[FOUNTAIN] Daseok and 'Seeds'

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[FOUNTAIN] Daseok and 'Seeds'

"It seems that I was meant to meet you at Osan school," said Yu Yeong-mo (1890 - 1981), then the principal of the Osan School to his beloved student Ham Sok-hon (1901 - 1989). This year is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mr. Ham, a famous historian, religious leader and publisher in modern Korean history. Public interest in Yu Yeong-mo, who is also well known under the nom de plume of Daseok, also increases when Mr. Ham is remembered because Daseok was the most influential person in Mr. Ham's life. "One who wishes to climb high should hide deeply. Hiding is preparing thoroughly and training oneself," Daseok once taught his students. He put together classics of both the Eastern and Western world and silently carried out his search for the "seed," which he called the true self and the true life. Mr. Ham propagated his master's ideology in his social movement.

Daseok explained that a seed is a person who has the spirit of the Son of God - God taking on a physical person's form in human society. The spirit of the seed is the unification of the true spirit of liberty and the popular spirit of equality. In addition to continuing the ideology of Daseok, Mr. Ham contributed another element, the nonchurch movement, which was also influenced by his master, and his ideology became a driving force to pursue reform in our society.

"The nonchurch movement wants to avoid establishing a system forever. It resists the current of fixation although one may be criticized for being an idealist ignoring reality and for being a narrow-minded novice lacking in worldly experience," said Mr. Ham. As a liberal Protestant who denied the existing church system in his nonchurch movement, Mr. Ham argued that people should "maintain a young spirit forever," and joined the people, becoming a senior member of the democratization movement in our society.

In a column memorializing Mr. Ham, Ko Eun, a poet, deplored our current society, saying, "Systems of protest demonstrations wear the armor of egoism they create themselves, and are full of inconsistencies, seemingly having no vision of tomorrow." Professor Ryu Dong-min, who identified himself as a progressive, laid bare his heart when he said, "I shivered because I often find an ill omen in the criticism of power. That criticism is itself becoming an enormous power." He worried that "group actions that are not based on individual liberty and spontaneity bring tragedy regardless of whether or not they were initiated with good intention."

At this time, are there any "seeds?" Is there any eternal young spirit which rejects collectivization and denies any association with power by demonstrating a high spiritual inner self to the populace? Are they hiding and preparing, like Daseok, in silence?


by Lee Kyeung-chul

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