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[ Issue 148 Page 10 ] Wednesday, November 23, 2016, 23:52:53 Sang-Wook Ha Staff Reporter ha.sangwook@kaist.ac.kr

One night, most certainly on one of the paved asphalt roads of Korea, the inevitable happened. A scream, a tear, and I was unconscious on the ground. My friends hurried next to me and I was carried into my dorm room.

Next morning, I was dizzy on my bed. A yawn rendered all other tests unnecessary. Alcohol. A lot of alcohol and dizziness. Self- deprecating acts of the night had given birth to a late sun and I had to drag myself clumsily into the shower. After washing, I grabbed the first clothes that came into sight and hurried for recitation. On the way I noticed a strange tree. Numerous times, had it been rushing to class or biking along the road to meet a friend, had I passed by it but only this time did I recognize what kind of a tree it was. It was an Oak tree, one that looked very similar to the ones I saw back in high school biology field trips.

I started to look closer at the Oak. A sudden breeze revealed the blue pill that was hidden underneath the strewn brown leaves.

The social atmosphere in Korea seems to be turning more and more pessimistic day by day. The Sewol ferry disaster marked a deep dent in the minds of the Korean public with not only the wrongdoings of the captain and crew of the ship but also the incompetent reaction of the government to the incident. Along with this came a decrease in economic growth and an increase in social and economic problems which, previously unnoticed, became widely broadcasted by the media. Now the current situation is being compared with Japan’s “Great Recession”, also known as the Lost Decade. Words such as “Hell Chosun” — Chosun symbolizing how the corruption of the rich and powerful is making the country go backwards in time — refer to Korea as a society that is further away from a just society and closer to one where money and authority ruled.

As philosopher Albert Camus has said, ‘pessimism does not necessarily have to lead to unhappiness.’ However, the status quo attitude in Korea is a pessimism of a more tragic nature. The conflict seems to be one that will never be resolved, a puzzle fiddled to have no end by the people who dictate the policies.

What does it mean to exist in Hell? Does it imply that the human entity, after having reached the afterlife still lives on with a purpose? In the movie The Matrix, Neo decides to take the red pill and confront reality: a dystopian world where the only key motivation behind one’s action is the instinct of survival. If this is the case, then nihilism would reveal the essence of life to simply be survival, as existence is a given condition. One has to either introduce perturbation theory through a red pill or never touch the equation through the blue pill.

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