Ham Sok Hon, a Pioneer of Korean Cosmopolitanism
2. Overview of Cosmopolitan Theory and Shortcomings
3. Cosmopolitan Vision in Ham’s Ssial Philosophy
3.1. The Ssial
3.2. Three Insights into Cosmopolitanism
3.2.1. Saengmyŏng (生命, Life) as the Inner Principle and the Agent
3.2.2. Religion and Politics for the Ipch’ejŏk In’gan (立體的人間, Multi-Dimensional Humans)
그러나 다 는 필연적으로 일一을 예상한다. 그러므로 다가 있는 곳에 일 이 있다. 진화의 이 과정은 복잡화인 동시에 통일에 향하는 노력이다. 복잡한 만물 사이에는 유기적인 관련이 있음을 부정할 수 없고 더구나 이는 인류에 의한 의식생활의 시작에 의하여 한층 더 앞선다. 복잡화가 밖에 향하는 발산이라면 일화 一化는 안에 향하는 수렴收斂이다. 그러므로 진화가 나가면 나갈수록 생명현상의 내면화는 필연적이다. 정신현상은 물질현상의 복잡화에 의하여 우연히 일어난 것이라 하는 것은 천박한 의견이다. 진화의 과정이 다화多化와 일화一化의 교류라고 하면 물질과 정신이 일체를 이루는 것은 당연한 일이다.36
However, multiplicity anticipates singularity. Singularity is anywhere multiplicity is. The evolutionary process is very complex; it is the (nature’s) effort toward unity. It cannot be denied that in the complication of all things are organic relations, which are further expanded by the development of the human beings’ livelihood. While this complication is the outward manifestation (of saengmyŏng), unification (or desire to unite) is the inward cultivation. Thus, as evolution proceeds, the internalization of the phenomena of saengmyŏng is inevitable. It is superficial to think that spiritual/mental phenomena are caused accidently by the complication of the material phenomena. If the evolutionary process is the communication between multiplicity and unification, it is natural that the material and the spiritual ultimately become united.
3.2.3. Narrative and Memory as the Driving Force
Conflicts of Interest
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McCune–Reischauer Romanization was used for Korean words except for personal names such as Ham Sok Hon to reflect the way they appear in other publications.
Collected Works of Ham Sok Hon (Ham Sŏkhŏn), Pabosae Ham Sok Hon (바보새 함석헌: 동서를 아우른 생명평화사상).
The literal meaning of ‘ipch’e-jok’ is stereoscopic. Stereoscopy is a photographic technique, which makes two pictures shown as one 3D image. When Ham used this term, ‘ipch’e-jok,’ he meant a state in which multiple dimensions of human nature (body, reason, and spirituality) are closely linked together so that the full depth of human life can be revealed and a state in which spiritual growth plays as the anchor for the growth of the other dimensions. Thus, the English word, stereoscopy, would not do justice to what Ham meant by it. In this paper, I use ‘multi-dimensional.’
Alasdair MacIntyre argues that immoral maxims can pass Kant’s formulation of universality. For instance, such immoral maxims as “Keep all your promises throughout your entire life except one” and “Let everyone except me be treated as a means” can be rationally universalized” (MacIntyre 2013, pp. 54–55).
“The Meaning of Ssial and Minjung Movement (씨알의 의미와 민중운동-Meaning, hereafter)”, the Collected Works of Ham Sok Hon (hereafter Collection), accessed January 20, 2018, http://ssialsori.net/bbs/board.php?bo_table=ebook. Two different collections of Ham’s writings have been published in Korea: (1) (Ham 1987) Ham Sok Hon Chŏnjip (함석헌전집 1987, hereafter Chŏnjip) and (2) (Ham 2009) Ham Sok Hon Chŏjakchip (함석헌저작집 2009, hereafter Chŏjakchip). Both were published by Hangilsa. There is another collection available on-line in the website entitled Pabosae Ham Sok Hon (바보새 함석헌: 동서를 아우른 생명평화사상, hereafter, Pabosae, http://ssialsori.net/). This collection was created and maintained by Chung Hyeonpil, former executive director of the Ham Sok Hon Memorial Foundation(함석헌기념사업회). Most citations of Ham Sok Hon in this paper came from the Collected Works of Ham Sok Hon of Pabosae (hereafter Collection). Collection also includes his famous magazine of social criticism, Voice of the People (씨알의소리 통권, hereafter Voice). The magazine number follows the numbering of Collection instead of the original journal number. They are all available in PDF format. In particular, each of in-text citations from Collection hereafter includes an abbreviated subtitle (Meaning, e.g.) to indicate the work and page numbers. There are a few citations of Ham’s works quoted from secondary sources. They are from either Chŏnjip or Chŏjakchip.
