Cold feet, warm hearts

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Cold feet, warm hearts

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In a tale recounted in the voluminous work on ancient Chinese history, “ZiZhi Tongjian,” Sima Guang writes of a king in the Chu Dynasty notorious for his extravagance. He was surrounded by sycophants suggesting new ways to squeeze out more taxes from poverty-stricken people to please their vain king.

Increasingly, people were forced to leave their land and homes, unable to feed the king’s insatiable greed. The king nevertheless continued with his indulgence for gold adornments and weapons in the belief that “where there is land, there is food.”

At last, one brave subordinate spoke out: “Cold feet can harm your heart and enraged people can impair the country.” In other words, the nation will be at risk if its people who serve as its heart are filled with rage and discontent.

One of the key principles of Oriental medical science is to keep the head cool and the feet warm. The head is where the warm blood and energy converge and the feet, on the other hand, can easily get cold.

That is why the head is often likened to the Sun and the feet the Earth. So the best way to maintain good health is to send cold energy to flow toward the head and warm energy toward the feet. Protecting the body from cold energy is one of the foundations of Oriental medical science. So naturally, Oriental medical doctors advise against keeping the feet cool - as they are the most sensitive part of our body.

As humans rely on their feet to stand upon, the feet serve as the bedrock and root of human life.

If our feet turn cold, so will our hearts. If people’s hearts harden and become bitter, the community becomes at risk.

We notice many people with cold feet. More and more of our neighbors are struggling to meet their basic needs to survive in the midst of perhaps one of the worst global economic slumps.

Recent statistics show household debt now amounts to 688 trillion won. There is little sign that things will turn better anytime soon.

We need to turn our eyes to our needy neighbors. Our society could be pushed to the edge of the abyss if people turn cold-hearted.

The government must do all it can to help while society needs to muster compassionate warm energy to send to individuals with particularly cold feet during this cold bitter time.



The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

By Yoo Kwang-jong [kjyoo@joongang.co.kr]
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