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Think No Evil: Korean Values in the Age of Globalization

by C. Fred Alford Cornell University Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 224 pages
AU$143.00 NZ$146.96
Product Status: Out of stock. Not available to order.
In this investigation of the contemporary notion of evil, C. Fred Alford asks what we can learn about this concept, and about ourselves, by examining a society where it is unknown--where language contains no word that equates to the English term “evil.” Does such a society look upon human nature more benignly? Do its members view the world through rose-colored glasses? Korea offers a fascinating starting point, and Alford begins his search for answers there.
In conversations with hundreds of Koreans from diverse religions and walks of life--students, politicians, teachers, Buddhist monks, Confucian scholars, Catholic priests, housewives, psychiatrists, and farmers--Alford found remarkable agreement about the nonexistence of evil. Koreans regard evil not as a moral category but as an intellectual one, the result of erroneous Western thinking. For them, evil results from the creation of dualisms, oppositions between people and ideas.

Alford’s interviews often led to discussions about imported ways of thinking and the impact of globalization upon society at large. In particular, he was struck by how Koreans’ responses to globalization matched Westerners’ views about evil. In much of the world, he argues, globalization is the ultimate dualism--attractive for the enlightenment and freedom it brings, terrifying for the great social and personal upheaval it can cause.
''Think No Evil is the starting point in a challenging journey through today's Korea in search of answers to questions about life's deeper perspectives which few think to ask. Korea, deeply unfamiliar even to itself, serves as a place of 'otherness' where seemingly obvious notions find no resonance, where apparently fundamental concepts like 'evil' turn out to be almost meaningless. This stimulating book allows the reader to overhear the voices of many very different Koreans as they express their thoughts about life and death, good and evil, their family and country, religion, money, the past and the future, themselves and globalization. The author relates the Korean experience to the American in subtle ways and has obviously met Korea at a deep, essential level. He brings to his book echoes of amazing encounters, and with great sensitivity traces out their significance for many readers who will never make his journey.''-Brother Anthony of Taiz , Professor at Sogang University

C. Fred Alford is Professor of Government and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Think No Evil: Korean Values in the Age of Globalization and What Evil Means to Us, both from Cornell, as well asTrauma, Culture, and PTSD,Trauma and Forgiveness: Consequences and Community, and many other books.