A New Philosophy & Human Happiness of the 21 century: Slowcity Movement
A New Philosophy & Human Happiness of the 21 century: Slowcity Movement
  • Dr. dehyun sohn
  • 승인 2014.10.15 07:47
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Why are we embracing the Cittaslow Movement? The answer is “simply to live like a decent human being.”People have sacrificed the delight and happiness of ‘slow’ for the convenience of ‘fast’ like ecstasy presented by the current revolution of technology.
The Slowcity movement does not aim to turn the majority of people from a ‘fast-based lifestyle’ to a ‘slow-based lifestyle.’‘Fast’ can be thrilling, productive and powerful. If it were not for the ‘fast’ lifestyle, Korea would still be poor today. Therefore, the movement is the recipe to find the harmony of ‘la dolce vita (the sweet life)’ and the dynamic information society. The philosophy of the movement is to tilt the weight to matureness instead of growth, life quality instead of quantity, and respecting depth and dignity instead of speed. ‘Slowware’ should be ‘slow’, ‘small’, and ‘sustainable’ (3S).
The fatal flaws in capitalism are the polarization of rich and poor, inequality, and financial greed just to name a few. Economist and Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs says that global capitalism presents many direct threats to happiness and is weakening social trust and mental stability, with the prevalence of clinical depression on the rise. The multinational enterprises’ thoughtless pursuit of profit is even raising the global temperature and destroying the natural environment.
As Slow Capitalism allows the economy to serve the people slowly but surely, in order to guarantee the existence of capitalism, I insist that Manbonism, which can be referred to as Slow Capitalism, needs to build the base and should be followed by capitalism. If we take a closer look at the Eastern character of ‘Man’ in Manbonism, it can be distinguished into ‘su’ (water meaning liquid), ‘il’ (day), ‘sa’ (four), and ‘wu’ (again). The four virtues, ‘slowness with curve’, ‘free will’, ‘ethical and moral soul,’ and ‘delight in creation’ need to form the base of our everyday lives, like flowing water, in order to ensure a long-lasting and continuous flow of happiness. Manbon- capitialism means “HappinessManbonismis before economycapitalism”, and the core philosophy of the Slowcity Movement aims to provide ‘freedom and happiness.’
The National Cittaslow Corea Network is promoting 17 codes of conduct for a slow life and slow education: “A car-free day per week,”“Enjoy the food in a relaxed way,”“Work slowly, but surely,”“An ‘online sabbath’ per week for offline analog life even without cellular phone,” and so on.
The Latin meaning of ‘educare’ is the ‘process to lead exerting one’s ability.’ Thus, education is the development of children’s personality and teaching them how to exert their ability to live a happy life. However, currently most schools in Japan, China, and Korea do not aim for the happy child, but for a child with the best grades.
In the Korean word ‘Hak-Kyo’ (Eng. school), ‘Kyo’ in Eastern character refers to the effort of treating a crooked tree to grow upright, through the exchange, counselling, and relationship between friends and teachers at a learning institute. However, since long ago, Korea has only focused on the symbol ‘Kyo’ in ‘Kyo-Yuk’ [Eng. education], thus only concentrating on knowledge, making ‘Yuk’, the counselling part, very rare. The origin of school is ‘schole’ in Greek, which means leisure. This explains the essential role of a school well.
The Korean word for university is ‘Dae-Hak’, which refers to ‘great learning’. However, in order to enter a good university with high chances of entering good workplaces, the applicant must have a good school record, TOEIC, TOEFL scores, overseas experience, internships and other practical skills relevant for job seekers. Hence, it’s not wrong to claim that Korea’s examination systems are a mass production of people with a very narrow outlook on life. Now is the time, when instead of quantitative growth, qualitative development is more urgent in education, especially for Korean universities.
According to the ‘Future Korea Report’ on the quality of society of OECD member nations by the Society Development Research Institute of the Seoul National University in Korea (2011), Denmark ranked first and Korea 28th (the lowest rank). The striking point was that Danish youngsters were drastically open to try out creative types of work, whereas Korean youngsters were busy avoiding any risk factors. I would like to suggest that it is more important to make youngsters say, “I succeeded as I was doing what I enjoyed, and thus I am happy” in order to build a bright future for the nation.