korean population there and that's why Korean is one of the official languages in the region) and present-day Russian territory of Primorsky Krai were taken under China and Russia, respectively.
Even that no so large country of Korean peninsula cut in half, Korea is surrounded by great powers. China, world's second greatest country in GDP and the most populous country. Japan, world's third greatest in GDP just across the Korean Strait. Russia, 10th greatest in GDP with short but meaningful border with Northeast of North Korea.
To make matters worse, the division of Korea inevitably brought in capitalistic "ally" United States, which made Korean peninsula the equivalent of the Balkan peninsula before and during WWI.
Japan claiming a Korean island to be theirs.
China claiming Yellow Sea fishing rights right off the coast of Korea.
North Korea internationally overestimated as if it can do great harm to United States.
Stuck in between the two superpowers of the world, China and United States, Korea is in great dilemma. Whether to follow US or China. Korea can't follow both. Korea can't follow neither. Korea can't follow one or the other. Every single scenario brings interventions from the shouldered power. If that was it, it would be easier, but it isn't. Japan, still a great power, is trying to make their defense only military (due to their defeat in WWII) into a military that can invade other countries.
Though much better off than Taiwan, which is ignored by US and UN because of China's great power, Korea is in similar situation.
I don't have any solutions or any other thing to add but I just wanted to write my thoughts down.
That is a real struggle, isn't it? What do you guys think?
The topic of the meaning of life has interested for as long as I can remember my existence. As a person who likes to introspect, such topic is a good one to think about. Watching dramas and stories of any kind, the meaning of life in relation to death is often concerned.
Watching the Korean Drama (for I am a Korean who was born there and lived until I was 14) Signal, an insight into the topic came to me. An epiphany, I would even say.
What that is is that life is meaningful, even if you are an existentialist. Maybe that's an overstatement, but it is quite likely that even an existentialist, who thinks that nothing is meaningful and there is no meaning to existence, to believe in this insight. It is this: life and existence are meaningful because they are much better off than not existing.
If you think about it, it is true. If you are the one who lives the worst life of all humans, you have got to live a life at least. Even if you are a baby who died during birth, you actually existed, whereas the others who didn't have the chance to exist didn't have the chance or any life at all.
Of course, the others cannot be identified as individuals or ones with soul and consciousness, since they don't exist and didn't have the chance to have so much as a brain. However, because it is utterly hard for us to imagine not existing, I thought it would be easier to understand to have the not existing "individuals" personified.
You are happy because you exist and you got the chance to be born. Enumerable--cannot be counted in actuality for they don't exist--might-existing "souls" didn't even have the chance.
It feels weird to be so optimistic, for I am usually a pessimist, but it feels good I think. It is an encouraging thought. Even if nothing matters, I think things should go for the better. There is no reason for you to murder someone for no reason, just because you don't think nothing matters, as did Monsier Meursault in Albert Camus' existential novel The Stranger.
Jin Woo Won
An undergrad at Columbia University, studying Computer Science and in particular artificial intelligence.