우리가 보고 믿는 것 다 진실일까 [1]

The Creative Navigator’s Compass on Memory and Perception

-and How We Know which Way We Are Facing

기억과 자각에 작용하는 창의적인 나침반

by Nicky Clayton & Clive Wilkins

– BPS ‘The Psychologist’ April 2017

대부분의 사람들은 자신이 보는 것이 정확한 현실이라고 믿습니다

위대한 속임수 역시 이러한 거짓된 생각에서부터 시작하는데요

1986년에 기획된 한 광고에도 인간 생각과 행동의

불확실성에 관한 내용이 다루어집니다

1986 The Guardian ‘Point of View’ Commercial

The Guardian 이라는 신문사의 광고 ‘관점/견해’라는 영상은

하나의 상황을 여러 관점에서 보여주는데요

한 관점에서 보여지는 흑백영상은 각각 6초씩 지속이 됩니다

첫번째 관점은 한 남자가 뛰어가는 장면만을 보여줍니다

두번째 관점에서는 그 남자가 고의적이고 공격적으로

한 늙은 남자와 충돌을 하려는 장면을 보여줍니다

마지막 관점은 건설 현장에서 쓰이는 시멘트와 비슷한

 재료가 늙은 남자 바로 위에서 떨어지는 모습을 보여줍니다

한 장명에 대한 각각의 다른 관점들이 차근차근 보여지고 남자가 늙은 남자를

 떨어지는 재료들로부터 구하려는 ‘진실’이 영상 마지막에 나오게 됩니다

그리고 그 마지막 장면에 덧붙여진 나래이션

“한 관점으로부터 바라본 하나의 사건은 하나의 인상으로 각인되어버린다

또한 다른 관점에서 같은 사건은 또다른 인상을 심어준다 하지만 오직 

전체를 바라볼 때 비로소 어떤 일이 벌어지는 지를 완전하게 이해할 수 있다” 

The Guardian 이라는 신문사는 객관성을 중시하는

그 신문사의 가치를 강조하기 위해 이 광고를 기획하였으며

매사 주관적인 성격의 경험에 의심을 품고 소비자의 자각과

기억 그리고 미래를 예측하는 능력에 영향을 최소화하려 했습니다

결국 우리의 경험들은 매우 주관적이라는 말인데요

이러한 경험들은 우리가 과거를 기억하고 현재를 바라보며

 미래를 예측하는 과정과 방법에 영향을 끼칩니다

우리의 생각 속에만 존재하는 가상을 시각화하는 데도 영향을 준다는 사실!

우리의 자각과 기억들은 정해지지 않았으며 어떠한 사실적인 형상도 아니죠

현재의 시각에 의해 언제든지 바뀔 수가 있는 것입니다

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A Balanced View of Time in the Network Society: Positive Life Attitude and the Discovery of Slowness

In the extremely competitive and depressed society, the essay aims to suggest that individuals can be happy with positive life attitudes to live a better life through a balanced view of time. Even though the network society has somehow caused an infinite competition in the society; thus individuals are psychologically stressed and depressed easily, the network society has also enabled us to have a new perspective of time and life through various media contents. That is, a key to happiness in the information society is all up to us. Thus, in this essay, how the balanced view of time and the discovery of slowness are related is going to be explained, and the essay will be concluded introducing some methods to live slowly and happily.

Information Society and Infinite Competition

The ‘information society’ refers to the current society where everyone gathers information through media technology such as a mobile phone, TV, radio, and the Internet. The form of information can be examined as imaginable subjects which are ideas and concepts. These types of information have been digitalised and computerised with new tools (i.e. media technology) and have enabled the whole world to be connected, to the extent, the world can be described as the networked society. Be specific, work tasks, leisure pursuits, and personal interests in daily life have become more connected with people on social media in the information society (Hassan 2008).    

Accordingly, the network effect has been inevitable in the neoliberal global economy, which is equivalent to the concept of networked information society requiring connectedness in society. The positive network effect can be explained in relation to rights to freedom of expression. Individuals can express themselves through personal blogs or social networking websites, and this means that the expression of the individual has been realised in the productive and efficient level (Hassan 2008).     

There has been the negative effect existed at the same time, which includes speed effect that communications and economies speed up in the network society. This effect has been created in the society where inter-local and global competition has been inevitable due to neoliberalism. The idea has allowed productivity to be measured on the basis of values for money (Peck & Tickell 2002), and it has led to the highly competitive global economy everywhere to the extent that public and corporate policy have been also performed based on neoliberal ideologies (Beaverstock, Doel, Hubbard & Taylor 2002). Under this negative speed effect, people started to experience the feeling of being under pressure and lacking of time; that is, the feelings that we are controlled by time and running behind events (Klein 2008).

