성공이란 무얼까요

여러분, quarantine 시기가 거의 끝나갑니다. 건강히 잘 계시는가요?

오늘은 하루종일 식물 가꾸기를 해서 즐거웠습니다. 토요일에도 옛날과는 다르게 (자기격리덕분에) 혼자서 집에서 오래 보내다 보니까 새로운 취미생활들을 발견하고 있습니다. 작년에도 한번 시도하다가 제대로 안됬는데요. 새싹들이 다 죽어버리다고구요 쉽게 ㅜㅠ 지금 있는 원베드룸 아파트에서는 창문유리가 너무 두꺼워서 그런지 아주 쉽게 새싹들이 죽어버립니다. 흐물흐물 … 금년에는 그래도 배우는 차원에서 또다시 시도했더니 재미를 들여서 매일매일 귀여운 식물들 가꾸는라 시간가는 줄 모르고 있습니다.

성공이란 단어의 의미를 다시 생각해봅니다. 책에서도 썼듯이 저는 현대사회의 성공의 의미는 너무나도 어긋났다고 생각됩니다. 소셜미디어도 요즘에 보면 follower 를 더 얻으려고 특히 젊은 사람들이 난리를 칩니다. 더 influencer 가 되려고. 더 TikTok famous 되려고. 그것이 2020년의 성공의 상징입니다. 저는 그것이 잘못됬다고 봅니다.

제 자신의 과거에 대해서 반성하기도 합니다. 솔직히 인스타그램을 즐길 때가 많습니다. 친구들과 경험을 공유하는 재미가 있는 것은 사실이지만 follower count 나 like 가 신경 쓰이는 것도 인간적인 마음입니다.더 유명해지기를 원하고 더 인정받고 싶은 욕심이 있습니다. 이기적인 생각이 아닐까 합니다. 제대로 다져진 기술이나 업적도 그다지 없는 상태에서 사람들에게 관심만 받고 싶은 욕심만 있으면 그냥 아무 쓸모없는 무용지물이 되지 않을까 생각됩니다. 그리고 기술이나 재능이 있다고 해도 그것을 자기자신의 clout 만을 위해서 쓴다면 사회에 무슨 소용이 있겠습니까?

소셜 미디어의 해로운 점들이 지난 수년간 연달아 발견되어 걱정됩니다. 시기와 비교 의식을 유발하는 점, 정신건강에 나쁜 영향을 주는 점. 정보적/정치적 차원에서 신뢰감이 없고 조작하기 쉬운 점. 악의를 지닌 사람들이 아주 manipulate 하기 쉽다는 점. 그런 점들을 우리가 더 명백하게 파악해서 social media 의 새로운 moral ethical code 가 탄생됬으면 하는 바램입니다.

장래의 세대는 social media 라는 발명에 크게 실망해서 반항을 할 것이라 추측합니다. 과거의 세대가 영상대신 라디오를 듣고 TV 채널도 고정된 한두가지만 (MTV 같이) 봤을 때가 있었듯이 대중의 취향은 시간이 갈수록 진화해 나갑니다. 지금은 워낙 유행이지만 미래에는 싫증과 식상함과 거부감이 오지 않을까요? 장래의 많은 이들이 social media 라는 미디어 채널 자체를 꺼리게 되지 않을까 생각합니다 (지금도 벌써 그러시는 분들이 많습니다). 아니면 정반대로 더욱 새로운 소셜 미디어 채널들에 계속해서 빠지는 분들도 많이 있겠죠. 하지만 저의 전반적인 바램은 우리들이 직접 소셜 미디어의 “best ethics” 와 바람직한 철학을 창조해 나가는 것입니다. “이렇게 하면 안된다,” “이런 콘텐츠는 어린 세대들의 건강에 나쁘다,” 그런 식의 “매뉴얼”을.

페이스북이나 인스타그램 혹은 TikTok 을 발명한 엔지니어들은 저의 롤모델입니다. 하지만 그들도 이 발명때문에 사회에 이런 영향을 미치게 될줄은 10년전에 상상도 못했을 것이 당연합니다.

기도합니다.

장래희망

돈, 명예, 권력 없어도
뭐 큰 인기가 있지 않아도

억만장자가 되지 않고 커다란 맨션에서 살지 않아도
주님의 사랑을 매일 느끼고

여유있는 곳에서 자연에 둘러 쌓인 곳에서

식물과 동물과 친구와 사랑하는 사람들과

하고 싶은 일을 하고 글을 쓰고

모두가 함께 창조해나가는 의미있는 일들이 있으면

자유롭고 만족합니다.

나이가 들어가니까 할아버지같은 생각을 하네요.