The Korean word for minch’o (民草) is paeksŏng (백성); min and ch’o means people and grass respectively. The origin of this term is unknown. This word is often used to express people with persistent will to survive.
Ham’s notion of chŭkchajŏk minjung can be compared to Sartrean being-for-itself (pour-soi) in that the ssialized people are independent, autonomous, and authentic in actualizing their full ontological potentials, not determined by their physical necessities and socio-political reality.
The term chŭkchajŏk (즉자적, 卽自的) came from Hegel’s ding an sich (thing-in-itself). Ham refers to a passive and reactionary characteristic. In contrast, taejajŏk (대자적 민중, 對自的, for-itself) minjung means people who exercise critical thinking and try to move society forward.
“Voice 1”, Collection, p. 15.
Ibid. “씨알이란 말은 씨라는 말과 알이란 말을 한데 붙인 것입니다. 보통으로 하면 종자라는 뜻입니다. 종자는 물론 한문자의 종자에서 온 것입니다. 순전한 우리 말로 하면 씨앗 혹은 씨갓입니다”. “Ssial is the compound word of seed and egg. Its general meaning is seed, chongja, which came from Chinese origin. The pure Korean word is ssiat (씨앗) or ssigat (씨갓), which means “seed”.
The concept of innaech’ŏn was originated from Suun Cho’e Cheu, founder of Tonghak. However, Ham’s use of innaech’ŏn is closer to the new definition of Yi Tonhwa, who made a great contribution to systematizing the Tonghak philosophy and reinterpreting it for modern contexts in the early 20th century. While there is a gap, according to Suun’s notion, between the divine and humans, because the fact that God dwells within us as the Lord does not mean that we humans are God. Yi’s innaech’ŏn takes a step further. It suggests not only the divine nature of humans but also the divine union with God. Ham’s ssial philosophy reflects Yi’s interpretation.
(Gandhi 1968) Discussing the influence of the Advaita Vedanta School on Gandhi’s notion of Truth, Glyn Richards says, “Gandhi equates the Self with Truth or God and goes so far as to insist that prayer is the worship of the Self, an invoking of the divinity within, a petitioning of ‘my Higher self, the real self with which I have not yet achieved complete identification (Richards 1986, p. 4).”
Mansu Chŏng, “이발소 50년 노우트 2: 이발을 생각하며 (50 years of Barber Shop Note 2: Thinking About Haircut)”, “Voice 85”, p. 99.
“Voice 5”, Collection, p. 40.
아무것도 더한 것이 없는 순전히 어머니에게 난 난대로 있는 사람.
A common objective of the writings of Wilhelm Dilthey and Ham Sok Hon is to find an underlying principle of the physical manifestations of human will through the activity of observation, reflection, and interpretation to try to find or establish a coherence, continuity, stability, and predictability of life events. Their projects are not intended to provide objective solutions to human problems but ways to understand how we engage in the world through meaning-making process. See (Dilthey et al. 1989) Dilthey, Wilhelm, Rudolf A. Makkreel, and Frithjof Rodi. 1989. Introduction to the Human Sciences. Princeton: Princeton University Press. For my point on Dilthey’s objective to find the principle of life, See (Iryna 2018, p. 164).
“Voice 2”, Collection, p. 360. Ham argues that the underlying reason for the establishment of the state is to seek security from thieves.
Ham regards a ssial as the basic unit of society, comparing it to a cell of an organism. See Ham, “Meaning”, Collection, p. 241. “왜 알자를 썼나 그러면 세포를 살알이라 그래요. 세포를 번역할 때 살알이라 그러면 좋겠다 선생님(유영모)이 그래요. 그런 의미로 이것도 씨알이라고 한거예요. 씨는 물론 사람의 씨, 그래 씨알이라 그런다는 거야요.” “The reason why the character, al, was used was because the cell is the living seed. My teacher himself thought that the living seed was the best translation for the cell. From that meaning did the term ssial come. Seed is the seed of the humans. That’s the way ssial was used.”