Not just about the feeling under pressure, the worse problem is that people compete with others all the time in the globalised network society. From the moment a baby is born, the baby is automatically exposed to the atmosphere encouraging a competition with his/her peers. If the peers can crawl, the baby is encouraged to crawl by his/her parents. In the developmental psychological perspective, this is a normal process to check the development status of a baby. However, any statistical data used for the purpose to measure an average action in certain age has become a factor to compete extremely with peers, to the extent, people feel unhappy or depressed. From the moment that the baby becomes a child who can study, the child is educated to compete with his/her friends to get into a good ranking university. After the child is grown to become an adult, the competition still remains till the person die. From getting a job to a marriage, our life literally is an infinite competition.

Our society, in general, does not care other people except for own family or close friends. That is, we are too busy with our own life due to the competition and stressful speed up situations repeated over and over again. This social phenomenon and psychological stress have increased the level of serious crime. In May 2016, there was a crime called “murder for no reason” in Seoul, Korea. The murderer who is the 20’s guy with a psychological disorder confessed the reason to murder a random woman is that women have ignored him (Shin, Yun & Seo 2016). His motivation for murder can be examined based on gender competition recently created in the Korean society as women have had an economic power with their jobs, as well as the social atmosphere somewhat ignorant with everything but money, so does not really care for psychological stress or psychological disorder in a serious level.

Network Society and New Perspective of Time

Once again, the electric media – telephone, radio, movies, television – has merged the whole of human society into one collective global village since the creative process of knowing has been possible through a dissemination of new media content. A positive view towards this globalised network society is to examine the whole digital phenomenon as a “democratisation” of culture, whereas a negative perspective also exists, viewing it as a “dumbing down” of culture (Carr 2010). 

In a new golden age of access and participation, a media content conveyed via media technology, representatively the Internet has influenced how we think and act. It is hard to say that the media product itself is good or bad, but its influence on shaping our value would be judged either good or bad. That is to say, technology is just a tool, but content made by technology shapes who we are as individuals and as a society (Carr 2010).

Even though there have been some opinions that the Net medium and media contents are negative to distract our concentration and contemplation (Carr 2008; Anderson 2009), the positive aspect has also existed. Nowadays, there are a variety of media contents such as movie and TV series containing a philosophical deep message and idea to shape our value. The most representative example would be a movie, Interstellar, described that time is the illusional concept and does not flow (Tate 2014). Not just the form of a movie, there are TV series and music that make people think about time and life. In one Korean TV series, Oh Hae-Young, Again!, there is a quote, “time is an illusion and an idea of past, present, and future is created in human’s brain.” The main character in this drama can see the particular future about himself, and a neuropsychologist tells him that he may be able to see his future, if it is the strong experience to him.

Tensed and Tenseless View of Time

The idea in relation to time shown in the movie and drama is somewhat equivalent to a tenseless view of time. There are two representative views with regards to time: ‘A-series’ which is a tensed view of time and ‘B-series’ which is a tenseless view of time (Sieroka 2015). The series of positions in time, which are past, present or future refers to A-series (Teichmann 1995). According to this view, things or events are either past or future now, however, the view is often inconsistent as the present exists and everything is somehow collapsed into it (Sieroka 2015). That is to say, every event is at some time past, is at some time present and is at some time future which seems not to be real (Teichmann 1995). The tensed view of time which is the concept of past, present, and future has been created in our perception for the purpose of coping with and ordering all sorts of daily life situations in brain (Sieroka 2015). 

On the other hand, physical time is in a temporal order; that is, physical events are not fundamentally past, present, or future. The events occur at different times, and they are simply related to one another by the relations ‘earlier than’ and ‘later than’, which means a B-series (Teichmann 1995; Sieroka 2015). Tenseless descriptions are used to explain physical and physiological states, not perceptual states because physical objects and events (i.e. electrons and neutrons) do not act, which means they do not have intentions, wheres perceivers do (Sieroka 2015).

Perceptual contents are somehow inevitable in our history and dispositions to act, which involve an intentionality of perception referencing to the past and future. Thus, every kind of theory which describes actions such as history or sociology and the philosophy of perception has to assume an A-series of events (Sieroka 2015). So, both a tenseless physical time order and a tensed perceptual time order are somehow necessary in our life.

Determinism and Life Attitude

Based on the new perspective (i.e. tenseless view of time) regarding time suggested above, it can be naturally related to determinism that every event is decided or already happened as future is our perceptual concept. This idea can be argued with a concept of free will and life attitude/action. The libertarian conception of free will refers to “the capacity to initiate causes without being caused to do so” (cited in Evans 2013, p. 640), that is to say, the capacity to control everything ultimately. The Deterministic Concept of Human Action (DCA) refers to actions that human beings make without ultimate control, meaning that if the brain operates deterministically, then our future is all fixed in advance (Evans 2013). According to a psychologist, Strawson (cited in Evans 2013), the free will debate is a debate of reactive attitudes whether endorsing a deterministic conception of human action (DCA) would disable to make social life possible and meaningful through the attitudes. Thus, the debate of free will include two opposing positions: optimism (i.e. utopianism) and pessimism (i.e. dystopianism).