Dear Earth’s Environment

In 50 years or so (I’m guessing I won’t be alive), many children of that era may never know the taste of fresh fish or seafood. Who knows what other things will go extinct or inedible by then.

It’s not just song birds that will go extinct, I assume. The future generations will never get to hear some sounds that existed in nature. It’s being able to see those birds, hear those birds, knows them at all. Being able to just experience seeing a fish. Seeing a whale. Tasting a fresh healthy fish. Things we taste, see, hear and smell in modern life in 2020 may never exist by 2070. We really do take things for granted. We are almost depriving the experiences of future children by prioritizing our own experiences first. We’ve been doing things with no consideration of consequences for the future.

Having been a meat eater and an all-around omnivore my entire life, I never really understood the environmental impact of meat, seafood, dairy and etc. until recently. Everything came to us so easily, happily and innocuously packaged under some cheerful branding or attractive logos or another. But now that the cat’s out of the bag, it’s impossible to conceal the truth. They say ignorance is bliss. In this case, it really isn’t. We are killing the planet. Out of pure greed for “taste,” really.

It’s really the human taste bud and appetite for meat, the demand, that we must control, nothing more. As long as there is demand and a desire for meat, people will keep eating it regardless of environmental impact. It’s extremely difficult to reverse a person’s appetite or cultural affinity toward one type of food or another, I imagine. But I believe our love and dedication to protection of nature must outweigh the desire for our tongue/brain to taste something. It must. Otherwise, this immediate primal desire keeps overriding our long-term potential for survival and hurting the very house we live in.

That’s the epitome of what makes humans different from animals, after all. If we keep indulging in the desires of our primal brains, that love to engage in sensory pleasures in sight, taste, touch, smell and sound, what makes us different from other animals? Animals are already doing that, driven by lust, survival instinct and reptilian instincts. But as long as we exercise our advanced human brain to set aside our immediate desires to eat or taste meat … or indulge in this luxury or that luxury … we can exercise control + self-restraint to protect the things that really matter to us.

Suffering and sacrifice. It’s foreign words to many people. But there’s no other way. As long as the human society at large is manipulated by desires, there’s no hope. Quelling desires, keeping them under our control. That’s the goal. It’s possible, and many have already shown us that.

Just like our parents took care of us when we were little and vulnerable, and forgave us for all our mistakes and trouble-making as babies and children. It’s time for the adults of today to forgive the transgressions of past generations and to do the right work (for the environment) by ourselves.

I imagine we are all living under one roof, this house called the Earth. There’s all kinds of families living under this same roof. Yeah, we compete against each other and fight all the time like a dysfunctional family, but one thing we can’t deny is that we are all living in this one house. We better take care of it, otherwise this whole thing collapses, and we can’t live anymore. So it helps to take care of the oceans, our backyard, take care of the garbage, making sure all the rooms are clean. We can’t bring the house down just to fill our tummies and please our tongues.

Human beings were supposed to be the kind, wise kings and queens of everything on land and sea, everything in nature. We were supposed to supervise, respect the circle of life, and make sure everything runs smoothly, like Mufassa does on The Lion King. In one way or another, well in many ways to be honest, we became unfit to rule.

If we don’t want future children to not hate us any more than they already will, we better start doing some stuff now to atone for the sins of our ancestors and ourselves.

I’m sure we can do it. Inshallah.

주님이 원하시는 것

창조자의 큰 뜻. 내가 너무 무지하고 작아서 헤아리지 못하겠다.

인간은 생존과 번식의 도구가 아니다. 생존과 번식만을 생각하는 사람들은 바로 동물과 똑같은 이치로 살아가고 있는 인간들이다. 천지의 생물등중에 으뜸으로 군림하는 인간이 어떻게 동물과 99% 똑같이 살아가고 있는 것인가? 그것은 우리들의 한계일까?

주님의 뜻을 이해하는 것은 혼란스럽기만 하다.

God gave us dominion over land animals, sea animals and birds …

I don’t think we are doing a good job as humans ruling over other animals, birds, fishes and plants. We were supposed to be made in God’s image living with those animals and keeping order and balance among land animals, sea animals and birds alike, as a king of the hierarchy. I don’t think we were ever supposed to abuse our power and treat them however we wish, like we are doing now. It’s coming to bite us soon enough.

Today we are overfishing, overeating, overproducing meat and driving everything to extinction … because we’ve been greedy, insatiable and gluttonous, not able to limit or restrain our appetite for meat, fish and other blessings that God gave us. To be honest, I myself don’t exactly like the “ethical” argument from vegans … that there’s something “inherently immoral or unethical” about eating meat. For thousands of years or even more than that, the human kind had to evolve and adapt to eat whatever we could find to survive. Whether it’s hunting for meat or scavenging, we had to do whatever we could. And without the knowledge of agriculture and farming, there was no way we could even disturb the planet’s ecosystem at the rate we are today. But ever since we started to mass-produce things … that’s when it started affecting everything on a mass scale. Human greed can be infinite and timeless if we let it. However, the resources of the planet and the ocean are finite.

