Looking at only one side of the ball

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Looking at only one side of the ball


Dr. K. H. Sun, the father of Taiwan’s nuclear power industry, liked to cite the case of a half-white, half-black ball. If you ask people what color the ball is, what will people say? Those who see the white side will say the ball is white. Those on the other side will say the ball is black.

They are neither wrong nor correct. The problem is that people tend to think what they see is everything.

Those who are in their middle age but still stubborn in their opinions are pitiful. As you get older, you accumulate more experiences, and these experiences should teach you that what you see is not everything. If you look from below, you only see the bottom. If you look from the side, you only see the side.

The wisdom of experience is the ability to judge a person, object or case more comprehensively from a balanced perspective. When you climb a mountain, you can see further the higher you go.

I increasingly lose confidence in everything. I cannot say that something is absolutely right or wrong anymore. In the past, when I met someone with different opinions, I used to criticize him or her first. These days, however, I like to take a step back and assume that I might be the one who is wrong. Instead of confronting or fighting my opponents, I avoid a conflict and seek compromise. You may want to criticize me as cowardly and old. But my attitude certainly helps reduce fights. My relationship with my spouse is proof.

As Ahn Cheol-soo disbanded his election campaign earlier this week, he criticized both Park Geun-hye and Moon Jae-in - the two presidential candidates from the ruling Saenuri Party and opposition Democratic United Party - for promoting the backward politics of negative propaganda, mudslinging and personal attacks.

He claims they go against the spirit of the age that seeks political change. Of course, he is right. But the presidential election is basically a showdown over power. You need to have a positive strategy to promote, but negative attacks to highlight why the other candidate is not qualified are also needed.

There certainly is a line that should not be crossed. But 90 percent of the campaign advertisements in the U.S. presidential election were negative. American politics may not be the most desirable example, but we need to acknowledge the grim reality. The confrontations between the Park and Moon camps don’t deserve harsh criticism as antiquated politics.

Political reform is important and necessary. But if Ahn thinks that only his way is new politics and other ways are old, he may be judging the world from one side of the ball. Pure passion and young spirit are not enough to change the world. Regrettably, that’s just reality.

* The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Bae Myung-bok

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