A psychologist who had the optimistic view of the DCA, Roskies’ study showed that people were actually blameless in a deterministic universe than in an indeterministic universe (cited in Evans 2013). In specific, the DCA supports gay rights issues as people believe that homosexuality is a feature of our biology not caused by one’s internal will. Generally, it is known by psychologists that a public trend focusing on dispositional traits encourages more caring reactions than focusing on random external factors (cited in Evans 2013). 

On the contrary, there are known to be more negative (i.e., dystopianistic) aspects of the DCA when it comes to individuals’ life attitude. It is because the consequences of the DCA could be psychologically harming to people. Denying responsibility is one of the common pessimistic attitudes of the DCA that people could easily show (Evans 2013). People can possibly make any external excuses for their actions. The worry is that people would feel an incapability of initiating actions or engaging in the actions. Additionally, Baumeister, Masicampo, and Dewall found that individuals primed with the DCA showed a decline in offering an assistance and an increase in aggression, therefore, they are more likely to feel helpless and unmotivated to act pro-socially (cited in Evans 2013).

Mostly importantly, determinism and fatalism are slightly different; the view that the casual history and the physical laws determine physical events such as human actions is determinism, and it entails the idea that what we do contributes to the outcome of our life-path (Evans 2013). Wheres, fatalism is the view relevant to eventuality referring to particular events are fated to happen, and what we do does not affect certain life-paths based on this view (Evans 2013).

Therefore, based on the real meaning of determinism which is different from fatalism, it is possible that an individual can endorse both ideas of the DCA and free will of agents at the same time. The extreme view of determinism such as fatalism denies the existence of free will, which can constitute a threat to some people’s religious beliefs and moral values. In addition, it could decrease an efficacy of individuals’ action that could happen from an unconscious motivation to avoid empathic concern (Evans 2013). 

In specific, based on determinism, a character an individual has at a given time has been fixed by the action of an individual, causal history, and the laws of nature; it does not mean that the character is unchangeably fixed, thus our characters are malleable. Even though our characters and futures are determined, we may not know what our futures look like. That is to say, our minds can be trained and our willpower can be increased towards the characters we hope to be in the context of determinism (Evans 2013).

The same idea of determinism goes with looking at our future, again, one possible risk is to be confused with the view of fatalism which inspires people to have an attitude that there is nothing they can do to change the outcome of events. Therefore, one thing is clear here that the present state of the world is not an indication of how the future must be, whether the present is admirable or corrupt. The future depends on what we do.   

Balanced View of Time and Discovery of Slowness 

If individuals do not have an extreme view in relation to either tensed or tenseless view of time, the individuals can live a better life. With the extreme tensed view, people can become too obsessed with their past or future. That is, they are nervous with negative thoughts created in brain that they have not experienced yet. For the past case, people could possibly be obsessed with past events created also in brain (i.e. memory) and feel depressed about it. The network society as a whole has somewhat negatively influenced on our perception with the tensed view. It is because competitions have been increased in the neoliberal globalised society; in this context, an age, which was also created based on the concept of A-series for the purpose of convenience in life, has become a new factor for human beings to feel more stressed in the relationship with time. At the same time, the extreme tenseless view can make people to believe fatalism rather than determinism, and it can affect people to have a negative life attitude.

One of the delusional thoughts based on capitalist civilisation that people could easily have is “the love of work, the furious passion for work, pushed even to the exhaustion of the vital force of the individual and his progeny” (Lafargue 1883, p. 9). We probably have a right to be lazy. With the balanced view of time and the right to be lazy, people could have a better life. But how?

Mikics (2013) suggested that living a better life through reading better, reading more slowly. There is a quiet movement such as slow cooking, slow thinking, and slow reading giving us a message that faster is not always better. Whether we like it or not, the Internet has made us to waste hours of time every day with distractions and being frustrated by what happens online. It also negatively affected children’s ability to work independently on challenging tasks and attention spans. Even our decision-making power has been gone from us as everything happens so quickly. Slow reading as the antidote to such distractions can be the virtue of more meditative social trends in the computer-driven world.

Mikics (2013) emphasised that knowing how to read and improving the way we read will allow us to reveal new prospects and experiences without any obsession with speed. Not skimming and rapid, informational reading, slow reading is the only way to truly experience a book and read intelligently. That is, we would know how to make choices every moment through slow reading knowing logics in the book; how the book hangs together and how the author has done her or his work.     

