[Viewpoint] Politics and jock mentalityThe Korean Series in baseball came to a close in a heated atmosphere. It was a melting pot of excitement, thrills, rejoicing and despair. Baseball is a game of fierce competition. Players have to read and beat the strategy of their competition. A pitcher throws a curve ball that drops unexpectedly to disrupt the timing of the batter.
In politics, some parties are trying to get ahead of other parties. But when politicians are competing as if they are playing a sport and focusing only on winning, state affairs become chaotic and the voters are disappointed. The gap between the rich and the poor is not closing, and the discord between generations becomes even more severe. The regional characteristics and antagonisms remain the same.
Leaders have been filled with a desire for domination, thinking people will be satisfied if they produce goods and energy. As they were absorbed in the science and methodological reasoning from the 19th century, they believe that the ends will justify the means.
Also, they frequently made excuses for themselves even when they broke the law. They turned into a malevolent power and harassed others, but they continued to neglect the self-contradictions and adhered to their own rules. It was a losing game in the end because you had to deny that others exist.
As nature is destroyed and humanity is undermined, neighborhoods are disappearing. But political leaders lure voters with free school meals, half-priced college tuition and more jobs for the young generation. The well-educated voters are easier to attract because they think good policies will solve the problem. A single cell cannot change DNA, but they argue that they can solve the problem with partial policies.
As times change, principles that hold the world together change as well. There was a time when competitive industrialization was the key. There also was a time when waves of democratization swept over the world. However, in the 21st century, no political leader is willing to respond to the calls for coexistence and mutual prosperity by emphasizing the value of life.
Both you and I are equal beings with a world of internal being, values, meanings and feelings, and they are all equally important. However, the leaders only care for their own world and are not willing to understand the existence, values, meanings and feelings of others.
They not only disrespect others but also blame their rivals and do anything to bring people to their side. In the name of pragmatism, they cannot get out of the binary trap. A leader can avoid criticism as a fundamentalist only when he looks into his mind, asks himself if there is anything he needs to change and keeps doubts about his own ability.
Nevertheless, young leaders sell themselves as if they are the saviors. They are generally very smart, some bordering on genius. But most of the time, they are filled with prejudice. Just as Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman has said, a human being can never be reasonable, is filled with prejudice and is prone to misunderstand. But the young and emerging leaders act as if they can save the world.
They do not know what substance is. In fact, there are not many people who can look into and feel the substance. Just as Stephen Hawking said, they created a model with rhetoric and logic and misrepresented it as truth. None of us has ever touched or smelled justice or democracy.
Chi Hsien-lin said a genius has a man of disproportional talents. We need to think about whether the world needs a leader who can save the world or an advocate who highlights problems.
The 21st century is an era of Capitalism 4.0. Companies pursue mutual success by using parts manufactured by competitors. Both the established politicians and the emerging advocates should be reminded that they are not playing a sports game.
As Peter Berger said, we need to have doubts for ourselves first. When the leaders practice the leadership of co-existence, the nation will become one and all the citizens will become happy.
*The writer is a professor emeritus at Seoul National University.
By Kim Gwang-woong