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.