Additionally, a video about an experience that a previous neurologist has shared suggested that a slow-motion style of inline skating that doubles as meditation has changed his life. The video describes that “a charming and light-hearted vision of what can happen when you actually do what you want to” (Izenberg & Micheli 2013).   

Conclusion

An individual has a right to choose his/her perspective, attitude, and behaviour. Some people choose not to marry in a certain age, even though society forcibly make people to do. Some people could be failed to get promoted among peers. Individuals have their different time perspectives and life attitudes. Therefore, none of them can live the same life. The solution is simple. Do what you want to do with having a balanced view of time. That is the only way that we can live a better life. One more thing is that we all should recognise the difference between being distracted and being happily absorbed. In conclusion, it is all up to us that can make a “democratisation” of culture, not a “dumbing down” of culture with the digital phenomenon.   

<References>

Anderson, S 2009, In Defence of Distraction, New York Magazine, NY.

Beaverstock, JV, Doel MA, Hubbard PJ & Taylor PJ 2002, ‘Attending to the world: competition, cooperation and connectivity in the World City network’, Global Networks, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 111-132.

Carr, N 2008, Is Google Making Us Stupid?, The Atlantic, NY.

Carr, N 2010, The Shallows, W.W. Norton and Co., NY.

Evans, J 2013, ‘The moral psychology of determinism’, Philosophical Psychology, vol. 26, no. 5, pp. 639-661.

Hassan, R 2008, The Information Society, Polity, Oxford.

Izenberg, J & Micheli, A 2013, Slomo, Aeon Video, viewed 22nd May 2016, <https://aeon.co/videos/a-neurologist-finds-peace-and-happiness-in-the-feeling-of-constant-acceleration>.

Klein, S 2008, The Secret Pulse of Time, Scribe, Melbourne.

Lafargue, P 1883, The Right to be Lazy, The Floating Press.

Mikics, D 2013, Slow Reading in a Hurried Age, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge.

Peck, J & Tickell, A 2002, ’Neoliberalizing space’, Editorial Board of Antipode, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 380-404.

Segerstrom, SC, Tsao, JCI, Alden, LE & Craske, MG 2000, ‘Worry and rumination: repetitive thought as a concomitant and predictor of negative mood’, Cognitive Therapy and Research, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 671-688.

Serioka, N 2015, Leibniz, Husserl, and the Brain, Palgrave MacMillan, NY.

Shin, SY, Yun JM & Seo, JS 2016, Murder becomes symbol of Korean misogyny’, Korea Joongang Daily, May 20, viewed 10th June 2016, <http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3018936&cloc=joongangdaily%7Chome%7Ctop>.

Teichmann, R 1995, The Concept of Time, Macmillan Press, London.

Tate, K 2014, The science of ‘Interstellar’ explained (Infographic), Space, November 7, viewed 3rd April 2016, <http://www.space.com/27692-science-of-interstellar-infographic.html>.

Mindfulness: The Key To Happiness

“If I met you, I would be talking to you. However, in my head, I might be thinking different things and feeling anxious.” Lucy Roleff, a local musician and illustrator in Melbourne, described her past experience when she was with other people. She used to feel anxious all the time, and made her feel depressed as well. “I used to feel isolated and living in a different world, even though I was with friends.” She explained that her symptoms were something related to anxiety disorder, ‘depersonalisation’. A person who suffers from depersonalisation disorder feels detached from her/ his body and experiences mild identity confusion. If it gets serious, the person may think about suicide.

The first step that Lucy tried to overcome anxiety and depression was to push out all negative thoughts and feelings. “I tried all sorts of affirmation, medication, and psychological therapy, but it did not work for me.” She felt that the goal of all these methods is pushing out negative emotions and thoughts and analysing them, which made her to focus on them more. She explained that it is related to how brain works. “Once people are trying to push away negative thoughts, our brain naturally perceives them as more important.”

One day, she read an article about mindfulness. “Trying to train the brain to accept all thoughts, not just positive ones, observing them and letting them happen, and even welcoming them,” Lucy explained her own definition of mindfulness. She added that some people still want the negative thoughts and emotions to be gone when they observe them, and that is far away from what mindfulness refers to. Understanding the idea of mindfulness and practicing it through meditation was a big step in helping her to overcome anxiety and depression.

Some people believe that distracting negative thoughts and emotions is an efficient way to achieve emotional balance in their life. For example, they watch movies or drink beer to take their minds off them. It can work temporarily, but not in the long term. Firstly, the thoughts and emotions creep back into your brain. Secondly, you may not have a chance to know what kinds of automatic thoughts actually trigger your negative emotions.

If you understand why a negative mood occurs, you can prevent it. Sally Polmear, a mindfulness-meditation instructor at Mindful Meditation Melbourne said, “a negative mood begins as a thought that goes unchecked and that sets in train other thoughts and subsequently develops into a whole mood or way of being in the world at that time.” Sally emphasised the importance of mindfulness as it helps people to check in regularly with our thoughts. According to her explanation, through a mindful state, people can catch their thoughts before they turn into a negative mood triggers.