Dependent Origination is one of the key concepts that support the larger Buddhist idea of emptiness and soteriology. According to ZALTA, the idea of pratityasamutpada also offers a deep philosophical foundation of compassion and nonviolence. “There is nothing in this world that is independent of everything else”. All things and phenomena are interrelated and they affect each other particularly in ontological causality. See (ZALTA 2016) ZALTA Anja. Contribution of Buddhist Mindfulness to the Transformation of Conflicts-Dependent Origination (paticca-samuppada) and Deconstruction of Identity. Asian Studies 4: 2.
“Voice 4”, Collection, p. 18. “나는 민족주의는 아닙니다. 세계주의입니다.” “I am not a nationalist but a cosmopolitan.”
“Voice 8”, Collection, p. 4.
Sok Hon Ham, “World History through Meanings” (뜻으로 본 세계역사, hereafter World History), Collection, p. 38.
Ibid., p. 102. See also (Park 2005).
“Voice 7”, Collection, p. 18.
“Prospect for a New Era (새 시대의 전망)”, Collection, p. 82.
For the priority of the vertical movement, Ham uses a quote from the Great Learning. Quoting “muryubonmal sayujongsi (물유본말 사유종시, 物有本末 事有終始),” Ham states that the transformation for the mind should precede any change in material conditions that we intend. See Warring Pacifist (싸우는 평화주의자, Pacifist hereafter), Collection. 353.
“World History”, p. 95.
Sok Hon Ham, “Only Those Who Think Live (생각하는 백성이라야 산다)”, Collection, p. 181. “그것은 정신과 육체의 관계, 종교와 정치와의 관계는 평면적으로 나란히 있는 것이 아니요 계단적으로 입체적으로 혹은 유기적으로 되어 있는 것이기 때문에 아무 충돌이 없을 뿐 아니라 도리어 산 통일을 가져 둘이다 살게 된다.” “Since the relationships between mind and body and between religion and politics are not in parallel but stepwise, cross-dimensional, and organic, not only is there no conflict but they both come to live by uniting.”
(Clark 2015) Clark, Mary T. 2015. Augustine on Justice. In Augustine and Social Justice, ed. Teresa Delgado, John Doody, and Kim Paffenroth. Lanham: Lexington, pp. 3–10. Each city is separate. However, the public order of just transaction, which is politics in nature, cannot be possible without just men rightly related to God, which presumes spiritual maturity. See also (Henry and OMeara 1984, p. 410) and (O’Daly 2009, p. 410).
Sok Hon Ham, “On a Road of the World (세계의 한 길 위에서)”, Collection, p. 117.
Sok Hon Ham, “Unended Lecture (끝나지 않은 강연)”, Collection, p. 421.
The common denominator of the classical contractarian concept of the state of nature and Rawl’s original position is the precondition of equality and fairness particularly in engaging in any social interaction. As hypothetical frameworks, both concepts suggest a common ground on which just political relation and community can be imagined and established. The core of their common ground is reason and rationality. Whether Hobbesian, Lockean, or Rawlsian, one must go through rational calculation, in thinking about a relation with others, where he or she stands, what capabilities he or she has, and finally how to maximize his or her interest. Reason is not only the epistemological foundation of the political agent to think of the possibility of community but also the instrument to lead to a civil society. Although accepting the significance of reason, Ham’s philosophy suggests the consciousness of saengmyŏng as the ground of political community. For Ham, reason is problematic. Reason as capacity is universal but it is, in practice, still subject to becoming divisive, parochial, and even manipulative particularly in political dimension due to its frequent ties to the norms of a society. For Ham, spiritual awakening accompanying character transformation is the starting point of a political vision and the foundation and instrument to render other natural and socio-political conditions beneficial for all.
“Meaning”, Collection, pp. 246–78.
“Voice 1”, Collection, pp. 25–26.
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Lee, S.-C. Ham Sok Hon, a Pioneer of Korean Cosmopolitanism. Religions 2020, 11, 299. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060299
Lee S-C. Ham Sok Hon, a Pioneer of Korean Cosmopolitanism. Religions. 2020; 11(6):299. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060299Chicago/Turabian Style
Lee, Song-Chong. 2020. "Ham Sok Hon, a Pioneer of Korean Cosmopolitanism" Religions 11, no. 6: 299. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060299