Embrace Unacquainted Possibilities
Embrace Unacquainted Possibilities
  • Prof. Gunho Lee
  • 승인 2013.02.15 21:29
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To whom it may concern:
It is a great pleasure for me to write this letter to express my sincere support for new graduates who are about to drop anchor for a mysterious voyage. I believe they are now armed with strong competence for the new journey. They have completed laborious course works and grown through discussions with friends and professors at the university. Thus, I strongly recommend them to be members of your society. Looking back over those years they have spent at the ivory tower and feeling that they are ready to set a novel sail to an unknown world, they may be proud of themselves. And they deserve it.
Paradoxically, however, the reason that I support them does not come from my belief about what they learned from the classrooms. It comes from a confidence about their capability, which enabled them to learn something from the university. The capability, I believe, is made of the mixture of “rationality” based on reasoning and “sensibility” rooted in emotion.
At universities, many students struggle to absorb preceding intellectuals’ science, which stands for the gist of knowledge. Science does indeed mean knowledge in its essence. But I felt not a few, especially in their entr?e level or so-called freshman period at universities, seemed to believe that the science or knowledge should be from the rationality alone. Some of them even went further to observe technology to be a pure presentation of rationality, and in turn that of science or knowledge. However, it is generally the novice of science to make such an argument. Fortunately, as time passed and as students were raised in a proper atmosphere, they began to recognize that science and knowledge are not fixed but evolving. Moreover, they began to admit the change and evolution was made not only by the rationality but also by the extraordinary observations and imaginations propelled by sensibility. While they tried to understand the science and knowledge with some rational and systemic methods in the first place, they gradually embraced the great potential of an emotional and imaginary approach to understanding the world.
Let me give you an example to show such a case. The other day, one of my beloved students told me that she was mad at herself because she could not control her emotions. She complained that it hindered her from logically thinking about some scientific phenomena and understanding more about the discipline that she studied. While she could admit something that was met in her academic readings in a rational sense, she often was confused because she felt something different than what other scholars said was right. She thought she could explain the phenomena in a better way. The problem was she did not know what exactly the something different was, she said, even though she sensed that it came from her imagination based on her emotions. And she asked me how and where she could stop her “rootless” resistance against the pre-established knowledge founded by prominent scholars.
“Human history evolved through the competition between the rationale and emotion, and the ultimate winner has always been the emotion. Although it looked like some finely tuned rationality defeated the seemingly odd and uneven sensibility from time to time, it was just temporary. After the fierce battle between them, some problems which could not be solved by the rationality always remained, and such problems belonged to the arena of emotion. Although the rationality has been developed to decipher some parts of the previously unanswered questions, there still loitered mysterious parts and even something more complicated loomed. Follow the previous scholars’ insightful approaches and, at the same time, stay with your curious resistance. You will see your own world and be humble to the world outside.” It was my answer.
Then, what happened to her? She respected her own emotion with which she pruned and digested other scholars’ propositions to be a person of well-developed common sense that could be another starting point for a new science and knowledge. After graduation, she set a full sail to the world bravely and is still sailing before the wind.
And now I am showing you the new graduates who followed very similar paths. I believe they are well furnished with the capability that combines rationality and sensibility, and they will be excellent members of your society. In short, the new graduates you see now are those who got through the woods filled with flowers and trees of rationality and sensibility, and I am pretty sure that you will smell the scent of the forest from them.
I believe the students who are now about to set off on another trip learned some skills and knowledge at the university with which they can apply themselves to the new world. But what I see more importantly is the power behind their skills and knowledge. It is the capability to embrace the unacquainted possibilities. With the power, the students learned and filled themselves, and they will do it again in their new venture.
If you have any questions about these excellent youngsters, please try to smell the scent of the forest they got through.
Best Regards,

..what I see more importantly is the power behind their skills and knowledge...