Mindfulness is not a simple idea for people. “Mindfulness is a non-judgemental awareness of the present moment,” said qualified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher, Anja Tanhane. “It is not putting aside our good judgement, but rather being open to life as it is, regardless of what is happening – accepting that this is what’s happening right in this moment.”

Sally, who has been practicing and teaching meditation for 13 years, personally believes that mindfulness practice can increase your level of happiness. “I find mindfulness a helpful reminder to catch myself when I am absorbed in worries and plans for the future or caught by regrets of the past, or the myriad other things about which the mind ruminates. When I do mindfully gather my attention into here and now, I feel the release of tension in my body and that has to be a good thing for my physical well-being,” she said.

Anja, who has lectured on mindfulness at the University of Melbourne, explained how mindfulness helped to increase the level of happiness more academically. According to Anja, regular mindfulness practice has been shown to have measurable effects on the brain – for example, it strengthens the central pre-frontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for impulse control, empathy, and self-regulation. Also, the left pre-frontal cortex is activated, which induces positive mood states.

“Over time, we don’t get as aroused, but can also calm ourselves down more easily. This enables us to make better decisions, have greater awareness of other people’s point of view, and become more resilient in the face of challenges,” Anja said. We can go more with the flow of life, rather than constantly demanding that life be a certain way, and then being disappointed when things don’t work out as we think they ‘should’. Mindfulness helps us cultivate qualities such as appreciation, patience, trust, letting go, compassion and gratitude, which lead to an increased level of contentment and happiness.

The three renowned ways to practise mindfulness are Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) therapy, meditation, and yoga. MBSR was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the late 1970s to enable hospital patients with severe chronic health conditions to benefit from meditation without having to become a Hindu or Buddhist, or subscribe to a particular religion or philosophy. It uses one aspect of the Buddhist noble eight-fold path, mindful meditation, and brings the benefits of this practice into the Western clinical setting. “This has enabled mindfulness to benefit people from all walks of life, for a wide range of emotional, health and interpersonal challenges,” Anja said.

Sally, who teaches meditation and is studying a Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy, explained the difference between MBSR therapy and traditional meditation and yoga. “I would consider that traditional meditation and yoga ultimately have different purposes of a more transcendental nature, such as investigating the nature of phenomena and ‘self’, whereas MBSR therapy is primarily concerned with reducing stress, anxiety and exhaustion.” She said that MBSR therapy is helpful as well because it helps people to calm their mind which can be considered an important first step for developing insights into the nature of existence.

Anja recommended a daily formal meditation to really gain the benefits of mindfulness. “Our brains have been hard-wired through evolution to be constantly alert to danger even when there is no need to be, and to remember negative experiences far more strongly than positive ones. We have also developed unhelpful habits of thinking over several decades, and these old habitual patterns are very strongly developed in our brains.” Our society as a whole does not nurture mindful ways of living – it encourages us to focus on staying busy, to multi-task, and to distract ourselves. We are also over-stimulated on a daily basis. Mindfulness is a way of life, not a skill. Learning some techniques is helpful, but won’t go far in changing our established patterns. According to Anja’s explanation, it is impossible to simply decide to live more mindfully – between our evolutionary brain, our upbringing, and the society we live in, we simply have no chance. Mindfulness is not something which can be ‘willed’, it is an ongoing practice.

Therefore, what Anja and Sally really want to tell people who want to achieve mindfulness is that MBSR is a form of cognitive-behavioural therapy, teaches basic skills to calm our mind through an eight-week course. Thus, it cannot be an ultimate solution for people who want to live mindfully. People need to practice mindfulness by themselves consistently either through meditation or yoga.

Achieving the state of mindfulness through meditation and yoga seems like a popular trend nowadays. Google Chief Evangelist of Brand Marketing, Gopi Kallayil, talked about ‘How Google uses yoga and meditation to increase productivity’ on Bloomberg Business Week. He said that yoga and meditation help us optimise the most important technology, human body. Why is it better to do one thing at a time? Not at the same time? Our physical and mental systems work much better when we bring all our attention on a single thing. When we try to do five things at the same time, it falls apart. “You can train your mind to be much more sharp and focused instead of being distracted through meditation and yoga,” he said.

Lucy, a mindful musician, illustrator, and writer recommended a daily meditation as well. “I am using applications or online websites like ‘Smiling Mind’ and ‘Tiny Buddha’ to practice mindfulness.” If you are too busy to go to meditation classes every day, you can simply download applications that Lucy recommended and use them whenever you want.

