The Hanyang Journal asks Hanyangians about their opinions on the current Healing Wave. The Hanyang Journal interviewed three Hanyangians and a professor.
Q:What do you think of the current Healing Wave in Korea?
A: “Let’s have some healing” and “I need some healing”, are phrases that are said most frequently by Hanyangians during test periods these days. Aside from Hanyangians, the word healing is used by almost all Koreans who want to have some comfort and reassurance. However, even while making these sentences, it seems that many people actually have no idea of what exactly they should do to get healing or to heal themselves. For instance, for me, sleeping has a positive healing effect. However, my friend feels that hanging around with her friends instead of sleeping has more of a healing effect on her. Likewise, the concept of healing differs greatly from person to person. There is no clear definition of what healing really means.
The first thought that comes to mind regarding the word “healing” is the restoring of physical or mental health. However, in my understanding, the healing currently being referred to in the media is defined more subjectively. As a matter of fact, during the mid-term period this semester, we had trouble deciding what to do for healing. In the end, we decided upon going to a healing café situated in front of Hongik University, but neither my friends nor I felt that we had undergone any healing by the time we left the place.
Q.What do you think of the commercial use of the Healing Wave
A:I believe that there are some people who unfortunately make ill use of the Healing Wave to gain personal profit. The ambiguous healing concept can be easily exploited for commercial purposes and worse yet carry those who seek genuine solutions to problems are being taken advantage of.
The most shameful commercial use of the healing trend is the endorsement by popular celebrities who make use of their appeal for profit. For example, a healing book by a famous professor recently sold 2,000,000 copies and a famous religious figure’s book that also has focused on healing sold 1,000,000 copies. In addition, a television program being broadcasted on SBS, Healing Camp, invites celebrities and well-known people to give comforting words to viewers. The show has a high viewing rate even though its content really has no relation to healing itself. Whenever I watch that show , I fail to understand why the program is called “Healing Camp”.
Celbrities on the show for instance only talk about their personal problems and experiences that do not apply to ordinary people. Furthermore, when political figures showed up on the program in 2012, I was once again disappointed.
Q:What do you think real healing is?
A:Why is the Healing Wave so popular? I think that there are a few reasons that explain this current phenomenon. First of all, these days, people have and are achieving a higher level of material wealth compared with the past. Back in the olden days, when it was hard to make a living day by day, people had neither time nor thoughts about today’s notion of healing. But today it’s a different story, According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, when people have their physiological needs satisfied, they seek mental pleasure. Thus, as people are physically more content compared with their predecessors, they are seeking more and higher levels of mental pleasure.
Another reason for the popularity of the current Healing Wave is the “speed” of modern society. The world is moving at an unprecedented, more rapid pace. Without a doubt, “faster” and “quicker” are the keywords of modern society. With the advent of the mobile phone in particular, the Internet and fourth generation mobile communication technology are changing society and the ways we think about virtually everything.
As a matter of fact, one might argue that there have been more changes during the past five months than there had been during the past 50 years in technology. But this quickness does not have its consequences. Research has shown that the slower the pace of life is, the happier people are, Subsequently in a rapidly developing country such as Korea, the ramifications are serious indeed. According to a survey conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD), the suicide rate of Korea has ranked first for eight consecutive years. Thus, I believe the pace at which society is currently moving and the demand for fulfillment of physical needs are the two main reasons for the high interest in this Healing Wave.
Q:What do you think of the current Healing Wave in Korea?
A:The fact that healing is now one of the most popular keywords these days is not necessarily a bad thing some believe. In fact, proponents view it as a good sign indicating that people are starting to put more emphasis on their quality of life. However, the biggest problem with the current Healing Wave is that what is being promoted lacks true substance but instead is abundant in propaganda.
Talking about the reason why the Healing Wave has become such a hot issue, I think another reason for some is the fact that those in their twenties’ to forties’ who can’t surpass or even achieve a similar level of the previous generations’ level of material success is causing a lot of stress, and subsequently, a desire to undergo “healing”. While it was relatively easy for the previous generation to accumulate great wealth relatively quickly from real estate speculation, it is difficult for contemporary people to amass wealth which makes them mentally dissatisfied.
Another reason for the popular phenomenon is that society has begun to view see personal problems from a societal perspective, meaning that society is now recommending solutions to personal problems through the media, This has resulted in more people becoming aware of the healing culture.
However, this phenomenon has limitations as well. The current Healing Wave only provides short-lived consolation without genuine alleviation of whatever true mental issues may need addressing. Moreover, there are no specific treatments being offered for those who may really need specific help. In addition, true healing is rarely ever attained instantly. Books and lectures with “healing” themes give no more than obvious guidelines to common problems in everyday lifestyles. Current healing products available to a desperate public offer universal advice to people who have different problems that may in fact never be solved by one particular method.
I personally recommend enriching one’s cultural knowledge through cultural activities and the reading of a variety of books including the classics. While healing books may advise about how to temporarily self-heal, classic books can provide life inspiration and thus offer more natural healing.
Finally, healing can come when one tries to heal others. Once people start to think about and put others before themselves, it is often a way to gain useful personal perspective and a means to objectively evaluate what is truly valuable in life. This, in my opinion would be the best ways to attain true healing.