So I think that’s what it comes down to. If we were doing a terrific job maintaining the planet, there’s no reason why many of us ever has to give up eating this or that. But because our limitless appetite for certain things has gone out-of-control, that’s why the planet and other species are suffering. And as rulers made in God’s image, we were never supposed to put other species in suffering in order to satisfy our own selfish desires (taste mainly, and fancy, satisfying dinners). If it’s for daily survival, perhaps, it’s understandable. Other than that, it’s a total luxury that we are not supposed to indulge in daily. Otherwise, the planet cannot support our lifestyle in scale.

I really think there’s no moral code that God gave us when it comes to eating meat or fish. However, God did give us the responsibility to rule over them, and that means being a good parent and shepherd for those species, not a slave-slaveowner kind of relationship where we drive everything to extinction. That’s like an employer who abuses their employees to the point where the employee dies from exhaustion or quits, and ultimately creates an empty office. Or a farmer that mistreats its animals, and all the cows and sheep dying.

The young people of current and next generation are much more aware than the past. I believe that those people, like Greta Thunberg has already done, will take up this mission and be passionate about defending the environment. I wonder if they will forgive the previous generations (including myself) for being so negligible about all this. In order to atone for my own sins and the sins of the previous generations, I feel responsible to make sacrifices as well.

P.S.

I want more green plants in my room. They really brighten up any room with their energy. I feel like they are alive. Talking to me. And they love it when we sing to them apparently. Even my horrible Smule karaoke singing.

창의적인 사람

무언가를 찾아내고 발견해나가는 자기자신의 호기심과 소망이 없으면 인생은 언제나 똑같은 틀안에서 살아가게 된다. 내가 새로운 것을 시도하고 새로운 일들을 배우고 새로운 책들을 읽는게 중요하다. 지금 당장 코앞만 생각하면 절대로 원하는 창조적인 일이나 아이디어의 발굴을 해나갈수 없다. 오늘부터 더 내 자신의 장래성을 믿어보려고 한다. 창의성. 새로운 것은 가만히 있는다고 생겨나는 것이 아니라 매일 도전하는 사람들의 두뇌에서 생겨난다. 너무 틀안에서 만족해서는 안된다.

The brain is like a sponge, especially with pictures and images. It speaks directly to us. It absorbs and remixes in its own head. It’s easy to consume and see pictures. It’s another thing to make and create pictures. In a way, movies and pictures are a gift that jumps from one brain to another.

The Battle for Clout

Social media is devouring the world, especially vulnerable teenagers desperate for gaining more clout (likes and followers). We may still be underestimating the harmful effects of social media apps on the young. Joe Rogan had a great YouTube episode with a professor who showed a direct correlation in the steep rise of self-harm and depression/anxiety rates among teenage girls since the boom of social media (FB +Instagram) in 2011-2012, when kids started using iPhones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI6rX96oYnY.

The reason may be that social media has brought strangers and neighbors closer together than ever before. But that heightened visibility doesn’t always equate to making more friends or feeling closer to people. Oftentimes, it breeds envy and contempt. It’s allowing yourself to be open to all kinds of content from strangers and neighbors popping up your in face all the time. And what do most people want? Attention. Likes. Approval. Fame. Success. And in the pursuit of that, the Creators might have actually lost the “needs” of its audience in mind. I wish Creators were posting content that the people NEED … instead of just posting to get attention.

The line is blurring between what it means to be a passive “Viewer/Audience” of TV/Online Media versus an active “Creator” of content, due to the explosion of channels like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and more. Back in the day, it was only those who were well-connected and handpicked by network TV execs that “made” it into the public spotlight through the power of media broadcasting. With the advancement of technology, “broadcasting,” literally the ability to broadly transmit your message, is becoming easier at an exponential rate. This is good news for some; not at all good news for others. With the power to be seen in front of thousands of people comes responsibility. The kind of responsibility rarely taught in schools or understood at all, because even adults often don’t grasp the neurological influence that visual media can have on you.

Take TikTok’s success as an example. I don’t just think of it as a fun app as they are marketing it to be. Isn’t it amazing how they are now everywhere in mainstream conversations with American teenagers? How were they so good at creating hype and gaining attention around its own creators? Perhaps the engineers designing its algorithms so that the videos that get the longest views and the highest number of views (addictive, provocative content) will get shown in front of people the most, to keep people coming back to TikTok everyday? Many teenagers, especially girls, are creating the kind of content that’s being exposed to people all over the world and actually suffering from hate comments, stalkers and more. Is that “good?” Is “TikTok Famous” a “good thing?”