“I still feel anxious whenever I play music in front of people. What I do is just letting them happen, you know, letting my hands shake. I just try to be mindful on what I am doing now,” Lucy said with a lovely smile.

If we do not have any chance to experience the negative emotions in our life, we may not appreciate the positive emotions which make us happy. There is nothing wrong with feeling negative emotions like sad or anger – they are a part of being human. Mindfulness teaches that whenever you feel sad or angry, it’s best to just let it happen. If the negativity stays longer, it is fine. Just know it will be gone soon and try to be mindful. Remember, the mindful state can only be achieved through daily practices like meditation and yoga. You can use the applications or online website, or you can attend a meditation or yoga class. Whatever you choose, it will help you for sure, if you keep doing it.

 

1. Lucy Roleff: A Melbourne-based Musician, Illustrator, and Writer

www.lucyroleff.com

2. Sally Polmear: An Experienced Meditation Teacher

www.mindfulmeditationmelbourne.com.au

3. Anja Tanhane: A Registered Music Therapist, Mindfulness Teacher

www.mindfulnessmeditation.net.au

4. Gopi Kallayil: Google Chief Evangelist of Brand Marketing

wordpress@kallayil.com

The Value of Autobiographical Memory in Media Advocacy Campaign_5

A Case Study of Crowdfunding: the Campaign for the film “Sprits’ Homecoming” in South Korea

 

Value of the Movie

As mentioned earlier, the whole process of movie production and the movie itself are valuable as forms of human rights advocacy. The Japanese government has declared that there is no historical evidence to prove the existence of comfort women until now. The film showed that a media content can become a proof of historical fact. It was powerful enough to shape the cultural memory of Koreans. 

Limitation

Firstly, it would be better that the film could focus more on women’s dignity, not just focusing on Korean nationalism. As the Korean government seeks to have a positive outcome raising the issue of comfort women, it could seriously injure the women’s honour. That is to say, the comfort women issue is mainly being used to bolster the nationalism in South Korea in the situation where the political relation between Korea and Japan has been negative (Orreill 2008). In the same context, crowdfunding for the movie was successful because of the nationalism based on the negative Korea-Japan relation, rather than an issue of women’s sexual abuse and its seriousness. Cultural memory of the comfort women that Korean people would get from the film is about Japanese soldiers’ brutality during World War Two, not about an issue of women’s right or dignity during the war.   

Additionally, the film does not mention the comfort women for American soldiers during the Korean War (1950-1953) after the Second World War. There are even the “unwanted children” or “children of bad memories” between American soldiers and Korean comfort women. They have been ostracised in the Korean society (Pae 2011). There is no mention of this in the film.

Future Direction

Wartime sexual violence that happened to women should not be accepted as a justifiable practice and should be judged through universal values of human dignity, integrity, and sacredness. Therefore, women’s perspective of wartime and peace needs to be explored more through media and examined in a theoretical framework.

There was a current announcement from the Korean government that expressions such as “Comfort Women” and “sex slaves” will be deleted from a social studies textbook designated by the Korean government for primary school students (Inoue 2016). According to the government, it is because primary school students do not need to know about expressions like “sex slaves.” However, the term “Comfort Women” should exist as it is a primary proof of their existence in history. Thus, the movie campaign needs to be continued to have an impact on changing the current announcement of the government.   

Additionally, the social media campaign, “Hug_Together” could be performed as active rather than as passive in order to gain the comfort women’s dignity based on feminist movement. It could change its name to an active form such as “Let’s Speak Up.” The movie itself can also be remediated countless times by books, postal stamps, songs, and exhibitions of the women’s drawings in the future.

 

The Value of Autobiographical Memory in Media Advocacy Campaign_4

A Case Study of Crowdfunding: the Campaign for the film “Sprits’ Homecoming” in South Korea

The Comfort Women and Cultural Memory in Korea

The novel, “Eyes of Dawn” was published in 1981. Written by Kim Seong-Jong, the story is mainly based on the Japanese colonial period, the Second World War, Korea’s liberation, and the Korean War. In 1991, the novel is made into a television series. The story is not only about the story of comfort women, but it is considered the first cultural product in Korea which represented their story. However, the issue of comfort women failed to get public attention through these media. Based on the official announcement from the conform woman, Kim Hak-Soon, the documentary, “Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women” written and directed by Dai Sil Kim-Gibson in 2000 and the movie, “Snowy Road” in 2005 were produced. These efforts also could not bring this issue into the public discourse. 

The film “Spirits’ Homecoming” was produced based on one person’s autobiographical memory. Her memory is mediated through her drawings, including “Burning Virgins.” The director of the film decided to make the drawings into a movie. According to the official website of the film production:

The film does not seek simply to criticise the Japanese government nor does it seek to provide shallow comfort for the victims. Instead, it aims to highlight the devastation and tragedy of the history caused by the military of Imperial Japan, and to heartily send out the message that this cannot be repeated. So we dare say that this is not the story of the ‘past’ but of the ‘future’ for all (JO Entertainment Website 2016).

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The film can be considered quite successful in shaping Korean’s cultural memory of the comfort women. Unlike the previous media products, the film has broaden its impact further as it is a new social movement constituted by the current participatory culture that we live in. 

In the current participatory media culture, crowdsourcing is considered a new way to obtain resources such as ideas, solutions, or financial contribution from audiences, it is a new type of media network in relation to economic activities. There are four basic categories when it comes to applications of crowdsourcing: crowd wisdom (collective intelligence), crowd creation (user-generated content), crowd voting (participation) and crowdfunding. Among them, crowdfunding used social networking and the Internet in order to raise funds. Crowdfunding gathers financial resources provided by users to organise or carry out a project and is reinforced through online participation of users such as voting, comments, sharing and twittering. A combination of the micro-payment scheme and sharing buttons on social networking sites has created better adjustment between supply and demand making crowdfunding as a more efficient production process from an economic standpoint (Carvajal, Carcía-Avilés & González, 2012).

The movie “Spirits’ Homecoming” took an advantage of the current media networking culture through crowdfunding. More than 70,000 Korean citizens financially sponsored the film. Their motivation to participate might stem from the historical tension between Korea and Japan, but the number of people could easily participate in the process of movie production thanks to social media networking websites. The most impressive part of this crowdfunding is that the film shows all the sponsors’ name at the end-credits scene. It would be meaningful to all Korean citizens who participated in crowdfunding of the film.

The movie is analysed at a collective level (i.e., pluri-medial networks), not only because of crowdfunding but also because social media campaign considered the crowd contribution on movie marketing. Before the movie was officially released, a social media campaign called “Hug_Together” was initiated on Facebook, Instagram and Kakaotalk (i.e., the Korean version of Whatsapp). It was about changing Facebook or Kakaotalk profile picture to a butterfly which stands for hope and comfort women, the #Hug_Together, with the screen shot of the butterfly profile picture. This social media campaign created an icon of cultural memory for comfort women, ‘a butterfly with hope’. In addition, it helped to advertise the movie through new media platforms as a form of crowdsourcing.

After the movie was released in South Korea, it drew 2.21 million viewers in March (Yonhap 2016).  It is considered quite successful, and the production company decided to screen the film in UK, US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (Ahn 2016). Therefore, Koreans who live in overseas countries could obtain a chance to participate indirectly in the process of shaping cultural memory.

Autobiographical Memory to Human Rights Advocacy

The production of the film and the social media campaign started from one person’s autobiographical memory. Her drawings based on her memory were made into a film and this has massively influenced the shaping of Koreans cultural memory on the history of comfort women. It provided an opportunity for the minority group that their memory could change the denied history written by the Japanese government through the media campaign. This shows how real and meaningful human rights advocacy can be produced through media campaign starting from autobiographical (i.e., bottom-up) memory.   

The Value of Autobiographical Memory in Media Advocacy Campaign_3

A Case Study of Crowdfunding: the Campaign for the film “Sprits’ Homecoming” in South Korea

 

Memory and Media Advocacy

Memory and History

Memory and history are so deeply related that no one really can say which one is more valuable when it comes to truth seeking. The distinction that historians would draw between history and memory is that history is engaged to seek truth, and memory is winnowed out or discarded in a process of natural selection made by historians. Based on this notion, the statement made by Halbwachs that ‘history is dead memory’ can be considered (cited in Olick & Robbins 1998). This assertion somewhat negates the self-image of historiography devaluing the meaningfulness of memory in terms of an appropriate attitude toward the past.

Some critiques of this notion of the relation between history and memory are based on recent approaches, that consider history to exist nor just in the official version but in the social and cultural terms of memory. The selection and interpretation of memory/sources have become arbitrary in the process of writing history (Olick & Robbins 1998).

According to Halbwachs (cited in Olick & Robbins 1998), autobiographical memory refers to our own experience in the contrast to historical memory, which is historical events that we all remember through historical records. Collective memory can form our identities as it is considered more active compared to historical memory. However, historical memory can be organic/active sometimes when people celebrate something together, even though they did not directly experience it. Hence, different types of memory affect a creation of history, as history can be defined as the remembered past (Olick & Robbins 1998).

Cultural memory is something different as it is shared through cultural products and thus has cultural meaning. In the twentieth century, we use a new system which enabled digitisation of information through electronic recording and transmitting. This change has provided new ways of conceptualising memory (Olick & Robbins 1998). Accordingly, cultural memory can be examined in the context of media culture since most cultural products have been formed through digital technologies. 