In ancient East-Asian philosophy, there’s a saying that goes “a young kid who succeeds early will not die a good death.” It was known that when an extremely young person gains a prominent position in society (or perhaps in the “kingdom” at the time), that it’s very easy for them to become a target of hate, envy and detriment which derails their career later on. They end up creating enemies, making mistakes and stop growing, not fully grasping the preciousness of their success. Early success or becoming TikTok famous as a young person are seen as virtues here in the U.S, South Korea, and many other countries. There’s a problem there. Again, I hate to sound like a broken record, but the “definition of success” is being skewed because of these apps like TikTok.

I don’t think they had evil intentions in mind, whether it was Instagram, Facebook or TikTok. They were most of all engineers and tech entrepreneurs who made these apps. It’s not the fault of the “Technology Creators” that have made this possible. They are the last people who could have predicted that “bringing the world closer together” (FB’s mission) would not always be a good thing.

But the rules. The RULES and ETHICS of Responsible Media Sharing have to be rewritten and reenforced, even on social media. If you want to create on broadcasting platforms, every creator should know the responsibility to create the kind of content that people NEED … and will impact people in positive ways. And tech companies should not reward people for making addictive or shocking content just for the sake of gaining more attention or hype around it.

Because the content you share have an impact on the people around you. That’s not just for you to play with. To make yourself into a star. It means neurological impact for your audience. State of well-being. Self-talk. So We must provide the kind of story, narrative and visuals, that will improve people. Regardless of the number of likes and followers you gain from it.

Doing God’s Work

I see younger generations wanting to do good in their work. Helping the impoverished. Protecting the environment. Shedding light on the corrupt. Changing policies. Innovating society. Challenging the status quo.

We want the heavens to open up all kinds of paths for us now that we have decided to dedicate our lives to such noble causes. You might think to yourself, ‘I’m breaking my back trying to fix the world, and nobody else is trying as hard as I can, but nobody is noticing my hard work and on the contrary, I have to live on my small salary. The world is so unfair!”

In fact, our compensation system seems to work almost exactly in opposite. If you are a public school teacher trying to teach hundreds of inner city children, you get paid just a fraction of what you get paid as a corporate employee in Finance making the rich few even richer. No matter how noble your life purpose is, you will not get be compensated in terms of material wealth. Nobody might even care.

But I don’t think that means that we all have to give up entirely and live only for paychecks. In an ideal world, the amount of money you are paid and the level of material wealth you have will be directly proportionate to the “positive” benefits that you give out to the world. In that way, the “good” people will be largely rewarded and incentivized to do more, while the selfish people who only care about themselves without positively impacting society can be compensated less. But we all know the world does not work like that. So, we accept that reality. The ideal system is not here and may never come. The ideal system only exists in heaven.

So no matter how unfair this system is, We must give our all to impact the world in those noble ways with or without monetary compensation. Hell, nobody might even give us kudos for doing good.

The conclusion I came to is this. We do the Work no matter how poor or rich we are, that’s actually completely arbitrary. My parents’ generation and previous generations before them had to scrape a living doing whatever they would. Purposeful, purpose-less, it didn’t matter as long as it brought food on the table. And that’s completely understandable because back in olden times, food was actually scarce. We can barely think about fixing society when we can barely imagine how to feed ourselves in our next meal. But it’s different now.

People like us, especially young people in developed countries in the 21st century who have never known hunger and poverty, are in a prime position to think about purposeful work because we don’t have those urgent needs to satisfy anymore. We don’t have to worry about hunger because food is abundant here and now. We do, however, have to think about the repercussions of OVER-production of meat and other activities that will impact the finite resources of this planet.

What are we going to use our education and advanced degrees for? How do we use our god-given talents, resourcefulness, intelligence and privileges to do what God would have wanted us to do all along? No matter what form or shape that “Work” is. If your destiny is not in the convenient shape of a job (that makes you feel fulfilled but also pays well), and it usually isn’t, it doesn’t matter — you still keep going.

If you currently feel “stuck” at a place that has a very low-paying salary with bad work-life balance because you made a decision to find a more “purposeful” job, you must be willing to look at your life realistically. The world is not black-and-white. It’s not a decision between “find a noble job but be poor and miserable” vs. “find a high-paying job but be a selfish corporate slave.” The answer is more complicated than that. You must find the balance that works for you. If it’s not working out, you pivot.

We all need to survive first, yes, to satisfy those needs first. And after that, that’s when we can dedicate ourselves to those higher callings.

But the most important rule, I believe, is this:
Never give up doing God’s work through your life.