Shaping Cultural Memory through Media

Cultural memory, once again, is formed by communication through media. It used to be reproduced through speech, such as when grandparents tell their story about the old days to children. Writing, film and the Internet are considered more sophisticated media technologies that help to shape cultural memory as shared versions of the past among people. What would be the requisite of power for media to produce and shape cultural memory? It can be argued within, between, and around the media (Erll, Nünning & Young 2008).

Firstly, intra-medial strategies are considered the requisites within the media as a form of collective memory based on four modes: the experiential, the mythical, the antagonistic, and the reflexive. The experiential modes represent the past as recent. The mythical modes describes foundational events in mythical way. The antagonistic mode includes negative stereotyping of conflicting memory cultures. The montage of different versions of the past are considered in the reflexive mode. All these modes help us to have an illusion of the past through media (Erll, Nünning & Young 2008).

Secondly, inter-medial relations can be argued to be one of the factors in forming cultural memory between the media. Pre-mediation and remediation are examined as a double movement in the interaction; meaning that memorable events are represented again and again in different media over decades and centuries, and that is how it creates a power in cultural memory. In the same context, comparable events provide schemata for later events, as they not only depict the past, – this is what the term “pre-mediation” refers to. Remediation tends to solidify cultural memory created in the first stage through different modes of representation, it stabilises certain icons of the past. Therefore, the boundaries between historical events as documentary material and fictional stories based on the events are often blurred in the course of remediation (Erll, Nünning & Young 2008). 

Thirdly, around the media affects cultural memory as “pluri-medial networks.” This stage refers to a collective phenomenon, not just a creation of cultural products – as films or books that no one watched or read will not have any influence in creating cultural memory. This means a certain kind of context is required for cultural products to become memory-shaping media. All those advertisements, comments, and discussions are considered as the context of the media networks surrounding cultural products (Erll, Nünning & Young 2008).     

In conclusion, powerful media has a memory-making effect, it needs to be analysed at an individual level and a collective level at the same time. Media representations at the individual level provide us a schemata of certain images of the past based on autobiographical memories. When the representation can provide cues for the discussion of those images in society, cultural memory can be shaped at the collective level. Therefore, cultural memory can be examined in the current media cultures we live in (Erll, Nünning & Young 2008). 

The Value of Autobiographical Memory in Media Advocacy Campaign_2

A Case Study of Crowdfunding: the Campaign for the film “Sprits’ Homecoming” in South Korea

 

Historical Background of the Campaign

Political Relation of Korea and Japan

Economic relations between South Korea and Japan are improving as they deal with various issues together, such as tax evasion or disaster relief planning. In terms of political relations, there is a disconnect until now, as continuous territorial claims in relation to islands or history have threatened the relationship (Bang & Kang 2012). 

For example, Japan’s territorial disputes with South Korea over an island named as “Dokdo” by Koreans or “Takeshima” by Japanese have been worse since the end of the Second World War. Even though the island is currently occupied by the Republic of Korea, and it has always belonged to South Korea, the Japanese government has claimed that “Takeshima” is a part of the Japanese territory. The claim of the Japanese government is based mainly on the twentieth-century agreements with Korea. Conversely, the South Korean government argues that Japan returned the island after its liberation from Japanese colonial as a result of the two states’ bilateral agreements (Fern 2005).

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Aside from the historical territorial claims, the issue of human rights abuse has also made the relationship worse. The term “Comfort Women” refers to teenage girls or women from Korea, Northern China, Philippines, Indonesia, and Taiwan who were forced to become sexual slaves for the Japanese military during the Second World War. Few of them survived, those that did began to request a sincere apology and compensation from the Japanese government (Kim 2014). The surviving comfort women symbolises the collective wish to reclaim national integrity and bolster Korean nationalism in Korea and to remind Japan of its moral commitment to the Korean nation. On the other hand, the Japanese government has not tried to represent the issue as a crime. As a result, Japanese junior high school history textbooks do not mention “Comfort Women” and describe it as ‘paid prostitute camp followers’ (Orreill 2008). Therefore, the Japan’s colonial rule as well as its ignorant attitude and behaviour have made the serious tension between Korea and Japan.

Women’s Oppression in Korea

The system of comfort women is not an issue limited only in Korea, is rather found in almost every conflict zone. The gender-based military violence in Korea became a root cause of oppression of South Korean Women. Even though the comfort women are the victims of the forced military prostitution system, they have not been able to speak up and to share their tragic experiences freely for the sake of international peace and security. A social atmosphere has remained in Korea even until now that it is shameful for women to talk about stories in relation to sexual abuse. The oppressive atmosphere for women in Korea can be explained in relation to the historical background of Korean Women who had lived under the Neo-Confucianism law of chastity since the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897) before the Republic of Korea was established (Pae 2011). As a result, a first statement was made by one of the comfort women in Korea, Kim Hak-Soon in 1991, when that woman became really old (Orreill 2008).